We interviewed Distrikt- one of the most significant projects building on the Internet Computer right now. Distrikt is a decentralized social media platform for professionals that promises to revolutionize user experience through tokenization.
- What attracted you initially to Blockchain?
- I’ve been working with startups for about eight years now, and I fell down the blockchain rabbit hole in 2017 when I stumbled across the Bitcoin paper and then binge-read everything I could find about blockchain and crypto.
- Even though I’m not a technical person, I’ve always loved understanding how systems work and how humans work together. Hence, Bitcoin blew my mind once I understood its implications and how it fundamentally changes how we transact and coordinate. Ethereum was the next obvious rabbit hole, and the concept of DAOs seemed like a radical disruption to the way I looked at startups and decentralized digital products.
- My next foray was into the Cosmos ecosystem as a member of the Dokia Capital team. It’s an amazing community, and the Cosmos ecosystem has led the way when it comes to interoperability. I’ve been part of the Dokia Capital team for two years, and that’s where I first learned about DFINITY.
2. Of all the platforms you could have chosen, why did you decide to build on the Internet Computer?
- The Internet Computer allows platforms like Distrikt to be part of an ecosystem in which they can thrive as decentralized systems, directly on the Internet and free from dependence on proprietary systems. In some cases, a smooth development process, similar to a traditional legacy IT stack, is more familiar to the average developer.
Also, Distrikt won’t be faced with platform risk, which is especially important in the context of launching autonomous software.
- The fact that DFINITY removes a considerable layer of complexity that currently lies between builders and the users that we want to serve is a tremendous value proposition.
3. How long has your company been established, and what is your business model based on?
- Distrikt is supported and maintained by The Open Internet Foundation, a Swiss not-for-profit organization. The Open Internet Foundation was established to develop open products on blockchain technology. Its purpose is to empower users of digital products and give them sovereignty over their digital presence.
- The Open Internet Foundation (OIF) has secured donations of 6 million CHF and 40,000 ICP. The 40,000 ICP have already been locked in a neuron for eight years. You can see the neuron creation here.
- The Open Internet Foundation will use these funds to set up financial mechanisms that will sustain Distrikt and keep the platform free for its users. Initiatives like the staking of the 40,000 donated ICP will help Distrikt cover needs such as the required cycles for the platform’s computation and storage.
4. What makes Distrikt marketable to users over other platforms, and what will ensure its long-term success?
- For Distrikt to become a mass adopted platform, we need a seamless experience that’s indistinguishable from traditional social media platforms and educate users about the key differences between traditional networks and the new generation social media platforms.
- And by offering them powerful community-building tools like the future development of groups called “Distrikts” that you can find on our roadmap.
- Also, incentivization is very powerful when kickstarting the network effect, but unless it’s combined with a valuable in-app experience, incentivization alone is not enough. So we plan to match educational efforts with an intuitive user experience.
5. What overall vision do you have? Do you have a roadmap? If so, what does it involve?
- distrikt is the first professional social media network that’s hosted 100% on the blockchain. This is made possible due to the unique capabilities of the Internet Computer.
Values: One of the foundational values of Distrikt is that user sovereignty is a priority. Distrikt users will not be the product and will not pay with their data to use the platform. Instead, Distrikt users will participate in the governance of the platform and its future development.
Distrikt will become a fully decentralized social media network that empowers users to own and control their data and identity and build meaningful communities. Each iteration of Distrikt will lead us closer to this goal.
6. Tell us about the team
The Distrikt team has now grown to 13 members, located in Romania, Serbia, and Switzerland. Let’s meet everyone!
- Aurel Iancu: Co-founder
Aurel needs little introduction. He’s been in the blockchain industry since Ethereum’s early days and is currently the CEO of Dokia Capital, one of the most prolific validators in the POS space.
His experience and expertise help guide Distrikt in the right direction. Aurel often acts as a north pole to which we attune our compass, especially regarding the vision and values that Distrikt should stay true to.
- Andra Georgescu: Co-founder
Andra is an entrepreneur that’s been working with startups for eight years. She fell down the blockchain rabbit hole in 2017 and became part of the Dokia Capital team two years ago. Andra has helped build the Distrikt team and handles various tasks from operational, product to communication and community. She is a relentless advocate for Distrikt users.
- Vidor Gencel: Co-founder and CTO
Vidor has been working in the blockchain space for more than five years, but he’s been coding since 13. His focus is on building blockchains and DApps, so Distrikt was an excellent fit for his skill and passion.
