Introducing Robby Dermody, QRL Advisor

Robby Dermody

Last week we sat down with Robby to ask him a few questions to help introduce him to the QRL community. We are very excited to add Robby to the project in an advisory role, and look forward to learning from his wealth of experience in the cryptocurrency space. Robby will be offering his insight to us and helping us with those matters he is most experienced with.

QRL: So Robby, what is your background? Where did you come from?

Robby: Well, I have a professional background in entrepreneurship, but am a software developer by trade. I worked on enterprise software, VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) solutions and digital signal processing before my life in crypto.

QRL: How did you find yourself in software development?

Robby: I went to school for Comp-Sci, but I am a largely self-taught coder. I started programming at around 9, so it has been something of a lifelong passion for me.

QRL: 9? Really?

Robby: Yeah, I was that geeky kid who brought in an MS-DOS manual for “Bring a Book to School Day” in 4th grade. Growing up, computers oftentimes made more sense than my peers.

QRL: Wow, certainly seems like you were destined for a life in technology. How did you first hear about cryptocurrency/blockchain?

Robby: I first heard about blockchain and cryptocurrency in 2012. Like with many things that pique my interest, when I started doing research I was met with something of an information overload, so I started mining Feathercoin, of all things, for fun to see how it all worked on a functional level.

QRL: So what made you take that next step?

Robby: In early August of 2013 I read a CoinDesk article on Mastercoin. They were talking about this new concept of embedding data into the Bitcoin blockchain to extend its functionality, which I found immediately interesting. Mastercoin was actually first ICO, though the term ‘ICO’ wasn’t being used at the time. So Mastercoin set my imagination on fire, and I quickly found myself an active part of the Mastercoin community. In fact, the two other people who founded CounterParty, along with myself, were also early Mastercoin investors and community members.

QRL: How did you go from investing in Mastercoin to, just a few months later, starting your own cryptocurrency with CounterParty?

Robby: We (the other CounterParty founders and I) saw that there were things with Mastercoin that we thought could be changed or improved on, and eventually, like so many others, took it upon ourselves to manifest our desires in the space. We took what was then an ideological stance, which these days might seem almost quixotic, of using a Proof-of-Burn method for distributing the Counterparty XCP token to the community.

With Proof of Burn, people send their BTC to an unrecoverable address and the protocol sees this and credits them with a corresponding amount of the token. Using this method, over 2,000 BTC was destroyed and used to create approximately 2.6 million XCP. The obvious downside to this was that we had to bootstrap everything, but it also meant a small, very efficient core team and a very dedicated core community. We also released all of the software, basically fully working, on our launch day of January 2, 2014. There were no promises or pre-announcements necessary. Some of this seems odd in retrospect to many, but it was also a very interesting experiment, and a lot of fun.

QRL: Let’s fast forward a bit. How did you come across QRL?

Robby: I was on bitcointalk looking at an unrelated thread, and came across a comment that mentioned QRL — this project that was tackling the issue of Quantum Computing and crypto. So I took a look at the whitepaper, I think around April. Viable quantum computers most would say are still a good ways off, but the field has a tremendous amount of funding and interest, and there is always the chance for radical breakthroughs that may start to threaten much of the technology we take for granted today, including the cryptographic signature schemes used with virtually all cryptocurrencies.

So I partially saw the project as an exciting hedge. I also liked that the project itself had 3 important elements — 1. Solid fundamentals. The whitepaper actually dealt with many of the technical/mathematical issues that would underpin the project. 2. Reasonable ask. This wasn’t someone asking for $100,000,000 to make a basic application. This was a $4,000,000 ask, which was inline with rational personnel costs and operating expenditures. 3. Once I reached out to Peter and JP directly, and interacted with them, I saw them to be honest and earnest. That would have been around May of 2017, during the presale.

QRL: Did you have any initial concerns about the projects longevity?

Robby: When I first heard of QRL, the team was still tiny. I was concerned that perhaps the team would expand too rapidly or not rapidly enough, and that the talent acquired might not be able to handle the workload in front of them. Peter and JP were also medical doctors, not entrepreneurs or software developers by trade. But they both seemed very smart and driven, and as more team members have been added and I have seen the progress of development, these concerns have been assuaged.

QRL: Do you have any words for our community?

Robby: It is really awesome to see a community that is interested in a piece of technology with such a long term focus. Be confident in your chosen path, the most important ingredients for success are already present in the team, the vision, the codebase and the direction this project is heading.

Beyond that, QRL has already developed a bit of a reputation for itself as a professional, no-nonsense sort of project. This will serve QRL well in the coming months/years, as the cryptocurrency industry continues to mature and less worthy projects are revealed for what they really are. Finally, I want to say thank you for welcoming me into your community with open arms! I have been hanging out in the Discord somewhat of late, and the quality of discussion and interaction there has been great.