This week we’re interviewing our much-loved Telegram admin “Gandhi” to learn more about his background and vision.

Could you introduce yourself?

My name is Nicola Zimmermann.  I’m 30 years old and I’m born and raised in Switzerland.  You may know me as “Gandhi” from Telegram and Discord or “chue-li” from Reddit. I was self-employed for the last 7 years, running a catering business and a restaurant with a good friend of mine.

Ever since we closed our restaurant, I became focused on blockchain technology and building a new career in this field. This meant I needed to understand the technology behind Bitcoin and other blockchain projects, which was time-consuming for someone without a professional background in the tech industry. However, I’ve always been very interested in computers and technology.  I assembled my first computer when I was 13 years old because I wanted to know how a computer works, beyond just using it. What I learned in those days and further helped me understand Elastos and its impact on the whole industry.

Now, I’m completely focused on the Cyber Republic and the Elastos community as a whole. My goal is to become one of the first community members able to live off my work in the Cyber Republic.

Did Elastos find you or did you find Elastos?

The first time I heard about Elastos was a year ago when Elastos held their first meetup in San Francisco, together with Stellar and Neo. I was fascinated by Rong Chen’s presentation. I knew immediately that I wanted to be part of this, so I searched for everything Elastos related to understanding the vision and the scope of the project, which at that time wasn’t too available for non-Chinese speakers.

I joined the Elastos telegram group and subreddit. At first, I just wanted to join the crowd sale and be an investor since, at that time, I didn’t see how else I could contribute to the project. It didn’t take long to realize I was terribly wrong; there were plenty of ways, not only for me but for everyone to help Elastos achieve its goals.

One of the telegram admins proposed that Fay add KP, T I, Marcus, N^2, and myself as admins. That’s how the story began, so I guess you could say that I found Elastos as an investment, but Elastos found me as a contributor.

How have you contributed to the Cyber Republic community thus far? What CRcles are you currently part of?

I started contributing as an administrator for the official Elastos Telegram group, followed by moderating Reddit and Discord. When I heard Elastos core team members—Rong Chen, Kevin Zhang, and Kiran Pachhai to be specific—were coming to Europe for a tour of Meetups, I organized an event and some meetings for them in Zurich.

I am part of the Support and dApp Analyst CRcles in the Cyber Republic. I think these are the fields I can be of most use in the community.

Do you have any upcoming projects or proposals you’d like to submit to the Cyber Republic? If so, can you provide us with a teaser and speak briefly about how it’s going to benefit the community?

Recently, I created a new team in the Cyber Republic with the goal to create a global merchandise distribution framework for Elastos and the CR.  It goes by the very creative name, “Elastos Merchandise Distribution dApp.” We are still looking for developers familiar with Javascript and the ionic framework to build a Trinity dApp. We also need help from devs who have experience and knowledge with smart contracts. If anyone is interested in working with us, please join our team or contact me on Telegram/Discord.

What we want to achieve with our dApp is a place for the community to have a say in the official Elastos and Cyber Republic merchandise. This involves design submissions by the community as well as votings on submitted designs. Currently, we are awaiting approval of our proposal and have already started working on a proof-of-concept. If everything works out as planned, the dApp will be ready to be released in late Q1 2019.

My experience in the community has shown that this is something many people are eagerly waiting for.  We have several professional clothing designers in our groups, so I expect some very good designs to be submitted. Apart from that, we will make everything open source and we will document our journey closely so that other developers can benefit from this dApp as a learning experience on how to use DID, smart contracts, etc.

For anyone wanting to get their hands on some Elastos merch now, no worries, we have a temporary solution ready.  More details to come soon.

What is the personal vision you have for the Cyber Republic, and what excites you the most about this vision?

The Cyber Republic is a completely new approach to governing and running an open source software project. The community is empowered not only to contribute code but they can also contribute abilities in other fields relevant to the success of Elastos.  There are plenty of resources to reward every contributor; I have never seen any organization like this before.

Of course, we have many hurdles to overcome before the CR is truly decentralized and governed by the community, but we are on the right path. We must not forget that the CR is only a few months old and what we have achieved as a community is already beyond great; the picture is becoming clearer every day:

The entire CR website is made by the community.  More and more people are joining the various CRcles.  Applications for the CR100 are pouring in. The virtual meetups are now being co-hosted by community members and people who hadn’t known each other a couple months ago are forming teams to apply for tasks together.

I truly believe that the Cyber Republic will become a self-governing, independent body responsible for the Elastos project; we’re sowing the seeds now, and if we nurture them together, we will have quite a rich harvest.

In what areas do you think the Cyber Republic needs the most active growth right now?  What can the community do to support this? Which leaders are most needed?

The most important thing is to get the CRcles going. The numbers of sign-ups are good so far, but we need to make solid plans on what CRcles can do to help Elastos succeed. Currently, they are merely concepts with people signing up, but these people need to get together and define their roles.

When we say the Cyber Republic is decentralized and independent, we really do mean it. There is no CEO or executive board giving directions and tasks.  It’s up to the CRcle members themselves to do this.

My advice for everyone is to step up and start creating and applying for tasks.  Join our Discord and get in touch with the other community members in their respective CRcles.

Make the vision of the CR a reality.

When we take a look at www.cyberrepublic.org, we can see that there are still some CRcles with only a handful of members such as Security, Legal, HR, Operations, or QA. I think these are the ones which need more members as soon as possible, which also means they are the easiest to become a known leader.

And lastly, for people who know you, what are you most famous for? 

I’m just going to avoid this question by leaving a Mahatma Gandhi quote here: “To lose patience is to lose the battle.”

Please leave a comment with your concerns, questions, and suggestions for the Cyber Republic and our latest newsletter.  We read each comment, and we’ll be sure to address the most relevant comments in our next weekly update.

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