NEX Group’s Project Infinity: Biggest Blockchain Downfalls Of All Startups Possibility?
Project Infinity Becomes One Of the Biggest Downfalls Of Blockchain Startups
Project Infinity was launched in May 2017 by a company that was called ICAP at the time but has since been renamed the NEX Group. However, it seems that this project has been anything but successful and has been one of the biggest fiascos that the blockchain industry has seen. After costing $31.7 million, the endeavor has still become a failure.
Jenny Knott was the creator of the project, and the former lead of NEX Optimization. Her original plan for the company was to have an array of post-trade services within a single blockchain infrastructure. There was a profit warning just five months after it began. Within just two weeks, Knott decided to leave.
Based on the information show in the results, it seems that the margins alone had reduced by 4 percentage points. Michael Spencer, the new NEX leader, may have planned to sell this venture for $5.5 billion, which seemed to end up leading to the major cuts at the firm. The company started letting people go, reducing the amount of people that they have to spend more funds on. One executive at the company, who insisted on being kept anonymous, said “They scaled it back significantly. [Spencer] was not going to invest another penny that wasn't going to get him short-term revenue.”
One source in the blockchain industry said that he’d been recruiting these former employees himself. However, he didn’t agree that the company was “scaling back;” instead, he alleged that the whole project had been “canned.” The source said, “They got rid of Knott and then they quietly canned the project about two months ago; 47 out of 50 staff were fired.”
When CoinDesk decided to speak with five of the employees that met their untimely end, they confirmed the loss, even saying that 9 out of 10 jobs in his specific division were completely erased. Other former employees confirmed this, and even said that there were multiple departments that had the same demise. An employee commented,
“When you make something into a ‘program' it means hiring all these people who plan things and do tons of spreadsheets and so on,” said the former employee.” He continued, saying, “There was an enormous group of people doing business requirements, managing user groups for opinions. Some of that stuff is necessary, but not at the scale it was done.”
Even with all of these allegations, NEX is completely denying the allegations of their former staff members. According to the CEO of Traiana, Andres Choussy, the project hadn’t been cancelled and had actually started on the execution phase. He was willing to admit to being scaled back, saying,
“[Infinity] had a vision; the vision is a sound vision which we still would love to try and get to one day. But we are being realistic.”
Choussy continued, saying, “You see this from a lot of the DLT initiatives, moving the market into something completely new is not an easy task, so what we have done is focused our efforts into specific applications, specific use cases that really are plan-driven.” It’s unclear if NEX can’t or won’t respond to the amount of jobs that were removed.
One of the former engineers with this project said that they had neem met with major problems regarding the adaption of distributed ledger technology. At first, the company used Axoni, because of its partitioning capability. This endeavor was successful, and the implementation of the Hyperledger helped to section it out to different networks. The engineer said,
“We were really right at the razor's edge of getting this stuff out the door when there was just a massive set of layoffs and the entire team in London was let go. The politics around the situation changed, also the company was preparing to try to make things look good for the CME acquisition.”
The DLT architecture of Infinity was meant to be the foundation of the data sets from brokers, banks, and other parties. However, when the machine learning team received their layoffs, one expert said that he remembered Spencer seeming enthusiastic about the machine learning and AI, curious about NEX’s next moves. He even setup a proposal for Artificial Intelligence strategy the same day.
Right now, everything seems to be in the air about how the remnants of Project Infinity will work, once NEX is acquired by CME. The original mission of the company is still a valuable plan, but the anonymous executive said, “CME have got their own distributed ledger strategy.”
At this time, there has been recent no comments issued by CME group about any of these developments or their acquisition of NEX.