“Nothing is Above Bitcoin”: Adam Beck, Blockstream CEO and Hashcash Inventor


  • The CEO of Blockstream is Adam Back, who recently presented at the G20 meetings in Japan.
  • Back believes that blockchains only have value if they can be audited.

Bitcoin has remained at the top of the cryptocurrency charts ever since it was created, and there are many proponents that support it. However, Adam Back of Blockstream recently was part of an exclusive interview with Cointelegraph, making some bold statements about the asset. The CEO stated that nothing is above Bitcoin, in his opinion, and that even the stablecoins and other coins issued by central banks can top it.

Back is responsible for having built the hashcash proof of work system, becoming one of the first people to work with Bitcoin. This year, he was one of the presenters at the G20 meetings, hosted in Japan, allowing him to speak on behalf of the positive uses of blockchain technology.

While at the event, Back said that he believed blockchain would create another initiative for an open network. However, he added that blockchain no longer benefits financial institutions, since international transfers would no longer need the help of intermediary banks.

According to Japan’s Financial Services Agency, Back is a cypherpunk who managed to create opportunities for discussion over the way that blockchain and cryptography can help the future.

The purpose of Cointelegraph’s communication with the CEO were to comment on the potential creation of a central bank digital currency in China, along with the increase of private institutions integrating blockchain technology. However, none of these opportunities have the same importance as “uncensored money,” like what Bitcoin provides. Back stated,

“I think that blockchains are more about permissionless, uncensorable usage and free market money – separating money from state – using a gold-like mined digital commodity money: Bitcoin. I think while it is possible and useful for some use cases, like crypto trading, to have stable coins, they inherently fall short of Bitcoin as they have custody risk, and if there is a central bank underwriting also traditional establishment interests reflected in the operation which may look unattractive to users.”

While discussing the proposed cryptocurrency Libra, a project of Facebook, Back stated that the asset is nothing more than another “banking app with a modern feel.” However, he doesn’t believe it as anything to do with cryptocurrency, comparing it to “more a business consortium competitor,” like the service that QQ Pay, Venmo, and PayPal provide.

Back seems to hold the same opinion of Libra as he holds of CBDCs, except for the fact that he believes that the chance of succeeding is higher for a CBDC than for Libra. Still, the only cryptocurrency he believes has the self-sovereignty to rise above the many other projects that are currently launched or in development is Bitcoin. He stated,

“Companies after all do have a financial interest to reduce signup and usage friction experienced by users. Governments are more insulated from market competition being policy monopolies. So we'll see how things develop in various countries, but I would think of today’s stablecoins as lacking much of the self-sovereignty properties of Bitcoin, and potential future central government operated ones similarly.”

Blockchain technology, Back stated, only has value if it can be audited. He warned,

“Otherwise, if end users cannot tell the difference between an organization using databases behind the firewall and one using blockchains.”

Recently, Back spoke on the importance of the Lightning Network, as well as the benefits it offers. Some of the notable benefits include the reduced double-spending risk and faster confirmations for transactions…

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