Exclusive interview. Horizon State - Redesigning democracy on the Blockchain.

Exclusive interview. Horizon State - Redesigning democracy on the Blockchain.
Nov 30, 2018 by Rico Wise

BASE.INFO team has interviewed Nimo Naamani the CTO at Horizon State project. We have asked the most topical questions to get acquainted with the project and to learn the future plans of the Horizon State team.

Please welcome, Nimo Naamani.

Do you remember the day, when you and your team decided to launch this project? Can you tell us about it?

As we were created from a democracy movement, I am not sure there was a single day when the decision was made. But - Around late May 2017, we had a discussion about launching the product that was developed to support the democratic values as a commercial offering. I wasn't actually part of the original discussion but was pulled in at a slightly later time.

Could you briefly describe your project?

Horizon State provides blockchain based tools for promoting community engagement, mobilization, empowerment and voting. We run across multiple chains and use the distributed ledger to provide immutability of votes and decision history, alongside leader and public service accountability to their constituency. We also provide platforms for crowdsourced policy making and agile governance.

Why it differs among the other cryptocurrency ideas? What main feature can be the significant one?

I believe many projects are not focused on the cryptocurrency side as a large part of their value proposition. We are more focused on blockchain as a technology for decentralized storage of data and events. In that sense, we are more interested in the characteristics of the DLT that are key for us to provide the level of trust required in the democratic processes.

What are 3 main difficulties in running the cryptocurrency project?

Aside from the general difficulties associated with developing any new project I'd say there is a very high level of transparency and engagement expected from cryptocurrency projects compared to non-crypto. Other difficulties include access to blockchain developers and uncertainty around regulation in different parts of the world.

What about the legal restrictions? What are your thoughts on the subject?

I think many new technologies or social paradigms start out in an area that the laws or regulations do not specifically cover, and it changes so much between jurisdictions as well. This is why we see many projects flock to places like Gibraltar or Malta - where the government decided that DLT is part of their future strategy and are trying to attract projects to a place where the legal and regulatory frameworks are supportive. Then there's the entire issue with security and utility tokens which is heating up constantly and considerably. This is going to be a very interesting flow to watch, esp in the US.

I personally think that creating the right structures for cryptocurrency across the world is a step forward. We see it all the time with potential customers who are hesitant to sign up because we are a crypto company. Whereas - having clear legal guidance would make them feel at ease.

Describe your team in a few sentences? What do you value in your colleagues?

Our team is spread all over the world - we have people from Canada, Costa-Rica, France, Spain, UK, Australia, New Zealand... It's quite challenging to have such a decentralized group of people trying to work together - but it helped us create really deep connections between members, which helps a lot. Part of the team worked with me personally at my previous company and sort of followed me to Horizon State - which made things easier.

The thing I value most - is how everyone has already found this inner drive that helps them power on. For some - it's the vision of Horizon State - empowering democracy, making the world a better place - that's really important for them. Others - they really want to be able to create the best system they can, and there are many challenges there because in some cases we work with very new technologies.

Each of my colleagues - they have this drive, and maturity. Not only personal but also professional. It was fascinating to see how they gelled together, the way they conduct their interactions. Even as a founder and manager, many times you hear that it's unhealthy to be friends with the people who work for you. This always rubbed me the wrong way, and I think we all manage to be friends as well as colleagues. This is great.

Could you tell us about one error in project’s development that provided a great lesson to your team?


What are your thoughts about the future of the blockchain in the world? What industries will be influenced most of all?

I think blockchain will find its place like a lot of other technologies. A lot of people talk about 'The blockchain revolution' - but in my mind, for this to happen there needs to be a huge erosion of trust. Both between people and between institutions. I don't know that this will happen anytime soon - trust is a huge industry.

I believe a lot of the narrative around blockchain has come from a negative place. People saying that the world of business/politics/supply-chain/health is broken because of trust issues, and blockchain can fix this. But I think what we'll see is that blockchain - apart from bitcoin maybe - it will move away a bit from that context. I think distributed ledgers will be useful when they find their place as solutions for collaboration instilling trust rather than working on that assumption that everyone is selfish.

In terms of industries - I think supply chain, governance, land registry, identity - possibly a few others.

Can you give a piece of advice to our readers?