Fledgling blockchain developer IOTA Foundation has found itself entangled in yet another controversy.
In a Twitter post from earlier today, co-founder David Sønstebø accused former employee Per Lind of exploiting the brand for personal gains. He further claimed that Lind has never held a position in the foundation – and went as far as deeming him a “charlatan.”
For the record, @pclind1 has never been an official member of the IOTA Foundation. He is a charlatan that exploits the brand to get equity and tokens in startups. He couldn't handle a calculator if his life depended on it. This guy is the epitome of what's wrong with this space.
— David Sønstebø (@DavidSonstebo) April 4, 2018
What makes this statement particularly contradictory is that back in 2016, Sønstebø personally announced welcoming Lind to the IOTA Foundation in a Medium post published on its official company blog. The entry has since been taken down from Medium, but you can access an archived version here.
Lind occupied a role as a business developer during his time at IOTA, according to the announcement.
“Per recognized IOTA’s unique potential after having witnessed the limitations of regular blockchain architecture in his professional life for the past years,” the post read. “He has already been of great value for the IOTA project by opening a lot of exciting doors to world leading institutions that are interested in utilizing IOTA in value streams and new business models.”
In fact, prior to calling Lind “the epitome of what’s wrong with [the blockchain and cryptocurrency] space” on Twitter, Sønstebø referred to him as “the epitome of a connector with a digital rolodex very few can match” in the same announcement post from two years ago.
“The IOTA Foundation welcome Per Lind and look forward to the exciting voyage we are embarking on together,” the announcement concluded.
Continuing his tirade against Lind, Sønstebø moved the conversation to the official IOTA channel on Discord. “We cannot allow this person to keep hurting the brand of IOTA,” he said.
“He has greatly hurt our reputation and brand by doing TV appearances where he is incoherent, rambling drunk at Hackatons in Asia, not delivering on random lies he makes up on the fly,” the co-founder added. “It was only now that his feet was finally held to the fire that we were able to obtain his legal information and can finally put an end to this year long nightmare.”
The other side of the story
For the record, Lind has vehemently denied all claims made by Sønstebø.
But his claims are total lies. Was never “fired”! And this is official statement from David Sønstebut himself: https://t.co/EJc9BGOUin
— (((Per Lind))) (@pclind1) April 4, 2018
“I’ve been involved [with IOTA] for over [two] years,” Lind told TNW over email. “Only claim that I have made is as one of the first members of the foundation, as published by David Sønstebø. My role was to find interesting projects I could pitch IOTA technology to and speaking at events.”
Despite Sønstebø’s claims, Lind maintains that he “never made any derogatory statements about IOTA.”
“His statement about me being bumbling and drunk at events is just a usual personal attack from them,” he commented. “On the contrary, most people I have dealt with, are backing me up on this.”
Asked if he is still an active member of IOTA, Lind said that he is unaware of being removed from his position. “As far as I know erasing my congratulations for joining IOTA Foundation, does not remove me as a member,” he told us.
“Please keep in mind that IOTA is an open source platform and IOTA Foundation is strictly not for profit, so anyone can use as long as they don’t break license.” Lind said. “I am doing my own IOTA things in Asia, Europe and India, which I very clearly state has nothing to do with IOTA Foundation.”
“As a free person in my part of the world, no one will ever tell me what to do,” he finished.
The controversy between IOTA and Lind has persisted for several months now.
Indeed, co-founder Dominik Schiener addressed the issue on the IOTA Discord channel in January, insisting that Lind was no longer associated with the foundation.
Earlier in March, Sønstebø once again took to Discord to make it clear that IOTA no longer considers Lind part of its team. “It is true that Per Lind is not a member of the Foundation,” the co-founder stated.
“While transparency is key, and somethign we strive to enforce as much as possible, it is not respectful to the party being discussed to disclose why things transpired the way it did, as long as there is no foul play,” Sønstebø elaborated further. “It simply didn’t work out, and that’s it.”
“[Lind] is still clearly very dedicated to IOTA, given his focus on it, so let’s just lay this dead and not spread rumors.”
Judging from the latest exchange between Sønstebø and Lind though, the relationship has deteriorated significantly since then.
We have reached out to IOTA for further comment, but representatives were not available as of the time of publishing. We will update this piece accordingly should we hear back.