018. Cryptography and a Decentralized Future with Adam Helfgott

“How I apply cryptography to mimic the real world, the physical world, on a computer network requires privacy. I can’t read your mind. I only can hear what you say or what you write. We have built in privacy in our physical world. On the internet we don’t have that. And that’s the block.”

Adam Helfgott of MadHive and MAD Network has been in working on internet start ups, since the start of the internet. As a hacker in the 90s in Long Island to CEO and Founder of MadHive in Manhattan now, he’s seen and learned a lot along the way… like not thinking big enough when he launched eCamp, that was basically a social media platform for teenagers, years before there was even social media.

MadHive enables advertising on a blockchain that can encrypt data or unlock it with a smart contract. Advertisers get more direct targeting and consumers retain privacy.

We get into the issue of privacy and how blockchain is built for anonymity and privacy retention. He talks about Bitcoin being build on cryptography and decentralization, so it’s like “In Math We Trust”. Maybe that would be Bitcoin’s slogan if it had a marketing team or an executive team for that matter.

Adam believes that we’re in a cryptographic renaissance and that blockchain technology and cryptography are going to be part of all forms of communication in the future, once scalability and speed issues are solved and he shares a really cool idea that may not be all that far in the future with autonomous cars and a “hurry” button.

The MAD Network foundation is a network where data is private for both consumer and brand, which seems especially relevant given the Cambridge Analytica Facebook data privacy scandal, which Adam said was like “a regular Tuesday in the advertising world”.

He thinks it’s about time that there was some real innovation, at a time when huge corporations have so much money and power, but not really the ability to take risks when they’re accountable to shareholders.

One of the books he recommends is:

The Punch Escrow

by Tal M. Klein

and

The Bitcoin Standard

Saifedean Ammous

And, when I asked about advice he would give to someone great, he said something pretty profound that I’m 100% in agreement with: “Focus on something you’re somewhat interested in or have a skill in, some sort of innate skill to begin with. Don’t worry, I guess, about being passionate about the great idea or where it might lead in 5 years, just really focus on getting really good and something and being of service to someone else or an industry and having faith that the universe will deliver you a path with that work.”

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