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Jake Yocom-Piatt from Decred on Bitcoin, Blockchain Governance, DCR and more

As Bitcoin grew in popularity and size, the network’s ecosystem has also continued to multiply. Bitcoin has been a leader in the entry of institutional cash into cryptocurrency, as well as in building regulatory and technical infrastructure for crypto.

It’s grown so fast that it’s almost easy to forget that a few years ago Bitcoin faced such a severe identity crisis that much of the world was confused about which coin the real Bitcoin was (Remember BCH?).

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Of course, the bitcoin versus bitcoin cash crisis is firmly anchored in bitcoin’s rearview mirror. However, the underlying issues in Bitcoin’s governance that caused the crisis in the first place have not changed. While this isn’t a serious problem for Bitcoin right now, Bitcoin could face governance issues as it moves forward.

Finance Magnates recently sat down with Jake Yocom-Piatt to discuss governance at Bitcoin and Decred (DCR), the cryptocurrency he helped create. Jake is currently the Project Leader for the Decred Cryptocurrency Project and Chief Executive of Company 0, LLC, one of the contractors working for Decred.

We also talked about the evolution of Decred and how blockchain can bring transparency to government elections. Listen.


This is an excerpt edited for clarity and length. To hear Finance Magnates’ full interview with Jake Yocom-Piatt, visit us on Soundcloud or Youtube.

The birth of the deceased

“I’ve been working in cryptocurrency since late 2012 and early 2013,” said Jake. “My background began with Bitcoin, the ‘Soup du Jour’ at the time. I really noticed this and started working on it. I found it very interesting to be able to save and transfer values ​​from the fiat banking system. “

Jake’s first serious venture in the crypto space was “an alternative full-node Bitcoin implementation called BTCSuite. The aim was to make the Bitcoin ecosystem more diverse, more stable and more secure. “The project was mostly funded internally:” I had spent a few million dollars on it, but it became a funding game. I could only do this until I eventually had to make outside investments. “

“That didn’t really appeal to me, so I decided to create a cryptocurrency with people I knew,” he explained.

As such, Decred was born. Jake said the inspiration behind the coin came from “the frustrations I was dealing with [his] Bitcoin experiences. “

Power, control and frustration

“Bitcoin is obviously a very interesting technology that is really changing the game. This idea that you don’t have a central point of trust that determines the outcome of how value storage and transfer works was very interesting to me. “

“However, there were some major issues that I saw” after working in space for several years.

The first of these problems had to do with power and control. “Who is really responsible for the network?” He said.

“With Bitcoin, it’s the core developers and a handful of large, venture-funded outfits that build the infrastructure on top of it,” he said. “That was a problem for me. Shouldn’t the people who actually own bitcoin be in control of the network and not a small group of miners, venture capitalists, and developers? “That is why the Proof-of-Stake element was introduced by Decred.

In addition to centralizing power and control in the Bitcoin network, Jake is also frustrated with the funding model for technological development.

Indeed, the question of who will pay for Bitcoin’s technical infrastructure is “a very open question for me,” he said. For this reason (on Decred’s network) “10 percent of each block subsidy goes into a treasury account, and then we use that treasury account for the work that is being done on the project. This allows us to get away from that model of having to have wealthy benefactors or venture capitalists and invest in someone doing infrastructure work so that the network actually invests in itself. “

“The other thing I noticed was that while Bitcoin is a great piece of technology, it had stagnation issues – it would get stuck in ‘anyone arguing about block size’. The whole thing practically came to a standstill because people were arguing about the block size. “As a result, Decred introduced a system of governance where people can vote on proposals with the coins they put in.

After trading at around $ 0.50 when it was launched in 2016, DCR is now worth ~ $ 155

So far, Decred’s efforts to build a better cryptocurrency network seem to be paying off.

