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IOTA Founder issues clarification on exit, ‘divergent interests’

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It’s been a good few weeks for IOTA and its community. Not only did the development team release the Chrysalis Phase 2 testnet to the public in mid-December, but it also released an alpha version of Stronghold, an open-source software library for IOTA Seeds. However, December hasn’t been entirely free of controversy for IOTA, with the acrimonious exit of David Sønstebø shaping the news cycle in the first half of the month.

However, it would seem that the episode isn’t over yet. Weeks after the IOTA Foundation and David Sønstebø “parted ways,” Sønstebø has now come out with a statement highlighting his side of the story. Taking issue with the IOTA Foundation’s contention that “David’s interests and the interests of the IOTA Foundation have diverged significantly,” Sønstebø said,

“The official reasoning for my departure was communicated on the basis that there was some kind of contradiction between my interests and that of the organization. I categorically reject this blatantly false, dubiously motivated, and defamatory depiction of my person.”

The former IOTA Foundation exec also revealed that he had repeatedly brought to everyone’s notice the need to appoint a CEO/COO since IF was suffering from a case of “Founderitis.” However, he claimed,

“Regrettably and inexplicably, the Board repeatedly resisted this, despite me even naming a promising prospect from within IF. Unfortunately, this meant that the maturation of the Board was hampered.”

Sønstebø also took a shot at the IOTA Foundation’s emerging role in the community. Criticizing the same, he added,

“The IOTA Foundation is equivalent to the Coordinator in many aspects; it was conceived to support IOTA’s success in the early days, but not evolve into a centralized authority of IOTA in perpetuity. The IOTA Foundation is meant to become one of many influential entities in the ecosystem of IOTA.”

According to Sønstebø, these were the “divergent interests” the Foundation was talking about in its announcement. It should be noted, however, that the former exec was also quick to state that IOTA still has his “full conviction.” Finally, Sønstebø also assured IOTA’s community members that the IOTA Foundation is NOT on the verge of bankruptcy.

At the time of writing, the IOTA Foundation had not responded to Sønstebø’s latest salvo.


Jibin Mathew George is Editor-in-Chief at AMBCrypto. A domain expert in International Relations (European Politics), he has always been a believer in the unlimited possibilities afforded by blockchain and by extension, cryptocurrencies. As someone who has been watching and writing about this space for over 5 years now, Jibin has closely tracked the emergence of cryptos and digital assets as a separate asset class in portfolios world over. A lawyer by training, he previously contributed to the News and Research desk of Diplomacy & Beyond Plus. Before his stint at D&B, he was Editor at ED Times. Jibin also takes a great interest in politics, especially the corresponding effect political decisions and fiscal policy have on the world of finance, with a special focus on cryptocurrencies.
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