The long-running saga of blockchain-based virtual world MARK.SPACE has taken a few more strange twists since I last looked at it.
The company shut down its original Telegram group (with 2,626 members) and started up a brand new one (with 193 subscribers), explaining the reasons for this decision on their website in this undated news release:
Just like all of you, we are also upset by the current MRK token currency rate. However, we guarantee that we did not sell and are not going to sell our tokens on exchanges! By the way, speaking about the dissemination of false information – we are very upset by the negative informational background in this group – communication of this kind has led to a negative state of mind of a large part of the MARK.SPACE community.
In this regard, we have decided not to support this group anymore. Instead, the team is launching a new MARK.SPACE Telegram channel. We try to regularly please you with industry news, informational copyright articles, as well as platform updates. We duplicate all the information here, but, unfortunately, much remains unnoticed and we receive complaints that we are either inactive or have abandoned the development of the platform altogether.
Both of those accusations are obviously NOT true! The new Telegram channel will automatically duplicate news from the official MARK.SPACE website and you will be able to see all the news and updates without them being lost in the stream of comments and unnecessary links.
And then, in a Nov. 10th, 2019, in a news release posted to their website and to the new Telegram channel, MARK.SPACE dropped a bombshell announcement:
In May this year, it was revealed that a group of developers was trying to appropriate the MARK.SPACE technology: certain employees – in secret from their colleagues – wanted to use the technology for personal gain. To do this, they used the company MARK.SPACE Japan, and also planned to register (or possibly registered) a new legal entity in Japan called Site Makers Japan, through which over the past few months these corrupt employees tried to sell intellectual property owned by MARK.SPACE for 37 million US dollars.
Having discovered the above facts in June 2019, MARK.SPACE Management took the following steps:
1. stopped financing Site Makers (in Russia), a company led by Vladimir Shlyapin that carried out technical development of the MARK.SPACE platform on agreement basis;
2. terminated the operating authorities and roles of Oleg Ershov, Vladimir Shlyapin, and Dmitry Shamov in the MARK.SPACE project, as they were the persons responsible for the incident with an attempt to appropriate the technology.
A Google search for MARK.SPACE Japan pulls up nothing, except a few older profiles of Dmitry Shamov. Searches for Site Makers and Site Makers Japan were similarly fruitless. MARK.SPACE has done a document dump from what it says was its internal investigation into the matter, stating “The documentation is provided without changes and in the original language.” (The documents all appear to be in either Russian or Japanese. Since I speak neither language, I have no idea what happened.)
In addition to these allegations the company makes against former coworkers, MARK.SPACE has announced a pivot to a brand new use: a business-to-business platform for visualizing real estate:
We inform you that, despite the situation, MARK.SPACE continues platform development. At the moment, our efforts are aimed at finalizing existing products, as well as selling business solutions. Over the past six months, negotiations with venture capital funds have shown that at this stage the platform needs to demonstrate sustainable development. Only after that it is possible to carry out the following stages of financing by venture funds on favorable terms and plan further IPO procedures.
Now the team is actively engaged in the promotion and sale of B2B solutions (https://live.mark.space/b2b-solution/), such as the visualization of real estate – objects both under construction and those already put into operation. MARK.SPACE representatives are currently negotiating with companies, contracts with which will allow to make substantial profits and direct them to finalizing B2C functionality of the MARK.SPACE universe. In addition, obtaining steady revenue through the sale of B2B solutions will allow the next stage of financing by venture investors on optimal conditions and to continue accelerated development of the MARK.SPACE platform.
It’s not clear to me what will happen to the previous business that MARK.SPACE was engaged in: their virtual shopping mall (which is still up), and their sale of virtual residential units to consumers (which I blogged about here and here).
For now, they are focusing on B2B solutions:
Thanks to our 3D/VR/AR solutions you can present existing real estate items as well as under construction ones to your clients in the most advanced and efficient way.
– 360/VR virtual tours for existing real estate
– 3D/360/VR virtual tours for under-construction real estate
– 3D modeling and visualization of apartments, offices, interior and furnishings
– 3D/VR modeling and visualization of development area
– Video production & 4D construction animation based on 3D modeling
– 2D floor plans redrawing in one style
– AR solutions for appealing presentations
Well, I wish the company well. There’s absolutely nothing in all this recent news that would encourage or entice me to invest in their MRK token or their virtual real estate. As I have often said before about this and all the other blockchain-based virtual worlds I cover on this blog: do every single shred of your homework before investing a penny! MARK.SPACE is another company that I will continue to monitor—safely from the sidelines.