Today we are talking with the co-founder and CEO of Status, Jarrad Hope.
- Status is an open-source messenger, crypto wallet, and Web3 browser built upon Ethereum, and has the aim of becoming a secure communication tool that upholds and enables human rights, community money, community law in a truly private and preserving manner.
We’d like to kick things off by asking you a couple of questions regarding your formative years.
1) Firstly, can you tell us the things which interested you the most throughout your childhood and teenage years, and what brought you the most happiness?
As a child I used to take apart electronics all the time, preteens I was really into ActiveWorlds - BEAM Robotics and Artificial Life simulations. I lived next to a national park and loved taking my dog on hikes through the bushland, very peaceful and great for introspection.
2) Who were your biggest influences growing up, and why did they have such a profound effect on you?
In hindsight, my parents, my father being rational and reason-driven and putting technology in front of me but leaving me to figure it out. My mother being an artist and inspiring creativity in me. At the same time they mostly left me to my own devices, which allowed me to come into my own. I think I have a good balance of both of their influences, together with my own.
Beyond that I found influences in Nikola Tesla, Leonardo Da Vinci, Salvador Dali, Charlie Munger, Alan Kay, Douglas Engelbart, Richard Stallman, Hal Finney, Timothy May, etc. All for their respective lifestyles and achievements, would be nice to look back at my life and see that I carried their torch in some impactful way.
Tim passed away dismayed at the erosion of the ideology that birthed Bitcoin, that’s sad.
3) Teenage years are often a turbulent time for many, so on this note, can you name a time which was tough for you, and how you managed to overcome it?
I was kicked out of home in my early-mid teens, lived on a park bench for awhile, did some unsavory things to get by until I had enough money to get student accomodation and enough freelance programming and web development clients.
4) If there was some advice you could give young aspiring individuals, advice which you would really have liked to have heard yourself as a young person, what would it be?
Avoid doing things for the validation of others. Take risks on yourself, trust your own judgment and decisions, decide quickly and execute, you’ll often be wrong and you’ll fail, get used to it - you’re better off adjusting course rather than paralysed. Learn the skills of focus, concentration, persistence and patience. Work smart & hard. Play to your strengths. Always be learning and do your best to follow your curiosity. Dream & Visualize more.
We are now going to ask you some questions which will hopefully give our readers something to go on regarding you as a person.
5) Firstly, what are the particular strengths that you feel have made you successful in your field (don’t hold back)?
Foresight, Persistence and good RNG.
6) What would you say is your most controversial opinion as regards to blockchain or the crypto space?
I think the technology will give rise to structures analogous to nation-states - and may even replace them, they'll be borderless and virtualized, and will probably be far more competitive than many institutional services.
7) In the course of your day you can become under the most ridiculous pressures and stresses, what is your particular way of dealing with this?
Turning off the internet, swimming, running and meditation. Reading and being alone with my thoughts. Taking a bath. If I lived near a forest, long hikes.
8) Outside of crypto/blockchain, what is your favorite thing to do?
Closing my eyes and daydreaming, visualising the future. Reading. Aside from that picking up anything that’s interesting to me. Currently I’m learning Verilog and learning Digital Sculpture. But I’ve consistently been interested in anything related to XR and in genetic engineering/DIYBio.
We are now going to ask you some creative and humorous questions, and we are sure people will love to see you what you can come up with.
9) What is the most humorous thing you have seen or experienced during your time in the crypto/blockchain space?
10) If you somehow managed to meet Satoshi Nakamoto (that is he is a male person in this scenario) on his deathbed, but only had time to ask him one question, what would it be? Bear in mind that you don’t have much time at all, so make it a good one.
What’s your private key?
11) Can you give three policies you'd enact if you became the president of a country tomorrow?
I would prefer to be the King’s wizard.
But assuming I’m president that probably means I care about power, and assuming a democracy that probably means enacting the policies that my powerbase wants.
If I had free will in that position, then I would need to understand the context and needs of the polity, as I lead I would like to keep a quote by Karl Polanyi in mind. To paraphrase:
“Uncomplaining acceptance of society's reality gives man strength to remove all possible injustices & unfreedom. As he is true to his task, creating freedom for all, he need not fear that power or planning will turn against him & destroy the freedom he is building by their instrumentality.”
I would do my best to maximise the individual’s liberty, and I would err towards policies that encourage the creation of new and better markets.
Communities are often an important backbone for many crypto/blockchain projects, so we’d now like to get some personal thoughts on the community side of things.
12) What do you feel makes the Status community unique compared to others?
What makes the Status community unique is we still hold a flame for the 2014 vision of Ethereum. We still believe in a decentralised application platform, the holy trinity. While we do have our trolls, we try to adhere to a pleasant discourse and avoid much of the drama found in the greater crypto-scene.
13) Personal project aside, what are some ‘communities’ in the space that you admire and why (this is not an endorsement)?
ZCash, Monero and Nymtech, because they’re doing it right.
14) What social-media platform do you like most and why, and are there any improvements which you feel can be made to these platforms for an even better community user-experience?
I probably use Twitter the most. The concept of scaling beyond Dunbar’s number is fantastic, but not at the cost of the algorithms doing their best to keep you on the site leads to unhealthy behaviours. Outrage culture doesn’t really help, everyone’s angry all the time on social media. Don’t get me started on the surveillance state and data collection.
I think Scuttlebutt does social media right, it serves the user, nothing more, nothing less.
15) With the endgame being mainstream adoption, do you think crypto/blockchain communities will still have an important role to play in a post-adoption environment?
Yes, but the communities will become more complex societies, what’s important to realise is that public blockchains are fundamentally a social technology and they come with their own unique ideologies. I like to blockchain networks as territories in cyberspace. Today we have tribalism, as these societies get more complex it will probably start to look more like nationalism.
In our penultimate section we are going to ask you a question regarding Status.
16) What do you feel sets Status apart from your competitors (that is if you have any)?
Status is a network of many different components, and depending on your perspective we have different competitors. There’s very few truly p2p communication tools in the world, fewer still that have a decent UX. We also build with a set of values and treat our software as cultural artefacts. The difference is subtle, and the road is longer, but ultimately what we create will create an experience that is disintermediated, private and true to the cypherpunk ideology that spawned this industry.
The real difference is in the greater movement, what we’re creating is a public service, created by the people for the people. It’s not intended to be owned by a company.
Well that just about does it, but before we end this interview we’d like to ask you for something which we believe will say a lot about your belief in the industry, and which may inspire those who are reading.
17) Can you come up with a short argument for our readers on why you feel cryptocurrency and blockchain (or just one) has a bright future?
Finance is just the beginning, the software will end up eating state institutions and when it does the very fabric of our civilisation will get an upgrade, where anyone in the world, even a child, could create a new way of socially organising, and deploy it globally for anyone to use in 30 seconds or less.
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