IOTA: Co-founder Serguei Popov leaves foundation’s board – move controversial

At the IOTA Foundation, co-founder Serguei Popov is moving from the board of directors directly to the supervisory board. In the private sector, there is a cooling-off period of two years before such castles.

The IOTA Foundation announces its latest personnel change as a step into the future: ” Serguei Popov joins the supervisory board”, the announcement is titled. Experts know: Popov is one of the co-founders of IOTA and has been decisively involved in the fortunes of the foundation as a board member. Therefore, the decision provokes critical comments. One objection is that in Germany, where the IOTA Foundation is registered, the legislator has actually prohibited stock corporations from having management personnel move directly from the board of directors to the supervisory board. A cooling-off period of two years is intended to avoid conflicts of interest. Although the regulation does not apply to foundations, it shows its logic in the Popov example. Popov can hardly be expected to provide critical support for the IOTA Foundation on the Supervisory Board – after all, he himself helped to establish it and actively supported its decisions until the very end.

Meanwhile, IOTA co-founder Sergey Ivancheglo (Come-from-Beyond / CFB) comments on the matter in a polemical and personal manner. On Twitter, he writes that now all IOTA founders have left their creation, which is “mutilated” by “deadly culture” within the foundation. CFB had already turned his back on the IOTA Foundation in a dispute in 2019, and the third co-founder David Sønstebø was unexpectedly fired as CEO in December 2020. Both deny the current IOTA CEO and chairman of the board Dominik Schiener the predicate “co-founder”.

At IOTA itself, however, the situation sounds harmonious. Popov, a doctor of mathematics, wants to devote himself to his academic career again, he said. Schiener thanked Popov for his work. The latter himself emphasized that he had done everything he could for IOTA, and in particular, at least theoretically, solved problems in the technological development. Here, however, observers also recall that Popov already spoke in 2019 about having made the unloved coordinator in the Tanglenet of IOTA replaceable. However, the decentralized IOTA 2.0 aka Coordicide, which was also expected as a result, is still not ready for practice and the still centralized structure blocks expansion.

Fact: Serguei Popov had drastically reduced his activities for the IOTA Foundation early in 2021 when he gave up leadership of the research division. Popov always stayed out of the publicly trodden trench warfare between CFB, David Sønstebø and Dominik Schiener. The IOTA community thanked him for that as well, and predominantly congratulates Popov for the years of his life that he focused on IOTA.

Conclusion: IOTA is losing its founders

Serguei Popov is credited with the first IOTA whitepaper, Sønstebø was the public face of the IOTA Foundation for years, and CFB was something of a chief programmer. Their status as IOTA co-founders is undisputed, but their sympathies for IOTA seem to have cooled noticeably. Dominik Schiener, on the other hand, has secured an unusual amount of power for himself in the IOTA Foundation’s articles of association anyway and can now probably finally rule through without any objections. The supervisory board, which now has three members, has almost never intervened publicly at the IOA Foundation, despite calls from outside. Whether Schiener will propose a successor for Popov on the board is still open.

Realistically, Schiener now faces a Herculean task. Investors and the crypto scene urgently expect a decentralized IOTA 2.0 to ensure future viability. When it comes to implementation, Schiener now has to do without the advice and support of his expert co-founders. News of Popov’s appointment sent the price of IOTA down by 10 percent. Market participants apparently have considerable doubts as to whether Schiener will be able to deal with the constellation in which he no longer meets his peers.

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