🎤 Interviews Cyril Gilson

Future of Blockchain Series: Vicky Barker on Mass Adoption

🎤 Interviews
Dacxi’s boss aims to bring more clarity for novice crypto users
Future of Blockchain Series: Vicky Barker on Mass Adoption

Once in a while, an exceptional technology comes to light. As everything else under the sun, those technologies have a certain cycle, almost a fruit like process. That initial seed of an idea turns into a sprout of potential, that becomes a tree giving us sweet and juicy benefits.

Vicky Barker's crypto exchange Dacxi is focused on bringing wonders of Blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies specifically to mainstream audiences.
We touched upon the growth of Blockchain technology, the role of team and the need for clarity for rookie crypto enthusiasts.

Cyril Gilson: Give us a brief story of how you first discovered Blockchain and what it meant for you?

Vicky Barker: I was at a conference in Hong Kong at the end of 2015 and accidentally stumbled into a breakout session that was all about how Blockchain might disrupt the beauty industry. I was really intrigued to hear about how Blockchain might have the potential to solve major issues in the cosmetics industry for both companies and consumers alike. At the time I was a beauty product manufacturer and I realized that Blockchain could be used to stop the counterfeiting of products and also provide supply chain transparency in an industry that is famous for smoke and mirrors.

From there I went down the rabbit hole and started devouring books, Ted-talks and whitepapers. Having lived through the Dotcom revolution, I realized that Blockchain had the same potential to turn the world on its head and I knew I had to get involved. I’m fascinated by the idea that our monetary system could be transformed and so create a fairer world. So my husband, myself and our investors set out to create Dacxi, the world’s first Community Exchange. Our goal is to help solve mainstream adoption of crypto assets.

CG: Tell us about your team. How did they get to the crypto industry?

VB: One of Dacxi’s strengths is our team. We have around 52 team members who are based in four offices in four different countries. They are a fantastically talented and diverse group of people with skills across the board from marketing, acquisition, community building to cryptoanalysts and also our dev and technical team. Some have been in the Blockchain world for years and act as crypto evangelists to any members of the team who are new to crypto!

CG: When in your opinion will mass adoption of Blockchain come?

VB: That’s the big question isn’t it? I think it is going to be like any new technology. At first, adoption is very slow and people question the value of the technology. We’ve seen this already. And then as Blockchain starts to spread it will follow an s-curve adoption cycle and quickly become unstoppable. When a new technology does take hold, it is very hard to stop. I think this will happen with cryptocurrency because of the network effects that strengthen and expand as more people use it. We need digital money for our digital world. That’s one of the first uses cases, and then once the more exotic DAPPs start to come online and scale there will be no looking back!

CG: Do you think your project may significantly influence Blockchain adoption? If yes, why?

VB: Yes, absolutely! Dacxi’s mission is to help solve the mainstream adoption problem. Our goal is to be the number one community exchange brand in crypto. We’re going to onboard the next wave of mainstream retail investors into crypto and that means up to 500 mln new investors and a market worth $1 tln by 2022. We’ll do this by pioneering a new category of crypto exchange, called a Community Exchange. The Dacxi Community Exchange has two key parts to it. Firstly, a user-friendly interface that is simple and intuitive to use. Secondly, it includes a dedicated community platform that provides new mainstream investors with the knowledge, tools, discussion groups and learning resources they need to engage with crypto assets in a safe and responsible way.

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CG: Name the factor that could be a major turnoff as it comes to cryptocurrencies and Blockchain. What can be done about it?

VB: The major turn off for people at the moment is they simply don’t understand it. It takes a while for people to get their heads around what Blockchain and crypto are all about. And of course, the barriers to entry are high. It’s a big challenge for new people to even get their first crypto and most people give up. Current exchanges are very technical and intimidating and not designed for mainstream users. So at Dacxi, we’re removing those barriers to entry, so new mainstream retail investors can get into crypto in a safe and responsible way. We’ll show them what they need to know and how to do it!

CG: The number of hacks is growing today along with the volumes of the sensitive data and the funds were stolen. How will you make sure that very personal user data is not going to be compromised?

VB: Yes, well obviously one of the strengths of Blockchain is that it allows users to take control of their data and keep it out of the hands of big companies that are more likely to be hacked. For us, as a crypto exchange, the security of our systems, assets and user data is one of the core principles upon which our business is built. We have best practice security protocols in place, a secure cold wallet storage facility in a remote location and our team is constantly assessing and testing our systems.

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CG: What major obstacles do you foresee for your project?

VB: One of the challenges for us in 2018 and I’m sure it’s the same for many others in the space, is the current bear market has meant that new investors aren’t ready to enter the market yet. In some ways, this has turned out to be a positive, as it has given us a longer runway to build out the Dacxi ecosystem platforms, so when the market does turn and we enter the next bull cycle we’ll be well positioned for the next wave of new investors.

CG: How big is the community you are working with? How do you describe it?  

VB: Our community is growing fast! I would describe our global crypto community as welcoming, friendly, empowering, inclusive, collaborative, credible, knowledgeable, aspirational, inspirational, entertaining, enthusiastic and positive. Because we’re global, our team is just as global and diverse as the community. We have people from over 20 different countries on the team.

CG: What is the role of women in your company?

VB: We have some great women on our team and it’s very important to me that we help encourage new female crypto people. It’s estimated that less than five percent of crypto investors are women and I find that quite shocking!

