December 3, 2018 kristenc

Reflections on Our Founding Year

Bulwark Year OneBulwark celebrates the conclusion of its first year in the midst of a volatile and depressed cryptocurrency industry. How has the Bulwark team and community remained optimistic about the project’s future? It’s simple, really. We have a plan, make progress daily, and value research over conjecture.

As stated in the Bulwark whitepaper:

“Bulwark’s main focus will be on a number of privacy hardware developments that will expand upon the capabilities of our blockchain while also offering additional privacy enhancements for those that choose to build or acquire them.” Bulwark Whitepaper (July 2018)

Enjoy this recap of Bulwark’s founding year:

  • Solidifying the vision
  • Focusing on development
  • Listening to the community
  • Ensuring sound coin metrics
  • Marketing with a purpose
  • Looking ahead to year two


Solidifying the Vision

Bulwark is a community-oriented coin, born from our observation of unfair practices within the masternode privacy coin space. We deliberately employed a fair launch strategy at the outset of the project.

“With no ICO, a soft-launch reward ramp, small premine, and miner-favored block reward allocations, Bulwark adopters will have ground-floor access to a privacy coin offering a blend of masternodes and the best available privacy hardware technology alongside a meaningful development roadmap.” Bulwark Whitepaper

The Bulwark Team has remained fixed on its vision throughout this first year despite the extreme volatility that comes from building a business in the cryptocurrency industry at this time. We believe that prioritizing development will ensure that Bulwark remains committed to execution and innovation.

 

Focusing on Development

Bulwark’s first year featured a series of significant developments, putting the project in a strong technical position as it moves into year two. From day one, the Bulwark team placed development at the core of its efforts, and remained fixed on primary objectives.

“No fanciful visions with a limited prospect of delivery, but a working coin on a working platform with support into the future.” Bulwark Whitepaper

To summarize, there was a significant development on a near-monthly basis in 2018. The overarching goal in year one was to increase accessibility and user experience. From the implementation of proof of stake and masternode containerization to the development of an in-depth knowledgebase, Bulwark development put the user first and will continue to do so.

Some notable developments in the first year were:

Masternode Containerization (November)

Bulwark released the Bulwark Masternode Docker Container, used to bundle applications into a portable package while remaining lightweight. Dockerized masternodes are the fastest and simplest way to deploy multiple masternodes at once. We have plans for I2P implementation in the near future as well.

Zerocoin Protocol (October)

Bulwark implemented the Zerocoin privacy protocol, utilizing advanced cryptography to hide the transaction history of any coin that has been passed through the “Zerocoin system”. Bulwark users can now create or “mint” zBWK, a second coin on the network with the value of 1 BWK. This zBWK can then be used to redeem BWK from the network, to be spent as usual, and with no transaction history attached.

Staking Script (September)

Bulwark released a staking script to provide additional security to those staking BWK. Among a variety of security features, the script ensures that the user does not leave the footprints hackers typically exploit in order to access coins.

Bulwark Design Framework (August)

In addition to highly technical developments, the Bulwark team is concerned with maintaining quality usability and user experience as the project continues to scale. Therefore, we introduced the Bulwark Design Framework in August. In the simplest terms, a design framework is a set of tools for developers to utilize which enables them to build a more cohesive software experience that is more easily understood by users.

“Our core features and applications need to be tied together visually as opposed to being separate entities without any interlinked design relationships. We need the ability to scale our applications.”
Patrick, Bulwark Brand & Product Manager

Proof of Stake (June)

Bulwark introduced Proof of Stake, promoting a healthy split of staked coins versus those used to operate masternodes. This development opened the doorway to increased network support rewards, making both staking and masternodes attractive options for coin holders.

Secure Home Node (May)

Bulwark launched the Secure Home Node (SHN), a key component in the Bulwark network that decentralizes the location of masternodes. The Secure Home Node allows users to operate a node on the network from the privacy and security of their home utilizing The Onion Router (TOR). Future Bulwark hardware developments will include the Aegis Hardware Wallet and Citadel Router.

Developer & Support Portal – Bulwark Knowledgebase (April)

As a community-centered project, education and trouble-shooting assistance are critical components of both outreach and support. Bulwark launched a comprehensive online resource, organized simply and filled with multi-media guides, tutorials, and documentation. Core team members regularly revisit content on the Bulwark Knowledgebase to provide additional detail and keep the knowledgebase content current.

 

Listening to the Community

Bulwark’s number one priority is the community. As such, we actively monitor and contribute to relevant posts on social channels. The Bulwark conversation spans many social and publishing networks. We encourage discussion and recognize that the community provides priceless feedback. Bulwark rolled out its presence on a variety of channels over the year and can now be found on:

Some notable social media moments in Bulwark’s first year included:

Bulwark for Good

Many cryptocurrency conversations on Twitter revolve around the things people would buy with crypto earnings, if they could. However, a series of tweets from a charitable organization called Bulwark For Good shined a light on the bigger picture. Masternode rewards can be put to work in many ways. In this case, over 30,000 school children have benefited from Bulwark For Good’s efforts, none of which include donations, just masternode rewards.

MasternodeMeBro

Without warning, Bulwark was pulled into a cryptocurrency community sentiment battle called MasternodeMeBro. The goal of the competition was to determine community sentiment for some of the top masternode projects as identified by Omni Analytics Group. After four months of masternodes competing against each other for community votes, Bulwark emerged the Grand Champion. The event was a fun way to galvanize the Bulwark community and provided a platform for sharing Bulwark with those interested in masternodes. We received many rewards, including a listing on upcoming exchange Txbit, research from Omni Analytics Group, and tons of exposure.

