Today we are talking with Kadan Stadelmann who is the CTO at Komodo.
- Komodo is an open, composable multi-chain platform which provides business-friendly blockchain solutions that are secure, scalable, interoperable, and adaptable, and whose technology suite, the Antara framework, offers tools for end-to-end blockchain development. Komodo have also released AtomicDex which is the worlds first decentralised exchange to use atomic swap technology.
We’d like to kick things off by asking you a couple of questions regarding your formative years.
1) Firstly, can you tell us the things which interested you the most throughout your childhood and teenage years, and what brought you the most happiness?
If I had to express it in one word, I’d say numbers. Just straight numbers, computers, computer games, mathematics, and everything related to these areas was something that I really loved during my childhood. I really had a strong interest in computers, technical devices (including radios back in the day) and everything related to electronics and information technologies. All these things really satisfied me growing up.
2) Who were your biggest influences growing up, and why did they have such a profound effect on you?
Whilst growing up, thankfully my parents; especially my father and later on my mother - they had the biggest influence on me. Also music. I grew up with a lot of music, and I also grew up reading and writing (I loved reading). But yes, I’d say the main influences were definitely my father, my mother and music.
3) Teenage years are often a turbulent time for many, so on this note, can you name a time which was tough for you, and how you managed to overcome it?
One thing that comes straight to my mind, and I won’t go too deep into the details, was the assassination of my father who was working in the diplomatic corps back in the day in a North African country. I would say this gave me the toughest time of my life, and by fleeing into the digital cyber world I could overcome all of this as it was also a way for me to process a lot of anger, sadness, frustration, and turn all of it into positive and creative energy. It just so happens that the first lines of coding was actually something I was taught by my father who was a self-taught coder, and it really made me feel like a magician and a wizard as I felt that I could create something out of nothing.
So I think this gave me a lot of positive energy for the rest of my life.
4) If there was some advice you could give young aspiring individuals, advice which you would really have liked to have heard yourself as a young person, what would it be?
Never give up.
I think that's something many people really fight with, and often people will lose ambition too fast and don’t believe in themselves. So I say always believe in yourself, always give 110 percent, and never give up.
I’d also like to add that the most valuable thing in life is knowledge. I think this is something which young people really forget as often they’ll pursue money and aim to become millionaires or whatever. But I feel that many often forget about the real value in life, and that's definitely knowledge.
We are now going to ask you some questions which will hopefully give our readers something to go on regarding you as a person.
5) Firstly, what are the particular strengths that you feel have made you successful in your field (don’t hold back)?
Keeping focus, and having this unbounded ambition. I always give 110 percent because I personally believe that every human is able to achieve just about anything; if more people apply this to themselves, there are literally no limits to what we can achieve as a species. So I believe I have this characteristic, and so do the people I work with - we all have this thirst for more knowledge and a strong focus which makes us believe that we can achieve anything. So I guess this has really helped me in life and in my career.
6) What would you say is your most controversial opinion as regards to blockchain or the crypto space?
I always kind of hoped that cryptocurrencies would become a truly decentralized form of this global financial power which economies and societies are based on. In the beginning when I got to know about Bitcoin and all these P2P decentralized cryptographic technologies, I thought it would likely result in this financial power being distributed in a much more decentralized manner, however reality taught me that structures and people behind the financial system which is controlling the traditional financial layer, also kind of made this shift over to the crypto world. So what we have seen is multi-billion dollar companies controlling large parts of this ecosystem and industry, not just from a financial perspective, but in general.
So I had really hoped decentralization in the form of value distribution would be in a much more distributed way. If you look at the poorest of the poor, they are still the poorest of the poor, and blockchain hasn't helped them at all. It’s actually quite the opposite - it’s really helped and maximized the profits of the already big players.
7) In the course of your day you can become under the most ridiculous pressures and stresses, what is your particular way of dealing with this?
I’d say meditation.
I practice Falun Gong, and I also try to spend time in nature as I think it's a great way of releasing stress and excess energy which I haven't let out in the course of a day. Taking a minute or two to completely detach from your emotions and thoughts and everything I have been doing in the day really allows me to overcome any level of stress. Even when things are hitting the fan, I simply step back, breathe in, and afterwards I am able to focus and work much better. I think every human should try meditation.
8) Outside of crypto/blockchain, what is your favorite thing to do?
Over the last couple of years I have deeply fell in love with AI technology; GAI’s and how neural networks function from an IT perspective etc. So I have invested a lot of my free time and resources into this area. To me it's fascinating that you are able to set up technology that attaches to publicly available information and knowledge, and is able to autonomously process this data in a very dynamic way. For example, I have a vision to build up a little data centre which will be able to extend itself by monitoring the available resources, and if necessary, ordering new devices, new memory, new chips, and even order the admins and dev-ops agents to mount this new hardware. It’ll all be 100 percent managed by the machine itself. This vision is pretty fascinating to me.
I also love spending time with my family. I’m married and have kids, so I always try to spend quality time with them, and we all love travelling, experiencing new cultures and meeting new people. I believe spending time with other people from other countries is something that really changes your life, and how you look at life, the world and society.
We are now going to ask you some creative and humorous questions, and we are sure people will love to see you what you can come up with.
9) What is the most humorous thing you have seen or experienced during your time in the crypto/blockchain space?