I think there are a few reasons why. Firstly, women are more risk-averse than men. And while crypto is becoming more recognized as an emerging new asset class, it has always been seen as risky. Secondly, knowledge or access to information. Bitcoin first became popular in the geekiest, nerdiest corners of the Internet. In those days you did need some technical knowledge to get into crypto, and while things are much easier now, and getting better all the time, it’s still true today.

Too many women think you need to have an economics degree or be a computer coder to be qualified to invest in crypto. That is not true! Also, did you know that woman make better investors than men? It’s true! According to research by Warwick Business School-  women’s returns on their investments were 1.2 percent higher than men. If crypto is going to achieve mainstream adoption, we must welcome more women into the space and I’m certain that we will.

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CG: What are your major principles when working with your community?

VB: We're all about our community. Our members are here to increase their crypto knowledge and learn more about how to take part in the crypto revolution. To help our community members grow in confidence on their crypto journey, we value and respect constructive contributions from anyone, regardless of where they are on their journey. We will all help each other to succeed.

Dacxi.com

Dacxi (Digital Asset Community Exchange International) is a global start-up pioneering a new category of crypto exchange, called a Community Exchange. Dacxi’s mission is to help solve the mainstream adoption problem by removing the barriers to entry that have prevented retail investors from entering the crypto market. Once these barriers to entry are solved, Dacxi estimates that up to 500 mln new retail investors will enter the crypto market by 2022.

The Dacxi Community Exchange has two key parts to it. Firstly, the Dacxi Exchange has a user-friendly interface that is simple and intuitive to use, not technical and intimidating like most existing exchanges.

Secondly, the Community Exchange includes a dedicated community platform that provides new mainstream investors with the knowledge, tools, discussion groups and learning resources they need to engage with crypto assets in a safe and responsible way. Beta versions of Dacxi’s platforms have been launched and can be accessed via dacxi.com

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Bitcoin Price $1 mln by 2020, Regardless Current Performance: John McAfee

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Antivirus Pioneer and “Chief Cybersecurity Visionary” John McAfee explains why Bitcoin will be worth $1 mln by 2020 and why every company in the future will have to have its own token.
Bitcoin Price $1 mln by 2020, Regardless Current Performance: John McAfee

Antivirus Pioneer and “Chief Cybersecurity Visionary” John McAfee explains why Bitcoin will be worth $1 mln by 2020 and why every company in the future will have to have its own token.

CryptoComes: How did you first learn about Bitcoin and what was your initial reaction?

John McAfee: I was introduced to Bitcoin by friends of mine who insisted that I understand it. At first, it made no sense to me, but then I read Satoshi’s white paper. As a mathematician, I thought it was beautiful. I saw that this is something for the future, that it will change the world.

I didn’t get intimately involved until three years ago when I started mining Bitcoin with my company, MGT. We are now one of the largest miners in the world, with 6,000 supercomputers and [we’re] getting another 6,000 very soon. It’s not exciting or interesting, but it generates a lot of money which I can use for the projects I am interested in.

“Mine More” Economic Model

CC: If you were Satoshi Nakamoto, how would you use your Bitcoins?

JMA: Well, I’m not Satoshi, so I do not know. Here’s what we do: as soon as we mine them, we simply sell them and buy more machines [to] mine more Bitcoins. It’s the best economic model.

CC: Who would you say are the greatest enemies of Bitcoin?

JMA: Banks, federal reserves and governments. Banks - because they will simply disappear. My Bitcoin wallet does everything that my bank can do. Governments - because they will lose income.

Most governments tax income, or goods and services. If you use a private cryptocurrency like Monero, there’s simply no way to track how much money you’ve made or spent [and] no way to track any transaction to its source or its destination.

That terrifies governments because you are now counting on people to be honest about what they are earning and what they are doing with that money. That’s unrealistic. We are people, we have our faults and we like our privacy.

“They will simply be ignored”

CC: Many experts in the crypto community think that regulation of Bitcoin will hurt it, at least in the short term. What is your opinion?

JMA: First of all, if you create legislation or laws prohibiting something, you must have the ability to enforce those laws. How can you enforce the use of Bitcoin? You would have to have one enforcer for every citizen of the country and that’s impossible.

Let’s take an obvious absurd law as an example. In America, smoking marijuana is illegal in almost every state. And yet, I don’t know anybody who does not do it. Why? It cannot be enforced.

It’s much harder to enforce the use of Bitcoin or Monero or Ethereum than it is to enforce [laws against] smoking marijuana. It’s absurd to think that governments will pass laws that mean anything. They will simply be ignored.

CC: What about your expectations? Do you still think that by 2020 Bitcoin will be worth a million dollars?

JMA: Absolutely. We all know that within 15 or 20 years [nearly] all the Bitcoins will be mined. There are 10,000 mining companies working for a year and a half, paying millions of dollars in electricity alone, trying to get to the last Bitcoin.

Imagine what this last coin is going to be worth: trillions. Toward the end, we will all have to work together to form a global mining pool, so that no matter who mines it, we all get our percentage.

All you have to do is work backwards and you see that in 2020 it has to be a million dollars, or 10 million. I’m a mathematician: one plus one is two, two plus two is four — it’s simply the truth.

“Every company will have to have its own token”

CC: Do you see a future for ICOs in 2018?

