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DAN LARIMER: Visionary Programmer of BitShares, Steem and EOS

Dan Larimer and his projects

I am not an expert on Dan Larimer, however, I have a bit of insight into this enigmatic programmer who is the visionary architect and engineer behind BitShares, Steem and EOS.

I met Dan last year when I visited Steemit HQ but most of what I’ve learned about Dan is from observation and reading personal musings from his GitHub diary: Bytemaster’s Blog. If you want to learn how to launch your own cryptocurrency, read his article, How to Launch a Crypto Currency Legally while Raising Funds.

Dan is one of those rare super gifted nerds (I use the term, ‘nerd’ affectionately in this case) who is so busy working out the details of his next invention that I’m pretty sure he doesn’t make time for things like going out with friends or relaxing with a beer or two. In fact, Dan told me that he has never even touched a drop of alcohol in his life. Well he corrected me recently: he has had wine but never has been drunk before. Don’t we all wish we could get those brain cells back? Dan never lost his.

Dan is a programmer, but I think of him more as a visionary inventor of systems. Dan’s stated mission in life is

“to find free market solutions to secure life, liberty, and property for all.”

It’s easy to get sucked into the Dan Larimer rabbit hole once you start studying his projects and lucky for you and me, we can experience his inventions first-hand by participating in the social media sites, Steemit and Busy, which run on top of the Steem blockchain. If the phrase, “run on top of the Steem blockchain” sounds foreign to you, think of it this way: instead of data being stored in a company’s central server, it’s distributed all over, in a peer-to-peer, decentralized system that is transparent. This is the driving force behind the exponential growth of cryptocurrencies in recent times. Why? Because centralized systems are vulnerable to fraud, hacking, abuse of trust and wealth hoarding. Decentralized systems are not perfect, but they are much better than their centralized counterparts in these and other areas.

Dan’s Background

Daniel Larimer received a Bachelor of Engineering (BE) in Computer Science from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 2003. He is currently focused in the areas of blockchain technology, cryptocurrency, decentralized exchanges, economic systems and freedom.

In 2009 he was attempting to engineer a digital currency when he discovered Bitcoin. He immediately got involved with Bitcoin and began communicating with Bitcoin creator, Satoshi Nakamoto in a Bitcoin forum. At this time he was alarmed by the amount of centralized exchanges being arbitrarily shut down. He came to the conclusion that decentralized exchanges would become necessary. It was several years later that he created BitShares and invented BitUSD which is the first trustless cryptocurrency pegged to the dollar. For over two years he innovated and fine-tuned blockchain technology to support a decentralized exchange. The resulting technology is called Graphene and is what powers BitShares and Steem.

Dan Larimer is the co-founder of Steemit, Inc and its CTO until march 2017. He is the main architect of the Steem blockchain and Steem cryptocurrency. He’s also the CEO of Cryptonomex, Inc. which is a blockchain technology consulting company that was founded with his father, Stan Larimer. He founded the decentralized exchange BitShares and Invictus Innocations. He originated the idea of the “decentralized autonomous company” or DAC.

If you’re asking yourself right now, “What is BitShares?” Dan answers this question in his blog. To summarize, BitShares is a network, bank, ledger, company, exchange, software, community, currency and Dan asserts that it’s even a country. It’s not an easy concept for most people to grasp. It’s probably an invention 10 years ahead of its time, but judging from Coinmarketcap today, people are beginning to catch on now. BitShares is based upon many of the same principles as Ethereum’s The DAO.
-Steemcenter, co-written by Steemit community

If you really want to dive into the Dan Larimer rabbit hole, watch this video where he asks Vitalik Buterin some tough questions about Ethereum in 2014:

If your head is spinning from all this information, keep in mind, I’ve only just scratched the surface of his inventions. After Dan successfully built the Steem blockchain, he moved onto his next project, EOS.

If you thought BitShares was hard to grasp, EOS, is perhaps even more ambitious and difficult to understand for the average person. It took me several weeks just get a basic understanding of it, but thankfully, the EOS White Paper has just been released.

EOS is easier to understand when you recognize what problems it’s trying to solve. Right now, blockchains have several problems that need solving: they are hard to scale up (look no further than the Bitcoin scaling war), they are costly (Ethereum charges a gas fee to use its network), they lack interoperability and they are difficult for legacy companies to navigate. Blockchain technology is redefining the entire internet, but for most company owners, there’s no easy way to adopt this brand-new revolutionary technology. I believe EOS is trying to make blockchain technology easy to adopt, by creating a blockchain operating system for companies.

“The EOS.IO software introduces a new blockchain architecture designed to enable vertical and horizontal scaling of decentralized applications. This is achieved by creating an operating system-like construct upon which applications can be built. The software provides accounts, authentication, databases, asynchronous communication and the scheduling of applications across hundreds of CPU cores or clusters. The resulting technology is a blockchain architecture that scales to millions of transactions per second, eliminates user fees, and allows for quick and easy deployment of decentralized applications.” -EOS White Paper

The EOS token sale will be launched on the Ethereum network, the EOS blog announced recently. The token sale will be ongoing for a year to ensure maximum and wide distribution. Many people were confused by this move, but I think it’s a wise move for financial reasons. Ethereum has been gaining some serious traction both with its price and popularity. It has the feeling of being a goliath already.

No one really understands how all of this will shakeout in the future, but here’s a reaction from a Steemit user named Zooropa that echoes some of the EOS excitement:

EOS blog on Steemit.com

I wonder what Dan Larimer will invent after EOS? Like all visionary inventors, I am sure it will be something revolutionary and amazing.

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