Crypto Biz Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief Soshi sits down with Swarm Corp’s CEO Joel Dietz. On the weekend we covered their pre-launch party that took place in Berlin Germany as they count down to their Tuesday launch, and to keep the momentum going we decided to also include a Q&A.
Soshi: Thank you for joining us for an interview, Joel! Our team is honoured to have the pleasure to sit down with an innovator within our fast growing crypto-community.
Dietz: Super excited to be with you guys! Been very impressed with Crypto Biz Magazine so far.
Soshi: Please tell our readers little a bit about Swarm Corp, and how it all got started and the moments leading up to your Tuesday launch?
Dietz: Largely under Vitalik Buterin’s influence I started to see the potential for applications built on top of the blockchain. I also was heavily influenced by conversations with Nick Szabo and Tim Swanson (author of Great Wall of Numbers) on the potential of smart contracts. A platform for issuing crypto equity allowing easy access via crowdfunding seemed like the best next step to building full crypto companies. The need for some intermediary step ideally one that includes both funding and accountability was especially clear when I saw the struggles that some folks were having with their own fundraisers.
Soshi: We read online that the Swarm crowdfunding platform raised over 450 Bitcoins (around $600 USD each in today’s prices) in two weeks. This is truly a phenomenal feat, and unlike many of the other start up crowdfunding efforts we’ve seen in some time!
Dietz: Yep, we actually hit our 500BTC target without any advertising. It was all done through networks of open source developers, which excites me a lot concerning future of crowdfunding since even large raises can totally be driven by the future users of the project.
Soshi: We also read that your COO, Ben Ingram has described your Swarm platform as the Facebook of crowdfunding. In what ways are Swarm’s crowdfunding efforts different than other ones we’ve seen previously in this space?
Dietz: One of the benefits of crypto technology is that it is frictionless and instantly global, so this allows people easier access to your crowdfunding efforts. Because it all is programmable it also allows a lot of fascinating incentivization strategies that encourage people to get in early. It’s also very focused on building blocks that increase the overall value of these open source ecosystems.
Soshi: Your site mentions that Swarm plans to make 100 million SWARM coins available in a limited-crowd sale until July 20th. How can the general public get in on Swarm Coin and where can they get involved in this crowd sale?
Dietz: That’s right, the sale starts at midnight in Berlin (GMT + 1). Instructions are on our website, but most you need to setup a counter wallet (www.counterwallet.co) and then send Bitcoin to our address.
Soshi: We read that your team has been working closely with Evan Wagner and Adam Krellenstein at Counterparty XCP. Can you tell us a bit about your choice to use Counterparty as opposed to others?
Dietz: We love Counterparty. It’s very developer friendly and we are currently seeing a boom in activity in the ecosystem around it. A lot of the features (like dividends) are also extremely high value to us and only available on Counterparty.
Soshi: It’s been said that the Vennd functions will help with creating a frictionless experience for the users who convert from XBT (Bitcoin) to Swarm Coins. Can you explain a bit about how ‘Vennd’ works?
Dietz: Vennd is an open source platform (http://www.vennd.io/) that allows people to easily exchange one asset class for another. This works between assets created on Counterparty and other things like BTC or other alt coins with their own blockchain like DOGE. We’ve been working with the Vennd guys very closely to add on some custom code that allows for things like linear depreciation in exchange rate and other things that allow easy access (but also prevent massive arbitrage opportunities, as with Maidsafe). We think a bunch of vending machines will greatly increase the liquidity around Counterparty.
Soshi: Your COO Ben Ingram seems to be big into 3D Printing. 45 minutes ago you guys posted some excellent looking designs. Maybe we can send you some designs for Ben to make for CBM (Crypto Biz Magazine)?
Dietz: We will be busy for the next couple weeks with the launch but then in early July we will be hanging out in Ben’s bat cave near London. Send us some specs and we’ll see if we can knock something out 😉
Soshi: We read that you have a few different phases for SWARM Coin. Phase One – 4,000 Bitcoin @ 5,250 SWARM coin per Bitcoin, decreasing to 4,750 per Bitcoin until the end of Phase One. Phase Two – 17,000 Bitcoins @4,250 SWARM coin per Bitcoin, decreasing to 3,750 per Bitcoin until they are all gone. How has this been coming along? Are you seeing consistent purchases as you ramp up to the launch?
Dietz: In our “Indications of Interest” round the first Bitcoins came as a steady stream of small amounts, then suddenly we started seeing much larger chunks come in and our sale jumped it to near full.
Soshi: If you were to give one piece of advice to those starting out within the crypto currency crowdsourcing space based on your own success with Swarm, what would that be?
Dietz: It’s important to face the legal challenges square on at an early stage. We’ve spent a lot of time and energy to make our best effort to be legally compliant (although there’s a lot of grey area that we are working hard to clarify).
Soshi: What are some of your plans for the remainder of the year post-IPO for Swarm? We read there are some plans for an app, can you tell us a bit about this and other plans on the horizon for you and SWARM?
Dietz: We are very excited as we put together the plans for the next three coins to launch via SWARM. We are planning to announce these throughout our fundraiser. We have quite a bit of work to support these coin offerings, including custom pages for each project Kickstarter-style, as well as a dashboard that allows you to see each of the coins you hold. That’s the next two plus months. Later this year I want to focus on implementing decentralized due diligence so that we can allow anyone to evaluate coin offerings and mobile apps so that you can get information on everything going on in Swarm.
Soshi: Thanks for your time, Joel! We appreciate it.