JMA: The number of ICOs is doubling every two months. In just two weeks almost 1,000 new ICOs have been submitted to me and my team for evaluation. Think about this: in six months there’ll be 5,000, in a year there’ll be 10,000.

So absolutely there’s a future, because everything in life, ultimately, will be on the Blockchain. [It will influence] our religious preferences, the way we drive cars, the way we live at home, the way we entertain  and educate ourselves. Every company will have to have its own token. It’s like when we started the Internet, and people thought it was nonsense, no big deal.

Companies ignored it, but try to find a single company today that doesn’t have a webpage. If you don’t have one, you’ll be out of business. So, in 5 or 10 years every company will have to have its own currency, or else be irrelevant and simply disappear.

My staff and I review 200 new ICOs every week and 90% of all the ICOs are scams. You can’t tell which is a scam unless you dig into it like my team does.

If I find something interesting, something real and helpful, I try to make sure the world knows about it. Without public knowledge, the chance of that coin or that token surviving is very slim.

CC: Do you think there is conflict of interest when ICO advisers are paid huge sums of money? Perhaps the institution outlived its time and needs to be replaced by a Blockchain-based model?

JMA: If you watch television, every celebrity in the world is promoting something - an automobile, an insurance company. Why? Because when a celebrity comes out and says “I drink this coffee,” whether they do or not, we all want to drink that coffee.

The crypto community has its own celebrities, so of course they are going to become advisers and make money. They are not going to do it for free.

There’s no difference between what’s happening here and what’s been happening in any industry since the beginning of marketing and advertising.

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Vinny Lingham On Bitcoin Future and Next Crypto Star: Exclusive to CryptoComes

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The Bitcoin Oracle remains bullish on the cryptocurrency market: exclusive interview with Vinny Lingham
Vinny Lingham On Bitcoin Future and Next Crypto Star: Exclusive to CryptoComes

 

Vinny Lingham Talks to CryptoComes About the Aggressive Market, the Next Crypto Star, and Personal Data Security.

CryptoComes will surprise no one by confessing that we have been waiting for a turn at Vinny Lingham’s dispensary of uncanny cryptocurrency wisdom, especially given the market turmoil of the last few months. We got the chance at last week’s StartEngine ICO 2.0 Spring Summit in Los Angeles. Over a hurried breakfast between a panel on “The State of ICO Regulation” and his flight out to the next destination, Vinny shared some industry insights which we dutifully pass on to our readers - until the next encounter with the Bitcoin Oracle…

Katya Michaels: You are known for your predictions. So, are you always right?

Vinny Lingham: No, but you only need to be right half the time to be an oracle.

KM: Still, how do you do it? Is it just common sense?

VL: It’s more fundamental base, market timing, psychology, and so on. I'm not always right about it. I do also think that the market's been a bit too aggressive lately. But things can't go up forever, that quickly, it doesn't work that way.

Bitcoin Cash

KM: In any case, your predictions about Bitcoin Cash are being confirmed. Is there something inherent that makes it grow?

Vinny Lingham:

The network effect around Bitcoin Cash is growing faster than Bitcoin. It's a smaller currency, so it will grow faster, but the question is - can it catch up to Bitcoin. That still remains to be seen. Bitcoin has a network effect that is second to none.

KM: How far do you think Bitcoin Cash will go this year? Do you have a figure in mind?

VL: I don't, we'll see how it goes. It depends on whether or not it decouples from Bitcoin. Right now it trades in the range of Bitcoin, and it needs to decouple significantly, which might take a long time.

KM: Most cryptocurrencies seem to follow Bitcoin’s movement in the market. Do you think this can change?

VL: Yes, once you have stable coins and security tokens, they will be able to move on their own.

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Next big Crypto star

KM: Who is the next big star in Crypto - Cardano? EOS perhaps?

Vinny Lingham:

The next star is Filecoin, when it goes live eventually, later this year maybe. I invested in 2014 and I’m a big believer in the technology, the team and what they are doing.

KM: Are you still critical of Litecoin?

VL: I still don't understand Litecoin enough. I don't know how it's different from Bitcoin, except that it's a little bit faster. I still don't get it - maybe I'll never get it.

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Personal data security

KM: Your own project, Civic, addresses the security of identity and personal data. In the aftermath of Cambridge Analytica, how can Blockchain help users regain control of their information? Do you think there are any viable Blockchain based challenges to Facebook right now?

Vinny Lingham:

I don't think that Facebook has any challenges right now because it's just too big. Two billion people onboarding to something else is not going to happen anytime soon.

I do think that you can enhance user privacy by moving to solutions like Civic where people can control their own data and authorize who can see it and who can use it. But replacing Facebook right now is impossible, you can just build something different.

KM: Do you think people are ready to own and be in control of their data?

VL: I think a lot of people are ready and they want it, it's just not there for them yet.

KM: What are the main challenges to the adoption of identity-management platforms like Civic?

VL: The biggest challenge right now is that the current regulations don't really force companies to be cognizant of the use of data that they are storing. Now GDPR in Europe is coming in next month, and I think US regulations are coming as well. Adoption will happen when we have government regulations forcing companies to be responsible and they have to look at solutions like Civic.

Adoption

KM: What do you think is the best platform right now for decentralized applications and smart contracts?

VL: I think EOS.

KM: It seems that people misunderstand Blockchain applications and smart contracts a lot at the moment.

VL: Very much so. Everyone says “we can do all these cool things,” but no one is actually doing anything with it, there are no use cases.

