Swarm was born out of the distributed governance whitepaper and Decentralized Autonomous Society with a vision to empower collaboration through decentralized technology.

With our sale of Swarm memberships last summer we said that we would build out a platform for people to easily launch collaborative projects while “gradually introducing” more advanced elements “as the legal framework is established for them.”

How have we done?

Development

After setting up our office in California at the end of July, we launched our alpha product in September with COMICCOIN and our beta product on November 5 with five interesting projects. Unfortunately the full awesomeness of our November release was somewhat limited by lawyers telling projects they couldn’t sell what they wanted. Our full automated self-serve process is scheduled for release in early March. This will include both the token issuance and governance aspects.

Projects

Out of the approximately 50 applications for our 5th of November event, the Swarm picked the 5 projects that best embodied what we are trying to cultivate, including an evaluation of team, plan, and spirit. When it came to the sale parameters, legal council stated that virtually everything that the teams wanted to do was inadvisable under U.S. Law.

This lead us to split out our projects into interrelated categories:

  1. Launch with weakened set of attributes
  2. Incubate projects in house
  3. Postpone until legal issues were resolved
  4. Several old Swarm projects and some new ones are due to release with our 1.0 release including our new legal research.

Our detailed legal work performed in conjunction with Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, Coin Center, and some top legal firms in January 2015 indicates that many of the current models for crowdsales may have problems. We have established a new complete model Distributed Collaborative Organizations (DCOs), which you can read more about here.

Team

Our core team has remained one architect, two developers, one community engagement, one operations. We’ve also been partially incubating several associated projects, including V̢̩̙͔̤͎̂̎̆͂͆̔ͪ̚A͓̬͕̖͋̅̌ͧ̏̀͟P̶̯̞̮̓̂̅̒͌͑̉ͥ͠O̼̫͖̙͈͍̰̯͒̂͒͑̍ͭͪR̳̠̪̱͇̱̥͑ͮ̎ͨͩ̅̓̑̆, ĐΔϟ, SWARMFUND, SNARK, COINSPACE, and MANNA so there are often multiple folks hanging around the Swarm facilities.

Finances

Our initial budget said we could get our 1.0 version out the door with 1000 Bitcoins. We raised 1270 BTC. Our burn rate has been averaging $38k month. This has looked less awesome with the decrease in Bitcoin price. Nonetheless we are on track to deliver a full 1.0 product. We’ve been carefully tracking every outgoing penny and bit and also inviting Swarm members to perform a full financial audit.

Techstars

About three months ago the CEO of Techstars, the world’s largest accelerator network, said “Swarm’s innovative fundraising model has the possibility of completely transforming the venture capital industry.” We are happy to announce that as a result of this deal Techstars is now acquiring Swarm coins on the public market. We expect that will be the case with all future Swarm partners.

Where do we go?

With the launch of Ethereum (both via Counterparty and on the main Ethereum chain) we are launching the Swarm as a completely autonomous organization, the first fully functioning Distributed Collaborative Organization.

All Swarm tech will be open sourced and made available on a new license model that makes it usable to people who have SWARM. This represents a new type of intellectual property model that we believe provides an appropriate incentive model for building collaborative organizations.

This also means that Swarm members will soon be able to create and allocate to themselves project coin distributions or any other financial products we’ve noted were possibilities from the beginning.

The power will soon be yours. After all, it’s a Swarm. It should be free.