Jed McCaleb on Using Technology to Serve Humanity

Jed McCaleb doesn’t rest on his laurels. Although he’s already helped the world improve economically and secured his place in the history of blockchain by starting the first Bitcoin exchange online and co-founding the cryptocurrency Ripple, he is working hard to make an even greater improvement in the lives of everyone alive.


His biggest such project is the Stellar Development Foundation, which he co-founded with Joyce Kim in 2014. Its goal is to use blockchain technology to enable financial institutions to provide basic services to the 2.5 billion people in the world who are “unbanked.” That is, because they are poor or geographically in rural areas far from major centers of population, they cannot save money or remit money without paying astronomical fees. Most of the unbanked live in developing countries. Stellar aims to use blockchain to link financial institutions seamlessly so they can economically provide banking services to these unbanked populations. That will enable them to join the mainstream economic of the world. It will allow them to accumulate savings, and thereby to start and expand businesses. When they can afford to remit payments, they can help out family members and pay for services and products they require. They can accept payment for their services. This will allow them to help the world with their fresh ideas, creativity and innovations.


However, Jed McCaleb’s newest project has the potential to help humanity even more than blockchain. It’s not his technology alone, and it also has the potential to harm. That’s artificial intelligence. McCaleb serves as an adviser to Machine Intelligence Research Institute (MIRI). MIRI is a nonprofit organization with the goal of producing software tools that guarantee AI is used only for the benefit of humanity, and not harnessed toward negative goals.


Making sure you’re working toward the correct goal is part of the advice Jed McCaleb gives to entrepreneurs. Staying busy and productive does not help you if you’re working hard for the wrong thing. And he advises them to work for a goal that will have a large impact on humanity, not to develop a small niche product.

Connect with Jed McCaleb on LinkedIn