[Interview by _tamasik_]
June 3, 2022
Hello Kevin! As you might know, we are launching an IOTA ecosystem newsletter. As part of that, we would like to publish an interview with you! I’d love to read your answers to the questions below:
1) To begin with, how did you discover IOTA, Kevin?
In 2015, I read a book about Bitcoin and decided I wanted to buy some, but did not know how. I actually sent money to a guy in England who said he could get Bitcoins for me. He charged a hefty fee, but I did finally get some. From there I became familiar with exchanges and tried a variety of trades and joined a mining pool. Like most people, I was pretty ignorant and mostly lost money. I was getting too busy with work and decided to stop trading for 6 months. I had a little bit in Digibyte, and when I decided to consider trading again, DGB happened to be near an all-time high (June 4, 2017). I immediately sold and recovered all I had lost up until that time. I diversified my crypto investments, and that was when I discovered IOTA. Over the next couple of months, the more I learned about IOTA the more I sold my other positions so I could get more. In August I watched Dominik Schiener’s Rooftop Talk, and that was the moment I decided I was all in! I have never regretted that decision, though I do regret not selling anything at the 2017 ATH (I told myself I would wait until it hit $7. We all know how that went. . .) My dear wife has been very skeptical about cryptocurrency all these years, and I am afraid I have not been able to convince her just how incredible IOTA is, and how many good things will come of it. She says she will be convinced if I can use it to pay off our house! I’m still waiting on $7 for that!!
2) Sometime last year, you started the IOTA Americas group, which was later added to the official IOTA Discord server, and inspired other communities. Tell us about the group — all I know is that it started from an attempt to boost IOTA prices in the short term by exhorting community members to buy a little bit at once.
I have tried a variety of ways to contribute to the IOTA community in spite of having no technical skills. I think my best successes are related to being a connector, but to be honest I am better at starting things than maintaining them long term. I go in waves of devoting time to IOTA projects, then realizing I am behind in work commitments so I abandon whatever I was doing. Some examples: I started taking notes of IOTA Talks and AMAs, and that was popular but eventually I became too busy and stopped. I wrote several articles for Crypto News Flash, which was a lot of fun but also got left behind when work got too busy. I started an IOTA Bulls Telegram group, which is where we all bought at the same time last May 27th while having a livestream event, but I did not keep it up (happily 3 moderators, Josh, Karl, and Branden have done a great job keeping it alive and useful). This year I started iota4.us and have hopes of doing great things with it, but that has been on hold for a few months as well (Pim, who has really been helping, has had his life disrupted by the war in Ukraine). The IOTA Americas Group was just another attempt to get involved, and to meet other Americans who were into IOTA. It was really fun to host the beginning voice chats and to talk to so many people I really admired, but the greatest thing about putting that together is that the Soonaverse team found each other!
3) You’re called the OG IOTA moron, which is a badge of honour. What’s the backstory?
Yes, this is what I am best known for in the IOTA community! On March 8, 2021 (wow, I thought it happened a longer time ago!), Dan Held, who is head of growth at Kraken, tweeted an image showing that Bitcoin was the result of 40 years of research. I had no idea who Dan was–Twitter just put his tweet in my timeline. I quoted his tweet and said, “It took 40 years of research to arrive at $BTC. It took less than a decade more to realize the limitations of blockchain and to find the solution in $IOTA.” Dan famously replied to me that, “Only morons buy IOTA.” That got a lot of attention! Everyone who defended IOTA or said anything positive about it was instantly blocked by Dan Held! Thanks to that singular event, I got the title, “King of Morons,” which has brought all kinds of opportunities, including this interview! https://iotamorons.art/ even sent me a physical card!
4) We’ve heard you say that you’re not too comfortable with Discord (“a whole different beast”). Has the view changed now? Where I’m heading towards is, of course, the core of IOTA social media — — “spec”. Do you spend time there? Who’s your favourite character in spec, and your favourite moment, if any, there!
I just have limited time and limited abilities. On my phone I have Telegram, GroupMe, Messenger, Discord, Twitter, Reddit, . . . it is really overwhelming to someone whose life goal at age 12 was to be a hermit in the mountains or desert. I am still not very comfortable with Discord, so I mainly stick to Twitter. It’s too bad, because there are a lot of great conversations happening on Discord–I think the trouble is that there are TOO MANY conversations happening and I cannot filter through them effectively. I don’t think I have even visited the Spec channel.
5) What are the projects (at least tangentially linked to IOTA) that you’re involved in right now?
I have been providing the English narration for IOTA Monthly, which has been fun. I have iota4.us which I hope to build–there is opportunity for Content Creators to write articles if anyone is interested. My intent is to do advertising for IOTA, and for iota4.us to be the landing page that introduces the general public to IOTA. Also, I am planning an NFT collection for Soonaverse to support a team of undergraduates who are helping me with some research into harmful algae blooms! I came up with a unique idea to mitigate the problem through biological means. I am not a research professor, and I have no funding, so I want to do the NFT collection to support the students and buy a bit of equipment to carry out the research more effectively. Harmful algae blooms are a worldwide problem, so if the idea works I will start a company, and holders of the NFTs would get to share in profits. I cannot promise anything, except that anyone who buys the NFTs will directly support undergraduate biology students in some exciting research.