Block Stars is a new podcast series from Ripple that shines a spotlight on blockchain’s most innovative and impactful thinkers.
In each episode, Ripple CTO David Schwartz will be joined by a special guest to explore the foundations of blockchain, how it is solving today’s real-world problems and what future benefits the technology may bring.
The inaugural Block Stars guest is Ripple co-founder and Executive Chairman Chris Larsen. In this first episode, Chris and David look back at the birth of digital assets and discuss why early e-currencies like Beenz and Second Life’s Linden Dollars failed to take off and how Satoshi Nakamoto’s seminal white paper on Bitcoin was perfectly timed.
“Bitcoin was the right technology hitting at the right economic time,” explains Chris. The financial crisis of 2008 exposed the failings of banks and central governments and “people lost faith in the world. That was a scary moment and [Bitcoin] seemed to be the solution.”
Despite the revolutionary ideals of many of Bitcoin’s early believers, Chris never thought blockchain technology should be used to overthrow the existing financial system. Skeptical about Silicon Valley’s obsession with disruption, he believes that history’s most transformative innovations have always relied on the great ideas that came before them.
“We’re building on the shoulders of geniuses,” he says. “The cryptocurrency movement is a very important step in where financial systems go…but it’s more about building on the good stuff and fixing some obvious problems. Incremental change, over burn everything down.”
Chris says that blockchain technology and digital assets can help deliver the final key element of inclusive globalization. Innovations in transport and communications allow entrepreneurs anywhere in the world to reach customers and ship goods cost-effectively. But paying global suppliers and receiving payments across borders remains a slow and expensive process.
“[Globalization is] a work in progress,” states Chris, “until you get the financial component as inexpensive as global communications and shipping. Cross-border payments were fundamentally broken because they were dependent on a system built in the 70s. [Creating] an Internet of Value is the final step in this grand network of networks that includes goods, data and money.”
Subscribe to the Block Stars podcast now to hear more from Chris on the role of digital assets in a sustainable global economy, plus find out why David used to carry a roll of silver dimes in his pocket, how Chris coped with testing positive for coronavirus and why blockchain still requires people to trust one another.