An Interview with Jed McCaleb, Humanitarian and Financial Entrepreneur

Jed McCaleb, co-founder of the online financial network, believes in using technology to increase efficiency and improve people’s lives. The Stellar network and contribute to this, as they are designed to provide resources to increase financial literacy while also supporting open-source softwares. Recently, Mr. McCaleb sat down for an interview with IdeaMensch to discuss Stellar, his work habits and evolving trends in the technological sector.

When asked where the idea for Stellar originated, Jed McCaleb explained that his growing interest in Bitcoin led to the idea for Stellar. Bitcoin, he argues, can be described as a currency that moves value from one person to another, but about 2.5 billion adults (or around half of the world’s adult population) don’t have bank accounts. This is largely because banks can’t or won’t afford the necessary maintenance costs to serve people in low-income areas, and this is where Stellar comes in. McCaleb’s goal with Stellar is to connect disparate people and financial institutions and provide a seamless and affordable way to move money online, and thus far, the Stellar initiative has been successful. Already, nonprofits are starting to use Stellar to provide financial infrastructure in many parts of the developing world.

Jed was also asked about his work habits and how he remains productive throughout the day. He explained that having small teams is key, and that he also works in two different productive modes, ‘focused’ and ‘reactive’ which he harnesses to perform coding and building tasks or respond to emails and requests, respectively. When asked about technological trends that particularly excite him, Mr. McCaleb discussed artificial intelligence, which he believes will help us solve a variety of problems over the next twenty years or so. McCaleb has donated money to the Machine Intelligence Research Institute, or MIRI, a nonprofit that researches ways to safely operate future A.I., and has recently become an advisor to the Institute.

Jed McCaleb was the creative mind behind eDonkey, an early file-sharing platform, and Mt. Gox, the first-ever Bitcoin exchange. His interests and enterprises are varied; he also founded Code Collective, where he programmed and designed a turn-based strategy video game called the Far Wilds. Currently, Mr. McCaleb works to improve the Stellar Network while also advising the MIRI research team.

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