After watching this recent interview “What’s the future of Blockchain?” with Brendan Blumer five times, being amazed by all the inspirational quotes, I decided to write a full transcript of this interview. As Walt Disney would have said: “Celebrate progress, tomorrow is just a dream way”!
Here’s a table of content:
- Bringing blockchain beyond high-value financial transactions
- Blockchain as a Social Movement, The Consumer-Led Revolution
- Enterprise Blockchain Adoption
- Block.One and Governance Participation
- Blockchain is just an Alternative Database
- The Social Movement Behind Tokenization
- Product Development versus Regulatory Framework Development
- Blockchain and FIAT
- Bitcoin has the best Value Proposition for Store of Value
- Bubbles are Media-driven
- Real Enterprise Adoption is Happening
- A Fully Transparent Technology Stack
- 75% compounded annual growth for the next 5 years
- The Ultimate Opportunity for Governments
- The Coming 20 Years in Blockchain
- A Big Challenge: Meeting Community Expectations
Q: Tell us a little bit about Block.One and, more importantly, about where you see the industry heading.
Block.One, as some people may know, has been around for a couple of years now. We’re really focused on taking blockchain and expanding the use-cases on what it can do.
Bringing blockchain beyond high-value financial transactions
Everyone probably knows that the first implementation of blockchain was Bitcoin and while Bitcoin was architected exactly for its used case as a store of value, as a settlement layer, store of value.
If you want to expand beyond that to transactions that aren’t as of high value as big monetary sums, you need to rectify a few of the issues that are inherent with blockchain technology.
Those really came down to three things:
- We needed to make it more scalable,
- we needed to make it faster, and …
- we needed to make it cheaper.
That’s what led me to my CTO and business partner Dan Larimer. He had been the inventor of a protocol called Delegated Proof of Stake. It’s an alternative to Proof of Work, but basically, it’s just how the blockchain reaches consensus and puts things on the blockchain, on the ledger.
So, ultimately, I was attracted to some of the work that he was doing there and we actually met for the first time here in these conference rooms in Blacksburg Virginia and this is actually where we were talking a little bit earlier where EOSIO was actually conceived and designed for several months while we were meeting back and forth but really trying to focus on those three things, and what that does is it allows blockchain transactions to start to apply to things beyond high-value financial transactions.
So, if we want to move to a world where we put every timestamp and every entry into databases on a blockchain-based ledger, we really needed to tackle those. And while we’ve made huge headway there – we’ve gotten block times down to one second, we’ve gotten transaction costs down to a minimal and a single blockchain now can reach single-threaded throughput of up to ten thousand transactions a second or so. Continually improving there’s more work to be done.
Read more: 10 Reasons Why Timestamping Content with Blockchain Matters.
The next step is to really get into multiple sets of blockchains and schedulers that can push things across many different blockchains.
Q: When you see ten thousand a second, what would be the more practical uses for what you’re talking about from a business perspective?
When I say transactions per second I’m really just looking at actions. When you’re trying to put something on the blockchain or change something on the ledger, it’s an action, an entry into the database.
Historically blockchains have been limited at how many actions it can process at a given moment; we call that single-threaded throughput. We’re continuing to increase those, but at the same time, we’re also looking at how we scale on a near-infinite level horizontally by scheduling things across multiple blockchains and allowing for real horizontal scalability that enterprises require to truly adopt blockchain as part of their technology stack.
Blockchain as a Social Movement, A Consumer-Led Revolution
Q: Blockchain is not new, but every company’s trying to latch onto it now. Do most big companies get it?
A growing number of big companies do. One of the initial approaches or interpretations large organizations had on blockchain is “well, we can do that faster and cheaper”. They failed to recognize the social movement that blockchain was creating.
Because we were able to create an ultra-secure, ultra-transparent, and therefore auditable ledger, it’s starting to transform what consumers expect in terms of best practices for business models.
We live in a world where right now we can see what Facebook shows us. We can see our newsfeed, and we know there’s algorithms back there. We know they’re taking our data and they’re using it to serve us ads. We have a general premise of what’s going on, but we can’t see anything below the surface. All the databases and all the logic that impacts everything that we see and do is hidden from us.
Q: Well, they don’t want you to see this, of course.
Of course, but I believe that over time, blockchain is going to change that and they’re gonna change that through a consumer-led demand that people show us what’s below the surface. We now want to see:
- what they’re doing with our data,
- how they’re serving us ads and …
- who’s paying for it.