KM: Why do you think that is?

Vinny Lingham:

It's early stage technology, that's always the case. The dream is there, the reality is a nightmare.

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KM: Artificial intelligence and machine learning are some of the most exciting technology developments now. What is the big next influence or application of that in crypto?

VL: I think it's just about finding use cases, a way that we could use this technology, something really cool. And it needs to be used at scale, it can't be five transactions a day. Even if use cases are there, adoption takes time - adoption takes longer than scaling. You can always scale things if you have enough adoption.

KM: And what is the key to encouraging adoption?

VL: Focusing less on the technology and more on the use cases. Also, getting companies to buy into it - companies aren't using blockchains right now, .01 percent maybe.

KM: Are the costs of transition too high?

Vinny Lingham:  

It's going to take a while. Look at the internet, it took 30 years to adopt, starting in the 70s and 80s. Why do we think it's going to be different this time? I'm not bearish, I'm bullish on it, but these things don't happen overnight, it takes time.

KM: But will the market climb back or is this it?

VL: I think I'm expecting one more big dip, then it'll come back and we’ll see how it goes.

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Playing Nice With Government: Expert on Google’s Cryptocurrency Ad Ban

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Google’s cryptocurrency ad ban draws criticism from the crypto community, but what are the mechanics behind this decision?
Playing Nice With Government: Expert on Google’s Cryptocurrency Ad Ban

 

Google’s announcement of its decision to ban advertisements related to cryptocurrencies comes just a couple of months after Facebook announced a similar ban. While there is disagreement to the extent these steps will affect the cryptocurrency market, it is impossible to deny the Duopoly’s influence on millions of consumers. CryptoComes asked Ian Wishingrad, founder and creative director of the BigEyedWish creative agency specializing in branding and digital development, to comment on the causes and implications of Google’s policy change.

Ian Wishingrad, founder and creative director of the BigEyedWish creative agency

Smart move

CryptoComes: Google’s decision to ban cryptocurrency-related advertisements comes on the heels of Facebook’s similar announcement. What is your take on this?

Ian Wishingrad: I think it’s a smart move, and it makes perfect sense because their biggest issues right now are brand safety and reputation. It would reflect very poorly on them if people get scammed or do fraudulent things via crypto on their platforms.

Until there’s a little more clarity and it’s less dark, mysterious and potentially treacherous, the risk does not outweigh the reward considering their total advertising revenue.

Competing against the government

CC: Given the publicity issues that Facebook and Google have faced with fake news and questionable ad placement, one might ask: with seeming laxity of regulation in such aspects, why are these platforms picking on cryptocurrency?

IW: Well, it’s just bad luck for crypto. What’s happening now is precipitated by those concerns. These companies got their hand slapped and have seen the backlash, so now it’s not worth the risk. That’s the biggest issue when you are an open platform- when your business is built on advertising revenue, you need to consider the ramifications for brand safety.

Facebook, Google and Amazon all carved out their unique spaces in the market, but they are really competing against the government.

Exercising a certain amount of self-regulation and self-policing will bode well for them in the long run because if the government intervenes, that’s going to be much more painful than anything they inflict on themselves.

Cryptocurrency will be back

CC: Google is often seen as being close with the “establishment.” Could this decision be construed as another expression of that?

IW: One hundred percent. I don’t think they even disagree with that. They are operating as a United States company, governed by US law. You can be all cowboy and Wild West when you’re small and under the radar, but once you are a publicly traded company and one of the most powerful companies in the world, you have to start playing nice with the government.

As advertising dollars shift from television to online, it’s really difficult to police user-generated content. For Google and Facebook, the crypto industry it’s too nascent, there are too many bad players.

Once the area matures, I’m positive cryptocurrency will be back on these platforms.

CC: Often when new technology emerges, it is publicly represented as a maverick, a representation of freedom, of independence from regulation. Google was perceived this way in its time, but it seems that now Blockchain represents that maverick freedom, while Google represents the established structure.

IW: That’s exactly what is happening and what will happen. If you become successful, you become the establishment, and by virtue of becoming the establishment, there is a space wide open for the next players.

Self-regulation

CC: How will these bans impact the cryptocurrency market? Will it be destructive, or will it help weed out fraudulent players?

IW: Right now, we are separating the wheat from the chaff very quickly. All the mavericks, the pirates, the innovators- everyone wants to crack this.

Now, it’s going to come down to execution, securitization, government approval and finding the right way to play with the SEC.

I think we won’t be surprised by the people who come out on top- smart, with the right capital, the right public relations and understanding that it’s not just what you do, but how you are perceived.

CC: You mentioned the motivation for Google’s self-regulating approach. Meanwhile, the Winklevoss twins’ Gemini exchange announced the creation of a self-regulatory organization. Is this indicating a general trend? Will there be more self-regulation initiatives?

IW: I think there will be two things: the perception of self-regulation, and the actual self-regulation. The people that are ahead of the race are going to want to behave like the establishment, show that they are mature adults, exercise self-regulation because it’s really the most prudent move. It pays to play nice. You don’t want to make the government your enemy.

