My name is Stefan Thomas. I started programming when I was four years old and have been addicted to it ever since.

Starting in 2010, I got involved with Bitcoin, produced the “What is Bitcoin?” video that introduced millions of people to Bitcoin, and created BitcoinJS, the first implementation of Bitcoin cryptography in the browser.

My dream was to make crypto-currency mainstream, so in 2012 I joined a startup called Ripple. I told them that I wanted to be a coder only, and not a manager. Eight months later, they made me CTO. While I was there, we built a blockchain that is 200x faster, 1000x cheaper, and vastly more energy-efficient than Bitcoin. The underlying cryptocurrency, XRP, is now the third-largest in the world.

I think cryptocurrency is a powerful idea, politically and economically. But managing a blockchain system at scale sucks. A shared ledger, by definition, is a tightly coupled system, something we engineers spend much of our time trying to avoid, with good reason. So what comes after blockchain?

Interledger is a (non-blockchain) payment protocol I helped create in 2015. Interledger is able to process transactions faster, and at a much larger scale than blockchain systems. It’s closer to something like TCP/IP - it has no global state and passes around little packets of money similar to how IP passes around packets of data.

Last year, I founded a company called Coil. We’re using Interledger to create a better business model for creators on the Web. Instead of putting a company in the middle like Spotify or Netflix, we’re putting an open standard in the middle and companies like ours compete to provide access. Some members of our community created a subreddit at r/CoilCommunity.

Proof: https://i.redd.it/5duaiw8yyuz21.jpg

Edit: Alright, I'm out of time. Thanks to everyone who asked questions and I hope my answers were helpful. Sorry if I didn't get to your question - I might go back to this page in the future and tweet or blog to address some of things that were left unanswered.

Comments: 941 • Responses: 31  • Date: 

77lightlove7773 karma

A person by the name David Schwartz said you lost BTC what can you tell us about losing 6500 BTC?

justmoon33 karma

It was 7002 BTC but who's counting! This was part of the bounty that we won for making the animated video about Bitcoin. I was pretty depressed for about two weeks but at the end of the day money is just money.

There is a very small chance that I could recover the key from an old drive or something but right now my focus is on building Coil so recovering those coins is on the back burner.

Fat_Phil_Cares3 karma

I was of the understanding that the underlying technology (blockchain) was the main reason to invest in Bitcoin. However, it seems you are implying there is better technology now available? Am I understanding that correctly?

justmoon4 karma

I was of the understanding that the underlying technology (blockchain) was the main reason to invest in Bitcoin. However, it seems you are implying there is better technology now available? Am I understanding that correctly?

There are reasons for investing in Bitcoin that aren't related to the technology. For instance, it's the largest non-government currency (afaik) and it has a limited supply.

However, it seems you are implying there is better technology now available?

Technology is a complicated subject. It's rarely as simple as "A is better than B". I think that having one giant blockchain network is not a good way to solve payment interoperability. I think Interledger is a better way. But Interledger does not, by itself, solve the actual movement of funds (settlement). Blockchain is one of the contenders to play the settlement role.

whywee1 karma

What can you tell us about brock pierce?

justmoon5 karma

My involvement in the Bitcoin community was mostly 2010-2012 and his involvement really ramped up in 2013, so we didn't overlap. I don't even know him personally.

IronRT1 karma

I have 2k to invest in crypto. What should I buy?

justmoon0 karma

Depends on your goals. You should talk to a professional investment advisor. Generally, when I want to have exposure to an asset class, I try to find a stable index fund with low management fees and invest in that. Usually, it doesn't make sense to try to judge the value to specific stocks/tokens yourself unless you're an expert in the field or you're just investing for entertainment and don't care about losing money doing it.

dderkomai1 karma

Will mobile apps or mobile browsers be able to benefit from Coil? How will you handle environments like Chrome for iOS, where you cannot install the addon?

justmoon2 karma

We are excited about Puma Browser, which will be a Web Monetization enabled browser for iOS.

We think that's the right direction for mobile - browsers that support it natively. We do think that long-term there is a strong case for Web Monetization to be adopted by major browsers.

maltesecitizen1 karma

Do you think XRP can become the main cryptocurrency of the digital market?

justmoon3 karma

XRP fixes a lot of the things I didn't like about Bitcoin. The energy usage, geographic centralization, transaction delays, etc. And it has enough support to challenge Bitcoin. But markets aren't always rational, so who knows how it will all play out.

Misterwright1231 karma

Your favorite video game? Mine is half life 1.

justmoon1 karma

Half-Life is a strong contender. Probably Counter-Strike would be my pick since we played it a lot growing up.

WarPig2621 karma

Can you explain Interledger to a layman guy who knows very little practical knowledge on blockchain and how this is different from that?

justmoon3 karma

A blockchain is like a ledger, a big book that records everyone's transactions. Unlike a physical book, a blockchain is distributed, i.e. different computers are working together to record transactions.