All the databases and all the logic that impacts everything that we see and do is hidden from us. Blockchain is going to change that through a consumer-led demand. We now want to see what they’re doing with our data, how they’re serving us ads, and who’s paying for it.Brendan Blumer
Q: That’s a big wall you’re trying to knockdown.
Yes, and just as the internet came in and started to disrupt the establishment that existed back then, you’ll have few people that will adapt, but you’ll have more people that will emerge and start to throw out better solutions that over time garner more trust with their consumers and give more functionality to their consumers and ultimately leads to that transformation.
Enterprise Blockchain Adoption
Q: You’re dealing with deeply embedded corporations with long hierarchies, tens or hundreds of thousands of employees, trying to change their thinking or at least adjust their thinking or bring in a new way to think. What are you trying to do?
The Harvard Business Review wrote a really great article that said “Blockchain is not a disruptive technology, it’s a foundational technology”, meaning that it’s not going to come in and transform everything in two to three years. It’s fundamentally a new building block that we can use to create alternative systems.
We’ve been building with straw and hay, and now we have concrete. If you want to build skyscrapers, the first one’s going to be leaky, it’s gonna be a little bit ugly, but eventually, if you want to build big things, you need to use cement.
This is going to take time, I don’t believe this is something that’s gonna happen immediately. Ultimately I think it’s gonna come down to the organization, on an independent basis, their willingness to embrace these new technologies and change and risk.
The reality is when you get into all these big businesses, they have different risk profiles. Some don’t even have the mandate to take big risks. Those are going to be the ones that are going to come in later and they’re going to be dealing with change after the fact in, collecting whatever market share they have left.
I do think that the majority of innovation is going to come from emergent companies, the same way that the internet transformed our economic landscape. Most of the big tech companies in the world didn’t exist before.
It wasn’t print and publishers that emerged into social media. It was new people that were embracing the technology and had a high appetite for risk, to take real change because they had nothing to lose.
I think you’re going to see a lot of the same things, but I do think that you’ll see a lot of innovative organizations, more private organizations, embrace the technology and adapt their technology stacks, change the trust in the relationship they have with their consumers and realize the value proposition of the technology.
Q: What they’ll do is sit on the sidelines and wait if you’re willing to sell. Would that be the longer-term plan?
We’re a very values-driven organization. Everything would have to be assessed based on what the plan was and whether we saw opportunistic synergy in order to reach our mission.
Q: I guess what I struggle with is: I hear the word ‘decentralized’, you hear that with blockchain all the time, and yet I hear security. When I hear decentralized, I don’t think it’s more secure. I think it’s more Wild West.
Yeah, that’s a great analogy. I have a weird relationship with the word decentralized because I understand what a lot of people are meaning, but we all define it very differently, even within our own community. Some people say Bitcoin is centralized by miners that control the hash power. People say EOS or Ethereum. Everyone is centralized from a different attack vector.
The decentralized movement can be applied to all different sorts of things. You can look at decentralization on a geography basis, you can look at it on a beneficial interest basis, and you can look at it on a control basis.
Everyone has this different definition of it and I try to move away from that term as a whole. Instead, I started talking about different forms of specific governance.
Anything that changes has to have a control group that makes those changes, and I think there is a growing movement to try and disperse that control out through society so that there are more checks and balances. There’s no one-size-fits-all.
There is no definition of decentralization. What we’re trying to do is create networks, or systems, or organizations, that better represent all of us. Through better, or sophisticated and more balanced, forms of governments.
Block.One and Governance Participation
Q: You’ve got all these different people and entities around the world, each with a community, you hear that term a lot around Bitcoin, blockchain, Ethereum, everything, but yet they may have different goals. You might get to a point where there’s going to be some natural conflict in the building of an industry, which is what you guys are part of.
Absolutely. When we get into Block.One and the role we play, specifically on a governance side, we spend our days building the underlying technology EOSIO. This is a technology that has been applied through many different blockchains and, to be quite honest, a lot of our competitors have used different forms of Dan’s innovations. If you look at the top 20 public blockchains, there’s a lot of them that came from the technology that Dan or EOS had evolved on.
What we really do is we focus on that underlying technology. We’ve played a very backseat role in governance. That has been a choice that we’ve made because we don’t want to get behind and endorse one specific form. There are tons of blockchains, public and private, that use our technology.
