11. ARK Business Strategy

11.1 Business Strategy Introduction

The Gartner technology hype cycle focused on emerging technologies visually represents on a curve the high and low expectations that accompany the adoption of breakthrough discoveries. It shows how Innovation Triggers lead to a period of inflated expectations, and subsequently to widespread disappointment. It is out of that dip, what the chart describes as a Trough of Disillusionment, that true productivity emerges [39]. We believe that blockchain technologies are now exiting this dip in expectations, making this the perfect time to focus on executing plans to build a customer base, gain strategic value, and create new revenue streams for the ARK business entity.

The way forward is to deliver solid and easy-to-use technology to enable new use cases and disrupt the existing ones. The key challenge here is to provide the tools and technology that makes this an easy switch, and this is where ARK’s main vision originates. By working with and soliciting the input of adopters and the community, we continuously strive to improve the platform and to implement new features that meet evolving needs.

11.2 ARK SCIC Business Entity

ARK is currently incorporated in France as a cooperative society known as an SCIC (Société coopérative d’intérêt collectif). It is the first of its kind in the crypto world, and one of the first blockchain projects to incorporate in the EU [40]. ARK has met with the AMF, which is similar to the SEC, to ensure regulatory compliance. ARK also has close ties to the French government and has contributed to Article 26 of the Loi Pacte and both Parliament reports on blockchain and cryptocurrency [46] [47].

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11.3 ARK Team

The ARK team is rooted all over the world and has no main office. Team members come from the United States, France, Spain, Brazil, United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Finland, Bulgaria, Ukraine, and beyond. We have been expanding and hiring talent regardless of market conditions, and we hold multiple years’ worth of working capital in various cryptocurrencies and fiat.

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11.4 Moving to a Customer and Value Centric Approach

ARK’s initial business strategy was to develop a solid foundation of technology to sustain custom solutions and applications built by others. With a newly redeveloped Core and large family of peripherals, ARK can now shift focus to the organizations and open source communities that will use the technology. ARK will use its own tools and ARK Logic templates to expand current offerings and attract developers in selected industries of interest. Following this, the ARK business entity will focus on providing true value to those that need application-specific blockchains. ARK’s toolset will always be versatile enough for any use case, but the ARK business entity intends to offer help and guidance for specific industries through tools and tailored features. Focusing on key industries will drive adoption as it reduces barriers to entry.

Our value-centric proposition, in other words the specific value offered to customers that drives purchase or adoption, rests upon an API-centric technology solution. We understand this latter API proposition as a distinguishing feature that singularly positions ARK as a provider of flexible, sophisticated, and easy to use blockchain applications [42].

By supplying industry-tailored tools and solutions, ARK helps organizations improve their product offerings, address customer needs, and expand operations through blockchain technologies. The community and ARK digital marketplace further facilitate growth with support networks and additional offerings that complement the features of the ARK Core.

11.5 Transformation Into a Digital Marketplace

The benefits of the ARK Core component-based architecture extend far beyond a modular and flexible codebase. ARK Core is the basic foundation for a host of novel business-oriented applications that are assembled with plugins, which can be fully customized with ARK Logic and plugin development tools. Developed in JavaScript and TypeScript, an ARK plugin can be anything from a simple API expanding and enabling storage of additional data on the blockchain, to a brand new HTTP server with custom underlying logic, delivering new application interfaces and support for any business need. Our range of available SDKs, libraries, and utilities free developers to concentrate their focus on business application development.

Every plugin can introduce its own licensing and support conditions, all of which can be stored on the ARK mainnet in the form of a transaction. Some plugins will run solely on bridgechains, and some will run on the mainnet as needed. For the plugin to reach mainnet, a wide consensus between public delegates is necessary.

In this context, the digital marketplace is a convenient destination to discover, buy and sell applications, services, and solutions built with ARK’s technology stack. The marketplace operates on transaction types to be introduced on the ARK Public Network to connect service providers, developers, startups and larger enterprises.

ARK plugins, whether released to the digital marketplace or not, will be tied to the business and bridgechain on-chain registration transactions that ARK users will complete before developing on the network. These transactions will retain information about the registering entity, and will thus block bad actors from distributing malicious code by posing as well-established developers. Details of these registration transactions are as follows:

  • Business Registration on ARK Public Network. An individual, team or company will be able to issue a business registration transaction in the same way a delegate registration transaction is issued. The proposed fee for this transaction will be high enough to ensure that only serious projects are allowed into the ecosystem. The terms of the registration transaction will require detailed information from the registering party including website, GitHub, VAT ID if applicable, contact email, etc. This transaction will serve as a required first step towards the next phase, in which the registered business on the ARK Public Network can request a bridgechain launch via the ARK Deployer GUI.

