Q: Hi Leonard, Tell us about yourself
Ok, well I was born in Pretoria, South Africa in the late 1960’s but spent most of my life growing up in Johannesburg. At the age of 14 my dad bought me a ZX Sinclair which had a very rudimentary implementation of the BASIC language. I wrote the classic “Hello World” program and that was it, I was hooked on programming. I eventually ended teaching myself assembly language, procedural languages like Pascal and even delved into mainframe languages like RPG.
After my military service I went to work for Drake Networking Systems (DNS) who were the Thomas Conrad distributors for Africa. I discovered them at a trade show and managed to get an interview with the MD on their stand. I guess he liked me as I walked away with a job even though I still had about six months to serve. Due to my work in the military I was well aware of the advancements that had been made in inter-networking and knew this was an area I wanted to learn more about. Thomas Conrad was the premium ARCNet product at the time and Drake had the biggest ARCNet installation in the world at a client called Edgars. It was during my time at DNS that the 1st ethernet networking cards became available on the market. It was also around that time that bulletin boards were starting to interconnect so you could hop onto one and then bounce to others without disconnecting. I remember thinking to myself “when this connectivity goes mainstream things are really going to change”.
Fast forward some years and I ended working with a friend who had started an ISP. Those were real exciting times; being at the forefront of bringing Internet connectivity to the South African landscape. The thing was all along I had this niggling thing in the back of my head about building real apps that could run over the Internet, so eventually I left and started an Internet application incubator company.
Incubating software systems is intellectually very rewarding as you are constantly learning about new industries and use-cases. When Mauritius opened it’s doors around 2006 I decided to move the company and relocate my family, which we did early 2007 and then about 14 months later everything changed and I started impactChoice.
Q: Tell us more about your team! Do they all have background of crypto?
We’re a little different to many of the current ICO’s out there in that we are an existing business that’s been around for nearly a decade in the environmental sustainability space. The management team have a solid track record in managing businesses. On the technical side we have deep competency in the development process. In August of 2016 we decided to migrate one of our core systems to a distributed ledger which we launched in April 2017. Cryptocurrencies per se is relatively new to us but code is code and we are very excited to be part of the new disruptive economy.
Q: What inspired you to do an ICO?
I have a close friend who’s been involved in the crypto space for a while. He cornered me a few months back and we had a deep philosophical and technical discussion about what’s happening in the crypto space. That conversation led to 2 key points of understanding.
Firstly, an ICO is about so much more than raising capital. Sure, I know there are a lot of ICO’s out there that’s just about the money but for us it’s much, much deeper. No other funding mechanism can result in a project having an active, engaged, supportive, global, grassroots community that creates a network effect.
Secondly, adding a cryptocurrency to our core systems running on blockchain provided the final piece we needed to create a platform that would allow us to achieve one of our core objectives as a company, which is to enable everyone to contribute to preserving our environment.
Our ICO is not only exciting but it’s vital to achieving our mission.
Q: How did the idea of Earth Token come about? Is this something you were doing before?
As you know, we’ve been providing Environmental Sustainability solutions since 2009. From day one, we realized that if we were going to be in any way effective in achieving our vision, there were two things we had to do.
One, we had to develop solutions, services and best practices that enabled business to reduce and share the financial burden thatis typically associated with environmental initiatives, and two, we had to involve as many folks as possible in sustainability efforts.
We built the world’s first Carbon Asset Management platform that allowed business to involve customer in their mitigation efforts at the transactional level.So, coming back to what I said earlier, we finally have all the pieces – a platform that eliminates all the complexity we we’re dealing with on a day-to-day basis, and the means via Earth Token to reach a massive audience and incentivize them to actively participate.
We operate in an industry that requires disruptive change. If you read our whitepaper you will understand the disruptive nature of what we are trying to achieve. The idea was born from the need to democratise the landscape within we operate.
Earth Token is a great name for our token, because that’s what it’s all about.
Q: What is the cap for your ICO and how did you come to chose that number? What do you think of unlimited ICO’s? How much money is too much money to be raised in an ICO?
Our cap is 200k ETH. We based this number on what we calculated we needed to achieve 2 distinct milestones. Firstly we need to bootstrap the development of the Natural Asset Exchange (NAE), coupled with the need to expand our existing client base to drive volumes across the NAE. The second milestone is to have the funding for specific targeted investments that will significantly ramp demand and volumes across the NAE, which ultimately result in the Earth Token growing in value as it’s Store of Value and Medium of Exchange properties manifest themselves.
Unlike a lot of other folks I personally have no ill feeling towards unlimited ICO’s. Are ICO’s not democratising the capital market? If the underpinning fundamentals support “unlimited” funding, why not? What’s really important to look at, and this goes for all ICO’s, what is the track record of the management team, the concept, market readiness, etc. Bear in mind I’ve lived through the Internet bubble and seen stupid money thrown as stupid ideas by smart people who got caught up in the hype.