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Crypto Commerce and Its Future: Interview with Uphold’s CEO, J.P. Thieriot

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With the world of Blockchain ever evolving and changing pace, a top level executive lays out his vision for what the future has in store for the crypto market
Crypto Commerce and Its Future: Interview with Uphold’s CEO, J.P. Thieriot

J.P. Thieriot is the CEO of Uphold, a cryptocurrency platform offering a multitude of services, which was launched in 2015. A graduate of Yale University, before going crypto, J.P. Thieriot managed a number of companies in the tech sector, as well as real-estate and agriculture, including Estancia Beef, one of the largest grass-fed beef companies in the United States. Today he agreed to sit down with us to discuss where the crypto business is at, as we’re approaching the New Year.

Why Crypto?

U.Today: Mr Thieriot, tell us a bit about yourself please. You have a substantial amount of experience in many business sectors. How did you find yourself doing what you do today?

J.P. Thieriot: My first exposure to Bitcoin came as a result of having investors’ funds trapped in Argentina in 2013. Despite statements from PWC stating that a given LP’s account was worth $X, attempting to take the money out of the country meant the LP would receive $.5X. It was a perfect example of how a third world country can use monetary games in pursuit of short-term gains, while ultimately thwarting real value creation and holding a populace hostage to incompetence. We tried every conceivable (US legal) way of getting the funds out. That’s when I came across Bitcoin. Unfortunately, we didn’t take the plunge. Seemed too precarious. BTC was at around $15 at the time!

U.Today: Tell us about the company you are currently heading. What services does it offer exactly?

J.P. Thieriot: Uphold is a global digital money platform. We have about 1m users. In some respects, this side of our business could be compared with Coinbase, i.e. not exactly an ‘exchange’, with direct links to legacy money networks like US and EU banking through rails like ACH and SEPA. Where we’re very differentiated is in having a big lead over everyone in the context of our open APIs for third party digital money applications. We do not just ‘list’ tokens like an exchange, we are deeply integrated into some of the ecosystems of the companies behind the tokens, like Brave-BAT, DASH and Cred-LBA. 2019 will be the year that some amazing utility tokens emerge from the rubble of hundreds of silly ICOs. I’d like to think Uphold will be an integral part of those likely to be the most successful.

U.Today: Uphold recently received close to 60 million USD from Greg Kidd, a former Ripple executive. Are you now partners with XRP?

J.P. Thieriot: We have a large XRP community on Uphold. They are passionate and active. We try to make them happy. Certainly, there are a number of possibilities with Ripple down the road.

The DLT Business Today

U.Today: In addition to yours, there are many companies based in San Francisco, among them Kraken, Coinbase, and Blockchain Capital. Has Silicon Valley now conquered the crypto world as well?

J.P. Thieriot: Digital money is an Internet phenomenon. It stands to reason that ‘Internet’ geographies would concentrate Blockchain companies in the early going. Ultimately, I imagine regulatory regimes will skew the array. Hopefully, the US will be able to maintain a light hand and perpetuate its early advantage over other regimes.

U.Today: What do you think it takes to “make it” in the DLT world as an entrepreneur? Is it about the savviness, i.e. the know-how, or simply the right attitude, i.e. being the go-getter type?

J.P. Thieriot:

Perseverance first. Execution second. Blazing insights a distant third. Building the right team is also critical... I have a pretty dim view of humanity :), specifically in that I’d choose to work again with perhaps 10% of the people I’ve worked with.

After four years at Uphold and many purges and reorganizations, we’ve arrived where that number is, for the first time in my work experience, inverted. 90% of the people working at Uphold today are rock stars. Work hours don’t exist; the creativity, initiative, and energy thrown at every problem is unbelievable. It feels more like (an ideal) family than a workplace. We all believe we are doing something important and exciting, and we’re unlikely to come across a similar opportunity in our lifetimes.

U.Today: Are you a believer in decentralization? It seems that this is how the Blockchain got started in the first instance. Yet, according to some, this domain has now become very centralized, from pegging to market dominance by a select few. What are your thoughts?

J.P. Thieriot: ‘Decentralization’ has become the buzzword du jour. Yesterday it was ‘Blockchain’. Obviously, these are novel and important facets of our burgeoning ecosystem, but it’s funny to me how people can get religious and sanctimonious around these banners. The idea here is that an Internet of Money has become possible… ne inevitable.

Decentralized and Blockchain technologies, methods and protocols will likely have a lot to do with the evolution and outcome; however, being theologically absolute, really about anything, strikes me as ridiculous. The Internet is decentralized; Amazon, Google and Apple are not. For this industry to jump the rails into the mainstream, particularly given how money is regulated, is going to require clusterings of human beings doing things like support and marketing for quite some time.

I’m not sure a pure peer-to-peer network, serviced by a distributed automaton is either possible or desirable. In the meantime, the more distributed, less concentrated, more collaborative things become, the better, i.e. less risk, higher output.

U.Today: While some networks openly attack one another, Ethereum and EOS being the prime example, others prefer to unite instead. Uphold is part of Universal Protocol which attempts to do just that. Is it a union created simply in order to increase profits, or is it more than that?

J.P. Thieriot: The UPP is an industry utility, the purpose of which is to mitigate a number of the current restraints on the growth of our ecosystem. We’ve identified those restraints as: 1) the lack of a common language, 2) the lack of conventional user safeguards, and 3) the lack of products built for mass adoption.

The question about Ethereum and EOS goes to the first of the above factors. It does nothing for the benefit of the ecosystem when competing protocols throw mud at each other. It debases outside opinion, puts a grin on the faces of the ossified naysayers—the Dimons and Buffetts of the world—and perpetuates confusion and uncertainty among potential new entrants.

