“The father of eDonkey” Jed McCaleb: Enhancing our lives through continuous technological innovation
Jed McCaleb is the co-founder and CTO of Stellar, prior to co-founding Stellar, he founded and served as the CTO of the company Ripple, and he is also the founder of eDonkey, the author and main developer of the software for all versions of eDonkey. eDonkey was one of the largest file-sharing networks in the world at the time, and Jed was also known as the “father of eDonkey” by eDonkey enthusiasts and e-Mule enthusiasts.
JedMcCaleb was born in a single-parent family, which is located in a small town in Arkansas, USA. The first time he connected to programming was in elementary school grade 3 and grade 4, which changed his life path.
In 1994, Jed McCaleb was admitted to the prestigious Berkeley University, but dropped out after a year. Dropping out of school is an extremely bold decision for most college students. Even if you drop out of school, you will think about a way out or a job, but Jed did not worry about his job at the time. Instead, he was confident. He believed that he could support himself with his excellent programming skills.
“If you go all out to study, you will find the real fun of every discipline, and it will help you better understand the world. I’m so fascinated with programming not because programming itself is more interesting than other disciplines, but because of my thought about programming which can provide me with more leverage to understand the world than any other discipline. You can use a computer program to better perceive the world,” Jed said.
Jed McCaleb and eDonkey
In 1998, Jed went to New York to prepare for the eDonkey. Before, he spent about half a year writing an eDonkey computer program in San Francisco. In the face of the emerging P2P applications, Jed has created a number of innovations. The eDonkey allows users to download files to multiple users at the same time; in addition, the client can share any file and is not limited to music files. Users can also create collections to collect and share multiple files. They can freely search the shared files, which connect to the network. There is a unique identity between the clients; there is no single central server on the server. Anyone can set up his or her own server. The servers can be connected to each other to form a huge “multi-centralized” network. By 2005, the eDonkey had surpassed the BitTorrent network and ranked to the first traffic using, accounting for 51% of the file exchange traffic.
The rapid development of eDonkey caused a serious trouble for itself. In 2006, eDonkey incurred a copyright lawsuit. The eDonkey did not respond, but chose to pay 30 million US dollars and stop the continued development of the eDonkey.
In 2010, he founded an online game company, which was very popular with users, but ultimately failed because it did not open the market and did not accumulate enough users. During the time, Jed came into contact with Bitcoin. “Some people on BitcoinTalk put white papers on FlashDown, and there were about 2,000 people, including me, read the white paper for the first time on FlashDown,” Jed said. He said he has always had a strong interest in using distributed technology to solve problems, and the white paper was just talking about such a solution. With that feeling, Jed began to become associated with Bitcoin, and later joined the blockchain industry.
Bitcoin, Ripple and Stellar
Shortly after Jed entered the field of bitcoin, he quickly discovered a pain point — a lack of trading mechanism. At the time, Jed wanted to have some bitcoin, but he found that he had no other way than to be a “miner.” However, it was costly to be a miner but to ensure a certain amount of computing power. Then, in the words of Jed, he “smoothly” established Mt.Gox, an exchange that allows people to buy and sell Bitcoin. That was in July 2011. For him, it was technically not a problem, but it solved a big pain point in the industry, which made it possible for Bitcoin to spread in a wider range. But such a company that solved many people’s problems, Jed changed hands after less than half a year of creation.
For Jed, he hopes to enhance our lives through continuous technological innovation and gain a sense of accomplishment.
As bitcoin matures, the potential of its underlying technology blockchain was increasingly valued. Jed was also aware that the distributed technology concept of the blockchain can be used to solve real-world problems. Jed didn’t want to invest in mining to get bitcoin, he chose to use technology to solve the problem.
So in 2012, he founded Ripple. An open payment network based on distributed financial technology. This facilitates the payment and exchange for the users around the world. In fact, our existing financial system was repaired in the financial system of the 1960s. If the Internet realizes the sharing of information, then Ripple realizes the transfer and sharing of value to some extent. Through Ripple, the international payment process is greatly simplified and the costs are reduced. For Jed, the significance of the birth of Ripple is to establish an integrated payment platform on the Internet and realize the Internet of money.
