[Interview by Mart]
The Tangleverse Times: Could you give a short summary of what Demia exactly is?
Mat Yarger: Demia is focused on providing the essential tools needed for carbon markets to work effectively, unlocking and scaling the financing needed to meet decarbonization goals. Our data protocol and platform enable projects to secure data, remove friction, amplify impact and unlock value. Demia is built on nearly a decade of thought leadership, technology incubation, iterative piloting, and ecosystem development, working with institutional leaders like UNFCCC, IOTA, Gold Standard, Dell Technologies and others with whom we continue to collaborate.
TvT: What are your short and medium term goals with Demia and its partners?
M.Y.: At Demia we are focused over the coming quarters on providing value through a differing commercial model to Project developers, VVBs(Auditors) and Registries (Carbon Market Standards). We’re doing this by scaling up our ecosystem development efforts, progressing our platform development to reach production readiness by early next year, and ensuring the open data protocol is ready to onboard projects at scale.
TvT: How are governments reacting to what you are building? Are they aware of it and do they see the potential?
M.Y.: We were initially funded through grant funds from the Canadian government, and received follow-on funding to iterate on our initial developments. We avoid regulatory uncertainty by not embedding a financial token into our protocol, and focus completely on immutable data utility and tooling for climate markets. Overall, multiple government and non-government organizations have shown a positive response to this direction and are actively supporting its development.
TvT: With Covid and the Ukraine war, we could see global markets tumbling. The crypto space, unfortunately, was no exception to that. When do you think that Distributed Ledger Technology will be widely adopted and did anything change in your personal vision?
M.Y.: My belief is that Distributed Ledger Technology has to show real world benefit before a currency or multiple currencies get wide scale adoption. Through Demia we’re working tirelessly to ensure these real world applications and decentralized technologies can create real value and impact for people, companies, and governments to solve major problems they face. As we continue to do that, use cases for decentralized currencies will surface that garner larger scale acceptance. We just have to ensure that we’re ready when that time comes and we’re focused on building real world value until it does.
TvT: To people from the outside it often looks like most companies are “greenwashing” everything anyway. Do you think that Distributed Ledger Technology can put a stop to that?
M.Y.: Absolutely. The main problems in the climate market with scaling revolve around fragmented data, lack of trust in projects, lack of trust in the auditing and reporting from projects, and lack of quality with the data that it’s all built on. As we integrate DLT capabilities across climate markets, transparency and trust will grow due to the inherent value that DLT provides. Putting that data on a public ledger, becomes publicly verifiable. Digitization of that data monitoring, measurement, reporting and verification opens up the process to larger ecosystems of academics, auditing organizations, government and more to get access to that data and provide feedback on what they need to trust the impact the projects are making. Decreasing the silos across the industry, accelerating the rate of development, opening up investment opportunities, and opening up new markets for them to integrate into. We cannot shy away from what’s necessary by greenwashing the impact projects are making due to fear of public criticism. We have to welcome it, learn from it, and iterate more rapidly on how we monitor, measure and report on that impact so that we know what project creates the most impact for the dollar, and can ensure they have the funding they need to scale.
TvT: While emissions trading and monitoring via DLT are a good start, it might take a lot more to defeat climate change. What are the unique selling points of Demia? What can it do that wasn’t possible before?
M.Y.: When you look at climate markets, platforms are sparse, but services are plenty. One of the issues that Demia is trying to combat is the large scale fragmentation of services across centralized platforms in the market. We’re not trying to be a project developer, or auditor, or certifier. We’re trying to build better tools and communities that want to see project developers, auditors and certifiers thrive by securing the data, removing friction to access the data, amplifying the impact that projects, auditors, and certifiers can make, and unlocking value by creating more trust and transparency across the value chain. This is a fundamentally different approach from what you see in the market, where we’re trying to bring these various service providers together to aid in the guidance a collaborative platform and protocol should make, and identify tools that they need to make it.
TvT: The vision behind Demia probably requires billions and billions of (data) transactions, does IOTA have any kind of competition in that domain? Even a fraction of a fraction of a cent might be too much to be economically feasible. What do you think about it?
M.Y.: It depends on how you look at it. With the advancement of IOTA, data and storage deposits create a different structure for how data will operate on mainnet. Looking forward, we see that this could be an issue if we were aiming to put all of the data we’re enabling onto mainnet. So we’re ensuring we’re ahead of that potential issue, but building Demia as a Layer 2 that will anchor into mainnet. This provides a number of benefits. One being that projects can trust their data will be safe for years to come because the infrastructure supporting it is containerized into a dedicated environmental data protocol. The other being that, as IOTA itself progresses, we can enable an upstream/downstream model where we contribute to IOTAs capabilities through the learnings we acquire developing the Demia Layer 2 and vice versa, integrating capabilities from IOTA and Shimmer into Demia through a data-focused implementation. And lastly, because Demia’s Layer 2 protocol is not financially incentivized, we can act as a bridge for projects in other ecosystems. There are a number of protocols looking to tokenize credits, enable financial markets, or more that are not built on IOTA. They can now leverage IOTAs data capabilities in a secure and focused manner through integration with Demia as a Layer 2 to enable larger data reporting and oracle implementations for ReFi, sustainability, or other types of financial implementations that IOTA may not currently support.
TvT: Around April last year you joined the Moonaco Podcast and you did say some very interesting things. Are there any updates on the future mobility campus in Ireland?
M.Y.: Not currently, but we will be exploring mobility focused opportunities for climate and sustainability markets in the future.
TvT: There was another very intriguing point: You said that you talked to almost every major OEM in the mobility industry and that some of them are building on their own and basically everybody is aware of IOTA’s potential. Can you give any update regarding that statement? Are you still in contact with some companies, are they still experimenting with IOTA?
M.Y.: Same [as last question/answer].
TvT: Will fundraising and also spending money be easier now that you’re spun off? What are your experiences so far?
M.Y.: Absolutely. Spending money and raising money when working for a non-profit is a very different process that involves a number of decision makers when you’re trying to build or advance projects. With Demia, we’re a US based for-profit. This enables us to open up how we develop the platform, protocol, and ecosystem because we’re not under the same constraints. While a non-profit can typically only leverage grants and donations or whatever their endowment provides. A for-profit can pursue a much more diverse financial landscape to support developing and scaling a product. And it can leverage different business models, such as the Software as a Service model we’re focused on with Demia. Currently, Demia is in fund raising mode. We’ve started having conversations with a number of investors and are receiving very good feedback on the direction we’re taking and hope to update the community on our status there soon.
TvT: Lastly, our obligatory question: Will the community be able to invest into Demia?
M.Y.: This is a question I’ve grappled with myself, but have not discussed with many others. I would personally love to find a way to enable the community to invest into Demia, and show their support for sustainability focused initiatives and outcomes such as what Demia is enabling. However, since we’re not launching a currency, our ability to do that in a way that’s open to the community is limited. I’ve thought about taking a percentage of the equity we want to raise with and making it available on a community focused platform, but there are complications with these directions. I’ll continue to look and see if there is a path to enabling the community to contribute openly, and if I can find the right path, make sure the community is aware of us taking that direction.