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New leadership, new possibilities

A special announcement from the desk of Chris McCabe
29 November 2022Chris McCabe

Oxen has always had simple—but ambitious—goals. Protect people’s privacy. Make the internet a better place. Make the world a better place. Oxen, technology, and the world has changed a lot since we got started;  looking into the future, it’s time for Oxen to embrace new leadership — with a renewed and focused vision for the future. I co-founded this project and have served as COO for 5 years, and will now be taking over the reins as the CEO of Oxen.

Oxen will soon become a technological pillar protecting people’s rights and keeping people safe. We take our mission seriously — for the last five years we’ve kept our heads down and focused on building our tech. Earlier this year, it all came together for the first time. Almost all at once, hundreds of thousands of people turned to Oxen’s technology. The value and importance of Oxen—and of privacy itself—was obvious to them. The wheels of culture, politics, and technology are turning, and people all around the world are realising they want—no, need—their privacy back. 

Privacy tech is complicated, it takes time, determination, and dedication to get it right. Five years, it turns out, can go by in the blink of an eye — but we have plenty to show for it. Forking Monero, building a node network on top of it, and creating some of the world’s most-used decentralised applications — which are now primed to welcome millions of users. 

Creating and maintaining these pieces is no easy feat — but the network is thriving and the apps improve every single day. No matter what is going on in the rest of the world: Oxen persists. Session delivers. Lokinet runs.

We are pushing the boundaries of the internet, accomplishing things which weren’t possible before. Web2 is stuck in a holding pattern — and its demise is imminent. Over and over again, web2 platforms fall prey to the same traps. Exploitative monetisation. Walled gardens. Anti-privacy models. Some have tried to do better — but there’s only so much you can achieve when you’re limited by the web2 paradigm. 

Nobody else is building technology like ours. Maybe they don’t know how? Maybe they don’t have the perseverance? Or the courage to build what nobody else has? Oxen is leading the way. Our project, our community — there is nothing else quite like us. 

But we’re always trying to rise to new heights. Our goals are serious, and the need for Oxen is dire. We can sense the weight and importance of our work — and we know you do, too. Here’s an update on what’s coming, and how we are going to get there. 

Taking over as CEO

What an incredible CEO Simon has been — the perfect person to create the foundations of a world-changing project. He lit the torch — and convinced people to follow. He saw something the world desperately needed and set out to create it. 

Simon has done an incredible job of leading Oxen through some very big challenges — always reminding everyone of Oxen’s purpose, and encouraging us to keep going.

But now it’s time to pass the torch, it’s time for change. Most projects mature to this point — a point  where fresh leadership and a fresh vision can push things to the next level. I am taking the reins at Oxen. I will build on Simon’s foundations, I will lead the team, and push Oxen to its full potential.

Of course, Simon will remain a director of the OPTF and continue to act in a supporting role for the project. Oxen—the team, the technology, and the mission—is close to his heart, and though this chapter may be ending, the story continues. 

Over the years I’ve seen the ups and downs, hurdled over the obstacles, cherished the wins and grieved the mistakes. Above all else, I see that the work we do matters. I see the incredible things we have already achieved, and the opportunities which lay in wait. In Oxen’s next chapter, our strategy is changing. It is ambitious, but it is right.

I understand that some of you may be surprised by this announcement, and some of you may not. There may already be a million questions in your head, and there is plenty of time for me to answer them. This article is only the beginning of an ongoing and open discourse with the community. 

The devil is in the details: Creating processes, achieving milestones 

We aren’t just shifting gears, we are getting a new car. We aren’t just fledgling technology any more. Real people are relying on our tech every day, and it’s important that we are working efficiently and effectively to deliver for each and every person. We’re evolving to be a more process-driven project, relying on data, analysis, and proactive action. 

We are removing friction wherever possible, whether that’s by establishing strong standard operating procedures, automating tasks, or developing thorough processes for everything from major technical projects to our social media strategy. We have already been implementing some of these changes, and the results are clear and encouraging. 

Activities that don’t directly help us snowball in popularity and impact are being heavily deprioritised to ensure we remain decisive and focused. Every member of the team is heading in the same direction, and we will arrive at our goals with precision,  like an arrow driving through an apple.

Discipline and innovation will shape our success. As I wrote earlier, the technology we are building takes time. We are breaking new ground, doing things nobody has ever done before. We must be patient, every step we take must be careful and deliberate. The path ahead may seem dark and untrodden, but together we can achieve something truly great. 

