Interview with veteran Bitcoin developer Matt Corallo

[Bit]coin flipping: “Bitcoin solved a major problem in Computer Science”

Gabriela Motroc

Enigma image via Shutterstock

It may seem like blockchain is on the verge of outshining Bitcoin, but this cryptocurrency is still going strong. Chaincode Labs Inc. is launching a Hacker Residency Program next week, so we talked to Matt Corallo, the co-founder of Blockstream and a long-time Bitcoin developer, about the evolution of this cryptocurrency, its potential and pitfalls and the reason why developers should immerse themselves full-time in Bitcoin.

Next week, veteran Bitcoin developer Matt Corallo will be joining Chaincode Labs Inc., a research and development group which explores cryptocurrencies and other peer-to-peer decentralized systems, to run a Hacker Residency Program. We talked to him about this new initiative and Bitcoin’s evolution.  


JAXenter: You’ve been with Bitcoin from the very beginning. How has it evolved?

Matt Corallo: Hmm…I don’t know how to answer that…obviously Bitcoin has evolved in many ways — it has a much larger and much more knowledgeable development community, a much larger business community, and a generally much larger userbase. When I first got into Bitcoin, we had a very casual attitude towards changes, I’d say. Not only had we not developed a lot of the theory of operation of Bitcoin/blockchains, but also didn’t have the level of investment in Bitcoin that would necessitate the development community be massively careful with its actions. These days, Bitcoin stands alone in the cryptocurrency space in its development community’s level of care for the userbase and the many millions/billions invested in it.

JAXenter: Do you think its star will fade or does it still have potential to grow into something bigger?

Matt Corallo: Well, I still haven’t managed to find a reliable supplier for crystal balls, so generally have a hard time answering that…I’d say it still has the same potential it always has…it has more resources now but none of the fundamentals of its usefulness and use-cases have changed.

When I first got into Bitcoin, we had a very casual attitude towards changes

JAXenter: Are you still contributing to BitcoinJ? What is the need for BitcoinJ?

Matt Corallo: I haven’t contributed to BitcoinJ in a year or three. BitcoinJ is yet another Bitcoin library, but one of the earlier ones and one which got much more attention earlier on than almost any other library. These days, there are other Bitcoin libraries which have received at least as much, if not more, attention than BitcoinJ (though I’m not aware of any other such libraries in Java).

JAXenter: You will be joining Chaincode Labs to run a Hacker Residency Program. Could you tell us more about this project?

Matt Corallo: The project is all about allowing developers to immerse themselves full-time in Bitcoin at a protocol level. Because Bitcoin is such a complicated and intricate system, it can be very difficult to develop the knowledge required to be a productive contributor to Bitcoin Core or the Bitcoin protocol generally. We hope to provide an environment where participants can learn a lot of these skills by working very closely with active developers.

Bitcoin has a lot of transformative potential for a number of industries

JAXenter: Why should developers want to immerse themselves full-time in Bitcoin?

Matt Corallo: Bitcoin is a fascinating technology…it solved a major problem in Computer Science and finally built a system that people had been trying to build for 20 or more years by the time it was announced. Bitcoin also has a lot of transformative potential for a number of industries, so I can’t say I’m surprised there are a ton of developers who want to immerse themselves in Bitcoin more than full-time :).

JAXenter: San Francisco-based company SFOX has created an algorithm to diminish Bitcoin’s volatility. Do you think volatility is the reason why people are reluctant to embrace Bitcoin?

Matt Corallo: I’d say there are a lot of people embracing Bitcoin, but, indeed, volatility has been an issue for some business models. Still, Bitcoin is still rather young, and as many issues continue to be solved, volatility is also decreasing.

JAXenter: What brought you to Bitcoin? Why did you become a Bitcoin developer?

Matt Corallo: It was an interest in both Computer Science and Economics at the time. Bitcoin is a fascinating combination of economic incentive structures and Computer Science systems, which I think I found very exciting.

Thank you very much!

Gabriela Motroc
Gabriela Motroc was editor of and JAX Magazine. Before working at Software & Support Media Group, she studied International Communication Management at the Hague University of Applied Sciences.

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