Dear Investors and Supporters,
Every successful project is run by people behind it that breathe together with the growing business. Especially when it is about a long-term project or cooperation there is always a core group of people around whom the organization is built and from where other processes and branches connect to this core in the ever-changing environment.
The purpose of this article is to present the core team of the X8 project. From the questions I asked them you will learn about the individuals that make our core team and about different aspects that each individual brings to the project, first from each individual and then together. Every member of the core team is a driving force by himself or herself. The article starts with the CEO of the X8 project, then introduces the Director and completes with the CTO and the CIO. After the introduction of each core team member the article summarizes the uniqueness of the entire core team as a whole.
Gregor Koželj, CEO
Gregor, when did you get the feeling that finance would be the thing for you?
I found markets interesting from an early age and this passion is still with me today. An important juncture for me was the time after graduating from Mergers & Acquisitions at Faculty of Economics. That was a period of historic global market events and stories like the Nasdaq market bubble and the crash that followed. It rekindled my interest in finance and I wanted to work in the financial industry.
Where did your professional path start and how did it shape you?
I found my first two jobs in two brokerage houses, where I started working as an M&A analyst and then later I was promoted to the position of Head of Asset Management. This period gave me a lot of valuable experience and insight in how the financial markets work and I also received a lot of formal training for many skills that to this day help me solve challenges concerning finance and also business in general.
After this period, I moved to more technically oriented area of work. In fact, I started developing an independent path and working in a new business that was focused on bringing specialized financial tools, which opened up many new perspectives about the financial market. It was the beginning of a long-term endeavour that resulted in many new discoveries. From being purely a broker and an asset manager, I gradually started learning and working on computer codes. Programming became a daily activity as it went very well with the scientific approach. To this day, I like to work daily on coding, it is a very creative work.
This is how I developed entrepreneurship and my ability to create value added. Finding ways about how to transform this into measurable results that bring benefits to the people and markets became a strategic focus. I try to always put concepts to the test and analyse them as objectively as I can.
Do you also have other passions besides markets and writing computer code?
As a teenager I became interested in playing guitar. It developed into one of my biggest passions. After years the most interesting part became creating composition pieces and symphonies. I really love playing and I use four different tunings that are completely out of standard to create something unique. The sound of the electric guitar excites me. I hope I will have more time to play with my friends and create more new musical pieces.
I see many connections between music theory, and finance also computer science. I was playing with the idea to try to learn to play in 8 different tunings to further expand understanding of music mathematics and even blockchain. When I play, I many times think about all sorts of equations and ratios, although the music that comes out stays purely organic. I like the combination of classical and rock music and this is the style which I am developing. I would like also some of my pieces to find their place as soundtracks in Hollywood movies for example.
What do you intend to accomplish in the future?
I believe that the only game in town so to speak in the computer technology and programming are the advancements in how efficiently the society will be able to process information. I would like to develop techniques that will help accelerate the progress in this field in order to spend less energy when processing large information volumes and to have the highest possible density of storing and processing data per cubic centimetre. This will make datacentres more eco-friendly and smaller, while producing higher output. At the same time access of useful information to the individuals and the society should be well improved, decentralizing data further and also helping with the education and human empowerment.
Francesca Greco Guerrieri, Director
What is your education and where did it lead you?
I graduated in Law from the University of Rome, Italy, with a thesis in International Law, and also attending the training course to become Diplomat. I decided to further specialize in European Law following the advice of my Professor of International Law, who was the Head of the Diplomatic Contentious for the Italian Ministry of European Affairs.
Once I finished my masters in European Law from the University of Aix-en-Provence, France, I moved to Brussels where I started my career as Intern at the DG Internal Market and Financial Services in the office of a French Director. My first day job was to draft a letter to the French Government for the infringement of an article of the EU founding Treaty!
What were your accomplishments at the job in Brussels?
After my experience in the European Commission I was hired as Director of the European Performers Organization and also the European Composers and Songwriters Organization, for which I worked for more than 15 years. During those years, I negotiated not only all the EU Directives and the international Treaties on Copyright and Related Rights but also many “horizontal” pieces of legislation on Financial Services, E-Commerce, Digital Signatures, etc… While working, I also got another Master in EU, US and UK Comparative Copyright Law.
Those years were extremely interesting and also very instructive as I learnt a huge amount of skills that are still today incredibly useful in my current position.
How did you get involved in finance?
