The inventor of BitCoin unvelied! Bitcoint is dead! Huge corporations are investing millions in blockchain based systems. Every day there's news flying around the internet about decentralized databases, cryptocurrencies, and related technologies.
Some of it's probably not true, some of it's hype, some of it's true and hype; there's a lot of money and power at stake.A cashless society is probably inevitable and coming on fast. But if you want to take a look at the future of bitcoin, blockchain, and smart contracts, you'll want to know who's most credible in that community.IBM, Microsoft Japan, the UK government, the Russian government, the consulting giants Deloitte and InfoSys have all made blockchain announcements or product launches…in the past 48 hours.
Media, medicine, law, migration, real estate, and many more sectors across society could be impacted by the blockchain and automated “smart contracts” running on top of it.
Who’s behind it all?
Many people, some of whom are mysterious, but some of whom are becoming quite well known. Today as part of our 5 people you should know series, we offer 5 important thought leaders on blockchain. They’re all on Twitter and we’ve analyzed how they Tweet, too. (See also 5 people you should know in Deep Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, and Bots.)
Watch them and you’ll get a head start on seeing the future of this potentially tremendous technology.
Key: These are the blockchain influencers most followed on Twitter by other blockchain influencers. Additionally, we've put a radar chart next to each of their pictures. The intention is to paint a simple picture of each of their distinct histories and online social activities. Followers, following, age of accounts, and Tweets are all in reference to their Twitter accounts. "Career" is the relative time since their first job listed on LinkedIn (as an attempt to measure years in the industry), and the Job field is the relative length of time in their current role. "Scholar" is the number of search results that appear for their name in Google Scholar, and "News" is the same in News.
The further the stars are from the center of the radar, the stronger this person is in that particular metric, relative to their peers in this set of five.
Andreas M. Antonopoulos
Author of O’Reilly’s Mastering Bitcoin in 2014. Founding CTO of Third Key Solutions
Antonopoulos an outspoken expert with years of experience and a new company. He’s super engaged and popular on Twitter. He is frequently cited in the news.
As for the recent claim that a man named Craig Wright is Satoshi Nakamoto, Antonopoulos says "I don't know if Craig Wright is SN. I don't care and I don't want to know. As I have expressed many times in the past, I think the identity of Satoshi Nakamoto does not matter."
Antonopoulos emphasizes that once digital, our transactions, records, titles for assets, and other important matters will be stored in either a centralized, heavily surveiled, hopefully benevolent system controled by major banks and central governments, or we could have the option of using a decentralized network that's built to act more like the Internet than it is like Facebook.
Antonopoulos explains Smart Contracts very succinctly in this 1 minute video.
Founder and Chief Scientist at Ethereum
Ethereum is the market leading blockchain platform for the execution of smart contracts. Buterin’s name appears with unusual frequency in Google Scholar but even more in Google News. He has had a Twitter account relatively long, but doesn’t Tweet a lot, is only moderately popular in the world at large, and follows almost no one.
Buterin recently shared this video of a Smart Contract on Ethereum being issued for a fully autonomous drone to be paid to fly a mission from the comfort of someone’s home computer. It's pretty cool.
Chief Scientist at the Bitcoin Foundation
Andresen is an industry veteran and has been in his current position since 2012. He’s freqently cited in scholarly works and news media. He’s been on Twitter for a long time and is relatively popular there, but doesn’t post much or follow many other people.
Andresen's validation of Craig Wright's claim to be the inventor of Bitcoin is the strongest evidence publicly available in support of that claim.
For background, Andresen answers 45 minutes of open Q&A in this 2015 Bitcoin community event’s videotaped session.
Bitcoin evangelist and angel investor
Roger Ver is outspoken, engaging and popular on social media. His most recently listed job is doing bizdev for Blockchain.info. Ver shared a link to Antonopoulos's statement above saying that the identity of Bitcoin's creator is unimportant.
To get a feel for what he's like, check out Ver's guest appearance on a recent episode of The Borderless Podcast.
Man of mystery
Nick Szabo coined the term Smart Contract almost 20 years ago.
Widely cited, Szabo is a recent and enthusiastic convert to social media. Little known outside of the world of blockchain, he’s quickly built substantial influence in that community on Twitter.
Important document: Here’s Szabo’s 1997 essay, The Idea of Smart Contracts, which became all the more practical with the rise of blockchain and Ethereum.