This article is a translation of the German IOTA Beginner’s Guide by Schmucklos.


Here I try to describe the history of the IOTA Foundation as best I can. The explanations should not be too detailed and only show the most important events, all four founders and their CVs in the relevant years.

If anyone has additional relevant information, please let me know so that I can get a complete picture.

The four founders are:

David Sønstebø – left IF on Dez 10, 2020

David currently lives in Drammen and surrounding areas in Norway. He says he is a serial entrepreneur on LinkedIn with a passion for all kinds of technology that can drive human progress, and he is deeply involved in Internet of Things, distributed ledger, blockchain, tangle technologies, smart cities, digital identity, eGovernance and innovative hardware design.

Sergey Ivancheglo (cfb)– left IF on Feb 3, 2020

cfb is a trained electrical engineer and software developer. The multimillionaire currently lives with his wife in the Belarusian capital Minsk. Sergey feels at home in the development of cryptocurrencies. In the scene he is called a “visionary and genius ahead of his time”. This remains to be seen, of course. His character is generally described as difficult. Since I don’t know him personally, I won’t judge or comment on it.

Dominik Schiener

Dominik currently lives in Berlin and is, according to his own statements on LinkedIn, a passionate and aspiring entrepreneur. He is currently working on several projects that use blockchain and smart contracts to create new and socially effective applications. He is particularly interested in new governance solutions that use both collective intelligence and new technologies to create more efficient, cheaper and transparent systems.

Serguei Popov

Serguei is Professor of Mathematics at the “University of Campinas” in Brazil. His focus in mathematics is on probability theory and stochastics. If you want to have a look at his publication (IOTA Whitepaper) “The tangle”, you can do so here.



  • D. Sønstebø has been working full-time in block chain and IoT since the beginning of 2012.
  • S. Ivancheglo significantly improves the “Proof-of-Stake” technique of the crypto currency Peercoin. He calls it “Full PoS”.
  • On September 25th S. Ivancheglo posts the first ideas about Qubic in the Bitcointalk forums under the pseudonym BCNext. At that time he was talking about a Quorum-Based Coin, with the following features among others: No fees, no data download from a block chain, each Miner may only handle a fraction of the Qubic network, money transfers in Qubic should be much faster than in Bitcoin, Qubic is more environmentally friendly, since not much electricity is needed. It sounds like a kind of pre-stage to IOTA.
  • As a bored 14-year-old from a village of 800 souls in South Tyrol, D. Schiener hacked his Call-of-Duty account to number 1 in the world ranking and started to sell his hacks to other users via PayPal.
  • D. Schiener founded the affiliate marketing network “Fileyy.com” in May as managing director.


  • S. lvancheglo published in a blog a hypothesis called “Economic Clustering”.
  • D. Sønstebø and S. Ivancheglo create the cryptocurrency Nxt incl. with the consensus mechanism “proof-of-stake”, improved by cfb. In addition to the currency, Nxt also serves as a decentralized marketplace for trade via a messenger and the possibility to develop own applications on the platform. Despite its advanced technologies, Nxt has not been able to sustainably establish itself in the cryptomarket.
  • Prof. S. Popov was particularly interested in Nxt in the Bitcointalk forums and drew attention to himself in the discussion with rough calculations regarding the Nxt blockchain. This brought him into contact with S. Ivancheglo alias BCNext for the first time. Until today Serguei Popov is still busy with the theoretical aspects of the Tangle. Here he can bring in his personal knowledge in mathematics and probability calculation very well.


