Ethereum’s ConsenSys Announces Staff Cuts By 14% While Also Acquiring Broker-Dealer

The Ethereum development studio ConsenSys is doing a major restructuring of its business and will cut staff by 14%, as it aims to raise $200 million.

The Brooklyn-based company announced at a meeting with its entire staff from Tuesday that changes are about to be made. When inquired by the press about how many people are going to be fired more exactly, or how many employees it has, it gave no answer. This is what a statement from the firm reads:

“In the coming months, ConsenSys will finalize the transition from its venture production model and spin out a number of its internally funded projects into the ConsenSys Investments portfolio.”

Prioritizing the Development of Some Ethereum Platforms

The intention is to bring leading infrastructure platforms in the Ethereum (ETH) ecosystem to the forefront in development processes. ConsenSys said they will,

“operate a software business composed of several of its products optimized for a modular stack.”

There are sources saying Codefi, MetaMask, Pegasys and Infura are going to receive the most attention.

ConsenSys Investments Will Continue to Exist

The venture aspect will still be alive under the ConsenSys Investments banner. They said liquid digital assets, early-stage equity and strategic opportunities will be in the spotlight. It added the “Solutions” arm, which is enterprise-focused, is going to provide directly for the software business.

13% of the Staff Laid Off Back in 2018 Too

During the ConsenSys 2.0 restructuring from 2018, the company laid off around 13% of its employees. It seems the recent action was a result of thorough evaluations of the projects during the 2019 year. In the meantime, it’s attempting to break into the $3.8 trillion municipal debt market.

A separate announcement made on Tuesday says it has acquired Heritage Financial Systems, the famous broker-dealer, in an attempt to become both a broker-dealer and advisory firm. ConsenSys thinks blockchain technology can make things easier when it comes to tokenized bond offerings, especially since it helps issuers sell smaller denominative securities, or mini bonds.

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Author: Oana Ularu

Former ConsenSys Strategy Chief Planning to Launch Aligned Capital Venture Fund

Sam Cassatt, the chief strategy officer at ConsenSys has indicated that he plans to step down from his post to concentrate on launching his venture fund. The venture fund referred to as Aligned Capital has already received backing from Joe Lubin, the ConsenSys founder. According to a statement from ConsenSys, the chief strategy officer will remain part of the company and will hold an advisory capacity.

TransTech Conference

On Friday, Cassatt was speaking at the TransTech conference held in San Francisco where he pointed out that his venture fund was interested in raising at least $50 million in its first round of funding.

According to a statement released by Cassatt, the venture fund is expected to primarily focus on new technologies such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, cryptocurrency, and healthcare. He added that the venture fund was “designed to anticipate civilization-scale, evolutionary changes in human behavior.”

Andrew Keys, managing partner at DARMA Capital, and another former executive at ConsenSys is also backing Aligned. It was, however, not disclosed the amount of money or capital that Keys and Lubin would be injected into the new venture fund.

While Aligned is a completely separate entity from ConsenSys, during a phone interview, Cassatt pointed out that he would continue to apply the same principles as those of his former employer.

He added that Aligned was still in its formative stages, but that it was looking into how it would tackle issues affecting society today such as mental health and the use of artificial intelligence in today’s digital age.

Nichol Bradford is expected to join Aligned Capital as an advisor. Nichol is currently an executive working with Transformative Tech Lab, which was responsible for organizing the event held in San Francisco on Friday. Nicholas Paul Brysiewicz has also been named as an advisor, with Seth Goldstein coming in as a venture partner.

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Author: Daniel W

ConsenSys Spreads Over $1.2 Million into Seven Different Ethereum Projects

The prominent Ethereum venture studio ConsenSys recently gave out $175,000 USD in grants to seven different companies that were developing open source projects based on the Ethereum blockchain.

According to the official announcement, the project will include Tellor (an oracle network), Alice (decentralized app creator tool), Lighthouse (ETH-based software client) and several other companies.

