1. Hey Max, thanks for doing this Q&A! Could you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got into cryptocurrencies?
Thanks, Wilson! My name is Max Kaplan, I’m a software engineer. I originally got into crypto back in 2014. People think of Bitcoin as just this “form of money on the internet” but when you look deep down at it, it’s just absolutely insane. The game theory behind it. Think about it: without trusting anyone, you are able to send value over the internet from one person to another in a matter of seconds. In a blockchain, everyone is incentivized to behave in a way that benefits the network. With Bitcoin, miners are incentivized to behave in a productive manner to try and get the block reward (12.5 BTC). Users are disincentivized to DDoS the network due to transaction fees. A potential DDoS attack would be EXTREMELY expensive, and one would not gain much from bringing down Bitcoin. Because of this game theory, we now have a completely decentralized form of value that is trying to undermine the money supply from every government in the world, and due to its peer-to-peer nature, can never get shut down. That’s what really got me into crypto.
To be completely honest, I just started contributing to lightning. I’ve only contributed to the desktop app, nothing on the protocol level. Lightning is super fascinating and is going to take crypto as a whole to the next level. The main problem Bitcoin has right now is it’s a victim of its own success. We have these blocks that are capped at 1MB. We have so many transactions that are trying to make it into blocks, people are willing to pay higher and higher fees to get their transaction in the next block. On-chain transactions are getting extremely expensive. With lightning, we introduce the concept of payment channels. If we take 2 people (Alice and Bob) they both can open up a channel and deposit a certain amount of Bitcoin. When they transact with each other, they can send as many transactions with the Bitcoin they deposited back and forth and it does not require on chain transactions. This allows for extremely fast payments (milliseconds) and cheaper fees for on-chain transactions.
Payment channels are not required for every entity you would like to transact with. For example, let’s take 3 people (Alice, Bob, and Charles). Alice and Bob have a channel open while Bob and Charles have a channel open. If Alice wanted to transact with Charles, she wouldn’t be required to set up a separate channel. Since she has a channel with Bob who has a channel with Charles, her payment could go through that route. This transaction would be instantaneous and extremely cheap.
Another great thing about lighting is the ability for cross-atomic swaps. In our example of Alice and Bob, Alice could agree to send 10 Litecoin to Bob in exchange for 1 Bitcoin. This opens up doors for different blockchains to communicate with each other which is really exciting.
The last personal project I did was for Stellar Lumens last month where I developed a wallet that can be used completely through the CLI (https://github.com/kaplanmaxe
During some of these price dips, I find the best way to take my mind off of it and feel better is to contribute to the ecosystem of some of the coins I support. I have contributed to Stellar Lumens SDK as well as Lightning.
I primarily work with Nodejs and React. I’m a big sucker for command line tools. I actually built a command line tool to check your portfolio:
I also built a slack app which allows you to check prices with slack commands:
CryptoMeNow is on a mission to make cryptocurrency easy for everyone to understand.
Our core product is our free daily newsletter where we send you need to know information about cryptocurrency that everyone can understand in less than 3 minutes a day.
Please subscribe to our newsletter and share it with your friends! You can subscribe directly at CryptoMeNow
You can also follow me on Twitter @itswilson8