I N T E R V I E W
Interview with Geoffrey McCabe, CEO, and Co-Founder of The Divi Project
Sponsored interview with The Divi Project on Altcoin Magazine
Geoffrey earned a master’s degree in Physics and Materials Engineering and have been the founder and leader of two $6+ million/year companies. The first was Seventh Sense Inc, which built and operated a factory in China with 500+ employees. The second was Anthology Inc, a chain of 30 retail stores in the New England area.
Hi Geoffrey, it’s our pleasure to speak with you and have a chance to dive deep into your project — The Divi Project.
Please enlighten us, where did your journey in the crypto space begin? Have you been lucky entering the crypto world? Did you stumble upon it, or were you convinced that this is the future?
GEOFF: No actually I was very unlucky when I started out! In 2014 a bank-hating artist friend of mine tried to convince me to buy BTC. I did some research and saw something called Ripple that had just been released, and was backed by Google. I thought that would be a better one to buy since it was less than a penny. I decided to buy a couple of thousand dollars of it and also Ethereum too since it had just been released. I started buying, and to do that I had to start a Second Life account and use that to buy it and could only do $100 per day or something very low. I was putting it in something called JustHost that had a wallet for it. After I had accumulated around $500 worth, JustHost was hacked and I lost it all. So I never bought more and never bought Ethereum either! In January 2017 I started getting interested again. I missed all the big rises in 2017 while starting to build Divi.
I see. So your current focus is to build a world-class tech company in the Blockchain/Cryptocurrency space — The Divi Project, right? Can you tell us more about the founding company and what the problem is that you were addressing?
Yes I was shocked by how ridiculously complicated it was to buy, sell, and manage cryptocurrencies and saw it as a huge and glaring problem that needed to be fixed. A design principle is “Form follows function” and so it made sense that a technology based on cryptography would end up being like solving a puzzle to use it. Crypto is still really “By geeks and for geeks” and we want to bring it to ordinary people, who don’t want to deal with the steep learning curve, worries about losing their money, getting hacked and phished, etc. Until this problem is solved, crypto can only grow so big. Most money is held by people over the age of 50 and they have no patience for crypto the way it is today. Those people are our eventual target market.
What do you see as the potential market cap for mass-adopted cryptocurrencies and why?
It depends on what you consider a cryptocurrency, but I think it’s over $100 trillion. Many people talk about the tokenization of all value, including stocks, bonds, real estate, etc. That’s over $500 trillion. But when a new asset class is created, it can create new value out of thin air. So the market is very large for cryptocurrencies that are used for transactions and store of value… somewhere in the hundreds of trillions, and this will be the largest transfer of wealth in human history. And it’s coming very soon.
If a person wants to send or spend money in cryptocurrency right now, it’s still a long process. It’s not PayPal-easy. How do you solve the problem?
The key technology differentiator is a new type of blockchain that stores not only transactions but any arbitrary type of data. This allows us to connect a user’s Divi account with other blockchains, and with identifying data. So for example, you’ll be able to send DIVI or Bitcoin to other people just by knowing their name, phone number, twitter handle, email address, etc. You won’t have to deal with long crazy random-character addresses, and we make it nearly impossible to make a mistake and lose your funds. Our internal motto is “If you can’t do it drunk, it’s not good enough yet.”
Divi, which seeks to make cryptocurrency easier to understand and accessible to more people, was Number 8 in the world token sale ranking during crowdfunding time. Shortly tell us about your ICO experience.
It was really awful, to be honest. We launched our ICO during what was at that time called “ICO Winter”. EOS was scooping up all the funds and Electroneum the rest! We raised just barely enough to make the project viable and for us, not fun because everything would need to be on a shoestring budget. At the time, I had no idea what a benefit that would end up being. Out of necessity, our operation is ridiculously lean, which is why we keep building and growing while so many projects that raised more funds have already collapsed. It also helps us a lot that we’re solving a problem that people can easily understand, and now after two years of talking about it, everyone instantly sees the value of what we’re doing. Two years ago, most people in crypto didn’t see the need to make it more user-friendly.
So, Divi did a Token Sale to raise capital for development and marketing, after breaking the soft cap, you managed to raise a total of over 2 million dollars. We know that the founders sometimes take no salaries and that you are paying out of your pocket for some stuff. It’s $2 million enough to keep moving forward with development? Do you think that the company will ever need outside investors?
We raised over 2 million but quite a bit of that was used for marketing during the raise, so we had less than 2 million to actually spend. Much of that went down the toilet when the U.S. based development company we hired went over budget, failed to build anything we could use, went bankrupt and dissolved, and we had to start all over again in August of 2017. We put together a new team and actually launched our blockchain in only 2 months, which used up the last of our cash. Since then, we have been able to pay the bills by selling DIVI continually and strategically from the 16% of block rewards that we get in the team treasury. We’ve also had a few long-term loans and donations from community members and myself. At this point, we’re planning to expand the team since several amazing people have stepped up to do volunteer coding or can be paid in “vested” DIVI.
