I am Jameson Lopp. Ask me anything.

Jameson Lopp is a software engineer who became interested in cryptocurrency in 2012. He is the creator of Statoshi, a fork of Bitcoin Core that analyzes statistics of Bitcoin nodes, founder of Mensa's Bitcoin Special Interest Group, and is employed by Casa, a personal key management system, as Infrastructure Engineer.

Ask Jameson Lopp about:

  • State of Blockchain
  • The Future of Bitcoin
  • Building Dapps
  • Writing Smart contracts
  • Security and Scaling
  • Lightning Network
  • And more

Comments (82)

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Milica Maksimović's photo

When do you expect Bitcoin to become an exchange-traded fund?

Jameson Lopp's photo

Infrastructure Engineer

Then when is impossible to say because we're talking about government bureaucracy... but it seems clear that it's only a matter of time. Now there are so many entities dedicating resources towards bringing and ETF to market - they are going to keep banging on the door of the SEC until they are let in. Hopefully next year!

Alex Myers's photo

Will sidechains be able to compete with altcoins for developer mindshare? Do you have an idea what scaling will look like beyond lightning? What roles do you see for prediction markets? Thanks!

Jameson Lopp's photo

Infrastructure Engineer

It's probably going to boil down to the incentives issue - I'd bet it will be harder to become rich overnight by launching a sidechain that is pegged to bitcoin than to launch a new altcoin from scratch (especially if it's funded by an ICO.) On the flip side, hopefully that means that developers who are more inspired by building ideas than by the prospect of overnight wealth will end up experimenting with sidechains tech because there's ALSO less downside if you fail.

With regard to lightning we're already seeing some "layer 1.5" solutions such as eltoo that are trying to make channel opens and closes more scalable. I've also heard of some folks working on "layer 3" infrastructure though it's too early to tell what the time frame is to see working software.

Prediction markets, or more generally, information markets, have long been theorized and in my opinion are sorely needed if we want to build truly free markets. Theoretically we should be able to make better collective decisions if we just enable people to put their money where their mouth is... of course, there are also a number of negative consequences that can result. It seems like the "wisdom of the crowd" can work in many cases, but not all... and such markets can create perverse incentives that lead to things such as assassination markets. But you have to take the good with the bad, when you're building new tools - it's difficult if not impossible to build a useful tool that can't be abused.

Blake Canfield's photo

Jameson, Thank you again for doing the AMA.

If Bitcoin were to fail, would be the most likely reason for it's demise?Protocol bug?

Jameson Lopp's photo

Infrastructure Engineer

If a critical protocol bug was exploited and not found for a long time after being exploited (weeks or more) then it would cause a huge loss of confidence.

I still believe that the most likely cause of Bitcoin's death would be apathy. Everyone has to agree to stop supporting the project in order for it to die.

Ali's photo

Thank you for your time Mr. Jameson and giving us a chance to have an AMA with you. I would ask some questions to you :

As a web developer :

  1. Why should I invest my time learning blockchain technologies ?
  2. Does blockchain have a secure future?
Jameson Lopp's photo

Infrastructure Engineer

  1. If you're interested in issue of trust then you should look more into these technologies, as they enable you to build systems that greatly minimize the trust between users.
  2. Even as nothing more than an audit log with tamper evidence, it's clear that there are a variety of applications for this data structure. All the other functionality that folks are building on top is just gravy.
Karen Fallerstein's photo

How would you explain Statoshi to a noob? 😀

Thanks for the AMA, btw.

Jameson Lopp's photo

Infrastructure Engineer

Statoshi is Bitcoin Core plus a few hundred lines of code that track events and metrics. It basically enables developers to better understand how the node is performing; I then put some nice dashboards on top of the raw metrics that are collected by my personal statoshi node and make them available on https://statoshi.info