Home Ethereum An Exclusive Interview with Markus Schorn and Jens Herrmann from Deutsche Telekom

An Exclusive Interview with Markus Schorn and Jens Herrmann from Deutsche Telekom

An Exclusive Interview with Markus Schorn and Jens Herrmann from Deutsche Telekom

The following is an interview with Deutsche Telekom’s Web3 Program Co-Lead Markus Schorn and Sr. Manager of Corporate Strategy Jens Herrmann. Interview by Tom Lyons.

We’ve been involved in defining Web3 since 2018, starting with our team in Berlin. Perhaps influenced by Berlin’s vibrant Ethereum community, we experimented with putting self-administered e-scooters on the blockchain back in 2018. It was too early for such an integration, and interest waned during the first and second “crypto winters.” However, we continued to work on blockchain topics, and today, Deutsche Telekom MMS runs validators for major blockchain networks.

We’re a cloud provider in Europe using our own infrastructure and helping blockchain networks in physical decentralization. Initially, we started by running oracles for Chainlink as our first major blockchain project. From there, we moved on to staking, particularly as early adopters of the Flow blockchain, where we ran some of the first Flow validators for projects like Dapper Labs and Top Shots. This early involvement created significant momentum. After staking, we further expanded our blockchain activities by transitioning into indexing. Overall, our journey has evolved from running oracles to staking and finally to indexing, each step contributing to our growing expertise and presence in the blockchain space. We are part of the Helium ecosystem, engaging in decentralized clearing and settlement with ClearX. Celo was our first strategic investment in a token, making us at that time one of the very few companies of our size to manage crypto assets.

To start, we run validators for major and minor blockchains, including Ethereum, Polygon, Celo, Flow, Q, Energy Web, The Graph, MutiversX, Aleph Zero, and so on. We support Chainlink’s oracle node network, enabling DeFi apps to access external data. That said, we focus primarily on EVM-compatible public blockchains, as we want to support building a new internet on open infrastructure.

At the moment, we focus on Ethereum-compatible platforms. We see Ethereum as the current standard, and enterprises are still grappling with the possibilities that Ethereum offers. We’re particularly excited about what we’re building with Celo, a mobile-first blockchain and a future layer-two protocol on Ethereum that uses mobile phone numbers as identifiers on the blockchain for digital assets.

What we’ve learned over the last few years is that our service provides a unique selling point. EVMs require decentralization for optimal functioning. It wouldn’t be ideal if all of Ethereum ran on AWS. So it is very valuable to have a second or even third credible option for cloud infrastructure. Being a telecommunications company gives us unique advantages in maintaining high uptimes, which we also apply to running validators.

First, running decentralized networks is in our heritage as a telecommunications company; it’s in our DNA. Second, we’re motivated by the uneven benefits reaped by big tech companies. Web3 provides an opportunity to level the playing field. I see Web2 and Web3 as a natural progression in the development of the Internet. We’ve been providing infrastructure services for years, starting from phone lines and transitioning to the Internet.

Currently, our focus is on assisting other companies in transitioning into the Web3 space. For example, with Celo, the mobile number acts as the wallet address. In the past, even storing an encrypted mobile number on a blockchain wouldn’t meet our privacy standards. So, we have to innovate and look into “one-click wallets.” The future of mass-market wallets may not be MetaMask-only but rather wallets included in mainstream apps built by brands and companies. We want to make it easier for brands to incorporate wallets into their native applications.

They are really a couple. For example, clearing and settlement is a promising decentralized business model, allowing parties to settle directly among themselves without an extra service provider in between. Decentralized physical infrastructure networks are also very interesting.

Interestingly, the current ‘crypto winter’ has somewhat benefited us. When we started this venture two years ago, the landscape was filled with expensive JPGs. Many people wondered why they should care about concepts like blockchain, the metaverse, and NFTs, especially when they didn’t align with the interests of major players. So, this period has helped clarify and refine people’s understanding of Web3.

Markus Schorn is a bestselling author and special adviser on emerging technologies and business models. He is an expert in digital transformation and innovation within various industries and revenue models.

Jens Herrmann brings over 18 years of experience in and passion for technology, business, and entrepreneurship to his work in blockchain, Web3, and the metaverse. His focus includes driving and advising for major advancements in telecom blockchain projects, data trends, and challenges in decentralization.

Further reading:
1. Deutsche Telekom Blockchain News
2. Deutsche Telekom IaaS Staking
3. Deutsche Telekom Supports Ethereum Blockchain
4. Deutsche Telekom Announces Support for Polygon Blockchain Infrastructure
5. Deutsche Telekom Invests in DeFi and Token


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