ARK Ecosystem Update & Overview

What happened over the past 6 months?

A lot has happened behind the scenes over the past 6 months with ARK. It’s time for an overview of decisions, announcements and development work to get you up to speed.

Bearmint, Polygon and the SCIC

Late last year the ARK SCIC and Ardent set out to migrate ARK to Polygon. This move was brought to public light shortly after the cancelation of the new ARK Core development project named Bearmint. In the migration announcement, the team cited timeline and development issues as the reason to stop the Bearmint project and move to Polygon.

While progress has been fruitful, our internal testing and the current timeline to complete Bearmint have given us enough information to determine that neither Bearmint nor ARK Core are optimal solutions for the future.

This move would have effectively sunset the entire ARK Core project and blockchain while opening up a voluntary migration portal via the official ARK wallet, ARK Vault, allowing everyone to exchange their ARK coins for new Polygon based ARK Tokens.

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This announcement caused quite a stir in the community as well as in the delegate/validator environment. Many were opposed to the migration and halt of development on ARK Core itself. This lead to many validators completely changing their payout structures to zero sharing and even one validator completely going afk for months with a down node.

Despite the ARK SCIC pushing the move and continuing to develop a migration portal and testing environment. The public made their stand and choice known. The community didn’t help test the migration portal at all. This alone clearly proved that support from the current community, or what was left, was not for the move.

From a validators perspective, concerns were raised about migration steps as well. Knowing this migration would require a Core update that the majority of validators would need to accept. Would any validator even accept the update? It would effectively end their rewards structure completely, signaling the end of the ARK blockchain. Or would the validators continue to chug along without updating. This is a large part of decentralized systems and the SCIC knew this as well.

After a solid month of no public facing news from the SCIC, a new Core update was announced, followed by an announcement to stop the migration to Polygon completely.

This complete shift also included an announcement that Matthew Cox would now be taking over development of ARK Core to move forward where others left off in the past.

ARK SCIC CEO Ray Alvarez had this to say on the matter:

Moving forward I am placing our Chief of Product, Matthew Cox, fully in charge of the ARK Product Suite. This includes ARK Core, ARKVault, ARKScan, and ARKLauncher. He will oversee our continued support of these tools as we enter this new phase of development.

Moving Forward

After the announcement to stop Bearmint, then to stop the Polygon migration, Matt shared his thoughts in Discord and answered many questions from the public with a lengthy discussion.

He made it very clear that he was excited for the future:

While I cannot make any promises at this point on what that means, I am not going to give up on Core nor am I going to stop working to try and improve things. Many of you know me and know I have been here for a while, but one thing I have never had is complete autonomy to do things my way or work on what I felt the priorities should be for Core. That changes today.

Matt’s first order of business was to go over everything from private GitHub repos from years of past development including ARK Core experimental and Bearmint. He promised to Open Source everything after going through it and continue to develop in public from here on out.

It didn’t take long for the next announcement:

Ahoy frens! I'd like to officially announce that we have just made Bearmint and Core Ex open source on github. You can read our blog post to find out more about each release and also to find the links to the relevant repositories. Feel free to browse through the code and use it for whatever you like. These repositories are presented AS-IS and are highly experimental so we DO NOT recommend using them for production in any form without additional work. They are both licensed under MIT and freely available. Enjoy!

ARK Core Rebrand

Shortly after the Open Sourcing of Bearmint and ARK Core Ex, an announcement was made to rebrand ARK Core to Mainsail.

Why Mainsail? The Mainsail of a ship is its driving force, guiding it towards its destination with strength and efficiency. It’s an apt metaphor for what we envision this upgrade to be: the driving force behind our blockchain, directing our technology towards a future of enhanced security, reliability, and community involvement.

This rebrand came with promises to enhance consensus and bring Core to a place that Core Ex and Bearmint couldn’t accomplish. All while staying Open Source under a GPL license.


I have been asked why the rebrand away from ARK Core. While I am not involved in any of the decision making, I can understand the need for this name change. Having everything named ARK, including the blockchain, the company, the wallet, the coin, the codebase and more, presents a weird dynamic. There should be a clear distinction between all of these. For example, you can see Polygon, which is clearly separate from their token called Matic. Or, Cosmos, which has their token named Atom. These steps are needed in my opinion to separate things inside a larger ecosystem. You would be confused if everything that Walmart produced was named Walmart as well, and that is why I feel it is a needed move. A clear separation from a codebase and a decentralized coin is not only better for optics, but less confusing to new comers in the space.

This is a short overview of what has been going on in the background for those that don’t follow everyday or have been to busy to keep up. Of course there has been much more to cover including Open Sourcing other products such as ARK Launcher and Nodem, constant updates for ARK Vault, great discussions in Discord and the return of weekly dev reports. You can also follow a live feed of GitHub work in the ARK Community Discord. But this overview is meant as just that, an overview of larger news and announcements.

Overall, this has been a bit of a rollercoaster. It had many outraged in lack of public transparency and some felt the announcements and decisions were rash and out of touch. But it seems to be back on track now and it looks like more activity is being pushed into public view. The SCIC is a private entity, but as the main contributor to the ARK blockchain and related products, it really should be more open and transparent in my opinion and I hope it continues to be from here on out with more activity on socials as well. A little birdy also told me there is an advisor helping with Mainsail, someone with extensive experience with Core and cryptography, so I am excited to see what comes next for ARK and Mainsail.

This Article was produced by The Strake Foundation. The Strake Foundation is an independent entity. All content in this article is based on publicly released information from the ARK SCIC and it’s entities. Any statements, observations or assumptions beyond direct quotes from sources are strictly opinions of The Strake Foundation for research purposes and not meant as financial advice. Please do your own research.

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