Crypto Pioneer David Chaum: Chat Apps with Payment Integration Can Enhance Blockchain Utility


  • David Chaum, inventor of E-cash, speak out on social media and cryptocurrency in a Bloomberg podcast.
  • The launch of assets through privacy-focused messaging apps could essentially kill the blockchain and crypto world.

David Chaum is a trailblazer of the American economy, first coming up with the idea of “e-cash,” which was the closest notion to what cryptocurrency is today. His invention was way ahead of its time, first coming out in 1982 before the internet really had any kind of tractions. However, when Bitcoin came on the scene over two decades later, Chaum took note and has watched ever since.

With this kind of perspective, he was featured on the Bloomberg Odd Lots podcast, which happened on May 27th.

During this segment, Chaum busted out with some controversy to add to the ever-dramatic world of cryptocurrency. As he sees it, as successful as the launch of privacy-oriented messaging systems may be with their new payment integrations, they may post a substantial threat to blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies. He commented that the blockchain and cryptocurrencies have been able to find their way to mass adoptions as more awareness has arisen about privacy and digital sovereignty has grown.

He added that the “real killer app” for this progress is programs like what WeChat is to China and what Facebook is evolving into – “messaging integrated with payments with popular applications.” He compared these changes to simply adding blockchain into their platforms with all of the existing benefits.

Chaum commented that consumers are starting to become more away of the lack of protection for their sovereignty over their digital identity and activities. In doing so, they will likely gravitate towards blockchain and similar solutions to protect themselves and their metadata. Metadata includes their routing data, which means that details about the sender, recipient, and timestamp could ultimately be revealed.

With these priorities in mind, Chaum believes that the crypto industry will soon see a platform that prioritizes and improves protection for metadata, covering value transfer and messaging services as well. He said:

“So it’s a payment system based on digital bearer instruments, denominated digital coins, and a solution to the ‘who’s talking to whom’ — the metadata problem — together with a way to allow dApps to run securely off-chain.”

The prediction that Chaum puts out there is fairly similar to Elixxir, which became public alpha after it was released this month as a testing network. Elixxir is a project of Chaum, which offers blockchain-based messaging and payment processing services.

Either way, the views of the e-cash investor follows along with the multiple trends that are in the industry right now, suggesting that the big social networks and messaging systems have a chance to enter and dominate the crypto payments space. Some of these services and networks include Facebook, Kakao (Korea), Line (Japan), and Telegram (Russia). However, due to some regulations that restrict the use of crypto in China, WeChat is still on the outskirts of the global industry.

Michael Novogratz, who is the founder and CEO of Galaxy Digital, commented in an interview that at least one of the crypto assets launched by a social media platform will ultimately succeed. Spencer Bogart, a partner of Blockchain Capital, seems to be on the social media bandwagon too, saying that Facebook’s new project has the potential to bring impressive mass adoption to cryptocurrency.

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