You’ve done a number of interviews now, so you must be tired of answering this, but could you introduce yourself again? What is your background and what you do for living?
Sure! My name is Jimmy Lipham, and I’m a software/electronics/gadget junkie. I’ve been programming ever since I was about ten years old, thanks to my parents who were very supportive of the whole computer thing at a young age. Over the years, I’ve worked in a variety of product industries through consulting agreements, ranging from embedded operating systems development to peer-to-peer based network solutions. Today, I work as a Chief Enterprise Architect mostly designing large scale software systems for companies in Austin, Texas.
We’re particularly interested in your significant background with P2P and decentralized technologies. Could you discuss those in a little more detail, and tell us how the Cyber Republic and Elastos relates to the core beliefs that you have?
I started programming when Napster was at the height of its popularity. Obviously we were devastated after it shut down, and then you saw things like Gnutella take off. Gnutella was an open source initiative that powered file sharing clients like LimeWire. I contributed a fair amount to the GnucDNA project, which was a software kit that allowed you to build in peer-to-peer functionality into any app of your choosing, very similar to Elastos Carrier. From there, I contributed to various projects like Chord and Kademlia, which power the decentralized data store that BitTorrent uses to this day.
I was attracted to these projects not because of what you could get with them, but with how the technology was able to transform an entire culture. Ask anyone under the age of 35 what a peer-to-peer network is, and I’ll bet that they’ll be able to tell you what it is in some form. Elastos and the Cyber Republic are returning the Internet to its original decentralized information sharing age. They’re engineering an entire ecosystem that will reinvigorate e-commerce as well as data ownership and governance among other things. The raw ambition of the project is what attracts me. It is an insanely difficult problem to solve, but myself and both teams are up for the challenge.
You’ve spoken about how you found Elastos in the past , but now that you’ve spent more time than most average investors exploring Elastos, what are some of your most exciting “discoveries” you’ve uncovered related to Elastos and the Cyber Republic?
The most exciting discovery for me when exploring the Elastos tech stack was that it wasn’t simply “a blockchain project” where the only value was in the trading of the currency. I was most fascinated with the use of the Carrier Network because of the speed and simplicity it offers the application developer compared to waiting for transactions or executions on a blockchain. It significantly lowers costs for the developer and the end user, and I hadn’t seen that done in a blockchain-esque project before. Regarding the Cyber Republic, I was most excited by how accessible they were. When I was looking to get involved, everyone reached out and connected me with individuals that helped get me up and running in very short order. From there, the Cyber Republic listed ways I could help with ELA and get compensated for my time, which you never see in most open source projects! Elastos had community in-mind from the genesis, and I think that’s especially rare!
Are you involving yourself in the Cyber Republic? Doubtlessly, the Elastos Foundation has been actively trying to reach out to you, so what roles are you considering and what have you agreed to undertake?
I started taking on small projects from the Cyber Republic team, mostly fixing bugs here and there or doing some videos on topics that I found most interesting. After speaking to the Cyber Republic and the Elastos Foundation, I have decided to get involved and contribute as much as ten hours per week (and possibly more in the future) in order to assist in the development of Elastos and related products and materials. At the beginning, these might be simple things such as developer on-boarding tools and videos to ease introduction to development with Elastos, and going forward, maybe full-blown products powered by Elastos!
What is your personal vision for the Cyber Republic, and what excites you the most about this vision?
I think the Cyber Republic is the core “community” behind the development of Elastos. When you’re developing an ecosystem as large as the one that Elastos is targeting, you can’t have a single group of developers slogging away; you have to have an army of armies, and the Cyber Republic is at the core of that movement. They encapsulate everything from growth marketing teams, to media publishers, to developers. What excites me most is the vision I have that, in the future, the Cyber Republic is working in lockstep with the core development teams in order to release materials and even products based on the latest Elastos features. Developer tools for the latest feature releases are available in a matter of clicks, reducing friction such that any developer team would ask how they could notbuild their platform on top of Elastos.
In what areas do you think the Cyber Republic needs the most active growth in, right now? What can the community do to support this? What leaders are most needed at this stage?
The Cyber Republic needs as much help as it can get on the technical development side of things. We need to make sure that every major feature that Elastos releases has corresponding source code, documentation, and tools to get developers up and running in a snap. In order to accomplish this, we need developers familiar with build systems and technical writers that are willing to write on-boarding documentation so that developers interested in developing their applications on Elastos–ones that likely haven’t developed on the blockchain before–can have clear answers to their questions. From there, the ecosystem flourishes. Those leaders could be people like the core contributors to Riot OS! Imagine having Elastos at the core of an operating system that can run on most any hardware platform designed for IoT.
Business leaders and entrepreneurs are also needed because we need enterprises to flourish on the platform, so we need to forge partnerships with software and hardware vendors as well as educational institutions to get new talent on board.
Finally, what is a fun fact about yourself that we’d never guess just by looking at you?
I collect classic arcade games and pinball machines. I’ve even gone so far in the past to build a pinball machine from scratch consisting of hundreds of feet of wiring, custom mechanics, as well as custom software.
Thanks so much for your time, Jimmy!