  • Bridgechain configuration on ARK Public Network via ARK Deployer. An ARK address that is registered as a business or organization can send a bridgechain registration. This will serve as an input to the ARK Deployer which will use this address to generate the chain specifications such as genesis block, initial wallets and passwords, mainnet, devnet and testnet specifications. This establishes the authenticity of the bridgechain, opening doors to certain strategic value opportunities within the ARK ecosystem, such as the Powered by ARK Program. Unregistered chains will not have access to these same resources.

Entry into the Powered by ARK Program via bridgechain registration simply means that the team behind the project is serious, capable, and that the project was assessed and evaluated by the ARK community and team. Not all registered bridgechains will be eligible for the Powered by ARK Program, which is centrally managed by ARK.io.

New transaction types and plugin deployment using ARK Logic go hand in hand with the functionalities of the ARK Deployer, which serves as the primary vehicle for building, launching, and managing blockchains. The deployer user can register a new bridgechain and preselect the set of modules and plugins included in the bridgechain launch. This will enable users to launch custom bridgechain specifications adapted to specific industries of interest and to customize their chain for any use case with third party tools and plugins.

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11.6 Industries of Interest

The ARK business entity will soon start using its own tools to tailor solutions and add-ons for specific industries. Players in these industries will have ready-made tools out of the box to utilize in deploying their blockchain solutions, using ARK Logic. As more entities in these fields use ARK technology, the building blocks can be refined and expanded such that the industry tools are continually updated. After creating industry-specific toolkits and ARK Logic templates, the ARK business entity will promote adoption of these solutions through strategic partnerships, to facilitate the usage of the solutions among organizations, and form strategic partnerships within these sectors as needed.

Gaming

Blockchain has the power to revolutionize both game design and player interaction with gaming ecosystems. Decentralized infrastructure enables immutable ownership of in-game digital assets, completely transforming the control and flexibility that players currently have in centralized gaming environments. What’s more, persistent issues with hacking, duplication, and theft are mitigated through the encryption provided by blockchain networks, all leading to massive increases in security for both gaming infrastructure and players’ digital possessions.

Exchange of assets between games may also be enabled with a common game asset protocol built on a network of ARK blockchains connected to a marketplace for non-game digital assets and currencies. Non-fungible tokens allow for serialized, uniquely identified, transferable in-game assets.

Blockchain transforms in-game mechanics and processes to promote trust and accountability within gaming environments. A re-imagined system for payments and monetization could lead to huge cost savings for both developers and gamers, leading to increasingly fair and optimized in-game economics.

By utilizing ARK blockchain technology, the gaming sector will be able to tackle key challenges related to security, ownership, and fairness. Faster and more flexible payment systems, new ways of building credibility, and improved transparency will create further opportunities throughout the industry.

Internet of Things

As the IoT industry grows, it is increasingly plagued with issues surrounding security, poor connectivity, and slow performance, all of which limit its ability to fully penetrate the commercial and industrial sectors. Industry leaders are crying out for a scalable solution that will enhance security, improve network performance, and reduce the reliance on centralized cloud servers, and this is where blockchain technology shines.

With its innate immutability and decentralized nature, blockchain technology addresses the key challenges that the IoT industry faces, from device security to the authentication and encryption of information.

IoT devices running over decentralized networks benefit from both low risk of being compromised via a single point of failure and reduced reliance on expensive, centralized data centers. Moreover, a lean, scalable network capable of supporting millions of connected devices reduces bottlenecks and delivers improved network performance and reliability.

By utilizing ARK technology, the IoT industry can benefit from a more secure, robust, and resilient network architecture that doesn’t fall victim to data collusion, network tampering, or single points of failure - all while delivering significant cost savings and efficiency gains.

Government

Governments and public sector entities around the world have been experimenting with blockchain technology over the past few years. This testing is now turning into adoption in many instances, as the value of blockchain-powered infrastructure and public services is recognized. By utilizing blockchain technology, government operations can increase efficiencies and more effectively deliver public services. Additionally, blockchain technology streamlines internal processes, which can lead to widespread cost savings.

Decentralized blockchain infrastructure removes single points of failure and provides additional layers of security and protection for critical government systems and citizen data. Blockchain secures access to citizen records, deters fraud, and upholds compliance, thereby improving trust throughout the system.

Specific blockchain use-cases in government environments include digital identity, voting, payments, registries, and record management. By transforming the way data is generated, processed, and shared, blockchain based services allow citizens to monitor how their personal information is used.

ARK blockchain technology offers the government sector a range of benefits including increased operational efficiencies through streamlined processes, greater cost savings through disintermediation, improved trust and transparency, and enhanced data security.

Supply Chain Management

Limited visibility and inaccuracies across logistics networks are serious and persistent issues in the supply chain management industry. Lags and black holes can seemingly place inventory in multiple places at once, or more worryingly, nowhere at all. This poses a critical problem for a fast-paced industry that relies on getting the right product to the right place, at the right time. Decentralized digital ledgers increase by an exponential factor the capacity for oversight of player activity across global supply chain networks.

