In the pursuit of seeking clarity, knowledge, and understanding behind this yet-to-mature cryptocurrency market - we are approaching various altcoins (organizations, foundations, companies, and businesses) in order to learn more about what they do, and the people behind the projects. We believe in empowering Altcoin investors and enthusiasts with more information in order to better navigate the crypto-market, and in turn make a more educated financial decision.
Today, I am honored to have Hans Koning, who has agreed to put some time aside to answer some questions about the DigiByte Foundation (DGB). Mr. Koning serves as the Chairman in the DigiByte Foundation and is one of the key board members of DGB.
Mr.Koning, thank you for the time you’ve put aside to answer some questions about DigiByte. To start off, why don’t you tell the readers where you are from, what were you doing prior to being involved in cryptocurrency, and how did you get involved with DigiByte?
First of all, thanks for having me Moses. It is always a pleasure and a privilege to be given the opportunity to talk to the blockchain and crypto community. And please, in the spirit of the inclusiveness of the blockchain, please call me Hans.
Secondly, a word of modesty if I may. DigiByte is a fully decentralized project, in which there is no hierarchy or status. Being the Chairman of the DigiByte Foundation is a legal requirement, not a representation of hierarchy. All members of the DigiByte community are equal. I just happen to be a little more known as a representative of the Foundation. Being known doesn’t make me more valuable or important. It is about the DigiByte blockchain and the community as a whole, not about a single individual.
That said, my name is Hans Koning, and I am from Amsterdam, the Netherlands. My career has always been tech and innovation oriented. My first job was actually for the famous Bell Laboratories of AT&T. The impact and interaction of technology, communication, information more of less exploded in the 1990s and propelled us into the connected world we are today. Was lucky to be working in America a lot when the internet took off, and learned an important lesson first hand: technology is only successful and sustainable if it has a use case and is easy to use. DigiByte anyone?
Have been working as management and business consultant in various industries, where I formed and shaped strategies for companies to use technology to achieve their goals, as well as promoting customer interaction.
As most I got into crypto via Bitcoin. After monitoring its value for a while, I decided to buy some. That was also the moment I started to learn about blockchain, decentralization, and developed an appreciation for its potential. Once I became familiar with Bitcoin, I started to learn about other coins, and of course DigiByte stood out to me straight away. The rest is history as the saying goes…
I always put a strong focus on governance; how we organize and structure the technology we use. Blockchain and crypto will have an enormous impact on our lives, so it is crucial to think about governance from day one. Currently I am pursuing a PhD in blockchain governance. This helps me to understand things better, and enables me to add and share insights and experience of governance to the blockchain and crypto community."
When and who started the DigiByte Foundation?
"The DigiByte Foundation was incepted on 28 February 2020, so set up only recently. That is however not the whole story. Within the DigiByte community we have been talking for quite a while about the need for a foundation. With the growth and acceptance of blockchain and crypto also comes the need for a higher degree of professionalism and putting in place safeguards to protect the core principles of DigiByte.
With the foundation we can do just that, as well give a continuous voice to the community. The goal of the DigiByte Foundation is to promote and support the DigiByte Blockchain and its users, to stimulate the development and worldwide adoption of the DigiByte blockchain and the principles of decentralization in general. Development of DGB technology is a core focus point. In our opinion this is essential to further establish and maintain a sustainable decentralized world. We arrive at this from an underlying and unwavering belief that decentralization is unstoppable. Our mission is: “Empower the Community, Decentralize the World”.
The DigiByte Foundation is set up for the community, by the community. The foundation is a nonprofit vehicle, where the legal form is a Dutch "Stichting" (Foundation). The Netherlands has a long standing history with foundations dating back hundreds of years. That has resulted in one of the best legal frameworks to protect foundations. Apart from yours truly (chair), the Board consists of two great minds in the blockchain world, namely Rudy Bouwman (vice-chair & secretary) and Rutger Krijnen (treasurer)."
How would you describe what DigiByte does to a non-technical individual?
"DigiByte provides a framework based on blockchain technology for others to build on and build with. Anyone can do that, as DigiByte is permission-less.
Technology can be used for validation and verification of digital materials to proof authenticity, and DigiByte technology can be used for secure online authentication without the use of personal data, like username and password.
Besides that there is the DigiByte coin that is very suitable for payments, thanks to the security, near instant transaction speed and mobile wallets in 55+ languages. And let’s of course not forget DigiAssets. Everyone can create, send and receive a digital asset: a digital representation (token) of anything you can think of, like a ticket, a document, a house, etc."
Who Runs The Foundation? (Based on our email interactions, I know there is no CEO, but readers and potential investors would like to know who makes the decisions)
"This is an interesting point and excellent question, and strikes at the core of who we are and what we stand for as a DigiByte community. The short and the thick of it is that the community is in charge; they make the decisions. The Board is in that sense “merely the voice” of the community, and checks if decisions are in line with the core principles of DigiByte. The role for the Board in that sense is to check, secure and safeguard these principles, as set out in our Articles of Association.
As you can see on our website there is a donate button, where members of the community are invited to make a donation to the foundation. In return you will be able to vote on decisions, like what projects to finance, education and outreach projects, appointment of Advisory Board members, what development to engage in, what events to host et cetera. The threshold to vote is a donation of around $10 per year. Needless to say we welcome anyone to join us.
At the moment we are working on a voting system that will eventually include DigiAssets. This would be voting in the blockchain, which also means the voting process is fully transparent. At any given point in time one can see how many voting assets have been issued, how many votes have been cast already, and how many votes per choice have been made."