Interledger doesn't record transactions at all. It routes messages that represent money. You can picture it like people handing little PostIt notes to each other really fast. "I'm paying you $0.02", "I'm paying you $0.03", etc. You can only hand those notes to your direct peers (i.e. business partners), so to reach anyone in the network, the notes get passed on several times. Obviously, if you're just handing notes to each other, no money actually moves, so the other rule is that once you have handed a bunch of notes to your peer, you pay them the sum of all of the amounts of all of the notes that you handed them. That payment can happen in any currency and using any ledger that the two of you agree on, US dollars, crypto, whatever.

That's blockchain and Interledger. Hopefully, that made some amount of sense. :)

spoobs010 karma

Is your shirt from lockn or just an infinity sign?

justmoon1 karma

It's from Society6.com. I liked the design. To me, it's an infinity sign in the colors of the US flag, so I interpret it as: The principles of the Constitution will live on forever. But I don't know if that's what the designer intended it to mean. :)

redo85700 karma

What is the most creative use case for steaming payments that you've heard so far?

justmoon0 karma


evysmitty-1 karma

Whats your favorite sport? favorite professional sports team?

justmoon7 karma

Favorite sport would have to be StarCraft 2 and my favorite player is Serral.

If you exclude esports... I'm not closely following any sport but being German, I'd have to go with soccer and the team of my hometown VfB Stuttgart.

pavlji-1 karma

Hi, Stefan. I will shamelessly ask you as an investor. Does Coil actually utilize XRP and its distinctive advantages or is it just one of the assets I can choose to receive?

justmoon2 karma

We do all of our outgoing Interledger settlements in XRP. For me, the XRP use case I'm most excited about is as a settlement asset for Interledger payments. We are finding that it works very well for that. (Low fees, fast - meaning you can settle cheaply and often.)

77lightlove77-2 karma

What is next with ILP?

justmoon-3 karma

I'm very excited about Sabine Bertram's proposal for Interledger pull payments.

From my Bitcoin days, I remember that some of the biggest blockers for merchant adoption were lack of support for recurring payments, lack of interoperability between different cryptos, and a poor user experience. Once we have Interledger with pull payments support and W3C Web Payments integration, we will check all of those boxes.

My motivation for getting into Bitcoin was always to make payments better and that has never changed. The last eight years felt like slow and steady progress towards that and we are finally getting close.

tonmennt-2 karma

Hi Stefan, thank you for sharing with us time..Greetings from Iceland. I am a tecnological greenhorn, I am musician interested in freedom and financial independance. So my first question: Is xrp the world currency of the NWO ?

justmoon-2 karma

Hi to Iceland! Well, my motivation for working on XRP is to create another, better option in the world of currencies. There are many fiat currencies and now many crypto tokens. XRP adds to that picture. I'm doing my best to contribute to XRP being the best currency it can be but I also don't think there will be just one winner. There will always be reasons to use different things for different use cases and currencies are no exception.

But if the NWO would like to use XRP, they are welcome to reach out, same as anyone else! ;)

galgitron-3 karma

I feel disintermediation is on the cusp of exploding, possibly even supplanting government some day. Do you have ambitions of participating in that specific social-engineering effort?

justmoon2 karma

Hmm, so you're effectively asking: do I want to overthrow the government? ;)

I think that there has been a recent trend, particularly on the web towards centralization into a few content platforms. Our vision with Coil is that we get back to a web with a more diverse set of sites. Let's start there.

77lightlove77-5 karma

Shwartz tweeted us yesterday to ask ...What can you tell us about aliens with extraordinary abilities?

justmoon6 karma

Haha! That's a reference to the O-1 visa status I had while working at Ripple. The official title of the visa is that it's for "aliens with extraordinary abilities" and I always thought that sounded like a movie premise.

Kassjan-5 karma

When will be the full release of coil?

justmoon3 karma

I don't know. Our primary goal with Coil.com is to kick off Web Monetization as a standard and today's version of Coil.com is our way of doing that. If we achieve our goal and the standard becomes widely adopted by other platforms, perhaps Coil.com evolves to become something else.

Right now the plan is to keep making improvements and fixing bugs and once we get it to a place where it's pretty mature, we will drop the "beta" moniker.

XRP_Research_Center-7 karma

Hello Stefan! Thanks for doing this AMA.

It is said that Coil comes from Codius + Interledger.

Could you share with us the plans that Coil has for Codius, if any?


justmoon4 karma

We have one developer working on Codius full-time at the moment. Our hypothesis is that once there are a number of websites earning money through Web Monetization, they'll be looking to spend that money on hosting and Codius could be the next step towards keeping those funds circulating in the Interledger ecosystem.

In other words, we think Codius is very important long-term but our immediate focus is on Web Monetization.