As I had the intention to get a second degree in Economics and Finance, and I had studied all the common subjects between Law and Economics, in 2012 I decided to focus on the financial world as I wanted to do something more concrete and also different from my previous experience as governmental strategist. I started advising several PE Funds in different fields and I traveled a lot in many rich and also extremely poor countries including Haiti, Djibouti and Nepal to help them to finance projects that would help bring income to the people. At that moment, I really realized how privileged and lucky I was and I decided that I would not only focus on my self realization but also on helping people in need.
What convinced you to join Gregor at the X8Currency project?
When I was introduced to Gregor through a common friend and we started discussing the x8Currency project and ioNectar, the amazing technology behind it, I immediately saw the huge opportunity to bring stability and prosperity not only to people who are already wealthy but also to people that are normally forgotten by the traditional banking system. Furthermore I found the project and the Team really amazing and therefore when I was asked to support the project and take care of the setting up the structures and the international strategy, I didn’t hesitate a minute!
Tell us about your free time activities and interests.
I love sports, I have practiced many sports in my life (running, windsurfing, tennis, swimming, gymnastics, etc.) and I still regularly train as I believe in the ancient Roman motto Mens Sana in Corpore Sano. Art is also important to me and I enjoy Music and Opera.
I also love reading, I read a lot, all sorts of different things, from technology articles to philosophy books. Languages are my passion and I am fully fluent in English, Italian, French and Spanish. This year I will start learning a new one. I am still deciding which one. Possible candidates are Arabic, Chinese or German.
I am also a strong advocate of women’s inclusion in technology and in the so-called STEM subjects. I am a member of several organisations of Women in Blockchain.
However, being a proud mum, I am also very involved with children and I financially support several children in developing countries in order to ensure them the highest level of education.
What are your future objectives?
I want to support X8currency to become the principal international settlement currency in the world! My main objective is to bring ioNectar technology and X8Currency also to countries that are really in need of stability to be able to flourish. In the future, I hope by the end of 2019, I want to establish a Foundation to improve the level of education of women and children.
Simon Hohler, CTO & Ervin Marguč, CIO
What is your background that led you to the current engagement with computers and IT?
Simon: A law university and private entrepreneur school dropout, at one point I decided to follow my true passion, which is making things with computers and electronics. Coming from a family business at an early age I became familiar with computers, 3D engineering and computer controlled robots which I found fascinating enough to build one myself and with the best partner I could imagine, that is my cousin Ervin. We successfully built the robot and we’ve been working together ever since.
Ervin: Yes, building a robot together was a memorable event. When I attended primary school I already knew I wanted to work with robots and software development. After finishing Compute Science school I got a job at company developing business information apps for larger clients. I also worked on the hardware-software integration. One of my major achievements at the time was fixing the book keeping and inter-warehouse transfers based on the technology underpinning the Bizerba industrial scales.
I spent my free time together with Simon exploring new computer technology and creating new solutions like CNC machine, lottery software, IRC robots, web design…
Which projects did you two find the most rewarding in terms of experience?
Simon: Over the years we’ve had the opportunity to work on amazing projects in financial software industry (high frequency trading, ioNectar, FIX interbank connections, real time portfolio reporting dashboards and visualizations), working with Quants from New York and Netherlands. I gained valuable experience and used it to build an IoT SCADA data acquisition solution for Industrial monitoring and visualizations, where we developed our own electronic sensor module and IoT gateway. We have a working solution with custom built sensors in the textile industry. I’ve also learned a lot and gained huge amount of skills while being a part of an online gaming project, where we implemented real sports betting data feed into a game where friends could bet for fun for virtual coins against each other.
Ervin: The Sigybit system oversight development, which is still active today, was a rewarding experience. I also participated in the QuickFixN open source project for a while. Together with Simon we developed a dashboard for real-time asset management overview. We learned a lot from working with an online game startup. We also built a prototype for a smart holster together with software for arms managing and monitoring and helped with patent documents…
Simon: The common thread throughout all these projects has always been big data and performance plus visualisations, a valuable set of skills and common requirements for all serious IT projects. As a well-oiled machine, together with Ervin, we deliver solutions which are balanced between all the requirements by using a small and efficient team. I like to put everything in a nice package and Ervin makes sure that it works, which is the nature of our dynamics and it usually delivers great results.
How did you meet Gregor and got involved with the X8Currency?