How has Divi managed to keep going forward when so many cryptos who raised 10–100x as much yet have shut down?
As I mentioned, the fact that we were resource-starved from the beginning has made us work much harder and smarter out of necessity. And as difficult as it’s been, I’ve dealt with worse situations in my businesses before so I was prepared for anything.
When Divi was announced, multi-tier (easy-setup) masternodes were a new feature, but since then we have seen several projects apply this strategy. How is your project different?
We were the first to announce multi-tiered masternodes but a couple of projects beat us to the punch! We saw them as one-hit-wonders that just forked DASH or PIVX and made some tiers. They haven’t done well because that’s all they have. We are building an entire new type of “Economy in an App” that takes time.
What’s the purpose of a multi-tiered masternode system?
Many people think of it as a marketing gimmick or just a gamification idea but it solves real problems. I wanted a way to be able to pay very high masternode rewards during the first few years of building our network, so we could compete with other masternode coins. But high reward masternode coins tend to drop a lot in price because people sell their rewards. So the tiers were invented to give people a great reason to save their coins, and it’s working. After nine months since launch, less than 1% of our entire supply is for sale on exchanges, which may be a record in crypto. The second major benefit is to be able to assign different higher-layer tasks to different masternode tiers. We have a lot of ideas for this in our plans.
How do you see the competitive landscape for cryptos trying to achieve mass adoption?
Blockchains can’t really handle very many simultaneously users… even the biggest and best ones are limited. Because of this fact and the idea of “Branded money”, I think that perhaps 50–100 cryptocurrencies like Divi and Dash will co-exist in a multi-trillion dollar economy for these types of coins. They’ll all be instantly swappable with each other, and every person will have their favorite brands of digital money in their wallets. I see Divi as the “Nike” of cryptocurrencies, which is why we have a red, sporty logo. What we’ve done is try to make Divi the most “holdable” cryptocurrency. The tiered structure, the staking, and the weekly lottery block are all strategies to get people to hold onto their Divi rather than clicking a button to swap it to something else.
The coolest thing you will have soon is that you will be only one of a handful of coins that have their own lightning network. But your lightning nodes can be set up with one click, even on a mobile phone, we heard. Is that right? If so, tell explain to us how it works.
Bitcoin can’t scale up to lots of users, so rather than fix its core, they invented Lightning as a second layer network. But it’s still limited and the geniuses at Lightning Labs are coming up with ever-more complicated solutions. Divi’s blockchain is just better suited to a lightning network because it has one-minute blocks and will be more user-friendly. We also have a secondary source of fees, so we think we can make our lightning network cash transactions actually free. But the best idea of all is that we’re working on using the funds allocated within masternodes to create liquidity in our Chain Lightning Network, solving one of the biggest challenges for Bitcoin and our other competitors. You can read more about all this here: https://blog.diviproject.org/chain-lightning-network/
Tell us about the company’s roadmap. Which milestones did you achieve and what can we expect in the near future?
The most significant milestone was our one-click masternode installer, built into our desktop wallet. No one had ever done it and no one has done it still, despite many claiming they would do it. We did that a show of technical prowess and so our users could experience what user-friendly means to us. Now, we are focused heavily on “one-click” solutions whenever possible throughout our new wallet. The next big step will be our mobile wallet. For the first time, users will be able to launch and manage their masternodes from their phone, and it will have other never-before-seen features. The mobile wallet works and I have it on my phone, but it still is a bit rough and needs further testing, a couple more features, and a security audit.
We also heard that you have a well-established team — I mean, Tim Sanders, the former CSO of Yahoo and so on. How big is your team and what makes them special?
Tim is an amazing guy and was one of my personal business heroes, so I jumped at the chance to pitch Divi to him. That meeting happened because the owner of the company that does his PR, was my business partner in one of my first businesses. Tim knows a gem of an idea when he sees it and has been very useful to us at many levels. As helpful as he’s been, the best is yet to come because he knows personally many or most of the top leaders in mainstream tech from his time at Yahoo and so many years on the lecture circuit. When our final product is ready, he can bring it personally to people that could bring aboard billions of potential users.
How did a small-cap crypto like Divi get such high-level advisors?
Most of our advisors are tech visionaries and they immediately saw the value of what we’re doing and that we had a viable solution. They also saw that we had integrity and they liked that I had real-life business experience and wasn’t just a coder trying to create a company without any previous experience.
Geoffrey, thank you for your time and answers! Looking forward to seeing further development of your project. Is there anything else you would like to add before we finish?
Yes, we recently were rated the #3 best masternode coin by Omni Analytics (https://omnianalytics.io), trailing only Dash and PIVX, which I think says something great about Divi’s coin and company fundamentals.
Thanks, man, I believe that was all for now!