The pedigree of a technological company or product is no less important than what it can do as technological companies are often shaped by their history.
Misrepresentation of the past could lead to serious problems in the future. NEM and Mijin are both important Blockchain products with their roots in Japan. Recently it has come to light in a book titled Virtual Currency and Blockchain, authored by Toshihisa Kinouchi that Makato Takemiya was an inventor of NEM and a lead in the NEM and Mijin Blockchain project. NEM has since then released a statement which explicitly states that Takemiya was not an inventor, founder or developer of NEM and Mijin.
NEM’s development team
A logical question to ask would be that if Takemiya did not found NEM, then who did?
When the NEM project was announced on Jan. 19, 2014 by ‘utopianfuture’ the post regarding it was very clear in who the team members were.
As is clear from this link, Takemiya was not part of the founders of NEM. In messages made available to us by NEM, we have established that Takemiya asked to join NEM after Feb. 4, 2014. The request was made in the form of a private message to ‘Jaguar’.
Interestingly, there is also an audio clip available online on the Let’s Talk Bitcoin Network, where Takemiya can be heard denying in his own voice at 48s that he is the founder of NEM.
So what exactly did Takemiya do at NEM and Mijin?
Why would Nikkei and Kinouchi make an incorrect claim that Takemiya founded NEM or was a lead at Mijin?
Is it convenient if such claims are allowed to pass on unchallenged?
Would it benefit a person in their individual capacity or an organization?
In order to clarify our doubts and to give a chance to Makoto Takemiya, co-CEO of Soramitsu at present to respond himself, we asked him the question if he was the founder of NEM or a lead at Mijin. He says:
“I am Makoto Takemiya, the co-CEO of Soramitsu. This present story has no relationship to our company. While I used to be involved with NEM personally, I left the project last year and have no relationship to the project whatsoever at this time. Therefore, I feel unqualified to comment.”
We also talked with Lon Wong, President of NEM.io Foundation and CEO, Founder of Dragonfly about Takemiya’s role.
Lon tells us, “As for the Mijin, not a single line of code was contributed by him since the launch of our project as he was already in the marketing team. There is no evidence other than private discussions where he was “drafted” into the marketing team from thereon. The only evidence is shown in the GitHub where he contributed nothing to the further development of the NEM core, and where the Mijin was premised on, here.”
Has Takemiya damaged NEM and Dragonfly?
There are serious allegations against Takemiya, which could have potential reverberations in the future.
According to Lon Wong, Takemiya told him that a Venture Capital company was to invest JPY 200 mln into Dragonfly, but that opportunity was squandered and lost to competition.
Lon also tells us that Dragonfly suffered reputational damages because of Takemiya sidelining the importance of the company.
Finally, Dragonfly had to withdraw from the Japanese market even though it was one of the pioneer Blockchains in that country.
As for NEM Lon says that Takemiya sowed discord in the NEM core team. Lon tells us that they have had to “fight against him in the open, watching every word we had to say in the open for fear of spoiling the name of NEM and thus making it into a farce.”
We were also told that Catapult was interrupted because of Takemiya due to chaos in the core team: all because of Takemiya.
Lending his name and having it removed?
We asked Takemiya if he had contacted the author of the book Toshihisa Kinouchi and try to have some corrections made.
In the response we received he says:
“I do not know Kinouchi and was not interviewed for his book, nor was I consulted about the content. Obviously, NEM was created as a team and I was never the inventor of the project but rather just one of the members contributing to open source project and helping with Marketing. It is not good to have misinformation about me printed, so we are in contact with the publisher to try to have my name removed.”
We have to ask ourselves is it too late and too little? Is NEM correct in expressing its anguish publically when its legacy is being squandered?
We have to also ask why Nikkei did not fact check before they declared Takemiya to be the inventor of NEM in a book. Takemiya has been in the news lately because of his company Soramitsu’s tie-up with the Bank of Cambodia’s in order to develop a new payment infrastructure. Surely as a person of repute, he could have done more to correct misinformation about his role at NEM? We ask Lon if he was contemplating any legal action in this matter and his response was:
“This is an option that we should consider. In hindsight, the damage has been significant.”