On Friday (21 December 2018), Joseph Lubin, Co-Founder of Ethereum and Founder of ConsenSys, blasted his critics (especially crypto "journalists and bloggers"), and said that he could see a "very bright" future for Ethereum and its ecosystem.
Lubin's comments, which were delivered via Twitter, came a day after technology news outlet The Verge reported that ConsenSys, an Ethereum-focused blockchain incubator ("venture studio") and solution provider, was planning to spin off most off of its 50+ startups ("spokes"), and that this could mean up to 60% of the company's staff could be laid off.
ConsenSys, which was founded in 2015 by Lubin, currently has "over 1100 employees distributed globally in every continent except Antarctica." It primarily sees itself as "a venture production studio focused on building and scaling tools, disruptive startups, and enterprise software products powered by decentralized technology, specifically Ethereum," and describes its mission as using "these solutions to power the emerging economic, social, and political operating systems of the planet."
We first heard about Lubin's plans to reorganize ConsenSys, a new phase in its development that Lubin calls "ConsenSys 2.0", via a report on December 3rd in crypto news outlet BREAKER. This report said that on Friday, November 30th, around 19:45 (Eastern Time), the company's staff had received a letter (via email) from Lubin, in which the ConsenSys CEO laid out "a sweeping plan to make ConsenSys more focused and competitive in an increasingly crowded field." He told BREAKER on the same day that ConsenSys 2.0 was not a pivot:
"It’s focusing, it’s adding rigor, it’s adding accountability, and it’s opening ConsenSys up more to the world.”
In the three weeks that followed, many articles were written about ConsenSys 2.0, especially after the company confirmed to Coindesk on December 6th that this "streamlining" of parts of its business would mean that 13% of the staff would be laid off:
“Excited as we are about ConsenSys 2.0, our first step in this direction has been a difficult one: we are streamlining several parts of the business including ConsenSys Solutions, spokes, and hub services, leading to a 13% reduction of mesh members... Projects will continue to be evaluated with rigor, as the cornerstone of ConsenSys 2.0 is technical excellence, coupled with innovative blockchain business models."
But on Friday, December 21st, at 17:42 (UTC), Lubin initiated a tweet storm in which he answered his critics and explained why he was optimistic about the future of Ethereum and its ecosystem. It started with this tweet:
I am calling the cryptobottom of 2018. This bottom is marked by an epic amount of fear, uncertainty, and doubt from our friends in the 4th and crypto-5th estates.— Joseph Lubin (@ethereumJoseph) December 21, 2018
Lubin then went on to say:
- "What I've witnessed among the chattering class the past few weeks in response to @ConsenSys 2.0 is a rather typical tune: the alarmed, the eulogistic, and the gleeful."
- "We have been on the receiving end of an epic amount of conjecture and preemptive paranoia --- filled with damning rhetoric about situations journalists and bloggers don't have real data for, actual insight into, or understanding of."
- "ConsenSys remains healthy and is engaging in a rebalancing of priorities and activities which started about nine months ago."
- "We are creating transitions for some projects that we believe don't fit as well into the ConsenSys 2.0 vision as they did in ConsenSys 1.0, and we are working on ways to continue to support these projects going forward as we sketch plans for a ConsenSys alumni network."
- "We continue to invest in external projects, and continue to hire for internal projects that remain core to our forward looking business. We actually hired around fifteen people in the last week or so, and have job descriptions that we are currently hiring for."
- "Some within ConsenSys whose roles have been eliminated recently are looking to fill other roles at ConsenSys. This is a rebalancing of our activities and workforce."
- "The sky is not falling. From my perspective the future looks very bright. I remain excited about scalability solutions that are available now..."
- "...or are becoming available for use in early 2019, core #Ethereum protocol development that is accelerating, and the continued maturation of the token economy, which will see many exciting consumer utility tokens and tokenized security launches in the new year."
- "Our Solutions group just saw the @IoKomgo project go live yesterday and are on the verge of locking down a few very exciting and sizable consulting projects."
- "Peaking into 2019, if you could see the landscape through my eyes, you'd have to wear shades. Yours in Ethereal Serenity, JML"
Ethereum Creator Vitalik Buterin agreed with Lubin that the critics had been overly harsh in pronouncing the death of ConsenSys:
Expand up to 1100 people, shrink to 600, keeping the 6/11ths that are most productive: OMG consensys is dead!— Vitalik Non-giver of Ether (@VitalikButerin) December 21, 2018
Expand up to 600 with no shrinking, announce every step of the expansion: wow, the company is prospering!
At press time, according to data from CryptoCompare, Ether (ETH) is trading at $130.87, up 19.66% in the past 24-hour period.
Featured Image Courtesy of ConsenSys