Who is Daniel Larimer?
Daniel Larimer is widely considered to be one of the most important figures in the cryptocurrency world. He is the founder of leading cryptocurrency platforms Bitshares, Steemit, and EOS. Larimer is also the creator of the DPoS (Delegated Proof of Stake) consensus algorithm, considered by many to be one of the most sophisticated consensus algorithms on the market today. At only 35 years of age, Larimer was estimated by Forbes to have a net worth of $600-$700 million.
Early Life and Political Awakening
Born in 1982 in Colorado, Daniel Larimer spent most of his childhood in Florida and Virginia. Daniel expressed an interest in technology from a very early age, which he largely attributes to his father Stan Larimer’s support and influence. Stan Larimer was a longtime tech expert who spent a significant amount of his professional career at Boeing. The father and son team would later go on to found a blockchain technology consulting business called Cryptonomex, where Stan still serves as president.
Under the tutelage of his father, Daniel began programming while he was in elementary school. Programming would become a lifelong passion that Larimer would focus on throughout his high school years and into his college education at Virginia Tech. Enrolling at VT in the year 2000, Larimer completed his computer science degree in only 3 years.
After graduation, Larimer went on to launch a failed virtual reality startup and later worked various jobs in the defense, robotics, and automation industries. Becoming frustrated by the restraints of being an employee, Larimer eventually left the corporate world to focus on entrepreneurship.
“I’ve always had a passion for solving problems, and I’ve always wanted to run my own business rather than be an employee,” Larimer said in an interview with Ivan on Tech.
Around 2007, Larimer began to put his passion for problem solving towards issues surrounding government and centrally controlled monetary supplies. Larimer would became an outspoken supporter of libertarian philosophy. He specifically cites libertarian thinkers like Ron Paul and the Austrian School of Economics as two of his major influences for shaping his political worldview. His search to develop free market solutions to secure the libertarian values of life, liberty, and property would later motivate his entrance into the world of cryptocurrency.
Speaking about his political motivations on Ivan on Tech:
“I came to the conclusion that if we want to eliminate tyranny … eliminate violence in society … we are going to have to find another way based upon voluntary interactions to do all the things we currently expect from governments to protect our property and our liberties. So I started down that journey, and the very first thing I realized we needed to do was take control of money, because money is how they control us.”
Early Adoption of Bitcoin
Inspired by Bitcoin, Larimer began to learn everything he could about the world of cryptocurrency. He became an active member on cryptocurrency forums and is said to have had numerous discussions with the mysterious founder of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto.
While still working a full-time job, Larimer began developing his own blockchain systems in an effort to familiarize himself with the underlying technology of cryptocurrencies. He would finally make a complete entrance into the cryptospace in 2013, when he founded his first crypto company, Bitshares. Upon launch, Bitshares would become one of the world’s first decentralized cryptocurrency exchanges.
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“After Mt. Gox had their accounts frozen, I realized that the weak spot of cryptocurrencies were the fiat exchanges — [not allowing] people to get their money in and out. So we had figured out how to do money [through cryptocurrency], and now we would have to learn how to do exchanges. That introduced a whole new realm of requirements that Bitcoin would never be able to evolve to support.” – Daniel Larimer, Ivan on Tech
Larimer realized that operating a fully functional decentralized exchange would require numerous upgrades to the cryptocurrency model. He specifically cited the need for nearly instantaneous block times, low probabilities of orphan blocks, and overall enhancement of usability. Although Larimer maintained his support for Bitcoin, he was convinced that he needed to develop his own platform in order to take cryptocurrencies to the next level.
With the help of a small team, including Ethereum Cofounder Charles Hoskinson, Larimer launched the Bitshares decentralized cryptocurrency exchange in July 2014. Bitshares would become the first blockchain to use Delegated Proof of Stake (DPoS), an innovative consensus algorithm created by Larimer, which relies upon elected delegates for block approval and governance issues. Largely thanks to DPoS, Bitshares offered rapidly improved network speeds compared to its crypto predecessors.
Like Ethereum, Bitshares acts as a smart contract network that can host tokenized apps. All tokens built on the platform can be exchanged for BTS tokens, which can then be exchanged for the bitAssets stablecoins pegged to real-world markets. Bitshares’ security costs were merely a fraction of that of Bitcoin, and the platform’s transactions and confirmation times took an average of five seconds.
In 2015, Bitshares upgraded to Bitshares 2.0, which featured Larimer’s newest innovation: Graphene technology. Larimer spent countless hours over the course of two years developing Graphene. Upon implementation, Steemit’s blocktimes were reduced to 3 seconds, and later testing revealed that the platform was capable of handling tens of thousands of transactions per second.
The low fees and instant confirmations, complete with zero counterparty risk, led to Bitshares becoming an instant success in the cryptospace. BTS became the fourth-largest cryptocurrency in the world in 2015 and still holds a position as one of the top cryptos in the world today, currently ranked 34th.
Despite the success of Bitshares, financial restraints imposed by the platform’s governance model led Larimer to leave the company to create the world’s first cryptocurrency-powered social networking platform, Steemit.
Steem and Steemit
In 2015 Larimer left Bitshares to create a blogging and social networking website called Steemit. Powered by the Steem blockchain, Steemit offers cryptocurrency rewards to publishers and curators on the platform. The platform relies on an upvoting system similar to Reddit, wherein content creators receive monetary rewards in the form of Steem tokens. Curators are similarly rewarded for curating valuable content.
“The idea with Steem was to mine by blogging … You take the same money you use for Bitcoin mining, which is billions of dollars per year, and you spend that for rewarding people for producing content while creating a massively distributive system for funding all this content.”
Steemit officially launched in March of 2016 and at time of writing, the STEEM token is ranked as the 34th-largest cryptocurrency in the world. Steemit is one of the most popular social networking platforms in the cryptosphere, and the platform’s token rewards program serves as the guiding framework for many newly developing blockchain platforms like the Brave browser.
Meanwhile, new independent projects are being built on top of the Steem blockchain every day. Steem-based dapps like DTube, for example, offer video-sharing and can be a perfect choice for content creators interested in starting their own Vlogs.
In September 2018, blocktivity ranked Bitshares, Steemit, and Larimer’s latest project, EOS, as the top 3 most actively used blockchains in the world.
Larimer’s desire to expand beyond the social networking framework would eventually lead him to leave Steem on March 15, 2017. He then began developing his biggest blockchain project to date, EOS. Following the project’s announcement in 2017, EOS quickly became one of the hottest stories to break in the cryptocurrency community. The EOS project was promised to become a smart contract and dapp ‘world supercomputer’ platform that would eventually come to replace Ethereum.
With Larimer’s public reputation as a blockchain visionary fully established, the EOS project raised a record-breaking $700 million in its year-long ICO campaign. EOS quickly broke the top 5 largest cryptocurrencies in the world, where it continues to hold, despite a turbulent launch in June 2018.
While EOS has yet to overtake Ethereum as the dapp platform of the future, as previously mentioned, it has become the most actively used blockchain in the world according to blocktivity. Larimer continues to make EOS his main priority and has said that he plans to stay with the company for the foreseeable future.
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