His passion for blockchain technology has driven him from Buenos Aires, Argentina to Silicon Valley, USA, where he now resides & operates his developments. A couple years ago, he was just a curious kid studying Cryptology in college. Manuel Aráoz’s journey to “prove his existence” via blockchain technology is revolutionary! Mr. Aráoz is considered an expert in blockchain development & is the creator of www.ProofOfExistence.com. Duly noted in the digital sector as the “first” service of it’s kind, ProofOfExistence [PoX] allows users to publicly prove they have certain information without revealing their data or identity through blockchain embedment.
“IT HONESTLY MAKES NO SENSE TO ME TO IMPLEMENT CENTRALIZED BLOCKCHAINS. I MAY BE MISSING SOMETHING, BUT I DON’T SEE THE ADVANTAGES OF THAT OVER A REGULAR DATABASE.”
Bitcoin.com [BTC] had the unique opportunity to pick the brain of this innovative globetrotter in the prime of his disruptive journey. In a recent Q&A interview, Manuel Aráoz sat down and penned a voice of strong resistance towards centralized blockchains that lack any advantage over traditional applications. Subjects include Blockchain Technology, Centralization, and Proof Of Existence [PoX].
BTC: ‘Greetings Mr. Aráoz, Thank you for taking the time to talk with Bitcoin.com we are excited to meet your acquaintance. For those of us not familiar with the blockchain development, ‘Proof Of Existence’ or yourself can you please tell us when you got involved in the R&D of blockchain technology & what lured you into it?’
Aráoz: ‘I got interested in bitcoin back in 2011, when I read the whitepaper. At that time I was in college, coincidentally doing both a Cryptography and a Distributed System course, and the ideas in the paper blew my mind! I was lucky enough to get a very technical first impression: if I had seen it as an investment opportunity I would have probably dismissed it very quickly. It was only a year later, in 2012, during a time when I was doing mainly freelance work, that I started experimenting with the technology hands-on.’
“If I had seen it as an investment opportunity I would have probably dismissed it very quickly.”
BTC: ‘PoX is a pioneer in real-world use of blockchain technology & duly noted as the ‘first’ service of it’s kind allowing users to publicly prove they have certain information without revealing their data or identity. Where did this idea blossom from while the majority of blockchain developers were focused on altcoin/cryptocurrency related R&D? What did you see that others didn’t when you launched PoX?’
Aráoz: ‘I initially built PoX without any integration with the bitcoin blockchain, as a side project. My plan was to (hopefully) help news reporters with source transparency, fighting censorship, and data publication, which are a big issue in Argentina. In the middle of development, I read an article about people putting data into bitcoin transactions, and I thought it would be cool to use the blockchain to store a document’s hash. It made a lot of sense, because the blockchain is an open, uncensorable and incoercible public record.’
BTC: ‘You announced on 09-20-15 that the new backend for PoX is live! What does this change mean to users of your service & how does this advance your development?’
Aráoz: ‘The app was written 3 years ago, and it used outdated tools and was little bit messy. We were also having some problems with our API provider, so we decided to rewrite the backend with modern technology. All the document proofs are in the blockchain, so migrating to the new system was quite simple. Our users shouldn’t notice any difference, but this change will allow us to improve the product more easily in the future. We’re planning a redesign of the site, coming soon, based on talks we’re currently having with our users. We want to make PoX as easy to use as possible.’
BTC: ‘What type of user data does your service embed most & Do you have plans on expanding beyond documents into different areas of embedment?’
Aráoz: ‘PoX currently supports ‘any kind’ of digital file. This includes PDFs, documents, images, spreadsheets, movies, audios, of any format. Given that the service is anonymous and requires no signup, we ‘only know’ the use-cases that our users voluntarily inform to us. The most popular is registering ideas/papers/drafts for protection, but we’ve seen stuff like certification of communications, code versioning, contract timestamping, and even someone who uploaded his own genome! In the future, we’re looking to enable better ways to submit documents, either via email attachments, or a mobile app.’
“We’re looking to enable better ways to submit documents, either via email attachments, or a mobile app.”
BTC: ‘Where do you stand on centralized blockchain based business? Do you believe in full decentralization or a balance of both?’
Aráoz: ‘It honestly makes no sense to me to implement centralized blockchains. I may be missing something, but I don’t see the advantages of that over a regular database. I think when people say “blockchain technology” what they really mean is public key cryptography. Then again, the blockchain data structure could be the new open standard for digital asset management, even if it’s not used in combination with the decentralized security model of mining via proof of work.’
BTC: ‘You seem quiet by nature yet your vision speaks in volumes… What’s on your plate outside of PoX? Are you 100% dedicated to this project or are you currently involved in other blockchain oriented ventures?’
Aráoz: ‘Oh, not at all! Since the launch of PoX I participated in several projects, including Streamium, decentraland, Faradam, worked as a bitcoin consultant, and was a Software Engineer at BitPay. I recently started a new company (Smart Contract Solutions) exploring applications of blockchain technology, especially focusing on it’s smart money capabilities. Hopefully, we’ll be announcing our products soon.’
Manuel Aráoz has traveled from Argentina to the United States in pursuit of his passion for blockchain development. Aráoz’s recent article, ‘Adventures of a foreigner in Silicon Valley’ explains his experience.
Would you relocate to pursue your passion? Comment below, we’d love to know!
Image courtesy of Manual Aráoz.