Sovrin Foundation Sheds All Paid Staff In Tale Of A Token Issuance Gone Wrong

The COVID-19 disaster could have been the final straw for a non-profit digital id group, break its efforts to lift cash in hand to pay employees and perform a regulated token issue.

The Sovrin Foundation, a U.S.-based comprehensive group that oversees the event of blockchain-based digital id requirements (also referred to as self-sovereign id or SSI), laid off 9 full-time and 6 part-time workers in March, formally high-voltage into a volunteer-run operation.

“Sovrin’s transition from a for good staffed organization to a volunteer-led one is now complete,” Paul Knowles, Sovrin’s exterior press consultant, explicit in an announcement emailed to CoinDesk. “We are pleased to state that the Sovrin MainNet remained stable throughout the process with new stewards and clients continued to come on board. The internal structure of the Foundation has gone through a vamp and is now more dynamic than ever before.”

Nathan George, the agency’s former chief expertise officer, explicit the Sovrin group – which is intently connected to SSI tech provider Evernym – reacted chop-chop and volunteers stepped up, vocation the curtailment a “success story” of kinds. The Sovrin Foundation works with like IBM, Cisco, T-Mobile and lots of different firms.

“Everybody went through rather crazy mode with COVID. We were midmost of fundraising which was going to keep us going through 2020. That fell apart faster than you could blink,” explicit George, who now works with Kiva, the microfinance and digital id confederate of the Libra Association.

“So we went from being super excited, everything was going great, to having a meeting where the CEO said she was resigning and we were all release the next day. It was a chaotic couple of weeks,” George explicit.

Sovrin debt

There seems to be some distinction of opinion about Sovrin’s fundraising course of, which pre-dates the COVID-19 medium of exchange meltdown, notably round procuring the cash in hand wanted to conduct a regulated token sale, recognized in U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) idiom as a Regulation A+ (Reg A+), an modification to the JOBS Act which got here into impact in 2015.

This grew to become a bone of competition between the Sovrin Foundation’s trustees and board, and its CEO and government director, Heather Dahl, who resigned on March 15.

CoinDesk obtained a replication of Dahl’s surrender letter, which states: “I have made the choice to resign supported a philosophical division between myself, the Board and its business partners.”

The letter goes on to say:

“When we cater to the necessarily of the few, we do not serve the many. While there are many paths to a destination … it is with great disappointment that the ones that I have chosen and brought to the Foundation no longer align with those chosen by the Board of Directors and other interested parties.”

The Sovrin Foundation talked about the state of the funding for the planned token issue again in March. Launching a token underneath Reg A+ would require $1 million to $2 million in further funding with a view to file with the SEC, and an extra $1 million to $2 million to finish the registration, supported the Sovrin Foundation replace.

“Given the current market conditions, we do not anticipate a Reg A+ filing for the Sovrin token in 2020,” explicit the assertion.

But a supply on the Sovrin Foundation, who wished to stay nameless, explicit that when this resolution was taken, COVID-19 was a minor and restricted issue. The downside stretches again over two years, explicit the supply, when Evernym bought pre-functioning Sovrin tokens to buyers.

Funding shortage

Despite the Sovrin Foundation forming much of alliances to facilitate further income, there remained a shortage inside the cash in hand wanted for issuance a regulated token. But in October 2019, an investor with $5 million was born at the desk, supported the particular individual talking on the situation of anonymity.

“The Sovrin Board and Evernym then negotiated back and forth on this investment for four months patc the Foundation’s cash in hand were running out,” explicit the supply. “The Foundation opened a Sovrin Series A raise mid-February which was already too late.”

As the medium of exchange scenario grew to become extra abject, the multi-million Federal Reserve not investor modified their preliminary phrases to additive dilute Evernym buyers, the supply explicit, including that these phrases have been deemed unacceptable by Sovrin’s board of trustees.

“Given the climate for non-profit donations was turning grim, and the investor terms were not as good as what was offered in October, the decision was made to release the staff and move to volunteer mode,” explicit the supply.

“If the Foundation had not focused on protective Evernym investors from dilution they could be in a very different business position today,” the supply added.


The chief in blockchain information, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the best print media requirements and abides by a strict set of editorial insurance policies. CoinDesk is an impartial working subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

Sovrin Foundation Sheds All Paid Staff In Tale Of A Token Issuance Gone Wrong

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