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COSS.IO update

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@runeevensenRune Evensen

December 27. 2017

COSS Update December 27th 2017

WOW, this has been a few crazy weeks and this update might be a bit lengthy, but hopefully you will all enjoy the read. As always, not in any specific order of priority.

First of all, on behalf of the entire Team, I wish you all a Merry Christmas:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F0kzV9UBqvg&feature=youtu.be

Ok, lets get to it. As said, it has been a few hectic weeks with a lot of things happening, both for COSS and in the industry in general.

We started off with our new trading promo on December 15th with the DATUM token. And what a start. Volume shot up from 200K to over 2M per day. The COSS token went from the low 6 cents to over 30 cents. Retraction happened and volume went down to 1M and price went back to 15 cents, and in time of writing it relaxes at around 28 cents. Volatile times creates volume and excitement for some and frustration for some. Unfortunately, someone has to be the one that buy at all time high, and fortunately someone manage to do the opposite and buy at all-time low. All part of the game I have to say. Plenty of room for arbitrage for those that play the game. Happy days for the early adaptors and for those that bought in low. During these weeks we have also seen a nice increase in the fee split allocation. Of course, this goes hand in hand with the volume on the exchange. And we will see a retraction again this week during the festive season.

During these few weeks we have also experienced some negative things. DropDeck’s ICO got most of their funds locked in a parity issue and had to “cancel out” their project and arrange a take-over in order for its followers to be able to recover the losses. Luckily for those that participated through COSS, all ETH is intact and will be fully refunded this week.

Same week one of our colleagues in EtherDelta got DNS issues/hack and many users lost funds, some even lost their COSS tokens there. 
 My strong advice to all users is and will always be: Never store more funds on an exchange than what you intend to trade with. Store the rest offline, and by all means USE 2FA where ever available.

In crisis you also notice warmhearted people that stand out to help. We noticed one of those moments on our telegram when a young student with very little money to lose unfortunately lost his 2000 COSS tokens in the ED incident/hack. The community reached out immediately and compensated him for all his loss from their own pockets. This is heartwarming any day of the year, but to see it happening during Christmas proves that humanity still exists out there and warms even more.

On the flipside of the above, we had users screaming loudly that COSS were a scam and even dedicated a full reddit post to it. WHY, you might ask. Because we were 48 hours late with a $25 worth of LSK tokens on a withdrawal. This was the day after LISK hard forked and we had to upgrade the LSK nodes. 
 Certainly, we could have been more pro-active and posted notice about it, but with 68 pairs currently trading, it sometimes gets hard to keep track of all these forks and transitions going on in the market. Especially with a heavily understaffed team. We apologies for that, but we also urge you all to raise questions and wait for answers before jumping to conclusions. Hey, I even heard rumors of my own death during the past 2 weeks. Slightly over-exaggerated if I might say so myself.

Now let’s get down to business for a while. We have had multiple questions about the team and why changes have taken place on the website etc. Before going into details, I will share part of my previous update posted on Medium as the November 19th COSS Update:
 
The team: Hiring and ongoing changes.
 As you all have been made aware of, we are constantly aiming to increase the team. 
 We are currently working close with 3 IT teams in order to improve the site.
 1 Team from Romania, 1 Team from Singapore and 1 Team based out of Amsterdam. In addition to that, we are seeing breakthroughs and progress with in the in-house recruiting for added staff to the Singapore HQ.
 We have already added CS staff (started already) and Compliance staff (on-boarding this month). We have also found some skilled IT that hopefully will join the Singapore team very shortly. 
 While talking about team, we can address a common question from our community channel: Why can’t we see coss on all of these team members LinkedIn profiles? 
 Well, the answer is simple. Team doesn’t equal staff. In this very young industry you will find many people being involved in multiple projects where they are all part of the TEAM, but not necessarily hired by the company. For example, you don’t HIRE people to be on your advisory team. If you outsource part of your IT, you might include the owner of that IT company and/or the project manager into your team, BUT they are still not your staff. They are simply responsible for that part of the project. For the very same reason, you have seen and will see a lot more in the future that there will be changes in the team. Some will be added and some will be removed. Some simply move on to other projects, some seek opportunities elsewhere and some take on other roles within the same company. 
 As a company, although transparent, we don’t see the urge to inform the entire world every time we do a change within our staffing. As in most companies there will be staff that are more public than others, but that doesn’t mean that the ones you don’t see so often is less important in any way.