UPP’s purpose is to usher in the next 100 million users of crypto. We can do this by disrupting a hidebound legacy financial system that has been a festering backwater in terms of innovation, soundness, fairness, equal access, and transparency. Bickering amongst ourselves is a destructive waste of time.

Ongoing Crisis and Predictions

U.Today: We simply cannot not ask about the current Bitcoin crisis. Does it complicate business, or can this low tide be treated as an opportunity to dig out whatever gold was left buried in the sand?

J.P. Thieriot: Speculative bubbles always form around the advent of revolutionary technologies. This technology happens to relate directly to money, and it has benefitted from significant Asian participation on the trading front; ergo, the ups and downs are likely to be super-charged.

We’ve been expecting a shakeout. There’ll be a lot less noise in the market. Meanwhile, nothing will deter the inexorable march of the coming Internet of Money.

U.Today: With so much on the market today, what is it that the customers are after exactly?

J.P. Thieriot: Quite simply, quantumly wider and more convenient access to better financial products and services.

U.Today: Can you make any predictions for the future? How is the market going to be different in, say, five or ten years from now?

J.P. Thieriot: 2019 will be the year of “The ICO is dead, long live the STO”. The first real utility tokens will start to show their stuff, foremost Brave’s BAT token. The general market will remain below the $200b mark as the weaker offerings perish and very few strong projects accumulate value. In five years, we will be well into the process of tokenizing/digitizing every single traditional asset class in existence.

In ten years, the use of banknote cash will at least have diminished by 50% from today’s levels… And my guess is―because one way to look at BTC is as a shorting of the monetary system’s status quo―BTC will be above $25k.

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🤷 Opinions Masha Beetroot

EOS42 Head of Strategy David Packham: It Could Be Multiple Blockchain Models Thrive

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Blockchain is still in this discovery phase, says David Packham of EOS42
EOS42 Head of Strategy David Packham: It Could Be Multiple Blockchain Models Thrive

 

Hot sunny day in London, with its normal hustle and bustle, and I’m inside Henry’s cafe in Piccadilly. I have an interview with David Packham, Head of Strategy & Community EOS42, who’s been elusive for three days during my stay in UK. Now it’s arranged although the last moment he changed the venue.  Loud music and conversations around, glasses clinking- definitely the right place for talking about the global EOS community…

CryptoComes: What do you think of the future of EOS?

David Packham: I didn’t expect such a bumpy first month..I am happy we are where we are. I was not sure whether we would be in the top 21 for a long period of time so it’s very humbling and a huge relief for us. The team haven’t been paid in five months, I am about to get my first paycheck since January.

So yes, it’s humbling to be voted up in the top 10 right now, but it’s always challenging: with DPoS you never know where you will be. Regarding this I think these are the healthy times in the community debating in a decentralized manner- very, very complex things about the future of the network. And of course the beauty is if some people fundamentally disagree with the way the direction goes, say in governance, they can and will be able to just simply set another instance of EOS. It’s open source- so it’s not difficult to set another chain up in theory. Their big challenge will be getting the economic gravity of the community to move with them. It requires a fundamental split in creative energy. If you keep debating like we are, eventually the community should reach a form of consensus. The mainnet is always going to be king and now its established it will likely always be the most important EOSIO network of all, but there is going to be others for sure.

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Decentralized, but how?

CryptoComes: Critics often say that EOS is not, in fact, a decentralized network, but subject to control by something akin to a government. They specifically mention the recent decision by the EOS centralized body to ban transactions from the specific 27 wallet addresses. What would you respond to the critics?

David Packham: There’s a few points on that. If the system is centralized, decision making will be quick, fast and efficient and you would see no external debate. We couldn’t be less like that! You see so much continual controversy, debate and people just prevaricating between the most inane details: that’s because we are decentralized. It took us a long time to even agree the frequency of the Block Producer meetings, because you’ve got a decentralized group trying to reach consensus. So I believe we are highly decentralized. If you look at Delegated Proof of Stake, it’s decentralized but making trade offs for performance. When you look at mining pools in both Proof of Stake and Proof of Work it is far more centralised in reality; Bitcoin has got six pools, the other governance structure is the unelected core devs, they effectively run the entire Bitcoin network in a meaningful sense. Therefore our interests as elected Block Producers is a lot better in line with the token holders.

CryptoComes: You think in delegated proof of stake they can change this consensus?

David Packham:Ultimately it is governed by understanding how the real world works, in which we delegate our power. You and I in a democracy delegate our power to representatives to run the government. So in this case in EOS, the token holders delegate their power to run the network to individuals, groups- the block producers. We have very strict controls on what we are allowed to do or not. That is all found in our constitution and our code of conduct.

That is why I disagree we at least have 21 individual groups at any one time running the network. Now there is some controversy about whether or not some of those groups may be controlled by multiple parties. They are being looked into actively by the community, and if they are they will try to shut them down. This is why it’s so important to have a really involved community that care. They are looking at this and I can see some evidence of voting that makes them suspicious and they are worried about it. The community are saying we are going to try and find proof and if so try and get these BP’s taken out of the top 21.

I genuinely don’t know if that is true or not but we are in the group listening to these discussions saying yes, we need to try and find out if that is true and act if so.

Right now we have got 21 different BP’s from all around the world and another 42 paid standbys- any one of which can switch in and out the moment you as a group of token holders decide this bad actor is taking bribes or underperforming.

