Hey Jose! Can’t believe it was only a couple months ago that we co-hosted a Blockchain Portugal event. Tell us about yourself. What’s your background and experience?
I’ve been in the IT field for +30 years, and I still enjoy the challenges it brings. During this time I have experienced many aspects of the IT business such as education and training, software architecture, security, partnership management and consulting. I often provide objective and independent advice, help validate strategies, evaluate IT initiatives and illuminate security and business risks. My industry expertise includes manufacturing, telecom, and banking.
I am also knowledgeable in corporate strategy and startup business model development. I have co-founded and managed a startup that initiated an Internet hosting service on the early stages of the dot-com boom, survived and is still healthy.
My polyglot philosophy keeps me invested in a variety of technology ecosystems. As a consequence, I devote part of my time to learning and teaching. I am an experienced university professor and scientific researcher in the field of computer science and new technologies, teaching subjects such as computer networks, cryptography, distributed systems and decentralized technologies such as the Blockchain.
My scientific research since early 2008 has been focused on the topic of digital identity and how to deal with the greater demand for security and trust. Due to this interest, and since early 2013 I am exploring the Blockchain technology as a building block for self-sovereign identity.
My current projects focus on the concept of a decentralized semantic identity using the Blockchain and the idea of monetizing personal and IoT data using smart contracts and the Blockchain. In addition, I have also dedicated myself to building communities and education on decentralized technologies outside the academic world.
Zen is an exciting project with a solid technological foundation. The use of ZCash as a code base and the fact that is supported on Zero Knowledge Proofs – a scientific breakthrough in the field of cryptography – was the basis of my initial interest.
By getting involved in the project I realized that it was not just a set of good technical foundations. Zen changes the ZCash protocol to align with an ideological difference, follows a decentralized governance model and add some important functional elements such as Zen Secure Nodes in order to ensure all network communications are encrypted between nodes and ZenTalk that offers secure communications.
In addition, Zen has a large and positive community and an active team with unique capabilities. The support from strategic advisors and the team’s experience in a variety of fields has led to good decision-making in a number of areas such as strategic partnerships, business expansion, and community outreach. I also see potential in the application development around the Zen platform and expect the growth of a business community.
In my perspective, the Zen ambition to create a fully encrypted network with an innovative economic and governance model seems to be possible. I am very optimistic about the Zen future.
What do you bring to the Zen team?
I believe that my interest, work experience, education and unique vision will be an asset to Zen team. I can help the Zen community to grow organically, particularly in Portugal. I can bring not only my ideas, but contribute to research, development, and, ultimately, innovation:
My experience in partnership management can be useful for establishing partnerships with Blockchain hubs and academic networks. My background in Blockchain technology, associated with my experience in the field of education and agile team build-up and mentoring can produce good results in the development of strong teamwork to deal with programming or other technical fields. I will be able to explore some digital identity concepts and ideas that may take advantage of Zero knowledge Proofs and Maximum Confidentiality, the Zen key features. I can also contribute to the design and development of some functional elements of the Zen roadmap such as the integration with a distributed data storage system or using my creative ability to design new functional elements or services, and much more.
What are your thoughts on the crypto market?
The media is agitated with the rise of crypto markets and the raising of millions of USD in minutes through Initial Coin Offers (ICOs). However, the crypto sector is more than cryptocurrencies, trading and fintech – it’s about creating a new decentralized era. New business models and technologies are decentralizing power and placing it in the hands of individuals and communities. Most of the conventional rules about investing in innovation and building businesses not apply in this case. This era of decentralization will be influenced by a combination of behavioral economics, mathematics, cryptography and software engineering. While the definitions are still evolving, the value is clear, decentralized technologies will become mainstream.
I remember that first conversations about cryptocurrencies were relegated to financial services. “Are banks ready to incorporate the technology?”. Even that conversations were based on a set of hypotheses related to how banks will embrace the technology to improve services and products for clients. Those conversations have shifted to “We are creating a new model”. While many people still correlate the technology with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, the reality is that it surpasses that limited scope. Basically, blockchain technology has the potential to be applicable in organizations across all sectors. The efficiencies, accountability, convenience, and pro-social potentials are considerable. What is clear is that we are noticing a new form of self-governing infrastructure that deeply changes some of the most basic rules of human social and economic organization.
With blockchain technology, everything of value can and likely will be switched to digital format, allowing individuals to own and transact their own “digital assets”. Virtually anything can become a digital token, used to represent “digital asset” on a blockchain – currencies, securities, identities, contracts, patents, and much more. The security, value, and identity of such digital tokens can be verified through a variety of cryptographic methods such as Zero knowledge Proofs, creating the opportunity for entirely new forms of market and social exchange. This process is already having considerable consequences for existing institutions of commerce, government, and international relations.
The success of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, in general, can be easily seen by both the volume of daily transactions, as well as the total cryptocurrency market capitalization. The acceptance of cryptocurrencies has continued to develop further with the creation of digital tokens and token sales (ICOs). However, compliance and regulatory uncertainty continue to be a challenge for the industry and we are far from widespread adoption.
The waves of innovation in this area are related to open and decentralized network, shared data, and the concept of digital tokens. By storing user data across an open and decentralized network instead of centralized data silos, we reduce the obstacles to entry for newcomers and create a more competitive ecosystem. As more applications are added to the underlying systems and as more users enter the network, the more value is added to the digital token.
Due to the strong influence of traders and speculators, most parts of digital tokens value are based on speculation and not by analyzing real live Key Performance Indicator such as the number of nodes running the network, the activity of developer community over time, etc. However, speculation is often the engine of technological adoption.