After sacking at IOTA: founder Sønstebø fires back

The IOTA Foundation had surprisingly fired founder and CEO David Sønstebø in mid-December. Now Sønstebø is coming forward with his side of the story. According to the story, camps have formed behind the scenes at IOTA.

Peaceful Christmas and the turn of the year are being severely disrupted at the IOTA Foundation. Because the dismissal of chairman of the board and IOTA co-founder David Sønstebø trembles after. In an open letter, Sønstebø accuses the IOTA Foundation of acting “clumsily, panickily and simply unprofessionally.” On the one hand, Sønstebø says he is relieved to be free of the workload at IOTA. But the self-confident Norwegian is eager to clarify some details.

Power struggle in the IOTA Foundation – Sønstebø attacks Schiener

Not only by research of IOTA reconnaissance “Hund” one knows that in the guidance floor of IOTA personal strife coins the atmosphere. Sønstebø, of course, comes off well in the self-reflection, but he attacks Dominik Schiener head-on. Schiener is officially listed as co-founder and co-chair of the foundation at IOTA. Sønstebø is now demanding that Schiener stop calling himself IOTA co-founder. After all, he, Sønstebø, had lured Schiener to IOTA in the first place. There, Schiener had helped build the foundation, but had played no role in conceptual or technological questions about IOTA. It was time for the public to know about it, Sønstebø concludes his account. Schiener is now in a sole position of power at the IOTA Foundation as a result of Sønstebø’s departure, as determined by its charter.

Serguei Popov, on the other hand, another co-founder of IOTA and a board member at the foundation, has integrity, according to Sønstebø. Sønstebø would also work with the two members of the supervisory board of the IOTA Foundation, Clint Walker and Richard Soley, again at any time. Thus, the conflict comes to a head with a confrontation between Schiener and Sønstebø. And Sønstebø provides insight on where the differing ideas about the future of IOTA and the foundation became clear.

Sønstebø: IOTA Foundation is at a crossroads

Sønstebø emphasizes that the public equation of IOTA and the foundation is wrong. It was the IOTA project that made the foundation possible. But at the IOTA Foundation, he says, a number of things have recently gone wrong. For example, Sønstebø’s demand to install a full-time CEO at IOTA had not been met. However, such a position, filled by an experienced manager, is needed at the IOTA Foundation to avoid embarrassments such as unmet schedules.

IOTA also needs to grow up financially. It is true that the recurring reports about an impending insolvency of the IOTA Foundation are wrong, writes Sønstebø. Nonetheless, he says, the IOTA Foundation must secure itself financially in the long term and take a clear position. As a role model, he suggests the Ethereum Foundation, which sees itself as part of the Ethereum ecosystem (ETH), not the center of it. In the case of the IOTA Foundation, he says, there is a risk that it, as a “centralized German organization,” will misinterpret its importance and fall into blocking innovations through copyrights.

Conclusion: No peace at IOTA

The tone is partly conciliatory, but the content is a general reckoning: David Sønstebø provides deep insights into the situation at IOTA and the foundation. A lack of competence, leadership weaknesses and a lack of ideas are obstacles at IOTA that are also revealed in the person of Schiener – at least if you believe Sønstebø. However, Sønstebø himself has repeatedly attracted attention with verbal attacks and dubious business deals. Now he is trying to protect his role as IOTA founder and is taking a shot at Schiener. In the new year, Sønstebø wants to make his plans for IOTA public and push his project IoTIFY forward. The current open letter is not a closing, but a comma, Sønstebø explains. So one has to wonder: After the already turbulent crypto year 2020 for IOTA, 2021 could also become a year in which internal camp battles hinder the urgently needed technological progress.

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