For example if I am sitting here with Masha right now, and Masha is giving me an envelope of money to try and behave in a certain way and it gets found out. The community would say right, your reputation is destroyed and we as a Block Producer would be gone so fast- the penalty is enormous. So it’s a powerful system in that sense as our interests are highly aligned.

Regarding the 27 accounts, they are all direct byproducts of EOS 911. What happened is that those individuals raised a case with ECAF- the default interim arbitration service - they all submitted information onto the Ethereum account that EOS42 built, which proved they can move and control the Ethereum account where the tokens were, but could not control the underlying other account and each one of those 27 accounts had escaped mysteriously by somebody lets say a hacker, potentially, hasn’t been proven yet.

What ended up happening is that ECAF, being brand new and the network brand new, is that the block producers were put in a tough position as the only elected representatives in the entire network at present. ECAF has not yet been elected, the constitution has not yet been ratified and is interim. So following the spirit of that we collectively all reached 100 percent consensus between all the block producers and all the standbys on a two hour call, and said the right thing to do is for each of the accounts to be frozen to enable ECAF to investigate. Nothing more, no judgment just enablement of the constitution to function as intended.

It has been highly controversial! It led to a lot of thought about whether or not that’s really how things should work or not. And so the community is doing what it should and is having a massive debate. Dan Larimer the chief architect of EOS has strong views, other hugely influential community members are expressing different views. We will get there, we will work out what the right constitution is and we are going to have a referendum and then we will vote on that.

Certainly amongst those accounts in question, some of the admins of the EOS 911 channel are alleged account holders that have been defrauded. One account got missed by one BP and the money was moved immediately to exchange, so they lost 3,000 EOS as a result. It shows there is strong evidence relating to those accounts. These are individuals mostly from places like Korea who registered with a fake portal.

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Governance

CryptoComes: How will you describe the EOS approach to governance, on a scale between a totalitarian state and complete anarchy?

David Packham: The best way, I think, to view EOS is it's more of a very large DAC. It’s a decentralized autonomous company in its own right. So when you put in place its governance structure, it is all hard wired, or it should be, into the code with Ricardian contracts which explain the interpretation of that into human language. So there is nothing that you and I can do, even if we were say part of the governance layer, to start making arbitrary decisions- everything needs to be constitutionally voted. Anybody can put forth an amendment to that constitution and if they get enough support for it have it voted on. So there is no sort of centralized control its decentralized governance but people look at the likes of ECAF, which looks very centralized. That actually reflects a lack of understanding of what arbitration is, and its limited role in the EOS governance and economic ecosystem.

CryptoComes: Btw this ECAF they are taking care of the same as you do at 911, for example like if there is a problem with the account, with the private keys, or they are officially the Block.one’s arbitration?

David Packham: They have nothing to do with Block.one technically. When Thomas Cox finished the draft constitution, and nominated an interim arbitration service to be created, called ECAF- that needs to be set up from scratch. Right now it doesn’t have any funding, the people working in it are working for free as volunteers and they are trying to get setup but it’s nothing to do directly with Block.one. Block.one actually deleted all the governance constitution documents in GitHub ahead of launch, it was left for those of us setting up the network to decide what we wanted to pull and restore. We ultimately as a group decided to implement the interim constitution, and decided it had been circulated widely throughout the community, debated, ratified, and agreed as best we could prior to a real referendum.

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Block.one role

CryptoComes: What is the role of Block.one now? What happens if some producers will join forces to challenge the principles ingrained by Block.one into the system?

David Packham: In theory if ,all the block producers turned hostile to Block.one, said right we are going to freeze your account so you can never move money again. Block.one would simply set up a new EOS Blockchain. Why not? Literally any,body can set one up, and with their last commercial backing and the funds they have I am sure they would pull across the economic momentum of gravity and a lot of the community with them.

It’s a hypothetical question that’s not a serious proposition, in the sense that people would never do that. You also would be able to challenge them in the constitution. Block producers cannot arbitrarily freeze an account, the rule is as soon as the constitution were enacted it would need an ECAF order or another arbitration order to freeze an account. But actually the alternative constitution proposed by Dan Larimer is that this power should not sit at the base protocol level and that it would be above at the dApp layer.

So in that vision, each app could decide “we are going to use a different arbitrator for any dispute resolution on EOS and we are not going to use ECAF.” Any customer that signs up with you has to sign the terms which agree with that. What that would mean is there is no base layer going on at all, it’s all handled in yours. Your governance can be quite different from the governance rules of another app. That’s what Daniel Larimer wants and that’s his vision, which differs quite substantially from others. It’s an interesting one, the problem with it is much of the code and support mechanisms required to support that vision do not currently exist yet. So we would have no arbitration or protections for potentially years in the interim and be equivalent to say Ethereum. The community will decide what they want in that respect, and EOS42 will honor that decision and serve the network as a Block Producer.

CryptoComes: How big is the community you are working with? How will you describe it? What are your major principles in working with your community?

David Packham: The main thing I think is very simple with regards to community: if can never lose sight of the fact that as a block producer, you literally work for the token holders. The token holders are our collective boss to serve, if you lose sight of that then you will not last very long as a block producer. You will be out of the top 21 and will become a standby or unpaid even.

CryptoComes: How many user members do you have so far in the community? Individual wallets?