 

Ensuring Sound Coin Metrics

Bulwark’s first year included some revelations about cryptocurrency exchanges, from astronomical listing fees to questionable trade volume. In an effort to make educated decisions on Bulwark’s exchange listings, we researched the top exchanges and assessed them based on value to the Bulwark community. We also assessed the block reward structure to ensure sound coin metrics.

Block Reward Structure

Bulwark’s block reward structure was an under-appreciated success in its first year. Let’s take it from the top:

Slow-Start Algorithm

The Slow-Start algorithm (employed in the first 960 blocks of Bulwark) assisted in alleviating the issue of early miners gaining an excessive number of coins just for being first. This, in turn, created scarcity for early masternodes.

This resulted in higher trade volume, better returns for owners, and also a more decentralized network at lower MN counts.

Mining Community Growth

Moving on from slow-start, the high block rewards resulted in Bulwark quickly gathering a large community of miners and masternode investors, which galvanized the community we nurture to this day. High ROI also helped sate the demand for Bulwark during the initial bull-run that crypto saw in our opening months as a coin.

Controlling Inflation

However, holders of BWK are already experiencing the sharp decline in inflation rate, with rewards currently sitting at around 60% of what it was at block 960, and set to fall a further 20% with the next reduction slated for block 345600, at which point we will be seeing a further reduction from 31.25 BWK per block to 25, and 10% of all rewards being siphoned to the BWK community governance fund. Inflation will be further halved by the end of year two.

This reduced inflation results in fewer BWK available in order books. Increased trade volume then occurs as potential stakers or masternode operators on our platforms battle for increasingly scarce BWK. The now-reduced ROI is intended to promote a more stable network.

Instead of chasing high ROI, Bulwark holders are staking or running nodes for the long term.

Research-Based Decision Making

In a market where many coins are conducting coin swaps or hard forks to further reduce block rewards, increase masternode collateral, or mend other issues in their whitepaper, Bulwark remains in most ways unchanged from the original plan defined in its whitepaper. In fact, Bulwark continues to deliver on the strategies and tactics described in its whitepaper, and has been successful without significant deviations from the plan.

Considering the volatility of the cryptocurrency market in our first year, Bulwark’s dedication to remaining on plan, and the resulting success, is a testament to research-based decision making.

 

Marketing with Purpose

There are few bad words in cryptocurrency, but marketing is likely one of them. As a business in its founding year, Bulwark understands that building a solid marketing foundation means more than creating logos and attending conferences. The Bulwark marketing philosophy is simple: build a fantastic product that people want, then help them find it and use it.

“Bulwark plans to be low on hype creation and high on actual creation. Present and future goals for the project will follow the formula of being specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time bound.” Bulwark Whitepaper

We started by establishing Bulwark’s presence on traditional social channels and publishing platforms. Then, we identified cryptocurrency influencers that best represented our market and began asking them questions. From a marketing research perspective, the insights gained from our communication with cryptocurrency power-users have been highly beneficial to the development team.

Bulwark selected six cryptocurrency power-users to form its marketing advisory group. These six individuals are active in the cryptocurrency space on a variety of social channels and in different regions. Bulwark is in constant communication with this marketing advisor team, gathering intel, brainstorming ideas, and introducing Bulwark to the cryptocurrency community.

Once we established Bulwark’s footprint on traditional social and publishing networks, it became clear that the brand was ready to expand to other, more niche networks. Not only did we create profiles on newer channels such as investFeed and Gab, but we actively engage on those platforms and look for information that will assist in marketing and development growth, as well.

Bulwark also began to assess its strength in terms of search engine optimization, leading to substantial technical enhancements to our blog and website. With strong search engine marketing comes an understanding of content marketing fundamentals. Specifically, Bulwark worked tirelessly in its first year to deliver quality content that our target market finds compelling and valuable.

Finally, Google Ads were integrated into the marketing mix in November and are just heating up as Bulwark enters its second year.

 

Looking Ahead to Year Two

Keeping with the plan, the Bulwark team is already working toward its goals for year two. Some of these plans include:

  • Bastion Exchange
  • Secure Home Node
  • Citadel Prototyping
  • Aegis
  • Fresh Wallet + Explorer
  • Official Mobile Wallet
  • Design Framework
  • I2P Integration
  • Governance

The best way to keep up with Bulwark’s progress? Join us on your favorite social channels!

 

Special Thanks

In addition to thanking our dedicated community, we recognize that many people and organizations have played a role in Bulwark’s success thus far.

Development & Aux Devs

Levi (Eatbatterys)
Jack (crackajack)
Serfywerfy
Stu (studog)
Patrick
Kewagi
Kristen
Dustin
Frogman
Voxterra
SHTDJ
Penple
opensourcerulez
Meiskam
A.S.
kalilinuxoo7
daniel (wwf)

Moderation

Kaneo
63c
Lemon
Lyght
Beph
Tschod3
Kyle
CryptoPete

Mining Community & Pools

Poolofd32th
Poolr.io
Mining-dutch.nl
Masterhash
Bsod.pw

Supporting Sites

Blockfolio
Delta
Translation
Community
Bulwarkforgood
Bulwark Discord
#Cryptochat
Bulwark Telegram
Bulwark WeChat

Advisory

Blackbeard
Cryptobulldog
Crypto Hobbit
Panama Crypto
squanch

Exchanges

Cryptopia Staff
Cryptobridge Staff
Stocks.exchange Staff
Tradesatoshi Staff
Blocknet Staff

Open Source Communities

PIVX
DASH
Bitcoin Core
#Cryptodevs
Mkdocs
Travis Ci
Discourse
GitHub
Slack

Notable Mentions

Omni Analytics Group
Holdforjesus
Goodbyecrypto
Bigha$h