Knight of Blockchain
Dr Kristian Haehndel offers a refreshing outlook on blockchain’s potential societal impact
Blockchain stands to bring about widespread societal change. Dr. Kristian Haehndel is leading the charge on applying the technology for good and speaks to Block in an exclusive interview.
What is DQR’s genesis?
Strangely enough, part of my answer is in your question because Genesis Mining, the world’s leading crypto mining company, cofounded DQR.
Marco Streng, Dr. Marco Krohn – Genesis Mining’s founders – our other partners, and I share a common dream of bringing back the blockchain ecosystem closer to Satoshi Nakamoto’s original philosophy.
The idea behind Bitcoin was formed following the 2008 crisis. It became obvious that letting a few hundred people – those running the central banks and the biggest financial institutions – decide the future of more than 7 billion individuals did not make sense. The decentralised technology known as the blockchain that was invented to support one of the first cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin, holds in its DNA the promise of redistributing power to everyone.
But like with the Internet, a few actors tried to take advantage of this technology for pure personal gain. We, therefore, felt that the market was in need of a group whose goal is to return to the core ethos of blockchain and its original vision of decentralisation and egalitarianism.
How is DQR bringing something new to the crypto ecosystem?
Offering a cryptocurrency exchange is an essential piece of this puzzle as it is the one that generates income, and we need to create wealth before we can redistribute it. But if our vision is to empower people, we also need two other critical pillars: education and a foundation.
Education is our first mission. We want to explain how decentralised technology may shift power back to the people and allow a more inclusive financial system. Giving back is more than a second mission for us – it is the heart of our project and the main reason why we launched the DQR group.
It is true that extreme poverty has been radically reduced in 200 years. We have gone from 94% of the worldwide population living in extreme poverty to only 10%, but we still have so much left to do. We will, therefore, dedicate a significant part of our revenue towards reducing global poverty thanks to our blockchain-based foundation. Powered by decentralised technology, our foundation won’t be under our control, but under that of our customers, who will decide and vote on how to allocate the funds to the humanitarian projects they support.
“Giving back is more than a second mission for us – it is the heart of our project”
Where does your name come from?
DQR means Digital Quantitative Research. The company was originally conceived by Dr Anthony Jefferies, Dr Torsten Frank and I to research cryptocurrencies and related technologies. We then broadened the scope of the company but the roots of our project are still deeply ingrained in this original company.
I am fully aware that this name is not the most appealing one, but it is the name that explains who we are in the most honest way. And this is what counts for us. Honesty and transparency are part of our core values. It would, therefore, feel strange to take an appealing name simply because people would remember it more easily. We are German PhDs and engineers, so you can trust us on one point: DQR has a name which guarantees you a win at Scrabble! More seriously, we have great expectations for our services. To use Geoffrey Moore’s analogy, our sector is starting to cross the chasm of technology adoption between the early adopters and the early majority. This means that customers’ expectations are rapidly changing and we see a gap between the current market offer and what the general public is likely to expect from a trading platform. We intend to answer that need by offering a product that will empower everyone.
“Revolution is probably not the best word to describe the new balance that we are trying to build. Disruptive evolution would be more fitting, in my opinion”
Why do you think Malta is attracting the world blockchain ecosystem?
Some people may think that it is merely a coincidence that Malta is currently becoming the biggest blockchain hub in the world. But let me explain why, in my opinion, this had to happen.
The first point that needs to be emphasised is that both Malta and our sector are growing incredibly fast, because they are at the forefront of technological evolution. Both are looking to write the future and they understood that they obviously have a common interest to walk that road together.
History has proved many times that when a country is ready and willing to embrace a new technology or industry, unprecedented growth follows, and that benefits both of them. This is exactly what is starting to happen in Malta.
Furthermore, I believe there is a perfect alignment between the
blockchain’s core values and the Maltese culture. This might sound strange, but I can actually see a lot of commonality between the Maltese Knights and us all, pioneers of the blockchain ecosystem. We almost share the same DNA. We believe in freedom for everyone, and not just for a few. The Maltese order’s original purpose was to secure free access to spiritual well being. The blockchain’s purpose is to secure free access to economic well-being.
Our mission is to empower people. For many centuries, the Maltese order protected the poor, the ill, and the weak. In my opinion, blockchain technology was invented to give a voice to those excluded from the financial sector, the under-banked or potentially the unbanked.
What is so specific about the blockchain revolution?
There have always been people like us, people that dream to change the world, to reshape it, to rebalance it, to leave a legacy behind. But apart from very few exceptions, they did not manage to reach their goal. And for those who did, the road was always paved with a lot of blood.
For the first time in history, weapons, guns, and bullets are no longer the only technology that may allow a new order. With Blockchain, like Arthur and Merlin the magician, intelligence and consciousness can defeat brute strength. Why? Simply because we managed to create a decentralised technology that gives people the option to peacefully change the world.
I also believe that it is key that the blockchain community does not try to break the old world. On the contrary, we should work collaboratively with whoever wants to help – and this includes, of course, actors from the traditional banking system – to create positive change on a global scale. “Revolution” is probably not the best word to describe the new balance that we are trying to build. “Disruptive evolution” would be more fitting, in my opinion.
You have been in Malta for almost a year now, do you feel at home?
Malta is now our common home, and we will be leading this “disruptive evolution” from here. On behalf of the entire blockchain sector, I would like to thank Malta for treating us
like their sons and daughters. You may rest assured that the blockchain sector will be a loyal and long-term partner for Malta. Together we are making history.