How long can board members serve on the governing body, and what does the selection process look like?
"Board members are appointed for 5 years. Most foundations in the Netherlands appoint Board members for 10 years in order to ensure continuity of the foundation and its direction. We however decided to opt for 5 years as we believe that is more in line with the concept of decentralization. Board members can get reappointed.
The Articles of Association specify the role, charter and selection process of Board members, which can be found on our website. The community is ultimately in charge, and can nominate, elect and if needed, impeach Board members.
The current Board (Rudy, Rutger and I) have not been voted in by the community, as this was a bit of a chicken and egg situation. The foundation could only be set up with already appointed Board members. Needless to say, we did reach out to the community prior to launching. For the time being we are fine with just the three of us, but are open to add more Board members in the future. Additionally we are in the process of looking at an Advisory Board, who can help and support the foundation in achieving its goals. Nominees for the Advisory Board will be voted on by the community."
With over 5,000 cryptocurrencies, who are your main competitors?
"Am not trying to be a smart Alec or anything, but honestly, our focus is not so much on competition Better said other projects. We strongly believe that working together, create synergy and value added, will prove to be beneficial for the crypto community at large.
Having said that, of course we are not blind to the fact that a large degree of people buy DigiByte for a financial or speculative motive. There is nothing wrong with that. Always do your own research, and speculate with money you can “afford” to lose. So, rather than looking at other projects, we like to focus on the strengths of DigiByte.
The unique selling points of DigiByte are:
It is fast, secure, forward thinking (transaction speed 40x faster than BTC, 5 algorithms, multiple blockchain firsts).
We are truly decentralized.
DigiByte has a huge committed, motivated and engaged community.
Use cases, partnerships, connections, foundation.
DigiByte is permission-less, meaning anyone can use the DigiByte blockchain to offer his/her services on, creating even more use cases.
There are simply not that many other projects who can say that. If you have to compare DigiByte with another coin, it is best compared with Bitcoin and Litecoin."
In 2018, DigiByte announced the employment of a PR agency in order to further market and promote the DigiByte technology. Is DigiByte still open and looking for partnerships with corporate organizations to utilize the DGB coin within its systems?
"No PR Agency, but a community team called the DigiByte Awareness Team or DGBAT in short. All volunteers from the DigiByte community applying different skills. They contribute to the DigiByte blockchain in various ways, like marketing, creating educational material, provide support and guidance to the community.
The DigiByte Foundation is welcoming all new ways for sponsoring or partnerships, and is always open to explore how we can create synergy. This can come in all shapes and forms, and we are always willing and able to work on a mutual satisfactory arrangement. What we are specifically looking for is a large corporate sponsor like a patron, who would be interested in 'going blockchain' and can use our blockchain not to mention our expertise. Say an airline, hotel chain, (healthcare)insurance company, hospital, car rental company, security industry, logistical company or something like that. Amazon or Microsoft would be nice too. Don’t hesitate to contact me if you are interested."
Could you briefly talk about the DigiByte Foundations Patron & Sponsorship program?
"Apart from the community to become donor, we also open the foundation up to sponsorships and corporate partnerships. We want to engage in meaningful cooperation and partnerships with business entities in the DigiByte community, who share our views.
Apart from establishing an intrinsic connection, the program is aimed to generate funding to maintain our framework and infrastructure, to encourage and guarantee ongoing development activities, and to sponsor community programs and activities. Those activities can be – subject to no conflict with DigiByte Foundation goals - aligned with sponsor’s goals and objectives.
I would like to emphasize sponsorships or partnerships aren’t exclusively about money. There are different ways we can work and engage with companies and projects together. If you are interested in that, or know of anyone who might be, please do not hesitate to contact me."
What significant plans, projects, or activities are planned within the next five years for DigiByte?
"We actually have a fair bit lined up, so please have a look at the pipeline. Additionally, the milestones we achieved are worth having a look at.
Overall though you could say that DigiByte focuses on adaptation (via community projects and partnerships), outreach (making blockchain technology and its use available to all) and community empowerment (make decentralization accepted and real life). All this by staying true to the principles of decentralization.
Also, in line with being fully decentralized, you need to know that you, as a member of the DigiByte community, you can suggest, nominate and ultimately vote on projects."
If someone has never heard of DigiByte before this interview, and they wanted to get involved within the DigiByte community after reading your responses - where would you recommend them to go?
"There are three great starting points I would say, namely the website of DigiByte, the website of the DigiByte Foundation and DigiByte Wiki. They provide a lot of information and explainer videos. By the way, the DigiByte website is in more than 30 languages!
Anything else you like to tell the Altcoin community?
"Investing in crypto can be a rollercoaster, and not always for the fainthearted. Always do your own research, and speculate with money you can 'afford' to lose. In the foundation we do not talk about “when moon” or “fomo”, but rather let our actions speak, and see that reflected in DigiByte’s price. We see price developments as a result, not as a specific goal. Needless to say, we are all human, so we also enjoy the recent traction DigiByte has – quite rightly - shown.
If you would like to support the DigiByte network, please become a node. It is easy, and of great help to DigiByte and the community. A great advantage of the official DigiByte wallets is you are in control. We all might talk, look, think, feel and act different, yet, we are all in cryptos for a simple reason. We all want to be in charge of our own wallet. Remember, not your keys not your coins!!
On a final note, would like to thank Moses for giving DigiByte and the DigiByte Foundation an opportunity to reach out to you all.
Dr. Hans Koning
Chair of the DigiByte Foundation