A conversation with the CEO of nakamo.to, Robert Küfner, as published in the German magazine “DER AKTIONÄR”.
Q: Mr. Küfner, you have been active as miner and trader in the blockchain space since 2010, and have suddenly become a sought-after interlocutor. How do you like the attention?
Robert Küfner: We were shown in the press as bitcoin millionaires with bikini girls lying on air mattress unicorns in the sun. We did not like it that much — but in the end the attention for my company nakamo.to has increased. 2017 was just the beginning — everyone is now aware that a revolution is starting. No one was interested in 2016 — during the last 16 weeks all major corporations have now become active — we are talking to many of them.
Q: Could you provide an example, please?
Robert Küfner: First and foremost is the Deutsche Börse AG. I had first talked with them in 2013. In our nakamo.to test environment, we are able to handle what Clearstream does, only faster, safer and cheaper. This will disrupt the markets.
Q: What will be the “Next Big Thing”?
Robert Küfner: Since April, my assessment of blockchain has changed significantly. We are at a point where blockchain technology is completely developed. The future is the tangle of IOTA — here we have achieved a breakthrough. The tangle will disrupt everything in the real world, but also in the crypto sector. Even if Amazon accepts bitcoin to jump on the band wagon — Bitcoin will not meet the requirements of a cryptocurrency. The blockchain is outdated. With the IOTA tangle, there is a technology that will make the blockchain obsolete in the foreseeable future. The tangle solves the problems of blockchain par excellence.
Q: What does that mean specifically?
Robert Küfner: The tangle underlying IOTA is quantum-resistant and infinitely scalable. Mining, the waste of energy in bitcoin, is becoming obsolete. I am aware of a large corporation that is switching to the tangle due to the huge benefits over Ethereum transaction fees.
Q: Corporations such as Bosch, VW or Innogy in particular rely on IOTA, with research in the field of Internet of Things (IoT). Especially for machine-to-machine transactions the amount of data is huge. Is that a problem?
Robert Küfner: Getting spammed is good: the tangle gets faster the more it is being used — exactly the opposite of the classic blockchain.
Q: Does that mean the triumph march of blockchain-based bitcoin is over?
Robert Küfner: Bitcoin is not well suited as a means of payment. As “digital gold”, however, bitcoin has its place. I will keep my bitcoins. But new technology will bring the big breakthrough for crypto. I am very bullish and hold IOTA coins privately, which I will definitely keep.
Q: To spread a currency, a big fan base is important. Is that a reason why innovations do not come from large corporations, but from the broader crypto ecosystem?
Robert Küfner: Yes. The geniuses of the crypto scene can achieve greater success if they implement it themselves. These people want to build their decentralized technology because they want to initiate a paradigm shift. The moment Microsoft and others develop such a technology, it would be compromised — it is not open source. Large corporations cannot popularize distributed ledgers despite billions in the coffers. The luminaries of this industry do not work for IBM.
Q: You have just organized a blockchain workshop in Florida together with fellow campaigners — and are already on your way back to Berlin. Where is the epicenter?
Robert Küfner: Not in Silicon Valley, but in Germany. Berlin is much cooler for the big names in the industry. Germany has the opportunity to become a leader in distributed ledger technology. Berlin is capital of crypto.
Q: What are your plans?
Robert Küfner: I want to implement this technology in the real world. We are facing a tidal change. In 2017, it feels like talking about the development of the Internet in the early 1990s. Today, one year, in terms of speed of development, is like what a decade was earlier.
Q: What do you think of Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs)?
Robert Küfner: ICOs are an excellent tool for financing start-ups. The Ocean Protocol, Polkadot or The Energy Web Foundation are exciting. But there is also a lot of trash. Just now, an ICO with 40 lines of code has raised $ 150 million — $ 3.5 million per line …
Q: Will there be regulation?
Robert Küfner: Bitcoin will certainly not be banned, you cannot do that. Also, ICOs should not be prohibited. Soon, start-ups will also be able to tokenize equity in the company themselves via ICO. Issuing a security is still subject to a prospectus — but I assume that will crumble. This is unstoppable.