Jed McCaleb has always been a visionary and pioneer in using his technical programming skills to serve humanity and improve the world, and his latest project has the potential to bring 2.5 billion people into the mainstream economy of the world, so they and the world can profit from their intelligence, innovations and creativity.
Those people are now the “unbanked,” according to the World Bank. Because of their rural isolation or poverty, their local banks cannot afford to provide them with the basic services, so they lack safe storage and the ability to transfer funds. Jed McCaleb co-founded the Stellar Development Foundation in 2014 with Joyce Kim to solve those problems by harnessing the power of the blockchain technology, creating a universal network.
Blockchain was created by the creator of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto, to solve the problem of how to trust a digital currency that can be easily copied and re-used. The blockchain creates a database distributed over a network. Every transaction must be verified and validated by the network before it’s approved. That prevents a thief from just copying and re-using code. It allows for people to trust each other without requiring third parties such as banks, Pay Pal and MoneyGram. However, the blockchain technology can serve to facilitate all kinds of transactions, not simply currency exchanges.
Jed McCaleb got his start with peer to peer networking when he created eDonkey2000. That’s a decentralized file sharing network that used hashtags to pioneer multi-source downloads. It enabled 1-to-many sharing of data. So it’s clear McCaleb’s interest in direct sharing through networking was clear from the beginning of his professional career. And so he founded MetaMachine to implement this vision.
That interest developed when he first heard of Bitcoin. At that time, most people did not have a way to participate in the digital currency, so McCaleb founded the first online Bitcoin exchange, Mt. Gox. This enabled people to exchange their national currencies for Bitcoin, and then store it in their Mt. Gox digital account. And they could later sell it or use it to buy something from the businesses that accepted Bitcoin.