We don’t say or even allude to presume that there’s one way to do things. We believe that there’s going to be different forms of governance for different types of use cases and ultimately we see a world where organizations get involved in their blockchain technology. They spin up their own blockchains in a lot of cases and define their own governance, working backward from the specific objectives of their organization.
Blockchain is just an Alternative Database
Q: You said you had a complicated relationship with the word ‘decentralized’. I think from my perspective I don’t like the term ‘disrupt’. It’s overused. The car disrupted the horse, I mean, everything is always just being disrupted or displaced. That’s the history of humanity, but if you had to say that there would be a technology or sort of an industry that is being altered by you and by blockchain? Who should be scared?
I don’t want to give an answer that’s too oversimplified, but blockchain is just an alternative database. In terms of who should be scared, I think everyone that uses databases should be constantly looking at what is the function our database serves? What are the inherent traits or value propositions of blockchain? And how can we benefit from those?
Everyone should be doing that and everyone should be at that stage now or will get there soon. When you talk about who should be scared, I think what you really talk about ‘what’s the low-hanging fruit?’.
Where the first dominoes that fall in this revolution? That’s a trickier question, it really comes down to what entrepreneurs emerge in your territory and start to challenge your incumbent model.
The Social Movement Behind Tokenization
Outside of Finance, which blockchain has revolutionary impacts on already when you get into large technology networks, things that rely on their user base to drive the value, pieces of code that are worth nearly a trillion dollars because people choose to use them.
I think that those really need to understand not just the blockchain technology stack, but the social movement behind tokenization. This idea that users should be a bigger beneficiary of the output of those platforms, and want to be involved in the creation of its success.
I do believe in a world where everything, over time, has a tokenized element to it, everything could. Let me give you an example:
Think of those people that run into a new clothing brand because it’s very early stage. Once everyone’s moved in, they’re off to the next underground activity, because their DNA is discovery and evangelism of new products and things that they think are either cool or add value to society.
If you start to tokenize those types of components, you create fundamentally more competitive business models. What if, in the early stages, the back of your tag had a private key that gave you tokens that allowed you to have some type of beneficial upside whether through utility or value. That type of business model allows you to turn your user base into your marketing team. It turns your user base into your beneficiaries.
If you can start to create those types of models, what we’re seeing is things are going from 0 to 10 in a fraction of the time because the virality of bringing your community into your growth is just something that’s difficult to compete with.
Read also: Matt Mullenweg on how Open-source Eventually Dominates Sectors it Enters.
Product Development versus Regulatory Framework Development
Q: Is that too expensive to do for most organizations, currently?
Good question. Most of the expenses of these initiatives come through the time, complexity and legal costs of venturing into territory that there aren’t clear frameworks around. If you look at a company like Block.One, that was doing something innovative, when we started designing the EOSIO network, we’ve raised the capital to build the product prior to even building the business model.
We went out and spent 60% of our entire budget on legal fees, to figure out exactly how to enter the market in the best ways possible.
Q: 60% of your budget was spent on legal fees?
We had to get legal opinions in every jurisdiction because you’re creating global networks, selling products to people all around the world. You want to make sure that you’re operating in best practices and, unlike other industries that have very clear frameworks around them, you have to really work backward and do your best job and then after you go to these lawyers and you get legal opinions in every jurisdiction possible right and you have your clean bill of health, you’re still held accountable even if they’re wrong.
The point is that this is just a byproduct of emerging industries. As we continue, and this is happening now, as you continue to flesh out rules and regulations around these industries, how we should interact with tokens.
One of the things about tokens is that they’re just a unit of account. It’s just an Excel spreadsheet, so you can’t use a one-size-fits-all model to these things. Tokens will be tickets, digital goods. I come from an industry of selling virtual assets inside of big online video games. When we built EOS, we use that model. We created a sale and purchase agreement, and we sold a digital good.
Understanding how those types of things interact with different organizations and building mature frameworks which regulators are working hard to do and everyone’s at different stages and there’s a really good discussion going on and everyone’s operating with the best of intentions.
That’s going to make it a lot easier and therefore cheaper for companies to move into the space and deploy things knowing that they’re doing it the way that the government wants you to do it and the regulators want you to do it and that they’re in compliance with various jurisdictions.