Then to the topic of the day. What happened to the newly appointed COSS CEO, Mr. Tim Grant. Tim was recently appointed as the COSS CEO based on his extensive business background. He came on-board, focused mainly on reorganizing the structure of the team/organization and he helped a lot when it came to identifying and hiring new staff. For those of you that know me and also are familiar with the industry, you already know that running and maintaining a start-up is a 24/7 project as well as a lifestyle in its own. While still in his trial period Tim realized this and started questioning that he might not be the right person to drive COSS forward this way and after a long and good talk with me, including discussing options for him to stay on-board part-time, but not as a CEO and many other topics the conclusion was that Tim decided to hand in his resignation. Tim expressed that he would like to go back to his previous Investment related projects and we wishes him all the best in his future endeavors. Nothing spectacular about it, although I realize that this update should have been written and posted before changes were made to the website.

During the short time with the company Tim made some very valuable contributions to the company. He brought on-board a compliance team which now is fully focused on regulations and licensing for Singapore and also the on-boarding process for FIAT trading on COSS along with new and improved KYC/AML/CTF procedures. All components that are equally important for COSS to be as compliant as humanly possible. For this we owe Tim our gratitude.

We have now hired 2 new staff in our compliance team with an aim to add 4 more during January. At the same time, we have added additional 2 staff to our customer service team here in Singapore with the aim of adding 2–4 more during January. We have also added 2 in-house IT (front end and back end) that both will onboard in January. We wish they could start earlier, but due to notice periods in their current jobs that was not possible. 
 I guess all this hiring will still lead to more questions such as: What about marketing team. Well as stated before, we have a clear marketing strategy, but it won’t be rolled out before we have a stronger and more stabile platform. 
 We are not the normal start-up as you might already notice. Who in their right minds build a compliance team of 6 people before even considering hiring marketing personnel. To us it is simple. We aim to be and to stay compliant. We aim to adapt to the upcoming regulations and we aim to be licensed as soon as there is a license to apply for. This is a route we would have taken even with zero trading accounts. We are here for the long haul, and we are adapting a “mimic the banks” kind of policy.

Here comes a small shocker that might upset some, and might reassure some of our intention. We WILL implement MANDATORY KYC during Q1 2018. This means: No low limits based on email verification alone. It is KYC or no trading at all. We are fully aware that short term we might lose those that are into crypto currencies for the sake of anonymity, but that we can’t take into consideration. We will be adding a full KYC/AML system for on-boarding, ongoing screening, screening up against sanction lists, screening of PEP (Politically exposed people) and we will add facial recognition on ID verification. We might become the most compliant exchange out there and we are doing this to protect the company and its users and to ensure we will be able to stay in business regardless of what regulatory changes that might be implemented in the future.

Some will say that Crypto were invented by anarchists that were against the “big brother” mentality, and that it should be free flow and without borders and restrictions. Unfortunately, we don’t live in such a world and the ONLY way for cryptocurrencies to ever truly reach the masses is to be in cooperation with the regulators. We do not live in a world of unicorns and fairytales and we all have to be realistic.

Praveena, our new Head of Compliance, with experience from KPMG, World First, OCBC Bank and more, has a big task ahead of her tailoring our procedures and ensure the compliance of the company.

Also, Gary, our head of Customer Support have seen his team grow these two weeks by adding 2 more staff and with adds out to hire more. We do still have a backlog on support emails, but we are catching up. Gary have implemented Freshdesk system for his team to easier track and report, but we also need to implement a ticketing system on the site to make the user to support communication line easier. This will have high priority during Q1.

During Q1 we also aim to add more people to Desmond’s Finance team. This is very important and especially when we move closer to implementing FIAT trading.

Another important topic is U.S. citizens. While many exchanges are taking the drastic steps to exclude U.S. citizens from trading due to the many and complex rules from SEC, COSS is going the other way. We are in the process of implementing FATCA, IRAS/SEC registration for reporting/filing etc. so we can ensure that our U.S. users still have a compliant platform to trade on.