“When we launched in February 2016, we had the expectation that our coin would be worth $ 0.50, I don’t know. Then we said, “Man, it would be so cool if it was worth a few dollars.” Maybe ten dollars or whatever. In time it’s like, wow. This thing has become gangbusters. “

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Data from Coinmarketcap shows that DCR tokens were valued at around $ 0.99 per pop for most of 2016. After several years of fairly steady growth, DCR was trading at nearly $ 155 at press time.

What was Decred’s growth strategy? “To drive development, many projects focus on things like marketing and partnerships, sales and positioning,” he said. “Admittedly, we hardly do any of it.”

“Instead of the Sales and Marketing page, we’ll focus on the Development and Milestones page. Instead of entering into a new partnership with Major Corporation X, we’re adding Major Feature Set X. “Some of those features that Decred added along the way include things like voting on consensus changes and a decentralized treasury,” Jake explained.

Who are the users of DCR?

Who Uses the Decred Network? Jake explained to Finance Magnates that while the network’s privacy capabilities do not allow data collection about the personal identities of DCR users, the DCR contractor community could be a good representative example of what Decred’s user community might look like.

“Our contractors are pretty spread out,” he said. “There is a part of us in the US. Some of us are in Africa, South America and Europe. We’re pretty thin in most parts of Asia, but we have people from India and all sorts of places. “

Jake also said that Decred has a huge following in Brazil. In fact, in Brazil’s November 2020 local elections, Decred’s blockchain was used to timestamp and record political donations. The occasion marked the first time a public blockchain was used for government functions.

“We have a few pieces of open source software that can be used effectively for free,” Jake said. The first is “a system called Politeia, a cryptographic attestation system”. In other words, you can cryptographically verify that “I am Person X, I said Thing Y at TimeZ,” and you can anchor that information on the Decred blockchain.

Using Decred’s blockchain in local elections

The software that anchors the information is called dcrtime, which is a timestamping application that allows users to store hashes of any data on the Decred blockchain.

How did Decred’s chain get the Brazilian government’s attention? “There have been a number of people in Brazil who have been involved with organizations that review local elections,” Jake said.

In addition, these organizations worked with a legal technician named OriginalMy. OriginalMy is registered in Estonia and works as a Brazilian blockchain project that provides proof of authenticity, digital signatures, digital certificates and document authenticity.

Essentially, the digital certificates created by OriginalMy were anchored in the Decred blockchain. “When people donate money in these local elections, the person who received the money can say, ‘I received this money’ and then effectively notarize it and anchor it on our blockchain.”

“This effectively creates unadulterated historical records at almost zero cost and without bloating the blockchain. This gives people the peace of mind that there are no gimmicks when it comes to donations.”

“There should be more transparency and it should be more difficult to cast the wrong votes.”

Indeed, the power that blockchain must have in order to curb political corruption and enable truly fair elections has been debated for some time. However, there weren’t that many examples of blockchain used in government election processes.

“What’s interesting about that? [blockchain] The implementation, especially with regard to politics, is that once politics is involved, there are always competing interests, ”said Jake. “For example, you would imagine that people in most parts of the world want fairer elections, but really?” He asked, “They” refer to politicians who are running for and holding office.

“Look at the gerrymandering in the United States. If officials really wanted a fair vote, they wouldn’t shape their districts like a queue across the state. “

Is it realistic to believe that blockchain could be implemented to make elections fairer?

“Hey, I’m a hopeful person,” said Jake. “When it comes to more fairness and more transparency around governance and voting for people, there should be more transparency and it should be harder to cast wrong votes.” Jake added that it was “virtually impossible” to cast false votes on the Decred network.

“We would like to see more of this flow into the voting processes of the nation-states around us,” he added. “Well, whether or not people choose to play the ball there is really an open question based on the competing interests that people have. However, I think after the heat of the United States 2020 election cycle it would be great to do things like that in the United States. “

This is an excerpt edited for clarity and length. To hear Finance Magnates’ full interview with Jake Yocom-Piatt, visit us on Soundcloud or Youtube.

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