Who is Jed McCaleb?
Jed McCaleb is a renowned American programmer and blockchain cryptocurrency expert. He is known for his immense contribution in the cryptocurrency world such as starting Mt. Gox, the first Bitcoin exchange in the world. Jed has been involved in many other pioneer projects such as eDonkey, one of the first ever decentralized peer-to-peer file sharing networks. eDonkey was developed in 2000 by Jed and fellow developer Sam Yagan. The network was the first ever to implement multisource downloading.
Jed McCaleb and His Newest Venture, Stellar
In 2014, Jed embarked on his newest venture, Stellar. After recognizing notable flaws in the global financial system, Jed teamed up with Joyce Kim to cofounder Stellar Development Foundation where he currently serves as the Cofounder and CTO. Jed leads the technical development of Stellar (a universal financial network focused on increasing economic participation/inclusion).
Jed’s technical development role is divided into two. When he is not coding and building on Stellar’s technical aspects with his team, he is busy responding to emails and everything else associated with running a business.
The Stellar network receives support from Stellar.org (a nonprofit which combines technology and digital financial literacy). Stellar.org also contributes to open source software. Jed has always spent plenty of time and resources thinking of ways of improving existing/new technologies and finding ways of solving problems in the world using these technologies.
Watch Jed McCaleb’s Demo session on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GIMOrsPxlZg
How did Jed McCaleb start Stellar?
According to a recent IdeaMensch interview, Jed got the idea for Stellar after realizing what Bitcoin was (a distributed database) and understanding the many problems that could be solved using the technology behind Bitcoin. He saw a need beyond creating a new digital currency i.e. connecting financial institutions. This idea marked the birth of Stellar. Jed knew the technology behind bitcoin would be transformational. Instead of creating a currency, he chose to create an open source financial network that connects financial institutions. While Bitcoin is a great way to move value, Stellar links institutions to each other.
According to Jed, Stellar aims to connect those people who are currently unbanked in the world (i.e., 2.5 billion people according to the latest World Bank statistics). By linking institutions together, Stellar makes it affordable for these institutions to offer services to the unbanked population. Financial institutions are unable to offer services to low-income individuals because of the high maintenance costs associated with serving these population. The limited connections between all financial institutions/systems also contribute to the problem by keeping money-transfer costs high. According to Jed, Stellar was started to tie different, siloed institutions together to allow cheaper and seamless money transfer via an open source financial network.
Stellar has already been implemented as financial infrastructure by many businesses, financial organizations, and nonprofits across the world. There is special interest in the developing world since this is where most of the world’s unbanked population resides.
The latest on Stellar
The Stellar network has been upgraded since 2014. The current network is more scalable, secure and modular. Jed and his team have made the Stellar network easy to understand, maintain as well as extend. The current network borrows from the internet’s low-level simplicity. It’s easier to get information and interact using standard tools/libraries.
Stellar network security has also been enhanced with the implementation of the SCP (Stellar Consensus Protocol). According to Jed, the Stellar team also conducts numerous failure simulations via unit and integration tests for maximum safety.
Stellar has also taken a global approach to smart contracts. By keeping most of the network’s logic outside the core system, Stellar can scale globally fast and easy. Stellar is currently utilizing two main smart contract components namely multi-signature support and batch operations.
Stellar is also a community run network. The current network is run entirely by community participants outside Stellar. According to Jed, the latest developments ensure the Stellar network isn’t operated or administered internally. Stellar.org only contributes to the network’s open source core protocol. However, everything beyond that (i.e., what makes the Stellar network valuable and useful) is entirely determined by the community.
Jed McCaleb’s other interests
When Jed isn’t busy with Stellar, he spends a lot of time researching on the potential of Artificial Intelligence. Jed sees immense potential in AI in the next two decades. He believes AI will solve most of the problems we are facing now which will make life simpler than it is today. Jed believes AI will do much more than what blockchain has done. This is precisely why he is involved in MIRI (Machine Intelligence Research Institute), a nonprofit which is dedicated to developing new tools for guaranteeing the safe use of AI software in the future. Jed is an advisor at MIRI.
Jed attributes his success as an entrepreneur to spending a lot of time developing concrete plans and strategies. Jed focuses on planning because he believes you can’t be successful if you set the wrong goals in the first place. In his opinion, it doesn’t really matter how productive you are if you have bad plans/strategies.
Jed has also mastered the art of focusing on the important things. He is very diligent about avoiding distractions and unessential tasks. Jed also believes in engaging in things that have a global impact since you enjoy tremendous success when big, global ideas come to life. Jed is also a believer in building great products as opposed to marketing those products. He believes marketing great products has become easier because of the internet. The key is, therefore, making great products like Stellar which fulfill an important need on a global scale.
Jed also attributes his success to overcoming obstacles as opposed to letting them stop him. He understands the fact that the path of entrepreneurship has very many challenges that must be overcome. He has used this success secret in all his ventures including Stellar which was born out of tenacity and an unmatched ability to overcome countless hurdles.
Jed also appreciates the importance of risk analysis and upside potential when starting business ventures. He has always focused on starting ventures with acceptable risk tolerance and structures for capturing the upside potential.
Learn more about Jed McCaleb on Github: https://github.com/jedmccaleb