Emin Gun Sirer is a professor @Cornell, co-director @ https://initc3.org , system builder. He is passionate about Dist Sys, OSes, Blockchains, NoSQL, and Bitcoin.
1. Hey Emin, thanks for doing the Q&A. Could you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you’ve been working on?
I’m a professor of computer science and a co-director of the Initiative for Cryptocurrencies and Smart Contracts, the leading academic effort examining and advancing everything related to blockchain technologies.
Among other things, I’m known for having implemented the first currency that used proof of work to mint coins, for having characterized the security limitations of Nakamoto consensus, for having measured the scale and centralization of existing cryptocurrencies, as well as having proposed the leading protocols for on-chain and off-chain scaling.
2. What are your thoughts on blockchain technology within the next few years?
It will be the biggest disruptor, not only causing every single back office for every single corporation to be re-thought but also leading to the emergence of new business models and new companies. Smart contracts, in particular, will turn into an invention on par with the invention of written laws and with the emergence of corporations.
3. Do you invest in cryptocurrencies yourself? If so, what are your favorite coins?
Yes, I do. I am excited about Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Waves, Tezos, as well as a variety of appcoins including Votem.
4. From a security point of view, what method do you think is the safest way to store your cryptocurrencies?
On a dedicated hardware device, such as a Ledger Nano S.
5. What’s a typical day in life for you?
It involves meeting with my group and doing research on new protocols to address the most pressing issues of the day involving blockchain technologies.
6. What are your thoughts on privacy coins?
Privacy coins are quite exciting and will be one of the next frontiers. I like ZCash but find its overheads to be unworkable. I want to like Monero but cannot stand its politics and believe that its leaders are not people that I can entrust with my money, nor are they people I’d like around my kids.
7. What advice would you give to someone looking to invest in cryptocurrencies?
Invest in technology first, for it will always be here. Then examine the teams to see if they can deliver on a coherent technical vision. The hype is ephemeral, never invest in coins because you think others will.
8. What are some of your favorite books or publications on bitcoin and cryptocurrency?
Snow Crash. People might think that it doesn’t mention bitcoin or cryptocurrency at all, but it does.
9. How can people contact you or follow your work?
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