Interview by Business Insider with Rijk Plasman:
2018 was a dramatic year for the crypto market, when you look at the prices of crypto coins. Bitcoin lost more than 80 percent of its value and the entire market shrank by nearly 700 billion dollars.
The Dutch Gulden also fell sharply. Compared to the height thirteen months ago, the digital Gulden is only worth a tenth.
Nevertheless, according to Dutch Gulden founder Rijk Plasman, 2018 was “just a very good year”.
Business Insider spoke with the 34-year-old crypto entrepreneur, son of the well-known criminal lawyer Peter Plasman and named after actor Rijk de Gooijer. According to Rijk Plasman, his company only came stronger out of the turbulent period.
Whoever looks at the price fall may conclude that the Gulden is in heavy weather. Did 2018 also feel that way for you?
Plasman: “For us, 2018 was a very good year, mainly because of technical developments. We started in 2014, but we built the best last year. We are now one of the safest blockchains in the world.”
Did you not have to take off your own jacket?
“No, that has hardly had any impact. For the people who entered in 2017, the price is now low. But I have been connected to the project from the beginning. For me, the current price is still a big plus.”
Do you not worry about the lower rates?
“The currency’s price is a small part of the project and, moreover, something that we have little influence on. 2018 was indeed the year of disillusionment, but that caused a change in the crypto world. It has been instructive and has made it clear that it is necessary for investors to delve deeper.”
Is 2018 also the blow for hyped tokens that were worth a lot without a good idea?
“The wrong projects were promoted and pushed, while they themselves knew very well that it was a pyramid scheme. But the blame does not lie entirely with the makers of tokens. Many beginners have haphazardly stepped in, even though it was clear that it was not a fair project.”
Is that different now?
“I do not know if that wisdom has now come. I’m a bit afraid of not. “
Has 2018 been such an instructive year?
“If I look at our own project. We suddenly got a lot of people during the hype. They have dropped out partly, but a group has continued to stick that has become more and more deepened. Also some who saw it as a casino where they could become rich. They have remained part of our community.”
That community is the lifeblood of Gulden, also from your site. Has it not been spoiled by the fall in prices?
“Absolutely, and that is understandable. But the really valuable people have lingered. Thanks to them, new projects can be created again.”
What kind of things do members of the community do?
“For example, we have volunteers who answer questions that come in via the chat function on the site. They do that purely out of enthusiasm. I find that involvement beautiful to see. And you have people who think for themselves how to use the blockchain behind the Gulden for their own application.”
Does this voluntary commitment come from a holy belief in the project or from the wish to recover part of the investment?
“I think both. There are people who think: ‘I can start earning something with this technique myself.’ The technology is running, you can use it for free. Some see opportunities there. “
How big is the group of users who have remained?
“I think that the hard core, which is busy every day, consists of a few hundred people. And a few thousand users are active at Slack. That was a lot more a year ago. But the majority of the conversations then went about the price, not about the technology itself.”
For a crypto that listens to the name Gulden, the currency also had a remarkably large proportion of foreign users (fifty-fifty). Is that still true?
“Yes, although it is difficult to say whether that is still the same distribution. I can not see from our app users where they come from. Certainly in the crypto world many people use a VPN. But we still have the foreign users. They do not see Gulden as something typically Dutch. That is more an association that we have.”
Halfway through 2017, it was possible to pay with Gulden at almost a hundred companies. Now there are according to the site ‘more than a hundred’. Did the growth stop?
“The growth in the number of companies is now slow, also because little is being paid with Gulden. The kind of companies is changing. At first it was mainly web shops and small independents, now there are also more restaurants and cafes.”
You once said that it is your dream to queue at Albert Heijn with people who all have digital Gulden in their pockets. Is a deal with AH coming up?
“To use Gulden, a company does not have to enter into a partnership with us. All the tools for that already exist, so every company can implement it themselves. We are happy to help, but that does not necessarily have to be called a partnership. That would mean that something should come from both sides and I would not know what exactly. “
But other cryptocurrency advertise with partner companies that use or accept the coin. Why are they doing that?
“That is pure marketing, in the hope that it gives legitimacy to the currency. I can not think of anything else. Look, we develop the Gulden blockchain from a company, which we also want to earn money with. But the technique itself is separate from that. That is a decentralized application that we and others build on. “
You want to make money with the company Gulden BV. Yet you only have developers and no sales department.
“No that’s right. We did not arrange the marketing at all. We do not do that.”
“I do not think that’s necessary. Current cryptomarketing focuses mainly on coins: ‘Buy bitcoin, buy gulden.’ That affects the price, but is of less importance to us. We do not focus on traders, but on users. Our blockchain technology is interesting for parties because they can, for example, save costs or offer a new application.”
How many users do you have now?
“Just over a hundred thousand. It is growing steadily. We not only aim at owners of the currency, but also at parties that use our Gulden blockchain. From this year we are building another application that has nothing to do with money.”
Which application is that?
“I can not say that yet. That would not be nice. But it is a practical application that you have to deal with on a daily basis. And it provides improvement especially behind the scenes. The user will probably not even notice that it is a blockchain.”
No marketing and the user who is not going to notice. Do you not run the risk that the development of the Gulden will go unnoticed?
“No, we are now working on a whitepaper. Then we will step by step out the developments. We also rely on the word-of-mouth advertising of our users. “
You say that the gulden blockchain is safer than that of the bitcoin. Why was that a goal?
“With most blockchains you can spend coins twice if you have 51 percent of the computing power. (That happened last week at ethereum classic , ed.) The bitcoin is a big coin, so obtaining a majority there is very difficult and costly. But Gulden is much smaller; that makes this attack suddenly feasible. We had to come up with something about that and we did.”
And how did you solve that?
“Over the last two years, we have been working on a system that combines proof of work (the complex calculation puzzles to approve transactions, ed.) With something called witness. Witness is a deposit of your Gulden in your wallet, so that you control a miner as a user. In order to seize power, you must not only have a majority of the computing power, but also hold half of all Gulden and then secure it. Then you do an attack on a system where you have put the most money yourself. That does not make such an attack impossible, but very illogical.”
This technique should be interesting for more parties?
“Yes, from bitcoin to ethereum. But we are a small coin with limited name recognition. Maybe we will miss that marketing here anyway.”
the original dutch article can be found on Business Insider.