Q: Law firms can be slow, they can be plotting when billable hours are involved they can be even slower. Did they understand what you were talking about?
Well, I hope so. We’ve spent a lot of time educating them on what we’re using these tokens for how we’re planning to distribute them, the jurisdictions were including, the methods we’re using to contain the sale into various different jurisdictions and then they go back and refer to what exists and tries to map out a road that we can use. Then we take their advice and we implement it as such, but this is just the organic process.
Yes, it’s more expensive in the early days but there’s also opportunity there. I think that this is just worth the tale, and I really am optimistic.
As an organization like Block.One, for us it’s just more about understanding the rules. They’re materializing and there is more guidance today than there was yesterday and it continues to evolve.
Sometimes there are steps backward, sometimes steps forward, but as a whole, there is a much better understanding. As we move into our next product Voice, from all the different guidance that everyone from the SEC to other regulators have put out, we have a better understanding of what we need to do and now there’s a little bit more open communication with the regulators.
They’re starting to get involved in the space so you can even go to them and say “listen we want to do this” and then get their feedback prior to pushing something forward. That’s something that obviously Block.One is committed to doing, but as other organizations are as well.
We can build products around the rules. We just need to know what they are because the more clear the rules are, it makes it much easier for us to define the product’s requirements.
Q: In real-time, we’re watching the creation of multiple industries.
On a government by government basis, the process of developing those rules are different. America is a very consensus-driven government in itself. There isn’t any one person controlling everything at the top.
It’s piece by piece and everyone has a very specific piece they’re looking at. There’s good open healthy debate amongst them to do it now, where other countries operate a little differently. Sometimes they can just come out, and all of a sudden, BOOM, “these are the rules, it’s done”, because there are a little bit different ways of actually building those rules and implementing them.
You could call it a strength or a weakness, but America’s a very democratic organization. Sometimes things take a little bit longer, but it’s good.
That’s one of the reasons the US is the place to do business. We have strong contract law, great consensus gets built.
Blockchain and FIAT
Q: Bitcoin is great for Zimbabwe Venezuela Cuba where the economies are collapsed, but they wouldn’t be useful for a stable US dollar.
Talking about fiat for a moment. I really just don’t think that cryptocurrencies are really infringing or going to compete directly with fiat currencies. I think they compete more with things like gold and I believe that Bitcoin is a new generation of gold.
When you really get into it, fiat currencies are built for local spending. They’re built for local payments. One of the criticisms on Bitcoin is “what are you spending it on, where can I actually use it”. Well, where do you spend gold? And, even if I give you the opportunity to spend your gold, or your Facebook stock or any other asset you use to store value, would you?
The answer is no, right? Because the law is not built for it. Every time if you have an adjustable asset, whether it is the proposed Libra, or it is Bitcoin, or it is gold; every time I made a payment in the United States I’d have to do a calculation as to my losses and gains versus the US dollar. That would be a tax nightmare, right?
What we do is we use fiat currencies for local spending, and we move assets from our stores of value to fiat and then we keep what we need there. FIAT currencies in some countries are better than others.
The US enjoys the benefits of having a stable dollar that is well recognized and people do hold it as a store of value, but a lot of other countries have struggled with that. I think that bitcoin is more in a competition of things like gold and cryptocurrencies as a whole will start to reinvent business models in lots of ways and beat other types of accounting.
I just don’t see independently issued currencies, non-governmental currencies really competing with government-issued currencies.
Bitcoin has the best Value Proposition for Store of Value
Q: If you have a ten thousand dollar car and bitcoin is worth 10,000 and I have one Bitcoin, why would I pay you for that in Bitcoin? Tomorrow it could be worth 14,000 in which case I’m angry, or it could be worth five thousand in which case you’re angry because you got rooked. Where do you see the Bitcoin in ten years?
I love that question. I obviously am a big believer in Bitcoin and while I believe in technological solutions like EOSIO which are more environmentally friendly, are cheaper, and much faster, Bitcoin has reached a critical mass of awareness and liquidity that is just a bigger value proposition than any incremental technology differentiation. For its purpose as a store of value, it suffices.
(28:00) I believe wholeheartedly that Bitcoin has really won that holy grail of store of value because the critical mass around it is just a massive value proposition as a whole. I believe very much in Bitcoin.
Q: Has Bitcoin won the crypto war so you will?
