On December 11th, 2016 the ARK crowdsale ended after failing to reach their minimum funding goal of 2000 BTC. The community was crestfallen; the sale raised more than $1 million and many wanted to see the project move forward. Unphased, the development team called the crowdsale a success and announced plans for issuing an optional refund to any contributors who wanted out.
Even with strong support from the community, the future of ARK hinged on just how many contributors would take the refund. After a tense few weeks, the refunds have now been completely distributed back to crowdsale contributors. With what remains, ARK development team plans on moving forward to their next stage on their roadmap.
What is Ark?
ARK is a Lisk-forked cryptocurrency intended for broad consumer adoption. Its roadmap includes the ability to transact across blockchains, a smartcard as a means of payment, and IPFS integration. The core development team is comprised of key players of the Lisk network, including a primary Lisk developer, Francois-Xavier Thoorens.
SmartBridge is one of the more significant improvements ARK promises to make to Lisk sidechain technology, allowing users to easily transact across blockchains. SmartBridge enables other blockchains to send special messages to and through ARK. Someone could issue an ARK transaction using Ethereum or trigger an Ethereum smart contract from Bitcoin through ARK–once Bitcoin and Ethereum become SmartBridge compatible.
ARK accomplishes this by supporting encoded listeners: special nodes that listen to other chains specifically for transactions that bear ARK-compatible messages. These nodes can take the contents of those messages and execute them–including transactions on other chains.
How did the crowdsale go?
The ARK crowdsale ended on December 11th and raised 212 BTC and over 6 million LISK. The exact valuation of the crowdsale is difficult to pin down because the price of LISK fluctuated significantly during the sale period. Based on Smith + Crown calculations, depending on when the invested Lisk was converted to Bitcoin, the ARK crowdsale could have pulled in anywhere from 1,230 BTC to 1,540 BTC.
No matter how one crunches the numbers, the crowdsale failed to reach its 2000 BTC minimum funding goal. As a result, crowdsale participants were given the option to request a full refund of their contributions.
The refund: what’s left?
A refund could have spelled disaster for the future of the ARK project. However, for the most part the community stood behind the ARK development team. The refund period was announced on the ARK forum on December 14th, 2016; it began immediately and lasted one week, ending on December 21st 2016.
Refunds were made using the exact same exchange portal used for the crowdsale. As of December 27th, 2016, all refunds have been distributed back to participants. A large majority of the crowdsale contributors decided to stay on board. Only 36 BTC and 1.4 million LISK were refunded, leaving the ARK development team with more than $1 million to fund their next stage of development, at current exchange rates.
Where does ARK go now?
The ARK development team plans to move forward to the next stage of their road map. ARK tokens will be distributed to crowdsale participants no later than February 1st, 2017. If all goes according to plan, the tokens will begin trading on public exchanges soon after.
In the first quarter of 2017 ARK plans on launching their mainnet and finalize the formation of their business entities. By the end of January, ARK founders will set up the initial test network of 52 nodes. Early in February node software will be distributed to end users.
For the time being, ARK enjoys the support of its community. Discussion on the ARK slack and Bitcointalk forum is upbeat and positive. The professional, efficient, and prompt execution of the token refund has increased the community’s confidence in the development team.