Implemented into logistics operations and shipment tracking, the consensus-based blockchain ledger can be leveraged across a supply chain to link nodes, or points of transit, which would be required to agree with finality where inventory is at any one time.

Moreover, decentralized logic and workflows allow actions to be executed based on predefined conditions. This eliminates the ‘middle-man’ whether that be intermediary systems or labor, generating significant cost savings for supply chain organizations.

ARK technology can uniquely offer the supply chain industry greater oversight and control of inventory, enhanced data security, and process automation, all resulting in increased efficiency and cost reduction.

11.7 Outreach

In addition to building the ARK Blockchain Platform, the ARK business entity is committed to engaging in outreach initiatives that fulfill multiple concrete goals that add strategic value to the ecosystem, spread awareness about ARK solutions, and educate the public about the tremendous potential of blockchain technologies. These initiatives include:

Conferences

To date, ARK has sponsored nearly a dozen blockchain conferences and expos. Conferences are useful to present ARK achievements and progress to the greater blockchain community. They encourage adoption and allow peer review and feedback to take place. In addition, conferences position ARK in front of organizations and enterprises looking to utilize blockchain technology.

Hackathons

ARK seeks to expose budding talent at universities and campuses globally to the numerous advantages that the ARK platform offers. To date, ARK has sponsored nearly a dozen hackathons, which are short competitions among teams of computer science students and developers who create projects that are judged and awarded prizes. ARK is also utilizing a strategic partnership with Major League Hacking to create an ARK blockchain workshop. Going forward, ARK intends to organize virtual hackathons, where teams need not be in the same geographical location to compete.

Meetups and ARK Advocate Program

Building a strong community is important to the success of any ecosystem. Agents of the ARK business entity attend meetups to present on ARK technology. In 2019, the ARK organization will launch an Advocate program in which ARK agents will train, certify, and fund ARK enthusiasts to deliver presentations and even host ARK-specific meetups of their own.

Powered by ARK Program

The Powered by ARK Program is designed to allow all projects building with ARK technology to form relationships and build stronger ties to the overall ecosystem. Once accepted, bridgechains in the PBA Program will be able to directly interface and collaborate with ARK, the community, and other bridgechains — strengthening the ecosystem and helping to maximize their success. Bridgechains in the PBA Program benefit from priority support from the ARK Development Team, and projects that reach higher levels in the program can benefit from ARK outreach initiatives that can increase awareness of the project.

Market Research

The ARK business entity has recently recruited market research experts to identify pain points in industries of interest and to propose ARK-based solutions for them. As organizations and entities adopt ARK technology, their respective communities can merge with the ARK community to bring greater strategic value to the overall ecosystem.

Strategic Partnerships

ARK partners with businesses, organizations, and other projects whenever tangible strategic value exists. Partners include blockchain projects, exchanges, service providers, and others. For the ARK business entity, strategic partnerships afford industry access, exposure, and increased capabilities.

Delegate Collaboration

The ARK business entity is fully aware of the significant and untapped support available from ARK Public Network delegates. Delegates launch campaigns to attract votes which usually include plans to deploy additional community services beyond securing the network. The ARK business entity has in turn the capacity to offer seed funding beyond the block rewards delegates receive. This funding can quickly add community impact to a delegate’s deployed service.

Bounties & Contests

Numerous programs are in place to reward community members who help build the ARK project by contributing to the ARK GitHub repository and beyond. The ARK Development & Security Bounty Program awards community developers with ARK for contributing to both project development and ARK’s rigorously maintained documentation repositories. Participation in this area has been enhanced through ARK’s bounty program (organized in partnership with Bugcrowd) focusing on discovering vulnerabilities in the code. For non-technical community members, ARK regularly runs contests involving expanding the ARK presence on social networks or growing the community by educating others about ARK core values and goals.

Social & Rich Media

ARK has a strong presence on Slack, Discord, Reddit, Bitcoin Talk, Twitter, Minds, Steemit, Telegram, and Instagram. The ARK business entity publishes a detailed blog that acts as a hub for public relations. ARK maintains a range of educational videos on YouTube, and presence on YouTube will be expanded throughout 2019. ARK also hosts a weekly audio podcast, available on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, Soundcloud, Spotify, and Castbox.

Tier 0 Program

ARK’s in-house development team focuses on the core elements of the ARK technology stack. As such, they must prioritize development in areas such as the Core, SDKs, wallets, block explorer, Deployer, and marketplace. The ARK Tier 0 Program comes into play for cases where ideas could be executed outside of these main areas, for example in the form of plugins. Community developers would be able to browse the listed Tier 0 projects and offer their talent and expertise to execute the project.