NEM (XEM): Decentralized Governance Gone Wrong, NEM Foundation Bankrupts Itself After Burning Through 80 Million XEM In a Year, Asks Community for Another 160 Million XEM

February 7, 2019 / by Zachary Mashiach

The War On Shitcoins Episode 10: NEM (XEM). The war on shitcoins is a Crypto.IQ series that targets and shoots down cryptocurrencies that are not worth investing in either due to their being scams, having serious design flaws, being centralized, or in general just being worthless copies of other cryptocurrencies. There are thousands of shitcoins that are ruining the markets, and Crypto.IQ intends to expose all of them. The crypto space needs an exorcism, and we are happy to provide it.

The NEM Foundation has announced that it will be completely restructuring its organization and laying off most or all of its staff, after apparently burning through 80 million XEM from December 2018 through January 2019. Essentially the NEM Foundation will be bankrupt within a month according to the statement. Now the NEM Foundation is requesting an addition 160 million XEM, despite the budget failure over the last year.

“We saw efforts being duplicated, and inconsistent metrics of success,” according to the statement. “We saw very little accountability for funds and questionable ROI, leading to a burn rate of 9 million XEM per month. In terms of running an effective organization, the existing structure failed.”

Essentially, the NEM Foundation admits that the money was used unwisely. It is difficult to ascertain the fiat value of the 80 million XEM that were improperly spent, since the price of XEM fluctuated between $2.02 and $0.04 during this period of time.

After the statement was issued on Jan. 30, the price of XEM declined from $0.048 to $0.04, a 17 percent price crash. More importantly, the price of XEM has been in a constant decline since hitting a peak value of $2.02 at the beginning of 2018 and has lost 98 percent of its value over the course of a year. The NEM Foundation constantly dumping XEM during the bear market can likely explain why the price of XEM has declined more than other cryptocurrencies. For example, Bitcoin (BTC) has declined 83 percent, while XEM has lost practically all of its value.

If the NEM Foundation receives 160 million XEM, this spiral towards zero will likely continue. The NEM Foundation claims that things are different this time since the NEM Foundation has elected a completely new leadership team. Indeed, the Founder and President of the NEM Foundation, Lon Wong, left the NEM Foundation in April 2018 and launched the $28.7 million ProximaX ICO.

It is perhaps suspicious that the Founder of the NEM Foundation left less than two years after it was created and immediately launched a highly successful ICO. Presumably, Wong had great pull over what the NEM Foundation’s funds were spent on, and it’s not out of the question that a significant amount of funds were used incorrectly before his sudden departure and ICO.

It gets worse. Many of the top XEM addresses are associated with the various dev funds. In the top 50 richest XEM wallets alone, 3.365 billion XEM worth $135 million is devoted to dev funds. This is 37 percent of the total XEM supply, and the total supply devoted to dev funds is likely even higher since only the top 50 wallets were reviewed by Crypto.IQ.

Essentially, the developer teams and foundations on the NEM network have a stranglehold on the XEM market. As the NEM Foundation proved in 2018 by dumping 80 million XEM during a bear market, the developers dumping funds puts all the XEM traders and investors at risk in the future.

In the statement announcing the layoff of all of its employees, it says

“For the past two years, the structure of the NEM Foundation was a first-of-its-kind attempt to running [sic] a decentralized promotional organization in different regions around the world. The Foundation was trusted with making decisions for the NEM public chain and spreading its global adoption. In 2018, the Foundation tested the concept of decentralized regional leadership, allowing each region a great deal of freedom in how they operated as long as they were promoting NEM”.

Clearly, the NEM Foundation started as an attempt at decentralized governance, and in the end, significantly contributed to the collapse of the XEM price. One of the main projects that the NEM organization was created, called Catapult, never launched. Further, the NEM Foundation branded itself as decentralized governance, but clearly has plenty of centralized power to do whatever it wants with dev funds.

Having funds allocated to development can be a good thing, but in the case of NEM (XEM), it seems too much money was allocated to development. The rapid rise in the price of XEM following the creation of the NEM Foundation in early 2017, the subsequent bear market, and the dishonesty of the NEM Foundation created a perfect recipe for a market collapse. It would be foolish if the community gives the NEM Foundation another 160 million XEM after this debacle, but there is an overabundance of dev funds, and the community is highly anticipating Catapult, so it seems likely.

Ultimately, the centralization of the NEM (XEM) supply makes NEM (XEM) a risky cryptocurrency to invest in.