I see them as apples and oranges. If you say the war of the gold standard, of the store of value, I definitely think that Bitcoin its value proposition of ubiquitous awareness and underlying liquidity is so great that you can’t improve its technology stack to better compete with it for that use case.
But I don’t think that bitcoin is even trying when you get into other types of use cases. It’s going to be other platforms that realize those smart contract benefits and various other types of product-driven tokens.
We used to operate around the constraints of currencies to build our business models. Now we’re incorporating them into the product design and so we can actually build things very specific.
When you look at something like Voice, what we’re doing, we’re saying “how do we give more value and utility back to users”. The output of a platform like Facebook is really just visibility. They create a huge amount of critical mass users and then they sell attention.
What if we gave that attention back to the users themselves through tokens. As they engage with content and create it and like others. We said “this token represents attention and you can move things up, post with that token”. So what that does is it starts to lower the take of organizations like Facebook, and give it back to the influencers that are really building the value.
You would never be able to build that on the Bitcoin blockchain. It takes something fast, scalable and cheap as we talked about earlier.
Bubbles are Media-Driven
Q: Does anybody here remember the internet bubble? Two years ago at the peak of the Bitcoin …
The media, in general, created that bubble.
It really entered mainstream media and what happened was overnight it was on every news channel, every day for 24 hours a day for an entire year. What that did, if you understand order books, there was so much new blood and interest coming into the ecosystem, that the sell-market couldn’t keep up. It was literally creating these huge public on-ramps to the whole ecosystem in such a short period of time, that the sell-supply couldn’t reach the demand.
Q: When something’s going up a thousand dollars a day in value you can’t expect people to sort of get involved. I mean trust me I’ve been here before in 1999. I felt that same thing and yet this industry especially was more difficult for novices to understand. I think that’s a fair comic, right?
A hundred percent, and like I said I don’t think anyone’s at fault for kind of what happened in terms of all the attention that came in one moment in time, but media was the conduit which created huge amounts of awareness very quickly and a lot of people rushed in to join in the ecosystem.
It was just some supply and demand issue like you have with anything in the world. Ultimately when you look at the internet bubble, and then the crash of the internet bubble, what it does is: it shows the seeds of innovation. That’s exactly what happened last year.
Real Enterprise Adoption is Happening
Having been in the space for the last five years, you saw a lot of interest in spike, you saw an unfortunate adjustment that was pretty much inevitable because of the amount of awareness that came in, but now you have the remnants of that interest and an understanding of an industry and real adoption happening on the enterprise level.
Whether it’s fidelity starting to incorporate digital assets into their offering. Whether it is the New York Stock Exchange releasing their first cryptocurrencies exchange Bakkt. You hear about every organization now with some type of initiative, whether it’s public or private, that is starting to get into the space.
When the Coinbase CEO comes out and he’s been tweeting recently that a year ago it was “will institutions ever be part of this” now it’s three to five hundred dollars a month coming in with new institutional dollars to start to buy these digital assets and that’s a response to the demand of their customers.
So, real adoption is happening today and I think that the actual industry as a whole is in a healthy of a place as I’ve ever seen it.
Q: Everybody here knows a realtor, right? Their market has clearly identifiable cycles. Where are we in that cycle? IDC says that the blockchain industry is going to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 75% a year for the next five years. IDC is a great company and I respect their work immensely but that’s a big number.
I think that that’s a conservative estimate. I mean, obviously, you’re speaking to a very biased party here. One of the things I tweeted once is “People get into Bitcoin because they understand one element of its value proposition. They stay in Bitcoin because they understand the depth of what it actually is” and when you really get into blockchain technology, at first you understand it’s a secure database and then you’re like “oh this is a transparent and auditable and immutable ledger”, right?
What’s the implications of that? That means that now we can have a degree of trust in these databases that we never could in the past and you can start to really create new business models that align yourself, the organization, with your audience.
A Fully Transparent Technology Stack
One of the things that we looked at with Voice, as we said, we don’t want to just use tokenization. We want to create alignment between the company and our user base. By spreading the attention that social networks create with our users and then us taking a portion of that as well and being completely transparent throughout the whole tech stack, so everyone can see every algorithm that we use, and how things appear in their feed and who’s paying for it, what it does is it says “guess what, here’s our revenue stream, it’s transparent, it’s aligned with yours”.
