The twenty-two-year-old technology wizard is not a new face in the cryptocurrency scene. Often referred to as the “golden boy”, he earned his first millions when he was just seventeen years old. He is a co-founder of IOTA, a revolutionary new next-generation public distributed ledger that utilizes a novel convention called the “Tangle” at its core. At his young age, he is one of the most experienced blockchain entrepreneurs. Other founders include David Sonstebo, Sergey Ivancheglo, and Dr. Serguei Popov. Dominik has always been fascinated by new technologies and always wanting try something new, which led to his early adoption of the blockchain technology. He strongly believes and advocates that developing blockchain should not be for the sole purpose of getting rich, but developers should primarily focus on how to use this technology to solve problems.
Early life and Education
Dominik Schiener was born in December 1995 to a bricklayer and a cook, in a small village in South Tyrol, northern Italy. At a very early age, Dominik took interest in computers, and at the age of fourteen (14), he began to hack computer games and hacked down to number 1 in the world ranking list of the popular computer game, “Call of Duty”. He began to sell the modifications of the computer games he hacked and got a reasonable income compared to his age at the time. His parents wanted him to become a bricklayer because they thought that was the only way to make money. But Dominik had bigger plans for himself. At the age of 17, he was studying for his Matura.
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Right from the beginning, Dominik always had always strived to be entrepreneurial and independent. In South Tyrol where he grew up, he always felt constricted because according to him, they were a small minded people who knew little or nothing about technology and were a bit backward when it came to innovation and progress. As a teenager, he always felt like an outsider because he did not have peers who had the kind of drive he did and most people did not take him seriously at the time.
Blockchain Technology Career
Dominik came in contact with cryptocurrency for the first time in 2011. At that time, he was not fluent in English and found it difficult to understand the Bitcoin white paper. In the following year, in 2012, he finally got a grasp of what the Bitcoin was all about and became fascinated and very interested. He realized the potential the cryptocurrency had, and his customers were paying him through Paypal, and he was too young to be using Paypal, although he realized how very limited Paypal made him because it hindered innovation and young entrepreneurs. N
With Bitcoin, for the first time, he could pay his developers the world over without any formalities. He had also started Bitcoin mining. Due to his newfound interest in the cryptocurrency, he decided to start his own product and went to Zug, Switzerland, with half a million euros to begin his first cryptocurrency startup which was unsuccessful. When he tried to develop his startup, Bithaus GmbH, the Bitcoin crash happened and he lost all of his euros. After the loss, Dominik had to sell his company in order to pay outstanding bills. All of this happened when he was studying for his Matura.
The founders of IOTA, David Sonstebo, Dominik Schiener, Sergey Ivancheglo, and Dr. Serguei Popov all knew themselves in 2013, prior to when they all came together and founded IOTA. IOTA, which stands for “Internet of Things Application” was founded in 2015. The quads were looking for a platform were blockchain technology could add the most value, and the Internet of Things (IoT) was the perfect place because it had the most potential. They were not only seeking to automate the machine in order to make it faster, they also wanted to make it independent. They believed that if machines were independent, they could autonomously carry out transactions and exchange values. On the whole, they needed a completely new technology because the blockchain is not scalable. This gave birth to IOTA in 2015.
IOTA is an open-source distributed ledger and cryptocurrency focused on providing secure communications and payments between machines on the Internet of Things (IoT). It has its headquarters in Berlin, Germany. Unlike other cryptocurrencies, the IOTA does not use the traditional blockchain; it instead developed a new platform called Tangle, which uses a mathematical concept called Directed Acrylic Graph (DAG). Its transactions are free, regardless of the size. Also, confirmation times are fast, and the number of transactions the system can handle simultaneously is unlimited, and the system is scalable. For its own transaction to be valid, each node in a DAG Tangle must approve two previous transactions. This has two implications: First, it removes “miners” as entities to validate transactions, thereby removing a possible bottleneck when transaction speed and numbers are high; second, the network’s growth and speed becomes directly proportional to the numbers of its users, thereby amplifying the “network effect”.
IOTA is overseen by the IOTA Foundation, which is a non-profit foundation dedicated to developing the technology and making it license-free to enable developers to work with. The foundation also established a strong collaboration with German automaker, Volkswagen, and the German energy company, Innogy, to develop CarPass, which is an IOTA-based technology that will ensure secure audit trails, digital identities, and charging networks for cars.
IOTA & Friends
IOTA teamed up with some of the biggest global corporate names like Cisco Systems, Volkswagen, Bosch, and Samsung. It is also supported by China’s Huawei group. Another important person joining the team is Johann Jungwirth, the Chief Digital Officer of Volkswagen, who will be joining the supervisory board of the IOTA Foundation. This foundation and IOTA’s parent company is non-profit and wants to bring value first. It is the first cryptocurrency company that is government-approved and non-profit.
This new addition should increase interest towards the project. As a Chief Digital Officer in Volkswagen, Johann Jungwirth is majorly responsible for the digital transformation of the whole Volkswagen group, including Porsche, Audi, Bentley, Lamborghini, Bugatti and more. He has also worked as President of Research at Mercedes-Benz and as Director of MAC Systems Engineering for the European wing of Apple.
Mr. Jungwirth has incredible in-depth experience with technology and technology markets. His vision and presence in the IOTA board is likely to bring great value and experience to the project. This could mean that the foundation will work faster to bring the technology to the market as soon as possible. Doing this they will bring new business models and new applications for the Internet of Things.
The IOTA technology has already enabled large payments to be transacted without fees. It has increased transparency in logistics, secure updates and free from fees micropayments for electric vehicle charging and parking.
IOTA’s Increase in Value
According to consultancy firm Bain, the IoT market is expected to be worth $470 billion by 2020. Through IOTA Foundation, the German nonprofit behind the cryptocurrency, IOTA is an early mover in this space. As stated earlier, it has already partnered with notable global companies which will play a leading role in IoT, such as Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO) and Samsung Electronics Ltd. (SSNLF), in order to create a data marketplace that can be monetized later. IOTA has also partnered with Innogy, an energy company. Currently, MIOTA is trading at $1.61 and has a market cap of $4.47 billion, roughly 4% that of bitcoin.
According to a statement made by Kerstin Eichmann of Innogy, it is expected that a machine will be able to pay its own assembly, maintenance, energy, and also pay for its liability insurance by giving data, computing power, physical or storage facilities to other machines. The network effect of these partnerships is expected to make IOTA popular and enable nano-transactions on its platform. At the end of 2016, IOTA said that it had processed more than three million transactions on its platform.
Dominik says that one of the lessons he has learned is that no one completely understands where the blockchain technology is headed. He says that they are still in the early stages of development and have not been able to fully define this technology. There has been no solution yet to find a way to make the blockchain scalable and production ready. He says that he has realized that the one way to make blockchain a success story is to bring the entire ecosystem together. To achieve this, the industry and the community would have to sit down at one table and work together to push blockchain forward.