While we are on the Team topic, it is also noteworthy that my colleague for the past 4 years, Mr. Andrei have decided to take a more backseat role with COSS. He remains a shareholder and an important influencer to the business, but he also has a lot of ideas of his own that he would like to spend some time and effort on exploring and validating. Andrei is a brilliant guy, and maybe one day we will see products or services that comes from his mind on COSS.

And now over to what I assume is the hottest topic of the month. New UI.

During the last week our team of testers have been fully occupied by testing the new UI. Although we did face some issues when connecting the UI to the engine, we are now happy to say that it is connected and it is looking good. The UI is a joint effort based on the many feedbacks we have gotten from our users and we will still be taking ongoing feedback on it after it is live. See this as a major upgrade, but at the same time see it as version 1.1 with more changes to come. We will always strive to improve based on user’s feedback.

Timeline: Yes, although ambitious, we still aim to push the new UI live before the end of the year. We are aware that we were not able to deliver it as a Christmas present, and we are also fully aware that what may seem like a small 2-minute fix at first might take a lot longer. IT in general is very unpredictable in that sense. And I will be 100% honest in saying that there are no guarantees. I am basing the timeline on that the UI team and the testers don’t experience any major bugs/errors that will be very time-consuming to fix. If the worst-case scenario should happen and we see that also the new year deadline will be missed. Then we will open the UI for public testing, so you all can see how it looks and feels. After all, the functionality is more important than the timeline, but all fingers crosses and may Murphy stay away from Singapore these days.

We sincerely thank our dedicated testers that have been trying out the new UI and filling in spreadsheets with comments and proposed edits with more, even during Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. We truly apricate all the efforts you are putting into making COSS a better platform. This is truly a community spirit at its best.

With the UI update there will also be changes to the entire layout of the site. Front page and all subpages will also be changed, but this is not as important as the exchange and will not all be in place the first week. We are also in the process of updating the whitepapers, team page etc.

Now let’s get over to another topic. The always beloved FUDDERS. Very often someone that “invested” a minimum into the project, but somehow feels entitled to more information than shareholders in any public listed company. Sometimes not vested in the company at all, but lack better things to do and have a big urge to feel important and noticed.

We have very high ceiling on our social channels, but still we unfortunately have to take the step of banning a few users. We always welcome suggestions and constructive criticism, but when it becomes repeated at a scale that truly makes it annoying and disturbing to other users, then we have to enforce our very few rules. The main rule as I see it is this one: BEHAVE or BE GONE. It is very possible to provide constructive feedback without using foul language, without attacking individuals and without harassing team members and or volunteer’s admins on our channels. When it comes to harassment and racist remarks, we have a zero-tolerance policy.

There is a huge difference from being a shareholder to being a token holder. That is one of the main differentiators between securities and not securities in this industry. And it is remarkable to note that while the big “bag holders” are pleased in general and don’t even participate actively in the social channels, but rather send me a friendly email every now and then to congratulate us on milestones reached, we see that the biggest demands for updates, insights etc. are from the smallest stake holders (if holders at all).
 We have stated it before and I will repeat it now. We are still way understaffed. We do our very best at the same time as we try to improve. Will we make mistakes, yes of course? Will we miss more timelines, yes, I think so? Will we get better with time, yes, I definitely hope so.

While on the topic. Not FUD, but questions raised in a very recent reddit post. I have been asked to comment on it, so I will briefly cover the entire post.

Replies:
 1) We currently don’t have any full time social media manager to cover this. We use volunteer admins for our channels. I try to be in there as often as I can to answer questions. Again, we are understaffed, and I feel it would be very wrong to send in for example someone from Dev or Compliance to answer questions when they are overloaded with work as it is. I don’t mind spending the extra hours answering questions.

2) Yes, a necessary evil at the moment. But by bringing in more and more inhouse team members, the need for outsource will decrease and/or be easier to handle.

3) Addressed above and earlier in this update. Team is growing and we have broken the ice on that topic. Many more team members are on their way in.

4)If we didn’t shut down, the ETH wouldn’t have reached you anyway. We still don’t have the option for users to set their own withdrawal fees to ensure a transaction will be picked fast by the miners. Sometimes decisions have to be made fast. Sometimes they work out as planned and others not. We still feel it was the right thing to do. And even experts out there expressed that simply adjusting the fees was not a viable solution. We are sorry that you didn’t receive your ETH faster.

