ConsenSys to Embrace Startup Roots to Be ‘Lean and Gritty’ Amid Ethereum Downturn

Colin Muller
  • Company’s philosophy to rest on five new ‘pillars’
  • Projects will now be evaluated on three defined criteria

The Ethereum-focused blockchain development company ConsenSys is revamping its organizational structure and business criteria, its founder Joseph Lubin said in a surprise Friday night mass email last week, according to exclusive reporting from Breakermag which is owned by a Lubin-co-founded company.

ConsenSys, based in New York City but employing over 1,100 people in 29 countries, seems to be suffering from lack of funds just as many other projects in the industry - no doubt a consequence of the 2018 bear market that continues to make new lows on an almost weekly basis. Ethereum (ETH) is down well over 90% since all-time-highs of $1,400-ish.

We’re going to get a lot more rigorous in terms of milestones and timetables.

Joseph Lubin

ConsenSys is trying to make up for the presumed shortfalls by attracting new investment from venture capital funds, according to Breakermag. Framed in this context, a change in strategy is perhaps appropriate.

A New-ish Consensys

CryptoGlobe recently reported on Lubin’s exuberant comments at Devcon4 describing a flat organization, in which “Consensys members self-organize - nobody tells anyone what to do,” creating a need for “new ways of taking responsibility and assuring accountability.”

Breakermag says that these sorts of philosophies will not go away. However, the new policies in Lubin’s letter are clearly, at least in some measure, a departure from previous management attitudes. He told the news outlet that “We’re going to get a lot more rigorous in terms of milestones and timetables [...] dissolving projects if we’ve come to the conclusion that our earlier assumptions were incorrect.” Notably, layoffs are not out of the question according to Breakermag.

Projects operating under ConsenSys’ umbrella will be judged on three new criteria going forward. These are: a project’s creation of “social good,” a so far undefined criterion; benefit to the Ethereum ecosystem; and, perhaps tellingly, return on investment.

In addition, Lubin described five “pillars” which will make up the company’s philosophy. These are a “culture of excellence and accountability”; the continuing development of Ethereum core software; continued funding of dApp development from ConsenSys funds; a renewed emphasis on selling blockchain services to companies; and public outreach and education about blockchain.

Lubin hopes that these measures will help his venture “retain, and in some cases regain, the lean and gritty startup mindset that made us who we are.”

There should be little surprise that ConsenSys is hurting. For an ecosystem that is still valued in the billions even after 2018’s eye-watering losses, the most used dApps on its platform besides exchanges - are still only in the hundreds of daily users. The Ethermon dApp game, inspired by Pokemon, is the most used at time of writing but has fewer than 400 daily users.

CryptoGlobe research reported on the worryingly low daily active users of dApps in August 2018. Since then numbers have not improved, however, valueations of most dApps have dropped in line with the declining Ethereum price.

Ethereum price over 1 year