  • S. Ivancheglo wrote for the first time publicly that a solution based on a ternary processor (JINN) was needed to implement Qubic.
  • D. Sønstebø and S. Ivancheglo found the start-up “JINN Labs“, in which D. Sønstebø owns 100% of the shares. The start-up has the goal to develop a new ternary based microprocessor for the Internet of Things and distributed computing. It is roughly about computers being able to efficiently exchange their computing power over the Internet of Things.
  • D. Schiener left his parents’ house at the age of 16 and moved to Zug in Switzerland to earn money as a young entrepreneur with advertising on the Internet.
  • D. Schiener founded the FIAT / crypto exchange office “Bithaus GmbH” in June as a co-founder.
  • D. Schiener won the Innovation Challenge of the Bozen Chamber of Commerce with the project “intelligent plants”. The prize consisted of a Rasberry Pi and several sensors (air humidity, temperature and soil moisture) that track important data and deliver it directly to the owner of the plant and notify him when the plant needs watering. After the challenge, he created a tutorial to help others create a similar, useful product.


  • S. Ivancheglo unveils IOTA in October (again on Bitcointalk forums). IOTA is necessary to make JINN’s visions come true and other coins not suitable for mass microtransactions on the Internet of Things, which is a prerequisite for the market for JINN-powered devices.
  • D.Schiener lost 100,000 euros in a first so-called Bitcoin crash.
  • D.Schiener founded the “Finhaus Ltd.” in London in March as a co-founder
  • David Sønstebø founds the startup IOTA AS. Sergey Ivancheglo has signed an employment contract and Dominik Schiener and Serguei Popov are also more or less involved.
  • The start for the IOTA AS crowdsale has been announced for November 25th at 14:00 UTC. All IOTA tokens were issued via crowdsale in the following 4 weeks.
  • All tokens were issued at the end of 2015 at the Crowdsale and are in circulation. IOTA AS has collected $434,511.63 for the issuance of 999,999,999,999999 “old” IOTA Tokens (1337 Bitcoin, at that time). The supply of IOTA tokens was changed a little later to 2,779,530,283,277,761 tokens. For 1 old IOTA token there were 2,779,530.2861 “new” IOTA tokens. Thus the price was $156/Ti or $0.000156 $/Mi. At the time of the crowdsale IOTA was redeemable by Bitcoin and also by an asset called JINN. Like all other participants, the four founders had to buy their own tokens with private assets. In addition to the money/bitcoin raised, IOTA AS received donations of approximately 5% of all issued tokens from the community after the crowdsale was over.
  • 65 Ti or 2.33852 % (visible here) of the total stock was not claimed by the participants of the crowdsale. During the application process at the crowdsale the following was clearly communicated: “If you have not claimed your IOTAs during the automatic application period, please contact @David at https://slack.iotatoken.com. There you will receive further instructions on how to request your tokens manually. Tokens that have not been claimed by July 11, 2017 will expire and be considered donations”.
    Note: As it turns out, this important note was only added to the thread at Bitcointalk.org about 4 weeks after the start of the crowdsale.
History 1
Source: IOTA Einsteiger Guide


  • In January D. Schiener and John Freeman are the winners of the currently largest blockchain hackathon in Shanghai with the topic “CargoChain”, a block chain based international trading platform especially for the shipping industry. The trading platform offers all participants a central contact point for all documents (customs, etc.). The documents are checked and loaded into a blockchain instead of sending them by mail, which is more efficient and saves shipping time and costs. The profit consisted of the equivalent of 30,000 euros in crypto tokens. With the same project D. Schiener won the FinTech Challenge of the Emirates National Bank of Dubai in the category: Technology. In May, he also took second place in the GTEC Blockchain Challenge. More than 100 startups had applied for the competition. The prize was a check in the amount of 15,000 € and access to GTEC.berlin.
  • D. Schiener moves to Berlin and starts to win important partners for IOTA.