Yadira Blocker, the head of experimental marketing at the company, affirmed that the new wave of grants saw companies that were much stronger than the prior ones. Teams were really credible and brought something interesting to the table instead of only having enthusiasm.

So far, 150 applications were received by ConsenSys’ grants program. From all these projects, only 15 (seven now and eight in the last phase) were chosen. Now, the third phase for applicants will happen soon. The applicants will receive $220,000 USD from the upcoming wave of grants.

According to Daniela Osorio, the marketing director of the company, the main goal of the grants are to support areas of Ethereum-based development that do not receive the same amount of attention from large investors. While some areas receive most of the funds because of their disruptive potential, there are some projects which are just as interesting but are often overlooked.

She affirms that a great way to find interesting companies is to go to venture capital funds and then ask them what great teams they could not actually justify funding. This is the kind of team that ConsenSys wants to find, companies that have potential, but would not receive investments otherwise.

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Author: Gabriel Machado

Ethereum-Centric ConsenSys Buys Infura, an ETH Infrastructure Provider

The famous Ethereum (ETH) venture production studio and accelerator ConsenSys has recently announced a new acquisition. Now, the company bought Infura, a blockchain company that is focused on developing solutions that can improve the infrastructure of the Ethereum network.

According to a recent post made by Infura, the operations of the company will continue as usual under the leadership of the new management. Joseph Lubin, one of the co-founders of both Etheruem and ConsenSys, was an early investor of Infura and both studios had a very close relationship prior to the acquisition.

The goal of Infura is to provide Ethereum-based solutions for developers who are interested in creating decentralized solutions for Ethereum. This way, the company allows them to deploy crypto solutions without necessarily having to host a full node, something that can be expensive in some cases.

One of the main services that are offered by the company is Infura+. The service, which is paid with a subscription, enables the developers to remotely use the infrastructure provided by the company.

The service is not without its own controversies, however. Delphi Digital, a research company focused on crypto solutions, has recently published a report in which it accused the solution of the company of being too centralized.

According to the reports, the developers who used the infrastructure were failing to see that it would create a single point of failure because the service was operated only by the company, which is the opposite of what the decentralization is. This way, they could be open to more issues than other more decentralized solutions.

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Author: Gabriel Machado

Token Foundry Head, Former Employee of ConsenSys’ Joseph Lubin Could Sue for $13 Million

  • A former employee of ConsenSys is alleging that Lubin committed fraud and several other crimes.
  • At this time, the legal process started, but the deadline has passed.

Joseph Lubin is well known as the co-founder of Ethereum, but his name is in the headlines for a different reason lately, linked with Harrison Hines. Hine used to be the head of Token Foundry with ConsenSys, which is Lubin’s venture studio. However, new court documents filed in New York show that Hines has started a legal complaint against Lubin, seeking out $13 million dollars.

The document show that Hines is seeking this retribution as a result of alleged fraud, breach of contract, unjust enrichment, and unpaid profits. The lawyer of Hines said in the summons,

“The relief sough is monetary damages in the amount of $12,827,000 on the contract, quasi-contract, and fraud claims plus $404,783 in unpaid profits.”

The legal representation for Lubin responded, aiming to clarify the defendants’ counsel in the case. So far, the case is still pretty vague, and there aren’t any upcoming dates or additional details available. Hines hasn’t followed up with an actual lawsuit, and the deadline has already gone by. At this current time, it is possible that the legal representation for both sides will reach a prospective agreement without involvement from the courts.

Token Foundry was originally launched in April 2018, and it was the division within ConsenSys that was meant to deal with pitching their token design services to clients and promoting token sales. Typically, according to a source, the fees for these services would include some of the newly minted tokens, along with a percentage of the proceeds from the sales, since Token Foundry helped with the launch. This source from an article with CoinDesk requested anonymity.

