IOTA founder Dominik Schiener on cryptovolatility, project progress

  • Dominik Schiener is the co-founder of IOTA, a $ 5 billion cryptocurrency that was developed for the Internet of Things.
  • Schiener heads the IOTA Foundation, which is trying to build the IOTA network and ecosystem.
  • The cryptocurrency markets have fluctuated a lot in the past few weeks, causing a headache for people trying to build businesses on their backs.
  • “You have to constantly adapt and change things,” said Schiener.

LONDON – How can you make plans for a business if you don’t know how much it has in the bank?

“Today it’s $ 300 to $ 400 million or so – probably less now,” said Dominik Schiener when I spoke to him on Monday.

Schiener is chairman of the IOTA Foundation, the non-profit organization that develops the IOTA network. IOTA aims to be a cryptocurrency for the Internet of Things (think of cars and gas stations communicating with each other over the Internet – something like that). As contact grows from machine to machine, IOTA wants to be the currency that powers your transactions.

When it started in 2015, the project collected 1,300 Bitcoins via an “Initial Coin Offering”, some of which went to the foundation. IOTA’s crypto token, the MIOTA, is now the eleventh largest cryptocurrency in circulation, valued at $ 5 billion.

The project has a significant war chest. But on Monday when Schiener spoke to Business Insider, that war chest was shrinking. Bitcoin was down as much as 10%, taking the rest of the cryptocurrency market away. This was followed by a whirlwind session on Friday that saw Bitcoin plunge 15% before recovering later in the day to make gains.

“Me and David [Sønstebø, IOTA cofounder] Always joking: We’re really good at styling this freely because the crypto market is just too crazy, right? “Said Schiener, 22.

“You have to constantly adapt and change things because all of your assumptions keep turning out to be wrong. You just have to be really very agile and just move forward. We don’t make 12-month plans.”

Schiener has been in the crypto world since 2011 and has already lost everything. He started a cryptocurrency exchange in 2013 but said the business went under and he “lost all of my money” in an earlier crypto market crash.

“When there is a huge market crash like the last few days, you really need to overhaul your strategy because you can’t make any major investments,” he said. “For example, we’re really thinking about making a big investment in real estate right now in order to set up a kind of IOTA lab. Now it’s like, ‘Hey, does that even make sense?’ You have to prioritize. “

Schiener said the IOTA Foundation is liquidating some of its Bitcoin holdings every month so that it “has stable money to work with”.

“The best way to plan in this area is to just set your top priorities and really focus on them,” he said. “Then the other things are less important.”

IOTA’s plans for 2018

Schiener and his colleagues have spent the past few months building the IOTA Foundation, which is now a fully regulated German company.

Regarding the current priorities, he said, “The first is definitely getting the technology right, getting it to production. That is our main focus for 2018.


IOTA website.

“The second thing is to really deal with the ecosystem, that is, developers who create products. Aside from this community, we also have a large corporate ecosystem that we really focus on, hey, how can we introduce the technology to you and more importantly, how can we do projects together? “

IOTA recently signed a contract with Taipei to collaborate on “Smart Cities” projects, and Volkswagen’s Chief Digital Officer Johann Jungwirth joined the foundation’s board of directors last month.

Schiener said: “We are currently in the phase where we are moving from the feasibility of feasibility studies to larger case studies as they are really on site. We are working with some larger companies on a larger research project. “As well as.”

IOTA has been criticized for the speed and capacity of its network. Schiener countered: “Everything we always say is a proof of concept and we have been very blunt since the beginning of IOTA. We always say that IOTA is a beta product right now. We want to get it ready for series production in 2018.

“The fact that the network is slow is really also that we find out: How can we make the IOTA network very reliable? The problem for us now is to bridge the gap between what research does – we currently have more than 10 mathematicians on board – and what engineering does. That’s exactly what we’re doing right now. “

‘100% of my net worth are in IOTA tokens’

MIOTA, the cryptocurrency the foundation holds, peaked at over $ 5 per token in early December but is now trading at around $ 1.80.

“Right now, 100% of my net assets are in IOTA tokens,” said Schiener. “It can be good, it can be bad.”

We don’t want to be rich millionaires sipping champagne and watching IOTA fail

Neither he nor Sønstebø earn a salary from the IOTA Foundation, and Schiener says they spent around $ 500,000 of their own money on the facility. (Only then could you access the crypto war chest.)

“Me and David are very entrepreneurial,” said Shiener. “We just thought: f — es, either we’re going all-in or nothing right? It’s very personal for us. We want s — to finish, we want to do it big. We are the right people who get full and get fully involved.

“We have always said this is an all-or-nothing situation for us. We don’t want to be rich millionaires who sip champagne and watch IOTA fail.”

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