5) Tim already addressed in the update. Ioana is part of Dan’s company and not a COSS staff. There is a difference between team member and staff. Dan’s company have many projects going and he has 20+ staff. They are NOT COSS employees and who he dedicates to various projects is his business more than any others. But this was also cover in previous updates.

6) Average is more like 6–8, but I don’t think that is your major concern. We have announced 3–4 times (I think) that we are adjusting all fees. We have more or less been sponsoring all the users on most of the currencies up and till now and we have estimated spent around $250–300,000USD in fees that we have not charged the users for.
 A few examples:
 Up and till now there has been 0.1 KIN fee for KIN token withdrawal. Here is an example of the actual cost involved:

Now take this into consideration:
 1: A user deposit KIN and pay normal fee (paid by user)
 2: COSS moves the tokens to safe storage (fee paid by COSS)
 3: User ask for withdrawal
 4: COSS moves token from safe storage to online wallet (fee paid by COSS 2nd time)
 5: COSS send the tokens to the user (fee paid by COSS 3rd time)

EDITED since this article was written: We have decided to revise the fees again and cut it to the absolute minimum with zero earnings for COSS. 
Please check your coss dashboard for the latest withdrawal fees.

So, in this example $2.37USD was paid in fees by coss. Withdrawal fee is currently at 30,000 KIN which equals $4.08USD. It has been up and till the change 0.1 KIN which in dollar value equals $0.0000136

We have now adjusted the system so it is easier for us to change the fees, and we will be monitoring more for fluctuations and adjust fees accordingly. We will however look through the recent changes and verify again all calculations, so fees might change again on short notice.

7)We have added multiple tokens recently, but not as many as you might want. We wish to add more and faster. But Dev need to prioritize at the moment. Also, our current engine has limits when it comes to the number of pairs possible, but this will change and improve.

8)The new UI is more or less based on our user’s feedback. Maybe not to your liking, but we do listen to our community and we take their feedback and involvement seriously. With 40,000 trading accounts it will never be possible to please 100%, and unfortunately by the look of it, you were amongst those that didn’t/don’t like the new UI. But I am confident that the majority will.

9) To this one I can only agree. I wish we could deliver faster and better. And nothing would make me happier.

10) Not sure what you are referring to here, but I might not be the right to judge my own character, but from what I hear, I am rather tolerant and patient with the majority of users. The very few I have ever made some not so positive comments to must be those that have crossed the line. If I have behaved wrong in anyway unfairly, I have no problem apologizing to those affected, but again, I am not sure what you are referring to.

11) True and already announced that we will build a new engine.

12)Again I agree. We have not put much priority into marketing yet (if any) and we don’t have any full time social media managers on board. We have content manager and multiple volunteers.

Another thing to have in mind that maybe many are not thinking of. A cryptocurrency exchange like ours and many others are not billion dollars money making machines. Take COSS for example. Lets assume average trading fee is 0.12% from both taker and maker. That makes an average of 0.24% per trade.
 For every million dollars in trading volume the company makes $1200USD. If you estimate with a decent sized team + Dev cost a monthly burn rate of $150,000, you need 125M trading volume per month (4,166M/DAY) to brake even. So, it might sound like it is just to hire all the people you need, build as fast as you wish, do top notch marketing on a daily basis etc. But it is not. We try to run the company in a responsible way. We do not overspend, but we try not to underspend either. Luckily for us, we chose to be long on ETH after our token sale, so our holdings have increased instead of decreased since then. 
 Not sure if you got all your questions answered, but its what I got for you at the moment. Thank you for the feedback.

During the day there has been heated discussions on various forums regarding the recent changes in withdrawal fees. We are running a business with a long-term goal of actually making it profitable. However, as always, we do note your feedback and we see already that it should have been adjusted in steps and not all in one go.

We have also passed another milestone that is worth mentioning. As off 7:30am this morning we passed 40,000 Trading account on COSS.io far exceeding for annual goal for 2017 which were 25,000

By that I and the entire COSS Team wishes you a HAPPY NEW YEAR
 https://youtu.be/G9Hz8V4ho94

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