Melonport AG was officially founded by Mona El Isa and Reto Trinkler in July of 2016. It is a fully partner-owned, private company domiciled in Zug, Switzerland – the Crypto Valley. In February of 2017, the company issued 599 400 MLN tokens, raising a total of CHF 2.5 million in under 10 minutes. Melonport AG, the company, is solely responsible for the development of the Melon protocol, the product.
The Melon protocol is a fully decentralized tool for both individuals as well as large institutions to set up and manage an investment fund in digital assets. Both the front-end (IPFS) and the back-end (Ethereum) are hosted and executed on decentralized platforms. One of the main assumptions on which Melon is built is that one day most traditional assets (stocks, bonds, commodities, etc.) will be stored on a blockchain or, in other words, will be tokenized. When that day comes, all those asset classes can be traded on the Melon protocol. Melon is an autonomous company which allows you to set up and operate secure, transparent digital investment funds. It aims to provide you with an alternative to the current asset management industry.
When we hear about finance or asset management in the news, it is common to hear discussions around price development of a certain asset or asset class from a well-known investment professional.
What is seldom in the news, but of equal importance are all the back-office processes and operations performed in the background. These processes include executing all trades, the custody of the assets, auditing the investment manager, internal accounting, on-boarding of new clients, payment of fees, etc. We summarize these services under the umbrella of fund administration services. Amongst other tasks, a fund administrator is an independent third-party service provider who protects the interests of investors by independently verifying the assets and valuation of the fund, thus, preventing the investment manager to embezzle the fund holdings.
In today’s world, the fund administration industry is dominated by a few key players. The largest fund administrators are State Street, Citco and BNY Mellon and together those three companies provide the fund administration services to a majority of asset managers around the globe. Acquiring their services usually requires several months and is associated with costs between USD 50 000 – 100 000 just to get to the start-line of setting up a fund. This makes it very difficult for smaller emerging asset managers to set up their own fund.
Melon aims to reduce these barriers to entry. It does so by replacing a majority of functions performed by the fund administrator with smart contracts. This not only drives down the costs of setting up and operating a fund drastically, but it also reduces the scope for human error. Melon is an autonomous fund administrator helping you to launch and manage your own investment fund. By operating on the blockchain, Melon ensures a high level of transparency, thus, inherently preventing the potential for another financial catastrophe.
As Melon is a tool for people to manage their crypto assets, security is the single most important issue for us. We started to build the protocol on the Kovan test network to test the logic of our contracts in a safe environment. We had one major competition on the test network with over 700 funds set up. In February 2018, the first technology regulated investment fund was deployed on the Ethereum main network in form of a bug bounty. The protocol has undergone three independent code audits to ensure the highest standard of security and ongoing audits are in the pipeline. Melon was intended as a two-year project since its token sale and is planned to deploy in February 2019.
If we could choose one thing for you to remember about Melonport, it is our values. Why we do what we do?
We are passionate about lowering barriers to entry and Melon is intended to be a public good, just like the internet. We want to allow a deeper talent pool to emerge and thrive which is not boggled down by administrative headaches. The public good is designed to be permissionless, ownerless, reliable and easy to access. It should eventually provide investors and the financial industry at large with increasing transparent and secure investment alternatives.
The Melonport team has committed to building and deploying the protocol over a two year period. Once deployed by early 2019, the company will take a step back and from that moment onwards it has no special privileges over Melon.