Ervin: Seven years after my first job we met Gregor who explained to us his vision. We found it an appealing challenge – to automate Forex trading platforms. In 2017 we were delighted to observe our product setting new records in business transactions. And then we had to postpone operations because of the market crash… In 2017 we joined the X8currency project, where we have developed the architecture and components for the operation of the X8 platform and value preservation currency. The was a parallel development of ioNectar and X8 platform.
Do you also find some time for your hobbies?
Simon: My personal hobbies are basically an extension of the things I do professionally, except the desire to fly and the love for music.
Music has always been a part of my life and I play a few instruments and did music production when I was younger. I ran a record label and helped a few talents progress with their careers.
I’ve always had the wish to fly and did so from a young age by building RC model aircraft and later by flying a paraglider. I love building things and in the last few years building drones has been the perfect combination of the passions I have (electronics, software, 3D printing and the experience of first person flying, FPV). I travel and fly drones on beautiful locations as much as I can in the free time I have.
I also like to dedicate some of my free time to projects and initiatives that I feel are important for the community or have social impact. I am involved as a mentor in a local maker lab, where I teach young and old about building your own drone and the technologies involved. I am also a member of a local business club where we are contributing to building a better ecosystem for our businesses by collaborating and sharing knowledge and experience. I have also been supporting Tacugama, chimpanzee sanctuary in Sierra Leone for many years now and I am a proud member of an “Adopt a Chimp” programme.
Ervin: My main interests, like Simon’s, are related to my work. I am especially interested in ioT, embedded electronics. I also find very interesting converting devices into smart versions. Blockchain is of course high on the list as means to digital transport of value and trustless tracking. Also AI and big data connected to smart resource management and predictive abilities.
What is your vision of the future?
Simon: As a technology enthusiast, a science and a spiritual person I love looking into the future and think, imagine and work on things that are in some way contributing to a trajectory that brings better future for mankind. I believe with technology advancements, humans will soon have a window of opportunity to step out of the great cycle, create a better world and expand life throughout the galaxy.
We are collectively and spontaneously reorganizing around our digital information flows.
Being a part of AI, IoT and Blockchain revolutions, I believe we are just starting to bring about the change, some of us wish to see in the world and often with change, what happens is, it comes around in barely perceptible ways, and then surprisingly, it disrupts. Emergent change seems impossible, until it happens, and at which point it seems it was always inevitable.
Ervin: I would like to see a world where work that nobody wants and is dull is automated, so people can devote themselves to interesting matters. There is a long road ahead to this brighter future, but I think it is inevitable as it will enable the idea of man in space, which remains the ultimate goal of humanity.
UNIQUENESS OF THE X8 CORE TEAM
To conclude, let me share my impressions about the core team members and their influence on the X8currency project.
The unique part of our core team is that there are four of them. Many successful businesses start from two persons. Some are lucky and have three, which is already rare and an even more powerful combination. However, by having four persons in the core makes the company stand out in a way. We feel this as a blessing, a privilege and a responsibility as we understand that we can achieve outstanding things developing and realizing this vast potential.
One of the main common things that connects them as a team is the strong interest that they all have in science. They all tend to think very logically. They all enjoy in creative work and bringing forward new ideas. During work they try to bring together skills that they have from different fields and create an interdisciplinary combination. They find a lot of strength in this and it is never boring.
Despite sometimes being obsessed with the systematic approach all members in our core team value positive approach. They like to create a positive spirit when making new achievements much more than just stacking up successes. This represents a very high value to everyone of us. From this we are expanding and joining our efforts to do something good for the society and for people everywhere. Innovative ideas, leadership and the humanitarian approach create a strong bond between all the members in the core team.
At the same time they are all very eager to develop from what they already have accomplished. From this a constant push toward improvements never allows them to be at rest for too long. They like to take compliments from each other, however usually what follows is a challenge to go beyond what they already did. This tends to develop into extended work sessions. It is when they sometimes need to control each other, since they all enjoy positive work so much, but they need some relaxation too.
When they need a break, they tend to release the tension that comes from the very strong vision of the future by having brainstorming sessions or sharing spontaneous ideas just to play with concepts and have fun without a plan. They have moments of relaxation when they can explore them freely and allow their minds to step out of the box to work without limits and try to not be too serious about everything. This is also a way of trying to solve problems and give each other support.
As a team we wish to bring the best to our followers and supporters and to make a positive impact on the environment around us and also to the world.