No, this is not about yet another cryptocurrency startup looking to raise money from an Initial Coin Offering (ICO). In fact, ARK is not building a token or currency. It just wants to stay in its lane and provide an all-in-one blockchain solution that can be incorporated into platforms being developed by those who want to harness blockchain technology.
ARK has actually had a product available for more time than most in the space, and is quickly working on developing newer versions for adoption. I recently spoke with Travis Walker, ARK Co-founder/Board Member, to understand more about the project, why France is a good environment for its growth and what its goals are moving forward.
What exactly is it that you're creating and the service that you're providing; why do you see a need for it in the space and who are your biggest competitors?
Walker: At ARK, we believe there are two major problems facing the blockchain industry: ease of use and scalability. We are taking both of these problems head on by building forward thinking solutions with a focus on user experience.
The most important thing to remember about ARK is that we aren't just building another token or currency, we are building a blockchain platform that anyone can use to decentralize their project or service. An ARK powered application can integrate blockchain technology into their development cycle in hours instead of months and they can do it with simple, intuitive systems.
Much like Wordpress allowed non-programmers to quickly and easily develop their own custom websites, ARK lowers the barrier of entry to adapting blockchain technology to your projects needs.
We want to enable developers to build the decentralized future but, more importantly, do it in a way that opens up the blockchain and it's capabilities to everyone. In that same regard, we don't see anyone in this industry as a competitor. We believe that the only way that blockchain succeeds is by working together towards a common purpose: decentralization. We have a saying at ARK. We don't have competitors, just future partners.
Do you currently have a model available for use, and why do you think or not think that is important in this age where many startups in the space are highly suspect?
Walker: The blockchain community has been plagued with fly by night offerings and the traditional scams that pop-up when people start to see big dollar signs, but that doesn't mean the industry as a whole is a scam, a bubble, or a money grab. There are a lot of companies out there building quality projects that deserve to be taken seriously. We always encourage everyone to do their due diligence and let the code speak for itself.
Our core ARK network technology has been open source and available to download for almost a year now. We have also released the first version of the ARK Deployer, which we currently use at the many hackathons we sponsor to allow developers to quickly deploy ARK based blockchains in a matter of minutes for their projects.
We have seen countless young programmers build some really amazing projects in 24-36 hours with just these two components, but we are constantly working to improve the core network technology and develop and implement new features. We are currently hard at work on our ARK Core v2, which will be a rewrite of our core platform with a ton of new features as well as the first graphical user interface for the ARK deployer.
What are you doing to stay on top of regulations and developments of new laws from jurisdiction to jurisdiction as more scrutiny is being placed on the cryptocurrency industry?
Walker: ARK has taken an active interest in the current state of regulation in the industry, particularly in France, where we call home. Our CTO, Francois Xavier-Thoorens, is working closely with local regulators and the government to advise them on how we can build common sense regulation that allows the blockchain industry to thrive. We have partnered with several firms and legal advisers to ensure that we stay on top of the ever changing landscape and provide insight and guidance wherever possible.
The ICO model has enabled a new level of grassroots fundraising and has the potential to do a lot of good, but we need to create an environment where investors can feel safe being involved with the projects. By working together to push sensible regulations on a global scale, we think we can legitimize the blockchain industry and ensure that it continues to grow and prosper.
Do you attach any import in being incorporated in Europe and, if so, what is the importance to the company?
Walker: Well the easy answer is that many of our team members call the EU home, so it only made sense to look there first, but there is definitely more to it than that. The EU, and France in particular, has taken a very favorable stance on blockchain, the ICO model, and cryptocurrency as a whole. The French government understands the potential in blockchain technology and has reached out to understand the industry and have shown a strong desire to do everything they can to help it grow and take roots in France.
We worked very closely with the French government to establish our SCIC business entity for ARK, which we hope will help pave the way for future blockchain projects that are also looking to have their own business entity. We are very encouraged by the current state of the industry in France and will continue to offer our expertise and guidance wherever we can to help push the industry as a whole forward.