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The Big Interview

DigiByte’s Josiah Spackman: So many incredible uses for blockchain and crypto

More than 60% of the top 100 crypto projects do not have a finished product. Whilst 800+ cryptocurrencies are now dead and worth less than one cent. But DigiByte is still going strong, core team member, Josiah Spackman, tells Coin Rivet

Coin Rivet: DigiByte turned five years old on 10th January. What have been the highlights and biggest challenges/obstacles thus far?

JS: DigiByte has been pioneering changes and improvements right from inception. Being “faster, more secure, forward thinking” is more than just a catchphrase, it’s the DNA of the project. From the fastest block propagation of any UTXO blockchain, to being the first major blockchain to implement SegWit, to having so many blocks that we’re pushing the limits of 32-bit address space.

We encounter things that Bitcoin likely won’t face for another century. However, these aren’t negatives, when we’re pushing barriers we know we’re not just some “me too” blockchain, but genuine pioneers making something great. We’ve seen the likes of DigiByte-created DigiShield used in dozens of other projects, such as DOGE, BCH/BSC, MONA, Ubiq and more.

Coin Rivet: Many cryptocurrencies have crashed and burned over the past five years. But you’re still in the game.

JS: There are many aspects to this, but a large one comes from having people work on it because they want to, not because they’re paid to. When DigiByte was launched in 2014, pre-mined blockchains were scoffed at and most never lasted more than a few months. It was the people who were genuine believers in the technology and their project who survived. Finding others who also believed in your project, the goals, and what it stands for also helps significantly.

DigiByte is also incredibly blessed to have Jared Tate as the founder, who has remained active in the project this entire time. Where we see others start up and their founder up and leaves after a few months to go start their third or fourth blockchain, Jared has remained very committed and is still a believer to this day, actively contributing to the DigiByte code and building projects on the blockchain.

“We see so many P&D projects, it’s crazy. It’s also really sad because it was only just 12 months ago that we saw Bitconnect fail, yet they had a “working” token, and people were taking out their life savings to put into it due to some slick marketing”

Coin Rivet: 2018 was a rollercoaster ride for cryptocurrencies. What are your key takeaways from the past 12 months?

JS: One thing is for sure, you find out who your “true friends” are, those who genuinely believe in blockchain as a way to change the world, the possibilities, and those who are just here because they want a fast way to get rich. We see so many P&D projects, it’s crazy. It’s also really sad because it was only just 12 months ago that we saw Bitconnect fail, yet they had a “working” token, and people were taking out their life savings to put into it due to some slick marketing.

To this day, we still have other projects that have slick marketing, yet these projects couldn’t even write their own whitepaper. I feel we’re going to see more focus on the “tried and tested”, we’re going to see many of these “nice idea” projects with no substance will fall by the wayside, and we’re going to see more and more focus on the use of blockchain outside of just a method of payment.

Coin Rivet: Do you believe that widespread crypto adoption is coming or will it remain a niche thing for the foreseeable future?

JS: Yes, with every day that passes the DigiByte community messages me saying, “hey, wouldn’t this be an awesome idea for DigiAssets”, and they’re right. There are so many incredible uses for blockchain and cryptocurrency, more than just “I pay you and you pay me”. We can do things with DigiByte like validating legal documents, wills, land ownership or shipping manifests.

You could use the upcoming DigiAssets to issue flight tickets, and customers could validate the supply to ensure an airline isn’t overbooking their planes (Nobody likes to get to the airport and being bumped off a flight). Perhaps it gets used for music concerts, that immediately solves ticket scalping and many other issues plaguing that industry.

With DigiAssets coming out in 2019, coupled with our fantastic mobile experience, we’re going to see a realm of possibilities opening up, and hopefully many people will be blissfully unaware that it’s a blockchain that powers it all.

Coin Rivet: There are many high-profile critics who argue cryptocurrencies are a busted flush, a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist etc. How do you respond to them?

JS: On a personal level, I definitely agree with them in many ways, though not all. Bitcoin was created with the genesis block hash: The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks.

This is because banks can’t be trusted, and with self-sovereignty over your own wealth and assets you remove that liability. Just look at what happens when others have control over your money, the ability to print more at a whim, and how that has had a catastrophic effect on the likes of Venezuela.

Similarly, DigiByte was created to be forward-thinking, around cyber security: USA Today: 10/Jan/2014, Target: Data stolen from up to 110M customers. We look at things like the recent Facebook hacks, where any site that you had signed in to with your Facebook account got complete access to your account/profile/data. This is why DigiByte has created Digi-ID, which has completely solved this very issue that affected Facebook users.

This is a genuine problem that plagues people to this day, and this is one that DigiByte has the answer for. So while I wholeheartedly agree with critics and believe that tokenizing Bittorrent and other things is a ridiculous idea, I’m proud to be involved with making real solutions through DigiByte.

“Just as almost everybody knows how to use a web browser and email, we’ll see the same thing with blockchain and cryptocurrency over time”

Coin Rivet: What’s your take on regulation in this space?

JS: Those in favour of regulation are probably right, and we’ve seen the effects that P&D groups have, or even insider trading on many major exchanges both in the USA, Malta etc. There will never be a single global regulation around cryptocurrency, but many countries will hopefully protect their own citizens.

The hard part about cryptocurrency is we’re in a technical space, filled with many non-technical people that don’t understand what a “private key” is, let alone why they should or should not invest in a project. The SEC put out an incredible fake ICO website that highlighted this, and to many uninitiated it looked completely legitimate.

Genuine community education is the key, and teaching children/young adults through the education system will play a large role. We’ve seen this with the tablet computers we donated to people in Venezuela when we did our third philanthropic event there, how quickly these children have taken to it and how well informed they are about how the underlying technology works.

Just as almost everybody knows how to use a web browser and email, we’ll see the same thing with blockchain and cryptocurrency over time.

Coin Rivet: What can we expect from DigiByte in 2019?

JS: We’re going to be really showing the world the security benefits of Digi-ID. I even setup my house front door to be securely opened with my DigiByte mobile app through Digi-ID. It solves so many security issues, and it’s great to see other third-party multi-coin wallet vendors are in the process of implementing it too. We’ll see some popular cryptocurrency exchanges starting to support it early this year and no doubt over time that will begin filtering out to the rest of the internet.

DigiByte is also focusing on DigiAssets, and making them easily accessible/issued/traded/utilised from your cellphone. It’s not enough to just do smart contracts as we’ve seen other platforms do, but you need the five years of “in the wild” and battle-hardened security of DigiByte, coupled with our on-chain scaling. This way when the next crypto-pets game is released it doesn’t bring down the network as we’ve seen happen in December 2017 on other blockchains.

We’re also going to see DigiByte pushing forward with our security aspect, we’re going through final testing now, following the creation of a unique hashing algorithm to help secure the network. It’s not enough that we’re already the fastest, most secure and most decentralised UTXO blockchain on the planet, we want to keep pushing that forward, breaking the barriers, and challenging the limits, all while ensuring security and safety of the DigiByte blockchain.

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