It’s important that the community is behind us, but we won’t be asking for blind faith. We’re committed to being as transparent as we can, at all times. Oxen is strongest when the community is deeply connected to the project. When the community’s feedback falls on the listening ears of the team, when ideas flow freely, and when discussion is open, honest, and mature. Community is a core part of Oxen. Side by side we will revel in Oxen’s triumphs. 

Walk, jog, run: Phases for success

We have gone from promises, to MVPs, to established, robust, and growing products. We’re in territory that very few crypto projects ever enter. Web3 has made a lot of promises, people have dreamt of a better, brighter future for the internet. But Oxen is not a dream. It’s in your hands. You can touch it, download it, use it. We are real — and we are ready to captivate not only the world of web3, but the world of technology. 

We’re currently at the stage of focusing on the consumer market, through refinements, adding user-facing features, and user testing and feedback loops. From there, we will look to monetise Session — a milestone which will completely transform the Oxen paradigm. However, Session monetisation at the user level is only one—potentially small—piece of the puzzle. As Session continues to become both more scalable and reliable, it is opened up to enterprise markets. 

The more Session, Lokinet, and Oxen mature — the more we realise how much potential they truly have. They have a heartbeat, they live and breathe. Eventually they will be an organic, integrated part of the internet itself. 

Phase 1: Walk — Product market fit

Session is your daily driver. The Oxen Network is simple. Lokinet just works. 

Session and Lokinet’s future isn’t as specialty software, but as an essential part of people’s everyday life. We have been working towards product market fit for Session for some time now — and we are getting very close. As Session becomes more stable and feature-rich, it’s getting more and more real-world use. This is giving us valuable insight into the people and groups Session is most useful for, when and how they find it useful, and how we can identify, prepare, and respond to situations where Session is most impactful. Reaching product market fit will unlock the next phase of growth for the app. Growth spikes will be bigger, and we will retain more users. Our consistent growth numbers will be stronger, and the network effect will begin to build. 

As for the Oxen Network itself, obviously its role is more in the background for the average user — but we are currently working hard to improve how we communicate what Oxen is and the value it has.

Phase 2: Jog — Implementing monetisation

Everyone wants to see monetisation happen overnight, but having a lot of users, and having monetisable users is really important. Phase 1 will put us on the path to the user numbers we need for monetisation to work, but it’s still important to make sure the value proposition for our monetisation model isn’t just clear, it’s irresistible. 

Monetisation will mean we need to create and test payment gateways, refine and scale our customer support, and keep building on our compelling feature set. 

We will be methodical and strategic about how, when, and where we roll out monetisation — to make sure that Session and its users get maximum benefit. 

Phase 3: Run — Large scale monetisable userbase, secondary marketplaces, enterprise

Microtransactions. For most, a dirty word. For crypto, a way of life. When you pile up transaction fees, staking fees, ONS, LNS, and other monetisation, the numbers start to add up. One of the major advantages of having a large network of users on Session is the possibility of secondary markets emerging for things like namespaces. A lot of the infrastructure for this is already built — it is just waiting to be utilised at scale. 

The Oxen Network isn’t just server infrastructure, but it can be an intermediary for the bustling markets which emerge around products like Session and Lokinet. 

Things like Session and Lokinet are offering a service that literally nobody else can provide. Peace of mind. Autonomy over your data. Real privacy. This isn’t just valuable to individuals — but to organisations as well. We are already aware of some government agencies—no, not those agencies—using Session in-house. Session and Lokinet have clear paths to becoming enterprise technology, and once we have rock-solid foundations at the consumer level we do some further exploration of enterprise applications.

The path forwards

In the coming years we will look back on 2022 as the year of nearly there. Session is nearly there, its user numbers increased rapidly off a couple of times — but we can still do more. 2023 will be the year we make it. We are doing something exceptional — we’re already one of the most-used web3 projects in existence, and there are no limits on what we can achieve in the next 12 months. We’ll be releasing more information about our vision and plans for the future in the coming months,

I know all of you care deeply about both the Oxen Project itself as well as its mission. I plan to be proactive, transparent, and communicative during this transition period. I will be hosting an AMA in our community channels (go here to submit a question) as well as maintaining an active presence as much as possible during this busy time. In the meantime, I encourage you to formulate questions, engage in productive discussion in our channels — we will speak soon.

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