My TEDx Talk

The organizers of TEDx Amherst invited me to give a talk. I spoke about the work we did at The Kuwa Foundation, which focused on online identity and privacy. The title is “We’re Being Owned: Why We Must Take Control of Our Online Identities.” Here is the video. … More My TEDx Talk

Slides from My Guest Lecture on Software Entrepreneurship at UMass

I gave a guest lecture for a new computer science course on software entrepreneurship at the UMass Amherst College of Information and Computer Sciences. It was a pleasure to regale the students with my war stories and tales of the many lessons I learned through experience. Here are my slides. … More Slides from My Guest Lecture on Software Entrepreneurship at UMass

Please Steal This Code – The Crypto UBI Project is on GitHub

A few months ago, The Kuwa Foundation partnered with the University of Massachusetts Center for Data Science to develop The Crypto UBI Project (TCUP). I’m excited to say that we just published the TCUP source code on GitHub under an MIT open source license. We also deployed a demo on our development server. TCUP distributes a cryptocurrency basic income payment to people who have Kuwa IDs, which are “smart contracts” that live on an Ethereum blockchain. We’ve taken the first step in a long and challenging, but ultimately worthwhile journey. … More Please Steal This Code – The Crypto UBI Project is on GitHub

Introducing The Kuwa Foundation: Identity for Humanity

We’ve formed The Kuwa Foundation, a nonprofit corporation. The foundation has partnered with the University of Massachusetts Amherst College of Information and Computer Sciences to make our vision of an open, decentralized, minimally intrusive and self-sovereign identity platform a reality (or at least a real working prototype). So we’ve hired five UMass Computer Science graduate students for the summer. We’re going to get something working. … More Introducing The Kuwa Foundation: Identity for Humanity

The Cryptoeconomics of Funding a Universal Basic Income

After a devastating earthquake in 2010, the world collectively pledged about $13B in aid to Haiti. That’s enough to give every Haitian a 50% pay increase for three years (on average). For far less than $13B, we could implement a basic income in Haiti that would lift millions of people out of poverty. This post is concerned with exploring ways to fund a UBI that we could distribute via a cryptocurrency. I compare inflation funding to transaction fees. I also provide basic projections for an inflation-funded crypto UBI in the US and Haiti. Even though inflation may also impose a “cost” on holders of the currency (through a loss in purchasing power), my analysis led me to conclude that it would be better to fund a crypto UBI through inflation. … More The Cryptoeconomics of Funding a Universal Basic Income

Kuwa: A Decentralized, Pseudo-anonymous and Sybil-Resistant Individual Identification System

Like cookies and milk, cryptocurrencies and Universal Basic Income (UBI) are two particularly promising concepts that could go great together. If we’re to give money to the needy, then we should use the best technology available. Because trust is built-in, cryptocurrencies can bypass the sticky bureaucratic fingers that are all too common in many countries. The most significant barrier to large-scale implementation of a crypto UBI is the lack of a reliable identification system. Needy people don’t typically have passports. And since their governments are often corrupt, giving those governments power to exclude or include people would be dangerous. My Kuwa (“to be” in Swahili) white paper is a first attempt to describe a potential technical solution to this identification challenge. … More Kuwa: A Decentralized, Pseudo-anonymous and Sybil-Resistant Individual Identification System

WANTED: Rules for Initial Coin Offerings

Entrepreneurs see initial coin offerings (ICOs) as an easy way to quickly raise a lot of money with no strings attached. Some ICO investors’ greed has blinded them to the apparent risks. However, ICOs are an important new fundraising innovation that is appropriate for endeavors where the objective is to create value through decentralization. Although most ICO-funded projects will fail, the ones that don’t will have a more significant impact on our lives than the Web. Governments, particularly in the United States, have been slow to act. When they do, some entrepreneurs will find themselves in trouble, and many ICO investors will have already lost money. For important ICO-funded projects to flourish, we need ground rules. The Simple Agreement for Future Token Sales (SAFT) is the most significant industry initiative so far that tries to define those rules. … More WANTED: Rules for Initial Coin Offerings