How Note Blockchain Got Started: Part 1

For the first blog, I would like to share with you why the Note Blockchain project was started.

Excuse the default Wix photo

A little background: I was a very late entrant into the blockchain space, I was busy progressing up the engineering management corporate ladder and was too busy with “real life” to care about some nerd money called Bitcoin even though I’ve seen a few news articles and some friends did talk about it from time to time. It wasn’t until Fall of 2017 that I decided it was finally time to check out what all the hype was about and either put it out of mind for good or at least know what I’ve been missing out on. I don’t recall any specific incident or trigger for the decision, it just felt like it was time.

Well long story short, I couldn’t stop learning about it. The idea of having a decentralized, trustless, inconfiscatable, immutable, borderless, censorship resistant, and community driven and secured form of value was incredible in itself. But beyond these properties, which everyone talks about, I saw it as an experiment the same way the United States was an experiment. Regardless of what you think it has become today, at the formation of the U.S., it was an experimental government that unlike any other in history, was a government formed expressly to protect the people from the government and not the other way around. And it wasn’t just an empty promise, the constitution laws were designed in such a way so that no single person or branch of government can dominate the other, and the people were guaranteed certain rights to further curtail undue government overreach. This was done because the founders understood the corrupt influence of power and the base human instinct to pursue it.

It is not a perfect analogy, but Bitcoin was the first financial instrument that was built for the people and inherently designed to curtail much of the abuses and corrupting influences of power. Given the backdrop of a long list of totalitarian governments throughout human history and the fallout we were still dealing with from the 2008 financial crisis; it was a breath of fresh air, in a dark damp cave.

I started following some of the smaller crypto project and the honeymoon was awesome. So many great ideas, new technology, and awesome people were everywhere. But then we hit a wall. Despite the technology, the high ideals, the motivation and energy around the whole blockchain space, there was one huge problem. Nobody outside of the tech elite and speculators were using it. Nobody.

Like many before me, I talked to everyone I know about the many benefits of cryptocurrencies, the inequities of the existing financial system, the power of governments to manipulate or simply take away their life savings, and the mess that is the stock market. But nobody listened. I offered to help them get into it, to help answer questions and walk them through setting up to get some bitcoin or alts, and to send them some to get started. There was one taker, in more than a dozen close friends and family.

I was seriously frustrated and stewed for weeks on end. Why don’t these people get it? Why can’t they see they are already a sheep in a lion’s den? Why won’t they even take a tiny step towards the exit? For their own good.

Then I realized, this is the pain point of crypto. If this can be solved, the opportunity is enormous. Instead of less than 1% of the population as users, if we can reach the “general population”, the technophobes, the soccer moms, the selfie teens, the cool grandmas, and all those other people outside of the technical elites. Once we get them in, it would be that much easier to hold their attention and educate them. Being an engineer, I naturally began thinking of a solution, and I set out to understand the issues.

It wasn’t that the innovation or technology was lacking, there were tons of projects with innovative ideas on how to use the blockchain to improve existing processes, and the new technology to go with it. But “normal” people were just not signing up to use them in any real numbers.

The ideals of blockchain are critical, but I’ve also seen perfectly good projects fail or stagnate. And we’ve all seen the ICO landscape and I won’t go into that, suffice to say I wanted to stay clear.

Then looking into the horizon, there were rumors of giant corporations that wanted to implement their own blockchain cryptocurrencies. They will no doubt get the adoption rates way up, but I suspect their solutions would stray far from the ideals and principles of putting power and control into people’s hands.

There was a sense of urgency.

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