A Long-Awaited Update: Where is the NFT Marketplace?
Or more precisely, when will it be launched?
We know that this has been the burning question on everyone’s minds since yesterday— effectively the end of Q1. First of all, we would like to apologise for the delay and lack of communication.
Trust us when we say that no developer enjoys having delays on their project, and of course it is no different for us. In the days leading up to the end of March, we still clung on to the hope that we could deliver on time, but as we now know, that obviously did not come to pass.
The issues faced
By early March, the interface and functionalities of our NFT Marketplace were already completed and ready for roll-out — in fact, a mid-March launch looked extremely promising. However, that dream soon evaporated as we dove deeper into our testing and QC phase. This was roughly around the time we announced the first delay.
As we neared the end of our rigorous testing phase, we were alerted to several vulnerabilities and exploits faced by other projects that — though unlikely — might also affect our marketplace in the future.
The Opensea incident was one of our first indications that even the biggest marketplaces are vulnerable to clever opportunists. Even more recently, the Axie Infinity security fiasco happened, which led us to double down on our decision to not launch the marketplace until we are absolutely sure that we have weeded out every potential issue that we could imagine.
Although no developer can 100% guarantee the safety of its platform and users, it is still our responsibility to preempt and minimise risks as much as we can. While it was too late for Opensea and Axie Infinity, it was a great opportunity and case study for our tech team members, who subsequently spent sleepless nights scrutinising our own smart contract and user flow for possible weaknesses and flaws.
The steps we have taken
One of the most basic steps is of course, having our smart contracts audited by professionals to identify loopholes and flaws. Our marketplace smart contract has undergone (and is still undergoing) several rounds of audits by multiple parties to ensure that it is as airtight as it can be. Despite the heavy costs incurred (each round of audit can cost anywhere between $5,000 and $15,000), it is but a small price to pay to ensure that our community has the safest and best possible experience on our marketplace.
Apart from that, we also sought out and consulted with the best web security professionals to minimise risks and increase overall security. One of our project advisors, Fabian Tan, has contributed greatly to this effort thanks to his extensive experience as a principal architect at Amazon Web Services. Under his close guidance, we are confident that the eventual deployment of our NFT marketplace will be on par with top-tier projects across the globe.
On top of that, we have also introduced and implemented additional layers of security to prevent fraud and bots. This includes an enhanced verification process that users will have to undergo upon connecting their wallets. Apart from the existing measures of requiring a Gmail login and a captcha, we are now also enforcing dual verification via a pair of OTPs that will be sent to both the user’s Gmail and Discord accounts. While not 100% foolproof, this will help us greatly cut down the amount of fraudulent users and bots on the network.
Choosing between the devil and the deep blue sea
As the end of March approached, we asked ourselves: is it really worth throwing caution to the wind just to maintain our flawless streak of hitting milestones? Do we really want to risk our users’ safety just to maintain a facade of infallibility? Are we really that dependable if we are trading long-term security for short-term triumphs?
While it was an extremely difficult choice to make — we strongly believe that we have made the right one. While delays are not ideal nor welcomed in any project, we believe that sacrificing security simply to stick to our timeline would only be detrimental to the project and our community in the long run.
It has not been easy for the LOA Team to accept the inevitable backlash that came with it — but in the end, we are in this for the long run. Thus, we are willing to accept any criticism for the sake of delivering the best product we can to the community.
So, WHEN exactly will the marketplace launch?
After this incident, we are now wary of making promises. Although we will not promise you an exact date, what we can promise you is that we are all hands on deck to launch the NFT Marketplace as soon as humanly possible, even if we have to sacrifice sleep, sanity, and potentially spouses to do it. (Yeah, we are all married to LOA now.)
At this moment, all that’s left to do is wait for our smart contract to clear the audits before we unveil the marketplace.
In the meantime, our game dev team is still going full speed ahead, and we are excited to be showcasing our latest progress in the period leading up to the marketplace launch.
We’d like to take this opportunity to thank our LOAders for remaining patient and supportive through this time. We have learned a valuable lesson through this experience, and we vow to do better in terms of communicating expectations moving forward.
For now, we’ll leave you with a sneak peek of something else we’ve also been quietly working on: