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NEM in a State of Flux – Sabbaticals, Community Consolidation, and High Hopes for Symbol

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NEM, a mainstay in blockchain, is currently in a state of flux.  As the NEM community, tasked with nurturing and driving growth of the NEM blockchain, navigates turbulent times, they have taken some bold steps.

These include the development and launch of Symbol, consolidation of entities which comprise the community, and new industry approaches involving governance, etc., moving forward.

Beyond a change in tactics surrounding their market approach, the NEM Foundation also notes the recent temporary loss of their newly appointed leader.


In their recent statements, NEM notes that the overarching goal, which is driving this current state of flux, is their desire to develop and launch Symbol.

An imminent, and major, step towards facilitating the launch of Symbol is the consolidation of the various entities which comprise the foundation.

  • The NEM Foundation
  • NEM Ventures
  • NEM Studios

With this consolidation, the resulting group will be known, simply, as the ‘NEM Group’.  The advent of this new entity marks a move taken in hopes of increasing efficiency, and the cohesive development of Symbol over the coming months.

The newly created NEM Group states, “In short, by mutual agreement between the NEM entities and the Core Team, the three existing NEM entities will move into a single common governance framework, NEM Group. This change does not reflect on the performance of anyone. It is a positive, collaborative step to ensure Symbol is best supported through to launch and beyond. It is also an appropriate structure to help NEM engage open source and enterprise projects post launch.”

The NEM Group will be spearheaded by CEO, David Shaw.


As indicated above, the scheduled launch of Symbol is a root cause behind much of the flux being seen at NEM.  Why all the fuss though?  What is Symbol, and why is it worth restructuring efforts of this level?

While the benefits of Symbol are plentiful, there is one that stands apart – interoperability.  This attribute has long been noted as woefully lacking, throughout the blockchain sector.  By acting as a bridging platform between various entities, market participants will no longer need to take ‘detours’ to arrive at their destination – they will now have a direct path to their endpoint.

What has caught our eye here at, is the ability for Symbol to support security tokens.  Only weeks ago, the team at NEM released new standards for asset tokenization through Symbol.

NEM Releases Symbol Blockchain Standards for Issuing Security Tokens

Branding Proposal: Symbol from NEM

It is clear that the team behind NEM believes that Symbol is the future of the project, and the best path forward.  Interoperability? Check.  Security tokens? Check.  Enterprise blockchain’s? Check.   The list goes on.

Looking Forward

Thankfully, these moves discussed by NEM do not simply represent hopes.  They have established a clear game plan for achieving their goals, and have elaborated on what this plan entails.  The following is an excerpt from their recent statement, touching on their next steps.

  • Formalise and centrally organise the software development, consulting and treasury management capabilities of the existing entities to be more efficient and operationally effective. This underpins the other two priorities.
  • Create a formal and publicly visible project plan (and roadmap), within 10 days of this announcement, for what is required to get to Symbol’s launch, including anticipated timelines and where the community can help.
  • Engage the NEM community. Over time, the community has understandably become disengaged. A plan will be put in place within 1 month of this announcement with recommendations for how to rectify this. It will include opportunities for the community (existing and new members) to get more involved in Symbol’s launch and future milestones. It will encompass specific tasks and incentives.

Sabbatical Backlash

While news of restructuring, and the upcoming launch of Symbol, is being viewed as a positive, there remains a point of contention that a portion of the NEM community is not happy about.

Alexandra Tinsman, who was appointed as the President of the NEM Foundation less than 1.5yrs ago, is going on a 6mth paid sabbatical.

While valid notable health issues are being noted as the reason for the move, not all members of the NEM community were convinced a 6mth paid sabbatical was earned after only 1.5yrs – despite the reported 14hr days every day.

The NEM Group stated, “At this time, we would like to announce that Alexandra Tinsman, President of the NEM Foundation, has decided to step back from operational leadership. She will be taking a well earned 6 month sabbatical (paid) after the long hours of running the NEM Foundation.”


NEM, originally known as the ‘New Economy Movement’, was established in 2015.  Operating out of Singapore, NEM has long been touted as the ‘Ethereum of the East’.  The company describes the NEM blockchain as a ‘plug-and-play’ business blockchain offering unique smart-contract capabilities.

It is expected that an updated roadmap for the project will be released in the coming days.