I’m Stefan Thomas and I introduced millions of people to Bitcoin, was in charge of the technology for the third largest cryptocurrency, and hate blockchain. AMA!
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.
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.