Jed McCaleb is the CTO and co-founder of Stellar, a nonprofit organization working towards creating financial stability and accessibility for everyone. According to the World Bank, 2.5 billion people in the world don’t have access to a bank account. With Stellar, McCaleb hopes to create an open source network in order for money to be moved easily and cheaply. Other nonprofits and organizations are making use of Stellar, including Praekelt Foundation, an organization that has paired Stellar with messaging app Vumi to help South African girls save money as airtime credits.
Jed McCaleb’s inspiration for Stellar came from his interest in Bitcoin and its potential. While Bitcoin moves currency from an individual to another, Stellar works to move currency to different institutions, including Bitcoin.
McCaleb also has an interest in artificial intelligence as he has worked as an advisor and has given donations for the Machine Intelligence Research Institute, a nonprofit created to develop safe artificial intelligence and promote awareness about the potential danger and benefits of artificial intelligence.
Jed McCaleb’s advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is to not focus on niches. He states that it’s only slightly harder to do something that has a global impact than to do something that has a more narrowed focus. He has only focused on creating great products that fulfills a need, rather than worry about marketing. Because of the internet, it’s become easier for great products to be known about. He recommends the book Black Swan, that discusses random events as it relates to business.
Before Stellar, he created eDonkey2000 an early peer-to-peer file sharing network and was the first to have multi-source downloading. He also created Mt. Gox, the world’s first Bitcoin exchange. He founded Ripple, a company that provides solutions to global financial settlements. Ripple lowers the cost of settlements by allowing banks to transfer directly.