DOVU Co-founder Arwen Smit: “Few Truly Understand” Blockchain Technology

Blockchain, ICO, Interviews | September 19, 2017 By:

Arwen Smit is the Co-founder and CMO of DOVU, a blockchain-powered market for transport data.

Smit co-founded DOVU after working as entrepreneur-in-residence at InMotion, the accelerator of Jaguar Land Rover. Active in the technology scene in Europe, Smit has worked on the business side of established and growing technology companies in various roles, including Facebook and Google. She has a BSC from the Rotterdam School of Management and MSC from the Stockholm School of Economics. 

The upcoming DOVU token sale opens on October 3 and will run until October 31.

BLOCK TRIBUNE: Could you tell us a bit how Dovu got started?

ARWEN SMIT: Looking at the data explosion in the mobility space we realized two things.

1) The most successful companies are best at transforming access to data into improved decision making.

2) The benefits of data creation are going to a small number of shareholders at a small number of companies.

Companies such as Uber or Airbnb are often cited as examples of the sharing economy. But it could be argued that they are not exactly because they are centralized. A true sharing economy is one in which individuals and companies are empowered by technology to share their data and — if they wish — receive payment for it.

Stripping back layers of complexity, in essence blockchain is crypto proof instead of trust. Those who create value, should be rewarded for that value. Or, those who create mobility data, should be rewarded for the value of that data. Applying that basic principle to the mobility space was the genesis of the DOVU protocol.

BLOCK TRIBUNE: What was your biggest challenge in putting this together?

ARWEN SMIT: Transforming the mobility space is not a one-person task. We realized early on that partnerships are key. We are fortunate to have InMotion Ventures, the wholly owned subsidiary of Jaguar Land Rover, as an investor and partner, amplifying our connections in the mobility space.

Although lots of companies show interest in blockchain technology, few truly understand the technology behind it. Educating a centralized company how to run a decentralized application is something which deserves more attention from the crypto community.

With one technological breakthrough quickly following the other, within a regulatory system that is still taking shape, there is an important role for blockchain companies to transform technological promises to real-world benefits.

BLOCK TRIBUNE:  As you look at DOVU’s roadmap now and into the future, what is a key milestone that you see for yourself?

ARWEN SMIT: DOVU is already well on its way to bringing its vision to the market. Development is on track to bring our marketplace MVP to private alpha during Q4 2017 with a view to on-boarding and documenting a significant number of API’s ready for initial launch.

We’re currently structuring closed pilots based on the DOVU protocol, due to go live summer. 2018 in public beta. End of 2018 will see a dual public launch of the DOVU Protocol, DOV token and API marketplace.

New regulation, such as GDPR, will highlight the need for data owner consent. The DOVU Protocol empowers ‘data owners’ (individuals, organisations, IoT devices – any source of data) to control access to the data shared, whilst receiving value of the use of that data in return – in form of DOV Tokens.

This is a paradigm shift away from blanket acceptance of traditional terms and privacy policies, granting large organizations the permission to use and resell data without controls on its use.

BLOCK TRIBUNE: Multiple countries issued warnings to their citizens about the dangers of initial coin offerings (ICO). How are the holders of DOVU tokens protected under the current framework?

ARWEN SMIT: Regulation is important for an industry to mature. There are many in the crypto community who welcome incoming regulation, for it makes the barrier to cooperate with blockchain startups lower for established corporations.

Too many entrepreneurs are seeing token sales as the end of the journey, not the start of one. The corporate governance and legal company structures are non-existent in a large number of offerings, leading to confusion and heightened risk. We are looking to change that.

We have spent the last 12 months making sure we are structured correctly. We closed equity investment from both InMotion Ventures (venture arm of Jaguar Land Rover) and Creative England (UK Government backed fund). We have engaged KPMG, one of the top 4 global accountancy firms, as our advisor, working with us on our company and financial structure. Our legal team is Ramparts, experts in the blockchain space, and our platform partner is TokenMarket, one of the leading platforms for token sales.

Last but not least, we have secured some fantastic advisors who have helped frame our business to date and will stay working on our business in the coming years.

BLOCK TRIBUNE: Where do you see the value of DOVU tokens in the medium to long term and the ultimate benefit for token holders?

ARWEN SMIT: The DOV token is central to our ecosystem. It’s the unit of value that allows us to create this new circular economy linking consumers to data providers (and vice versa) and also rewarding those sharing data.

For our ecosystem to flourish in the transport sector we encourage use of the DOV token within it, ultimately building more value for customers as adoption and utility grows.

The DOV token is a utility token. A decentralized global ledger combined with a token that’s required to use that ledger aligns incentives and creates more intense product engagement, further enhancing the value of the token.