  • Establishment of the IOTA Foundation. On November 3, the IOTA Foundation was approved as a foundation under civil law. With the official recognition of the IOTA Foundation as the first German civil law foundation with legal capacity by the Berlin foundation supervisory authority, the first foundation based on a cryptocurrency now exists. The IOTA Foundation has been established as a non-profit organization with the purpose of promoting science, research and education, in particular the IOTA technology and the Distributed-Ledger technology. This will provide IOTA with unprecedented legitimacy to collaborate with forward-looking public and private sector organizations and research partners around the world. David Sønstebø, Dominik Schiener, Serguei Popov and Sergey Ivancheglo are all co-founders.
History 2
Source: IOTA Einsteiger Guide


  • On June 3rd, Q (Qubic) was announced by IOTA. The circle closes to the first thoughts in 2012.
  • S. Ivancheglo, together with other founders from the IT sector, founds the Paracosm Group. The virtual reality games platform is an impressive project involving many talented developers and with which S. Ivancheglo wants to fulfill a childhood dream. To create a digital universe with fascinating worlds that merge into different realities. Quote S. Ivancheglo: “The fourth decade of my life was dedicated to the development of distributed ledgers. Soon the fifth decade of my life will begin. A long time ago I decided to dedicate this decade to my dream of constructing a globally shared illusion in VR”. During the development phase Hyperledger is used as a temporary solution before all functions of the platform can be offered with the full connection to the Tangle.


  • On May 28th the IOTA Foundation announces the mathematical solution of the “Scalability Trilemma” and the rough plans for the removal of the coordinator.
  • S. Ivancheglo resigns from the Board of Directors of the IOTA Foundation on June 26.
  • In June, D. Schiener invests in a company share in the startup XAIN, which specializes in machine learning (ML).
  • On November 7, S. Ivancheglo announces his exit from cryptocurrencies. According to his own statement, he sold all his cryptocurrencies to realize his childhood dream (see 2018). He will increasingly focus on implementing DLT technology including the JINN processor at the Paracosm group.
  • On December 18, the IF publishes an interactive roadmap.


  • February 3rd: Public dispute between S. Ivancheglo and D. Sønstebø. The long lasting friendship is over. The origin of the dispute is the new technological orientation of the IF, which has developed in a new direction due to current research and requests from the industry. The IF has chosen a Coordicide solution, which is not supported by S. Ivancheglo, and the IF also focuses on binary hardware support in the short and medium term. S. Ivancheglo is probably fundamentally disagreeing with these two decisions, which in my opinion will be the reason for his decision to leave the IF. Anyway, meanwhile it’s getting dirty and two big egos are fighting over old business relationships and the assets they contain (JINN Labs incl. unused tokens, 65 Ti from the crowdsale). Here the last word is not spoken yet.
  • February 3: S. Ivancheglo fundamentally disagrees with the realignment and leaves the IOTA Foundation.
  • On April 11th D. Sønstebø announces that Qubic in its original vision (JINN, QCM calculation model, …) is currently not being developed further. The IF is bundling the existing resources to realize the core protocol, smart contracts and the Coordicide as soon as possible. However, Qubic will not be finished completely. All developments including the PoC will be open source. Each community member can contribute further improvements in the future and further develop the project as a second layer application.
  • On December 10, the IOTA Foundation parted ways with David Sønstebø. This follows a unanimous decision made by the Board of Directors and Supervisory Board in the best interest of IOTA and its ecosystem.


  • On April 28, the migration to the new Tangle (IOTA 1.5) was completed with the “Chrysalis” update.
  • Since April 28, together with the migration of the tokens, a new chapter was opened in the dispute about the unclaimed tokens (65Ti). The IOTA Foundation wants to make these tokens available to the community, which can then decide as a DAO (Decentralized Autonomous Organization) what the tokens are used for. David Sønstebø again disagreed with this plan and announced legal action. The bottom line is that the ownership of these 65Ti is still not conclusive or legally clarified:
    • Do they belong to the IOTA AS company headed by David Sønstebø?
    • To what extent have the corporate assets and liabilities of IOTA AS been transferred to the IOTA Foundation?
    • Do the tokens have no owner (have never been claimed)?
  • On June 2, the IOTA 2.0 DevNet was launched. It is the first fully decentralized IOTA network without the need for a coordinator, making it an important development milestone.



Original source


Last Updated on 6. June 2021