Ever since we at CryptoArticles have heard of SWARM, we have been avid followers of the company and the developments. We also met with a lot of people involved with Swarm, including Joel Dietz and Jef Cavens, whom we consider as good friends. We are also glad to see that Joel Dietz has made some time for us to do an interview.
Serge: Can you explain to the novices and people that just entered the digital currency community what Swarm exactly is and what it does?
Joel Dietz: I describe Swarm in the simplest terms as a network for funding projects. We allow each project to create a coin and sell it in order to raise money. However Swarm is more than this narrows definition.
During a brainstorming session we realised that the current power base is being monopolized by the top 1% of the richest people and businesses in the world. In a sense the only people and businesses that are to participate in a meaningful way in economic life are these 1%-ters. We wanted to change that because 1% of the world population is currently deciding the fate and business strategies for the other 99%. Yes, I know, a bit simplistically put, though accurate nonetheless.
If we look at the global structure of the world of business or innovation, the right to invest and innovate is in the grips of only the happy few with the resources. These “happy few” force us to ask them permission to innovate and deny our freedom to participate and create new things. This is mainly because it’s to ‘protect’ us from our lack of intelligence. Ironically these same ‘protectors’ would not mind if we gamble our meagre savings at casinos or on the lottery, lest we accidentally do something of value and climb a step on the economic ladder and actually contribute to society by creating something wonderful.
We at Swarm liked to see that to change and want to give back that power back to the people. So in Berlin on 17/06/2014 we declared a revolution. Unlike past revolutions, this is a revolution not to be joined, but to be owned. This is a fundamental fight for democracy, this is the Swarm Spring.
We believe that we can build a better future. We believe that we can enable all to participate in a revolution of collective ownership, something that will radically shift the nature of human society. Witness the impact that the internet revolution has brought to bear on everything from book sales, to music, media, the Arab states, and even to the way we catch a taxi. Swarm will bring the same revolution; some might call it evolution, to the finance sector.
Swarm is delivering this already. We focus on a couple aspects:
· Cryptoequity. Cryptoequity is a replacement for traditional investment infrastructure. It is decentralized, and democratic and auditable. It allows flexibility in operating to suit any project requiring an investment. It permits the parameters of the equity to be aligned with what is best for the project. This may include both a share of profit or growth and even a true and equitable share of decision making power.
· Crowd sourced due diligence. The purpose of regulatory bodies is to avoid the manipulation of people via various scams and we salute this purpose. However if look at the facts this has resulted in a system that has become increasingly dysfunctional and corrupt. All that has been achieved is a stifling of innovation, including a complex framework whereby fraud and misdirection of the highest order has been allowed to flourish. We haven’t forgotten the financial crisis and who the instigators and “perps” were of said crisis. With each and every single one of these “instigators” there was and currently is “oversight of some kind”. In my opinion the oversight committees have failed to protect the people, which is a poses the question of corruption in those ranks. Now don’t get me wrong, some of these people are really doing a wonderful job but all it takes is the temptation of corruption. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. So dividing the “power” up into more agents/people/whatever would be a good Idea don’t you think?
· Differentiating aspect of Swarm is that our technology allows us to distribute coins to all swarm holders. These coins may be:
1. A percentage of some coin launched via the Swarm network (i.e. a share in a project)
2. A coin that gives special access to types of information or purchases available exclusively to members of Swarm (i.e. a coupon)
3. A coin that gives access to exclusive events (i.e. a ticket)
Someone might describe Swarm like a crypto-kick-starter offered via coins, with the added intention of gradually introducing elements of cryptoequity as the legal framework. It would be an apt description but like I stated before, Swarm is much more complex than that.
Serge: We know that Swarm have had some very successful projects that used the Swarm platform. Do you have any personal favourite project that you said to yourself from: “wow this is really a great idea !”?
Joel Dietz: In my opinion every idea and start-up has its charms and we are stoked about them all. However you asked a tricky question Serge and I do not want to play favourites here too much (laughs). Well I will pick one out that you are quite familiar with; The Bitcoin comic.
What I like about the comic is the fact is tells a story about Bitcoin, who the illusive creator (or creators)might be and the recent media hype around it all, the subtle and hidden messages that have been worked into this marvellous comic.