Vidor’s engineering solutions are a statement of his resourcefulness and ingenuity. He has been working closely with Aurel and Andra on different projects in this space for several years before the founding of Distrikt.
- Robert Turrall: Head of Product
Robert has been in the IT industry for over 35 years, has worked for small start-ups and large multinational organizations. He has worked in software development, support, marketing and sales, coaching, and helping teams achieve their goals and build great products.
As Head of Product, his mission is to guide and support the Distrikt team in delivering the platform and plot its future course as it grows into the leading decentralized professional social media network.
- Casandra Alina Cretu: Head of Design & Sr Product Designer
Casandra brings a user-focused perspective and a creative problem-solving approach to designing products and experiences people love to use. She’s perpetually curious, persistent, and focused on growth, both professionally and personally.
With a background in architecture and experience as a multidisciplinary designer and team coordinator, she’s well adapted to handle all aspects of Distrikt’s design process.
- Stefan Dragomir: Graphic Designer
Stefan has a background in visual arts and a genuine passion for art. He’s previously worked in various creative positions in industries ranging across tech startups, fine arts, extreme sports, environment, and entertainment.
Stefan is detail-oriented, and his outlet delivers creative visual elements for Distrikt’s apps and marketing needs.
- Andrej Budincevic: Blockchain engineer
Andrej is an experienced blockchain engineer and our designated problem-solving go-to person. He’s worked on numerous projects, from large networks and cryptocurrencies to EU-based blockchain projects.
With years of experience building applied blockchain systems, Andrej is well suited to make Distrikt’s smooth running DApp.
- Zlatko Poljovka: Web development
Zlatko is a full stack developer by day and hacker by night. He is passionate about blockchain, bleeding-edge technologies, and solving complex problems that contribute to the tech community.
- Natalija Lovrincevic: Web Development
Natalija needs a minimum of one cup of coffee to turn into a full-functioning front-end developer, but there’s no stopping her when she does. She loves working on innovative products that have the user front and center and has embraced Distrikt’s uniqueness with open arms.
- Nikola Vaic: Mobile development
Nikola is a tech entrepreneur focused on mobile application development. His passion for Flutter, robotics, and security are what makes Distrikt’s mobile apps so well-grounded.
Nikola is well-positioned to see the bigger picture and usually addresses issues before they become problems.
- Nenad Vuckovic: Mobile Development.
Nenad’s experience developing engaging mobile applications and his passion for design have constantly improved the Distrikt mobile experience. He has a keen eye for detail and a perfectionist strain that aims for harmony and balance in his work.
- Alina Popescu: Administrative Coordinator
Alina has a background in human resources, sales, and experience as a team coordinator. She helps create and execute processes and procedures and manages budgets and forecasts.
Alina makes our work more accessible by taking care of our administrative needs while also maintaining the relationship with Distrikt suppliers and collaborators.
7. What advice do you have for anyone working in the same space as you?
- Move fast and listen to your users constantly, even if what they tell you is not what you want to hear.
- Also, don’t be afraid to reach out to others; chances are they have faced and overcame the same challenges that you are and are in a position to offer support.
- There’s a great community of developers on the Internet Computer, and everyone is so welcoming!
8. What other projects building on the Internet Computer are you most excited about?
- This ecosystem is growing so fast it’s quite a challenge to keep up with everything going on! I’m constantly discovering new projects. We’re big fans of the work Origyn is doing, and DSCVR is also one of my favorites, along with OpenChat. But lately, I’ve been keeping an eye on the NFT space that’s been taking off on the Internet Computer, and there’s so much potential there!
9. Do you have any plans to collaborate with other projects building on the Internet Computer?
- We’re considering several integrations, but not for the immediate future. We’re focused on delivering the features we’ve promised in our roadmap for this year. That is always the priority. But we will have at least two integrations with Internet Computer projects. Not going to spoil the surprise though, keep an eye out for announcements!
10. Do you have any token sale planned for the future? If so, when? Can you give details?
- Yes, but unlike most other crypto projects, there will be no private sale of the DKT tokens. The Open Internet Foundation will conduct a public fundraising event that will allow equal opportunity to all participants. The fundraising will take place in early 2022.
- The OIF will use the funds raised during the event to support, maintain and ensure the further development and adoption of the Distrikt platform, either through its own efforts or by offering grants to teams and community-led initiatives. More than 60% of tokens will be distributed to the community via public fundraising, airdrops, and grants.
Distrikt has released Android version on Google play store
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