This is the first post in a series introducing the team behind Topl. We hope you enjoy hearing about our journey so far. We’re excited for where we’re going next.
Let me tell you about the biggest regret in my life so far. The year 2009 seems so long ago, especially in the cryptocurrency world, but still hangs heavy in my mind. I was a pretty typical aloof high school student, no real deep passion or interest in anything at all. So of course when I chanced upon a technical white paper about this Bitcoin thing, that was difficult for a kid with no solid programming background to understand, written by some guy I never heard of, I didn’t exactly leap at the opportunity to try it out. It took more than 10 minutes to set up the mining client, which was 5 minutes longer than I had time for. My Bitcoin adventure began and ended in one evening sometime in the summer of 2009.
For those not in the know, summer 2009 was probably the earliest someone with no direct connection to the Bitcoin project or deep into cryptography would have most likely heard of Bitcoin. From what I remember, people were capable of mining hundreds of coins a week with pretty basic hardware. There wasn’t even a mining pool yet; there was no need for one. Two years later in 2011 I learned I could have been fairly wealthy just as I was graduating high school and trying to figure out how I was going to pay for college. The price proceeded to drop significantly shortly after, and I felt better about myself. Of course, it then rose to at the time unheard-of levels another two years later in 2013. None of this wholly convinced me to try and get back into Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency that appeared on my radar for years. I was way too busy working full-time to try and pay the costs of attending college full-time, and any spare time was spent with my family and friends. No money or time to pay attention to what some imaginary coin with an ever-changing value was doing on the internet.
Let’s bring this to the present. I have a bachelor’s degree in computer science, still no money, and a huge chip on my shoulder. Bitcoin is the highest it has ever been, Ethereum is the latest challenger to the cryptocurrency throne, and there are too many new coins and technologies to count. I have changed. I have watched the cryptocurrency space change dramatically. This is a renaissance for financial technology, and we are on the ground floor. Except for 2009, there is probably no better time to get in. And I want in.
Creating a new technology from scratch is hard. Really hard. That is why there is no better time to get into the cryptocurrency space than now. Many of the highly technical issues and heavily involved math problems have been solved to create the basic functionality for cryptocurrencies and their ilk. Someone with basic programming knowledge and some ambition can create their own blockchain in less than a day. Anyone who has been following the massive influx of initial coin offerings (ICO’s) can clearly see the widespread appeal to creating your own digital currency to own and control. They go beyond simple currency exchange though, trying to fix real problems that inherently have solutions found in these new technologies being formulated from the basic idea of the blockchain.
That is where I see the real power being held. Not in what currently exists, but in what the future may bring. Once unleashed, the technology underlying these new coins and technologies being created today will solve problems we may not have even realized are problems yet. Humans generally are pretty bad at making predictions, and I venture no predictions of my own. But I think it’s a pretty safe bet to say that everything that has come about from that one white paper back in 2008 is not going away any time soon, nor has it reached its peak. We are only just beginning.
Luckily, I found Topl shortly before graduating college earlier this year. Working full-time on developing our own cryptocurrency technology, I couldn’t be happier. No longer tied up with getting through college, I can start making up for lost time. We are leveraging the open source Scorex framework, a preexisting example blockchain written in the powerful functional language Scala. Using Scorex we can build quickly and efficiently improve and expand beyond a simple cryptocurrency to get to solving a real problem.
Topl is small, and our goals lofty, but then again doesn’t that describe most startups? The idea is pretty simple; using a variety of commodities, we back a cryptocurrency in proportion to the supply of these goods to stabilize and bring value to the currency. The technical implications of this statement are quite involved. A good starting point on the economic aspects can be found here and here. As for the technical side and a more in depth explanation of what we are doing, you can find our in whitepaper.
I love the idea of having a currency not reliant on the whims of government regulation. Never beholden to the speculation of a relatively small group of powerful investors. Some form of backing that brings intrinsic value, that can be exchanged anywhere in the world for real physical goods, and goods that are important in almost everyone’s daily lives. I wholly believe that what we are doing is important, and will positively impact the world.
If you want to know more about me you can find me at my Github profile at Github.com/Tuxman
Or if you want to find out more about Topl, you can find our website at topl.co