I guess I’m biased ‘cause my life experience is deeply rooted in new technology and development. The right idea, at the right time, with the right management team can change the world, so why not fund them to the hilt. Conversely throwing “unlimited” capital at a team with no experience, a flimsy idea and a so-so concept is just silly in my opinion.
Empowering everyone to participate in wealth creation is what we need. For too long have too few… you know what I mean…
Q: If you successfully crowd sell with your ICO, where will your company be based?
We were incorporated as a Global Category One License company in Mauritius in 2009 and have no plans to move to another jurisdiction at this time.
Q: To what level of scrutiny do you feel ICO’s should be held to?
This may be controversial but I believe the accountability rests with the contributor. What I mean is, we’ve already seen what happens when consumers are “protected” by regulation in a systemically corrupt system.
The fact of the matter is that blockchains are slowly herding us collectively into the realm of personal sovereignty, which comes with responsibility. My Bitcoin wallet empowers me to make my own financial decisions and take personal financial responsibility. It is and should be up to me to make my own decisions regarding project contribution.
The best lessons are those learnt by experience. If I make a bad contribution decision I’ll be more cautious next time and do my homework won’t I?
Q: Do you have a background in conducting due diligence on crowdfunded projects?
Crowdfunded projects no, but over the years we’ve gained a lot of experience in doing due diligence on projects and ideas; it’s an essential part of running a software incubator as you are essentially investing every time you agree to incubate a product / project.
Q: In addition to cybersecurity, what do you feel must be understood when performing due diligence on cryptoprojects?
I think broadly speaking the basic business fundamentals must be in place. A half-baked idea backed by a team with no experience and no track record should be a red flag. A great idea backed by a lousy team with no experience should be a red flag. I think a great idea backed by a team with experience are essential. And even then one still needs to consider a host of other factors.
Having said that nothing is as powerful as true intellect and passion. Look at Vitalik. There really is no formula. We are all individually unique, thankfully so…
I’ve assessed loads of projects for incubation over the years and every single one had a different “essence”. If my gut told me the essence was right we went for it. And we had many failures, especially early on, but over time my gut instinct got better and we got better at it and eventually you find your rhythm.
I do however believe we should collectively, without regulation or governmental interference, develop a set of best practises that ICO’s should adhere to. It’s already happening…
Q: What is your “bird’s eye view” of the blockchain industry as a whole. From what you’ve seen, what aspects of token crowdsales could be improved?
That’s a deep question. Distributed ledgers are without doubt in my mind going to transform the world. I’m really excited at what DLT’s can do. I hate to sound like an activist, but I do truly believe it’s time for the systemically corrupt and broken systems to be replaced by open, transparent, universally and globally accessible systems. But let’s not kid ourselves it’s not going to be without pain. The powers that be are not simply going to let go. I think Satoshi’s gift will go down as a pivotal moment in human history. At least I hope so…
As far as token sale improvements go I think we’ll stumble and falter and keep going and eventually the ecosystem will become what the collective desires and needs it to be. Perhaps more professionalism from the service providers to the industry.
Q: You’re clearly very passionate about the crypto space! Which projects are the most exciting to you?
I am. Quite honestly we are so focussed on what we are doing I have absolutely zero bandwidth to look at anything else right now.
Q: What kind of blockchain projects would you like to see in the future?
I would like to see more real-world disruptive implementations that remove the yoke of systemic corruption that we are all suffering under.
Q: What current proof of concepts has Earth Token completed? What projects are in the pipeline?
As I mentioned earlier, we migrated one of our core systems to a distributed ledger which we launched in April 2017 and understandDLT’s at the practical code level. We also have an internal POC running with Crypo integration, so have the building blocks in place to architect and build the Natural Asset Exchange.
Q: What’s in the future for Earth Token?
The successful ICO of Earth Token and establishment of the Climate Asset Exchange will achieveour vision of enabling everyone to participate in preserving our planet.
As the market grows I foresee more & more supply side projects being created and partnerships being formed that offer new innovative offerings to targeted audiences, driving more demand…
I think we’ll see the market explode and we’ll finally achieve the momentum we need to make the real difference our environment requires.
Q: Have you talked with any exchanges about their interest in enabling trading of your Earth Tokens?
Yes we have started discussions.
ICO name: Earth Token
ICO starts on: 23 October 2017
ICO ends on: 20 November 2017
Total # of coins: 1 billion
Official Website: earth-token.com
ICO Website: token-sale.earth-token.com
Official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/earthtoken
Official Twitter: https://twitter.com/earthtokens
Official Telegram: https://t.me/earthtokenofficial
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