Ultimately, what we’re really doing, is creating aligned business models where we’re not incentivized to extract as much information as possible and then dismember it and sell it off at an ever-growing pace that just continues to pull these things.
We get on the same horse together and we say “guess what, we’re not gonna try to be a trillion-dollar company. We’re gonna try to be a much smaller one but you’re gonna have transparency in how we monetize our take and how we use your data.
When your data is valuable, you’re the one who’s reaping the rewards, not an organization that’s just constantly incentivized to extract value.
75% compounded annual growth for the next 5 years
Q: Generally when an industry grows it’s because another industry is shrinking. The money is transferred. If you buy my house, we transfer the asset. What assets are gonna be transferred? Where’s the new money, the 75% growth rate, that you think is conservative, where’s that growth, the capital, coming from?
If you applied that same question to the internet, it’s a very complicated answer. We’re in the R&D stage. Right now organizations have realized that there’s an alternative way to do things and they just are outlaying capital to enterprise groups like IBM and various people providing solutions to put your organization or to incorporate blockchain into your technology stack.
I think that that industry is going to be explosive. I think 75% is conservative in terms of looking at the real dollars at the bottom line of organizations outlaying capital expenditure, just to future-proof their organization going forward. I think that we’re very much in the era of understanding. It represents all the research and development that’s going to go into understanding what they can do with these types of technologies. Then, when you get into the actual application of the technologies, through various business models, you’re going to see them specifically eat out of the current market share of their vertical.
Q: This is probably a question for commissioner Pierce. Companies would love to tell you as little as possible about their business as they can get away with. Is that a fair statement? You’re talking about blockchain as being transparent all the time. Companies don’t like transparency.
One of the great things about blockchain is you can really customize what you show. Transparency is not going to come from an organization waking up every day and say “hey, let’s show them everything we do all day”. It’s going to come from other emergent competitors that are willing to show more of their technology stack and then the adoption that’s stimulated from that type of behavior.
As we move in that direction, it’s going to become a part of best practices to behave that way and to show more. This whole world is moving to an ever more transparent world. I always say “there’s no one that can leverage blockchain the way that governments can because blockchain is just regulation for data”.
The Ultimate Opportunity for Governments
Q: Companies don’t like transparency. Aren’t they scared of it?
Everyone is scared of something they don’t fully understand at the onset, but I do think that there’s a growing amount of awareness within our institutions and governments about what this technology is and what it can do. It wasn’t just two weeks that China came out and on their evening news said this is a great technology, we need to adopt it as a whole.
I think when you isolate it on contradictions or hypocrisy, the reality is as all governments have a whole host of those types of things throughout their, so I think you really need to get into the specifics of what the initiatives are and I don’t. As we stay out of different forms of blockchain governance, I stay out of different forms of traditional governance as well.
Ultimately, going back to the point of governments being able to leverage blockchain, unlike anyone else. The real opportunity in my opinion from a government’s perspective is to put their national currencies on the blockchain. And I think you’re going to see that happen very imminently, with some of the biggest nations on the planet.
What that really does is it totally opens up the currency for business, for next-level business adoption. Once you put your currency on a blockchain, you’ve actually turned your currency into a development platform. When people can take the US dollar and start incorporating it into their products directly into their tech stack, guess what. You’d see whole hosts of various types of projects adopting the US dollar blockchain because they would be able to do things that right now they need to use an alternative less optimal option to accomplish it because the US dollar just can’t integrate with their technology stacks.
Right now I have to wire money out through a bank, it’s expensive, or integrate with square or something and there are great limitations on what I can do with it.
On the flip side, governments would never be able to control their money supply. They would never be able to control it and it’d better, is what I’m getting at. So, they could use blockchain to have better control, transparency, they could automate AML / KYC. A blockchain dollar I can trace back to every single owner that’s ever been there. I can see its entire course. Right now we live in a financial system where things can go off-grid and then they can come back on-grid.
All of our combat and effort goes into when it’s off our grid system, what’s happening to it? Where people using it for a listed purpose? Where did you get that money? You can’t get back into the banking system, we have to put these huge manual processes in place to make sure that people aren’t involved in illicit activity.
When you put everything on the blockchain, you get an unprecedented degree of transparency. Things like tax law could be coded into the dollar itself. Can you imagine? Programming the entire tax law?
It would mean that not only would the US, or any other organization, have better control over their money supply, more transparency, less fraud, but it would give more clear rules to the users on how to actually use it properly.