However, the beautiful ideas and scenes once lost to reality. As the founder and CTO, Jed later invited Chris Larsen to serve as the company’s CEO. But soon the two had a major difference on many issues, and the Jed left Ripple at last. Later, he founded Stellar in 2014. Even in the eyes of many insiders, Stellar and Ripple are very similar. Jed agreeed with this, but he pointed out a few differences: First, the management models are different. Stellar is actually not-for-profit; second, Ripple’s tokens are in the hands of Ripple’s issuers, while Stellar’s tokens are user-oriented; in the end, the market expansion path is different. Jed said that Ripple is more served to big banks, and Stellar is more focused on grassroots users or startups. “It’s not that serving the big banks are wrong, but we think that our services will be better practiced in small companies first.” Finally, Jed thinks that technically Stellar is more reliable because “we rewrote the Source code.
Regarding the prospects of the blockchain industry, Jed believes that blockchain is a new technology that will have a big impact on our lives. “The blockchain may bring innovations to many areas, but not all industries are suitable for blockchain technology. Now, we are all using blockchains to try out various applications. Maybe a few years later, we will have a better understanding of the scenarios that apply to blockchains,” Jed said. “At least for now, blockchains are more suitable for scenarios that require multiple parties to coordinate, rather than a small range of scenarios, because in such scenarios, you only need one database.”
Just as the rise of the underlying Internet-based technology has spawned Internet giants such as China’s BAT and Google. When it comes to blockchain, Jed also believes that industry giants based on blockchain technology may be born in the future. Jed said it is difficult to predict how long such companies will emerge.
“But the beauty of the blockchain lies in its open source. I think that even if a giant company based on blockchain technology is born in the future, such a company should not monopolize the blockchain,” Jed said.
Jed McCaleb and Randolf Liang
Ultiledger founder Randolf Liang began to focus on the blockchain in 2012 and started to blockchain coding in 2013. Randolf Liang was very interested in the blockchain as it was a new technology. He wanted to prove some of his ideas in practice and he often communicated with some geeks online.
Randolf Liang knew Jed in 2014. At that time, they often discussed technical issues through the Internet, so the Ripplefox community was formed, and more and more geeks joined in. Ripplefox has been in operation for more than four years, bringing together more than 20,000 blockchain developers and enthusiasts around the world. It is also the largest Ripple and Stellar gateway in China and has been operating quite successfully.
“Jed is a legend. In addition to being the founder of Ripple and Stellar, he is also the founder of eDonkey. His enjoys a high reputation in the industry. I met Jed in 2014, we often discussed the technical issues together, and Jed wanted to go to Africa to promote the blockchain project. I said to him that, “Why don’t you come to China? China has a large population and many enterprises. The market demand is much larger than that of Africa. You can reach a wider population when you come to China.” “Jed didn’t know much about China before. Later I introduced him to China for a visit. In 2016, I invited him to come to Shanghai to participate in a blockchain summit. I believed that Jed as a big bull in the industry, he can push the development of China’s blockchain technology further. And it was true that Ripple and Stellar have developed well in China,” Randolf Liang said.
In 2016, Randolf Liang invited him to come to Shanghai, China to participate in a blockchain summit. After that, Jed has a deep impression with China.
In the process of creating and operating Ripplefox, Randolf Liang explored a lot of technical talents, and also discovered a lot of actual demanders, and they have made some practical attempts together, which are all very successful. Also in this process, community members have suggested and encouraged Randolf Liang to develop a new project, the next generation of global self-financing blockchain protocol.
“We did a lot of preparation and spent a lot of time developing, so we have Ultiledger today. The community is very meaningful for the blockchain project. With Ripplefox, the development of Ultiledger can be accomplished twice as much with half the effort. The existence of Ripplefox gives the positive feedback of Ultiledger’s ecology at least half a year ahead of schedule, and this advantage is not available in many blockchain projects.” Randolf Liang said.