But of course you know all about that, don’t you Serge? You have been involved with translating the Bitcoin comic from Spanish to English and promoting the comic after all. Maybe your promoting, alongside with the excellent graphics and story of the comic is one of the reasons why the Bitcoin comic was one of our success stories on the Swarm platform. But let’s be frank: Alex Preukschat did a wonderful job at the inside Bitcoins congress at presenting his comic to the public. Add to that that he is a very intelligent and all around great guy it is no wonder that the Bitcoin comic is, in my opinion, such a success.
Serge: Well, we were reading an article the other day where Mr. Peel said that “the Iphone program was more complex than the Apollo or lunar landings” and that “we are very far off from the ability to decentralise anything”. Both statements were, in my opinion at least, a bit short sighted and has a hint of fear in those sentiments. We find it a bit idiotic to state that “the Iphone program was more complex than the Apollo or lunar landings”. The speaker is ripping it out of the historical ti
me and place. The second statement is also a bit narrow minded if we see for example how Uber is taking off in a lot of countries around the world. So Mr Dietz what are your thoughts on these statements and what do you think the future holds?
Joel Dietz: I quite agree with your opinions Serge. Now what the future will hold is difficult to say. I think we will see an increase of people that are getting shaken up what the digital currency community is all about and will join our ranks. People are getting fed up with all these rules, control organs the government is setting up, etc. Don’t get me wrong control institutes can be a good thing but only if implemented correctly and devoid from corruption. As long as that is a contributing factor, I suspect people will get more disillusioned from the government practises.
As for the statements that have been made; I call it “the wisdom of crowds”, which blows nearly all critiques on decentralisation out of the water. Swarm gives the opportunity to to crowd-select, crowd-vet, and crowd-fund start-ups.
1. The crowd knows best what is needed in a specific time and domain,
2. The same crowd is also the first user/customer/advocates of the product, and
3. The same crowd is the first to iterate the project.
Such diverse and comprehensive “single source” domain expertise is unlikely to be available for any Venture Capital Firm. Now it is true that in our current world system of doing business and creating start-ups, there are problems. Far too many start-ups are designed specifically for the Venture Capital processes that are effectively basing everything on the “centralized DNA”. The VC formula is fairly simple, well documented, and contains suitably developed infrastructure. The VC process efficiently removes promising innovations from a decentralized ecosystem, repackages them, and injects them into the 20th century finance model of banks, brokers, and IPOs.
The decentralization movement is being demonised in the media. Companies like by AirBnB and Uber, who may eventually expand into other markets (such as Amazon did from books). The media are portraying these companies like they have a relative monopoly position of acquisitions, scale, and market dominance. This portrayal is the antithesis of decentralization but fits in nicely with the policy of “attacking things we do not like and which challenges the current status quo”. We have to ask ourselves: why are companies like Uber so hugely successful?
Most of these companies sprung up for the need to address and the high taxi fees for example. The only way this can be done is to “attack them where it hurts; their income”. That is the only way change will come about. It was needed to create democracy and independence for the US from the British. This can also be said for every other country that has been created and/or has been revolutionised in the past 3 or 4 centuries.
Let’s look at the taxi’s and Uber. Yes we do have different taxi companies but what do we notice? Nearly every cab company is directly or indirectly linked with an umbrella organisation that represents every cab driver or taxi industry. Though the taxi companies are “independent” they are represented by “the taxi industry”. This sounds a lot like some shady monopoly. Of course I’m speaking of the Western countries.
Of course if big business takes a taxi they can write those expenses off their taxes because it is in the course of their work. So they don’t care if they have to pay 50euros/dollar or 150Euros/dollars. They get their money back one way or another. In these times of financial woe’s the normal hard working people do not have that option so for those people it DOES make a difference. In the wake of this Uber was established to create a fair and reasonable transport price.
As we continue to see companies not listening to what the people are saying, like too high a price and things like that, the established companies will get tough competition with innovative people at the helm of these “other companies”. Well if a company chooses for a quick fix and the easy way out without addressing the real structural problems I think we will see and exponential increase of these kinds of services.
I also think that the banks will reveal their plans with Bitcoin and digital currency in the next year or so. From what I gathered from you and other sources, that banks are already looking into the Bitcoin phenomena and the blockchain technology. If the banks are interested there will be generally speaking good tidings ahead. What I mean by that is that Bitcoin and the blockchain technology might become more generally accepted than it already is.
We at CryptoArticles would like to thank Joel Dietz for this insightful interview and we would like to wish him and the entire Swarm team happy holidays.