Formerly, this division stated that they would have over $50 million in revenue during 2018, and it appears as though they fell drastically short of the intended goal. Some of their top clients included Dether ($13.4 million token sale), Virtue Poker ($18.5 million token sale), and FOAM ($16.5 million token sale). The latter occurred in August, just a few weeks before Hines was ultimately let go from the company. This aforementioned source stated that Hines was once a part of Lubin’s “inner circle.”

Many ConsenSys staff members have a sore spot about conversations regarding equity. Some of those staff members include Token Foundry employees that Lubin let go in 2018. At the beginning of 2019, the division was restructured and ultimately renamed ConsenSys Digital Securities, which was considered “a premier advisory firm for Security Token Offerings (STOs) and digital asset structuring.”

At this time, CoinDesk has reached out to both Hines and ConsenSys. However, neither one has responded to requests for comment.

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Author: Krystle M

ConsenSys Looks to Patch Up Its Spiraling Employee Equity Disbursements


For a while now, employees of ConsenSys, a New York venture studio based in Brooklyn, have been lamenting the management’s inability to keep their promise. They had been promised a portion of the ConsenSys equity, but over a year later, no disbursement has been made.

The discontent had been going on since and, four out of the seven former and current employees of the firm interviewed by CoinDesk felt they were lied to. All the promised made, either verbally or contractually, had taken a year and still, no sign of the company fulfilling them.

But finally, after repeated verbal assurances, Joseph Lubin, the Ethereum co-founder, and the company’s head, is determined to ensure they all receive their rightful ConsenSys shares. The company, according to an anonymous insider, will soon release an official policy addressing employee share options.

It is an issue that had dragged on for a while and left many feeling taken advantage of. And even though slightly over 100 early employees have reportedly received theirs, only a handful of them have successfully sold off their shares.

Generally, it has been a thorny issue, especially because of their inability to sell them. Some of those interviewed even termed equity as not being valuable.

But not everyone in the organization seems comfortable with Lubin promising to fix the crisis. The CEO, who allegedly owns over half of the entire ConsenSys shares and stakes in several successful incubated startups, is believed to be up to no good.

A source revealed that “Joe,” as he’s known, is eagerly hunting for potential investors, who include the Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, to snap up 10% of the ConsenSys equity. This has created a noticeable feeling of suspicion among a few shareholders who already fear that he might dilute the value of employee shares or even swap them for shares in incubated startups.

They believe that he’s probably promising them “spoke equity” on projects that never took off or even have no potential to attract investors. According to them, Lubin could be doing this since the firm’s cap isn’t structured to bring them any value.

CoinDesk had previously tried to explain the genesis of the problems bedeviling most of ConsenSys’ incubations. Most of them can’t attract investors because he fights to maintain majority shareholding. In fact, 3Box is the only one to have been successfully launched, having raised $2.5 million in venture capital.

Not every employee, however, sees a problem in how the organization is run. One gave a more optimistic view of the happenings, saying they get paid on time and often solve issues on bonuses swiftly and amicably.

There’s Another Problem

Still, it seems ConsenSys has another bigger problem to deal with. Of the seven who spoke to CoinDesk, six were of the opinion that the organization is “highly political.” According to them, there’s rampant unfair distribution as some of their colleagues handle various projects and, in turn, earn bonuses, equity, tokens or opportunities.

Describing the arrangement as “chaos,” one former employee seemingly believe that no clear line of authority exist in the firm. Six others alleged that the executives where to blame as they stole compensation from projects unlawfully. Only one of these dissenters, however, said the vice wasn’t widespread and only targeted a few “short-term” incentives.

But, while the issue of sharing ConsenSys equity has been around for over a year, even the new recruits are among the affected lot. As one of the anonymous group revealed, they too were “misled” while getting recruited.

Three executives have since left over the past few months, a testament to the growing disharmony within the firm’s inner circles as well. Rumors on employees’ frustration, meanwhile, continue to grow louder.

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Author: Lillian Peter