There are many things, but I guess one that comes to mind happened 1 or 2 years ago at a blockchain event in Germany, and I remember it involved an older woman who must have been around 80 years old. At the time I thought she was maybe attending with a grandkid or something, but she came over to chat with us, and she asked me something to do with blockchain gambling and casinos. I of course told her that Komodo didn’t have anything to do with that, but it was both really cool and funny as it was like my Grandma asking me about blockchain gambling systems.
10) If you somehow managed to meet Satoshi Nakamoto (that is he is a male person in this scenario) on his deathbed, but only had time to ask him one question, what would it be? Bear in mind that you don’t have much time at all, so make it a good one.
Where are your private keys? Haha.
Jokes aside, I would ask him which government he was working for during the Bitcoin project. I’d definitely ask him that.
11) Can you give three policies you'd enact if you became the president of a country tomorrow?
Knowledge and education needs to be accessible for everyone and 100 percent free. I just think this is something that has to be done, so this would be the first one.
In terms of the second thing, I believe a government could operate slightly more like a profititable company, and that they should view the global political system more from an economic standpoint. Increased actions could be taken to generate profit to fund programs for the public good, as opposed to over relying on taxation of a country’s citizens. Basically, I’m all for reducing tax burdens on people and making government work more for the public.
Finally, I’d like to look into resourcing balancing programs between countries, where they can work together to more formally trade off operational costs necessary to combat a variety of issues, be it poverty, unforeseen refugee crises, climate change, diseases etc.
Communities are often an important backbone for many crypto/blockchain projects, so we’d now like to get some personal thoughts on the community side of things.
12) What do you feel makes the Komodo community unique compared to others?
The Komodo community doesn't have this geo-centric or ideological-centric community. It consists of very different people from very different countries, and I’d say the unique nature of each individual is just as unique as the community itself. So the Komodo team always tries to identify with the community's beliefs, and we are very thankful that we don't have much trolling or negativity. It makes us happy to see people communicating in a positive manner, and even when there is criticism, it is done in a constructive way so we the Devs are able to fix or optimise things, or the marketing group can prepare different materials in different formats and dimensions so that the end-user is happy. Quite simply, the Komodo community doesn’t have the toxicity which I have sadly seen in many other communities, and I’m very happy and proud of that.
13) Project aside, what are some other crypto/blockchain communities that you admire and why (this is not an endorsement)?
Project vision aside (and I’m talking about more about the community), I think the Tezos project has a very technical community with a lot of Dev related talk constantly going on. Same would apply with Pirate Chain (built on Komodo) who are a pure privacy focused community that is huge and also very technical.
14) What social-media platform do you like most and why, and are there any improvements which you feel can be made to these platforms for an even better community user-experience?
I'm actively using Twitter and Discord, and I’m also on Reddit and Facebook; although Komodo has stopped using Facebook. Personally, I’d say Discord is the main community channel that we use for real-time talk. What I do miss though are things like end-to-end user encryption, stuff like that which I am covering with additional tools like keybase (for example). But from a community perspective, Discord is the most active channel for Komodo.
In terms of improvements, I think Discord could benefit from additional features such as board-based layers where out of message (submitted from someone in the community for example) you can start a thread so stuff doesn't get lost so easily. This is something Discord could perhaps improve on, because if you don't screenshot a message, it gets lost.
15) With the endgame being mainstream adoption, do you think crypto/blockchain communities will still have an important role to play in a post-adoption environment?
If you look at the very first gaming projects when it comes to computer gaming, who were the communities back then? It was people just like you see in crypto communities today, and looking at the gaming industry a couple of decades after it started, you still have gaming boards and forums being the most valuable third party contribution source as that’s a lot of feedback and knowledge that only these groups can produce. So when we get to the stage where crypto reaches the mainstream level, we’ll still have these crypto communities. It’ll be like Red Hhat and Linux - when they went mainstream, they still had (and have) these open and decentralised communities playing an important role.
In our penultimate section we are going to ask you a question regarding Komodo.
16) What do you feel sets Komodo apart from your competitors (that is if you have any)?
First of all, I'd just like to say that we don't really look at other blockchain platforms as competitors. There is indeed a little tech run going on, but we don’t see this as a real competition because at the end of the day, we are all aiming for the same goal - this ultimate freedom which is based on cryptography and trustless systems.
But just from a tech perspective, I think when it comes to the tech layer that we’ve built, interoperability technology, DEXs etc, we are really happy that we’re already able to offer industry production ready systems and software. I think this is something which really highlights certain projects that aim to bring things into the real world, and not just running apps in an experimental environment or running proof of concepts into technological possibilities etc. So a really strong focus at Komodo is to get rock solid things out, and that they be available to everyone; not just for experienced developers, but also for really young and inexperienced developers. I think this sets Komodo apart from other projects, but once again, I don’t see it as a competition.
Well that just about does it, but before we end this interview we’d like to ask you for something which we believe will say a lot about your belief in the industry, and which may inspire those who are reading.
17) Can you come up with a short argument for our readers on why you feel cryptocurrency and blockchain (or just one) has a bright future?
Blockchain and crypto technology has the proven power to cause a revolution 3.0. If we look back in history, it was innovation and technology which were the driving powers behind many revolutions, and I think the same is going to happen with the financial/social layer. The technological potential of blockchain can cause a global revolution in favor of citizens.
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