IOTA drama behind the scenes: Now the founder of the coin speaks out

  • IOTA’s founder David Sønstebø was „removed“ from the IOTA Foundation on December 10.
  • Now he has published an article about it. He says that the consequences of the separation were avoidable.

IOTA founder David Sønstebø broke his silence on the matter of his departure on December 26.

Sønstebø published a statement on Medium. In the posting, he gave his side of the story and left public messages for the remaining IOTA Foundation board members.

Technically happy

For the public, IOTA moved in a positive direction in late 2020. In December, IOTA formed a partnership related to environmental sustainability solutions. On November 30, the platform announced its next-generation wallet – Firefly. Also, IOTA 1.5’s public test network went live, called Chrysalis. Behind the scenes, however, excitement was growing.

Sparse at first

The first official indication that something was amiss came in the form of a short post on the IOTA Foundation (IF) blog. In it, the board of directors and the supervisory board stated that their interests and Sønstebø’s had „significantly diverged.“ They thanked him for founding the entity they led and wished him entrepreneurial success.

On Dec. 12, however, an addendum appeared on the blog. The foundation reminded readers that „IOTA is not about any one person.“ At the same time, the foundation emphasized the role David Sønstebø played in the founding and initial buildup. They also wrote that his departure „changes absolutely nothing“ about the strategy and deployment of Chrysalis and Coordicide.

Sønstebø’s response

On December 26, Sønstebø published his version of events. He explains that he initially kept quiet so that the publication of Chrysalis could continue.

Sønstebø claims that what prompted him to write his article was the avoidable chaos created by the IOTA Foundation. His departure, he writes, could have been coordinated between him and IF to quell loose talk.

Rather than describing a tit-for-tat style attack, Sønstebø points to three salient features of the project’s evolution that led to the split. He focuses on the maturation of the project and the need for a separate CEO/COO.

He then focuses on finances (especially in 2020) and his repeated proposal to liquidate the foundation to keep the IOTA project itself independent of the markets.

He also emphasizes that the liquidation proposal is not due to financial problems of the IOTA Foundation. Last, he describes a panicked board that sees a potential benefit – the creation of new services – slipping away. In his view as a founder, they never had that opportunity.

Loving and non-loving goodbyes

After giving his perspective, Sønstebø offers parting words for each member of the board and the supervisory board. For some he has fond memories, for others a scathing critique. And for one, merely, „And then S#!t happened.“