Exclusive Interview With the Delegate Joost, Co-Founder of the Lisk Center Utrecht
Lisk Center Utrecht (LCU) is a non-profit organization which opened its doors in February 2019. It has been founded with the idea to make entrepreneurs and innovators able to share their ideas in order to create a fair and sustainable future, using blockchain technology.
In today’s interview, we will ask Joost (joo5ty) a few questions in order to know something more about the project. He is a Lisk delegate and Co-Founder of the LCU.
In February you opened the first European Lisk Center in Utrecht. Why did you choose this city? Do you think it is a strategic point for the spreading of Lisk in Europe? What kind of feedback have you received till now?
The Netherlands is a very small country with only about 17 million people, mainly located around the center of the country. The most attractive part of Utrecht is that it is at the center of the country, with very good transportation, and there are a lot of education centers and businesses located here. With the idea of bringing mainly Dutch blockchain minded people together (for both office purpose and meetups) it was even more attractive than the most known city (by foreigners), Amsterdam. For example, as the Netherlands is so small it only takes you 35 minutes by train to get from Amsterdam to the Lisk Center Utrecht.
Because of this strategic location we get a lot of positive feedback by local and foreign visitors. Especially, as we are directly located next to the Central Station of Utrecht (1 minute walk).
What is your role in the LCU team?
About 9 months ago I had the idea to start the Lisk Center to help promote Lisk and blockchain in general. I visited LiskHQ 5 times to talk about these plans and how we could help each other to set this up, so in the end it was decided I would start my own foundation and run it completely independent from the Lisk Foundation. To do this, I needed to find the funding to do the initial build of the center.
For about 2 months I was very active with the Lisk community to get enough donations to pay for everything: looking back, I was just in time because I do not think it was possible in the current status of the bear market.
Once the funds were collected I searched for a suitable location, hired a designer and a builder and within 6 months my idea became a reality.
Around December 2018 I met Jurre, Raphael and Meyade and we decided to form the ‘core’ team of the LCU to run the operations and start organizing the events. My main role here is to keep things operational running. Jurre is focused on public relations, Raphael and Meyade help with events and online exposure.
On average, how many people work in that location? Are you satisfied by these numbers or are you working to increase the ecosystem?
We are only in business for 4 months now since the opening. We didn’t knew anybody in the blockchain space in the Netherlands, we had no connections and nobody was visiting the LCU at the start. It is amazing to see that we now have some days with more than 25 people in our office. I am currently creating a list of people/companies that use the LCU and will post it on our upcoming new website.
We also already organised 13 meetups/events in this short period of time, from brainstorm sessions with 15 people to larger meetups with 80 attendees, and have a lot more to come.
Considering your participants, how much do they know about Lisk and the world of cryptocurrencies in general? Do you think that the events organized so far were adequate for this level? Have you also received requests for new topics for the upcoming meetups?
In all honesty most people do not know about Lisk, but I see this as a good thing for the Lisk Center. Most blockchain development is being done on Ethereum and Hyperledger. The Lisk Center is perfect to make blockchain interested people aware of Lisk and the project. For this reason, everybody is welcome to visit and make use of our facilities. I would also say that it would be even better to host a MakerDAO meetup instead of a Lisk meetup at this stage, because we would receive more visitors that could then be incentivized to study Lisk. Once the SDK will be out we will be able to shift our attention in the organization of developer events to explore the code and tools that Lisk provides. By that time we will have already build up a database of developers that we met during the events we held and can ask them to give HQ feedback on their findings.
One of your goals is to promote the actual adoption of the blockchain worldwide. Specifically, what kind of contribution do you think you can give?
I think current adoption focus should be for technical people, developers, IT stategists/architects/influencers/decision makers. We first need more infrastructure and proven code before mainstream adoption can happen. By organizing events and trying to explain what the benefits are to use blockchain over traditional solutions should help get more adoption.
Also getting a variety of blockchain entrepreneurs together in the LCU can help accelerate the development. Developers/projects might write their blockchain in a different language, but they are all working on the same idea of blockchain technology.
How do you consider the level of knowledge and adoption of the blockchain at European level compared to other continents? what do you think should be done to improve it?
I think the Netherlands has high standard in education and a great focus on the 4th industrial revolution technologies which ‘decentralized consensus’ is part of.
The Lisk Center is also talking with education-centers and several businesses to match supply and demand. These talks are currently happening so I can probably tell you more in a month or two.
Another function of the Lisk Center is to accelerate blockchain projects. Are they focused only on Lisk or even on other cryptocurrencies? If yes, what are they?
We do not discriminate between projects. People that add value to blockchain in any way may make use of the center. You do not have to be a developer, but for example the people behind https://bitcoinmagazine.nl and https://blockchainstories.com also make use of our space. We can all help each other. For example Hybrix is also located at the LCU ( https://hybrix.io/).
Having said this, we do plan to focus more on Lisk once the SDK is out. We want to see Lisk proof of concept projects and create useful feedback for HQ to accelerate the improvement of the SDK/Lisk development.
What are your next steps? Are you planning to open other centers in other European cities?
The LCU first needs to become a self-sustainable proven concept. For 2019 everything is payed for, but we still need to get donations for 2020. We also do not earn any money running the LCU and our core-team does not earn any money spending all our time organizing everything we do. We are fully transparent and I can say we currently only have 4287 euro left in our bank account to pay for operational expenses for the remainder of this year. We all do this out of love for Lisk and blockchain.
We would like to see more centers across Europe but it will take people to help and funding to do so. A crypto bullmarket would help a lot!
Thanks Joost for answering to these questions!
If you want to support LCU, you can donate here: https://explorer.lisk.io/address/9086486024487316384L