I don’t actually the estimated size oof hand I am afraid.

CryptoComes: How many are involved in the your Telegram group?

David Packham: The main EOS channel has got over 65,000 in it. For EOS42 it depends if you look at EOS London or our main BP one. EOS London blurs the line with us. We haven’t got a huge, huge group because we prefer to build up the community in real life, there’s enough Telegram groups already. You know some people have got 10,000 people but half of them aren’t real community members. Ours has got about 300 or 400 but that’s fine, thats a nice number and that means the community in that are the really active ones. If you think about our meetups, we get about three-400 at EOS London events, that means quite a few of them are engaged and actively on these groups too and its nice. I am not worried about numbers, there’s more to it than that!

Crypto theft

CryptoComes: According to recent research, theft in crypto industry is booming, with the volumes stolen this year times exceeding similar numbers in 2017. What are EOS tactics on dealing with this?

David Packham: On EOS every single account potentially compromised so far, has been purely down to the the registration process. It was down to the fact that we were doing a token swap, in effect, from Ethereum on to the mainnet. So the fraud occurred off chain, it occurred because of the registration process. So no lasting effects are known, I don’t think there any new ones occuring.

What’s happening other than that is that people are losing their private keys and having accidents but that was always going to happen. To a large extent that can be in theory resolved going forward, but before that we need to confirm whether or not ECAF will be the long term arbitration service or not - we need the referendum. Hence why many EOS block producers, including EOS42, are working together building a referendum contract and interface, and making it a priority.

CryptoComes: Do you think anything can be improved in the EOS voting system? Do you think it could be more fair?

David Packham: I don’t think it can be more fair than a referendum, where its one token per vote. I think it is a pretty powerful way of representing views. Some people are concerned about whales, concerned about individuals with what they would define to be too much power. But another way to look at it is those with the most tokens are the most invested in the long term success of the network. There are few who are going to care more about the success of EOS, than those with say 10 mln tokens- you care more about its success, not less.

It’s delegated proof of stake, but at the same time you are right it’s still the one who has the stake can vote than the one who doesn’t have them. That’s the minus of it.

The guy with 10 mln tokens, has so much more money than you and I have combined.  The counter argument is they have put in all that investment, they have so much on the line, it’s not fair for them to not have a bigger say. It is directly equivalent to shares in a company. Should the person who owns $10 mln dollars in Amazon only have the same say as you, who has put down $10,000?

If you look at what EOS token is for, it buys you a percentage of the bandwidth of the computational capacity of the network as well as the ability to vote. So in effect it gives you two things: it gives you a say in how the network is run and it gives you access to the power of the network directly linked to the amount you put in. So to me that is pretty powerful as a way of saying it is fair and right, but other people may disagree.

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CryptoComes: When do you think EOS will dethrone Ethereum or it’s not on the current agenda?

David Packham: I think actually the individuals up at the top, like Vitalik and Dan Larimer, are way beyond simplistic things like EOS vs. Ethereum. I think they are true believers who are in it for the right reasons, that’s why for example Vitalik was in the EOS code base giving advice pointing out errors and things to think about right up to the EOS launch. You couldn’t see a better example of people cooperating and in it for the right reasons. They are way beyond money these guys, all of them.

I think it is fair to say they all want to see the benefits of decentralization. They are both trying different flavors of the same idea, which is they want to build a decentralized operating system and economy. No one is yet sure how best to do that. So you have to try a variety of ways, to really experiment and find out what works best. Until we try we will never know. That’s how most of the great experiments have led to discoveries. How many different chemical formulas did we try before the lightbulb. Blockchain is still in this discovery phase; we are trying different configurations and theories, and at some point we will get one that works extremely well and everyone will pursue that path. DPOS is the only scalable, proven model we have for public blockchains so far.

What we realize with Ethereum is some brilliant ideas and the concept, flaws with scalability, dispute resolution is non-existent, forking seems to be the only way they can handle and resolve. No protection comparable for current day bank accounts, if your money is stolen or you lose your private key you are left a hapless victim.

So these are problems that Ethereum is also trying to resolve by gradually upgrading the system.  In the meantime Dan Larimer’s own invention, DPOS, is taking this great idea and marrying the lessons from Bitshares and Steemit, the things that went right and wrong, to produce this third generation blockchain - EOS.

You know we may be talking again in five years time about a version 4 Blockchain project. Who knows, or it may be that EOS for example is so scalable and adaptable that unlike those before it can morph fully into a version 4 Blockchain and beyond as intended. It is designed to have every aspect of it re-coded on the move, which is something that Ethereum struggles with: you can’t do it that easily, you cannot change contracts once they are deployed. If you get one bug in them like the parity wallet hack where someone initialized the contract for the first time (as Parity forgot to do that in testing and deployment), the inadvertent hacker took ownership of the contract as the initializer of it, and then they selected to kill contract and it froze all the money in the parity wallet. Now in EOS you can actually fix that, you can go back and actually fix the problem. This is where you are getting more sophisticated models than before. It’s going to be really interesting seeing how it works.

But I do think going back to the original question these guys are not hostile to one another.

It could be multiple Blockchain models thrive and they are all part of a giant economy.

When I spoke at an EOS/Ethereum debate the core Ethereum developer and myself agreed on the same thing: we are all in this, it could very well be that EOS is London and Ethereum is NY, and they are two cities interacting economically together within the Blockchain community in the future.

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