And this will happen. I’m not saying which country will happen first, and not saying they will all, but there are several countries that are already moving very much in this direction at a very quick speed. The first groups to do so are going to get the benefit of all the developers building with blockchain technology integrating with their currencies because now the functionality they want their currency supports.
So, this is one of the biggest opportunities in my opinion, in terms of governments and how they interact with the blockchain.
Q&A (pre-submitted questions)
The Coming 20 Years in Blockchain
Q: What do you think you’ll be remembered for in 20 years?
My hope is that what we as an organization are remembered for is having expanded the use-cases of blockchain technology and been good custodians for its development. When this industry-first emerged there were a lot of more radical free thinkers that represented the industry as a whole (just the same way the internet emerged).
As you move into systemic adoption, you generally get a much more balanced view and I’m more in that boat. I believe that part of our job in addition to creating the technology itself, is finding that healthy middle ground that meets the constraints of all parties involved. That’s regulators, that’s governments, that’s big business and that’s entrepreneurs.
And so it’s that intersection that which is so important and where the real value proposition is, so we spend a lot of time not just on the technological side of blockchain but on the legal side of blockchain and working backwards from how we believe this is going to develop and we try to position our organization at that intersection so we can be a healthy conduit for its for its growth.
Q: According to past press you’ve said Bitcoin has scaling issues. Doesn’t EOSIO have them too?
EOSIO is an open-source protocol and when you look at one blockchain in particular, when you spin it up, yes it has scaling limitations, the same way a computer has single-threaded throughput limitations. EOSIO was built to be fundamentally asynchronous in nature, meaning that you can start to put out multiple blockchains and schedule actions across all of them, and still get a deterministic output, meaning you can really horizontally scale.
Now these are huge undertakings and our organization is trying to move there as quickly as
possible but you don’t start going parallel until you’ve really maximized the single-threaded throughput of a machine and so that has been our initiative so forth. It’s making one single chain as fast as it possibly can be and as efficient as it can possibly be.
We have been actively working for over a year now on how to make that parallel, how you really start to expand on a near-infinite basis for organizations to meet the needs of millions and millions of users. That’s something we continue to invest heavily in, and work on and that it’s still the goal that we see for EOSIO. When you get into specific types of scaling limitations, absolutely. We’re sort of very early stage of this type of development, but I still think that Block.One is lightyears ahead of any other organization in terms of this type of innovation.
A Big Challenge: Meeting Community Expectations
Q: When you build a business, you’re gonna have to deal a lot of stuff you don’t want to deal with. What are you most serviced about, as a 33 year old CEO?
There’s a lot of challenges of course, and they’re not the challenges that you’d expect when you start an organization and there is no broad theme to those challenges.
One of the things I always deal with on a day-to-day basis is meeting the expectations of the community. It’s really important to us, we build community-driven business models, but there is a sense of no matter what you do, you’re never gonna satisfy everyone.
We tried to move very quickly as an organization. If we keep our cards close to our chest, and we’re building things under the cover everyone’s like “well you’re too quiet, tell us what you’re doing”. And then do an announcement or share what our next project is, and then it’s like “why’d you tell us if it’s not ready”. If you get into the industry I came from, video games, we know about a video game that’s in development five years before it actually comes to fruition, with no release dates or anything and so we try to strike a balance.
We don’t announce something before we’ve even conceived it or started huge headway into it, but we also sit when you go back to things like the legal that we deal with and integrating it healthily into society, there are timelines that are outside of our control as well. So, we try to strike that balance. It’ll never make anyone fully happy and satisfied with the way we’re doing things, but that’s a big challenge.
The other challenge is just reaching our full potential. I wholeheartedly believe that Block.One and the talent that we have is as world-class as I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been a part of small organizations and I’ve been involved in large organizations, and I stand by that statement wholeheartedly and so as a custodian of that group of people it’s so important to me that I pave the path so that we can reach our full potential, and I hold myself very accountable for that.
- Read more: Dan Larimer – “Building with Blockchain is Committing to Integrity by Design”.
- Matt Mullenweg at CB Insights: “Open-source ‘eventually’ dominates every sector it enters”.
- Brendan Blumer & Dan Larimer on Voice.com, “Social media has not been a good friend to us”.
This must have taken a very long time to transcribe. A generous contribution from you.
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