Interview: David Chaum at Paris Blockchain Week Summit 2019

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For longer than four decades, David Chaum has been one of the world’s leading researchers and entrepreneurs in the fields of cryptography and digital money. It was thanks to his work that people like Hal Finney, Tim May, Nick Szabo, and Zooko Wilcox-O’Hearn have found their way into this magnificent space, and without him we probably wouldn’t have game-changing innovations such as mixing (best exemplified by CoinJoin) and privacy-oriented digital cash (such as ecash and its spiritual successors Monero and Zcash).

In a previous article, I’ve had the pleasure to talk about David Chaum and his opening keynote speech at the Paris Blockchain Week Summit. After attending the event and listening to the presentation, Inbar Preiss and I have also had the privilege to sit down with the grandfather of cypherpunks and talk about various topics concerning his research interests.

As you will find out throughout this 29-minute interview, Mr. Chaum is just as passionate as ever about cryptography, privacy, and various developments in the field. As an academic, he appreciates the finesse and eloquence of peer-reviewed projects which take into account expert opinions and previous advancements in the field. At the same time, he is fond of the energy that enthusiasts bring into the space, as they increase the popularity and adoption of cryptocurrencies.

This rather candid interview reveals a more mature version of David Chaum, who retained his cypherpunkness while also embracing a broader and lesser radical world view. While he understands the perspective of governments of the world, he remains firm on privacy as a fundamental and inalienable human right which deserves no middle ground compromise.

David Chaum and Elixxir

This exclusive interview was shot about an hour after Mr. Chaum held his inaugural keynote speech at the Paris Blockchain Week Summit. Throughout the event, the cypherpunk has promoted Elixxir as a full-stack blockchain-powered transaction platform which doesn’t compromise on privacy. Later on, we found out that the efforts were meritorious and the applications to run BetaNet nodes have exceeded expectations by 350%.

You won’t be hearing much about Elixxir during the interview, but you will find out about David Chaum’s letter to Mark Zuckerberg. In a nutshell, the cypherpunk extends a helping hand to the social media giant, in order to provide better privacy for the messaging applications. This initiative also begins a discussion about inter-generational approaches to privacy, and to which extent we as individuals are willing to surrender fundamental rights in exchange for convenience.

Without further ado, you may watch this exclusive Crypto Insider interview with the legendary cypherpunk David Chaum:

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