Interviews

Charles Miller

Brendan Lee: Building the knowledge base for Bitcoin

Brendan Lee is gathering together the collective wisdom around Bitcoin SV (BSV) and making it digestible for developers – both for newbies and for the battle-hardened. “I wanted to take my knowledge of Bitcoin and get it out to as many people as possible,” he says.

BSV is still less than a year old, since its fork from Bitcoin Cash, so it’s surprising how much there is to learn and to impart. But at the CambrianSV Bootcamp in Bali recently, Brendan, the new Training and Development Manager for the Bitcoin Association, demonstrated the fruits of his studies in a series of well-received seminars for the 30 or so developers who were attending.

He’s also taken on a second new job, as Head of Technology for Faiā, a management consultancy that works with companies who may be taking an interest in the potential of Bitcoin for the first time. For complete newcomers, Brendan admits there are often some prejudices to overcome. The “civil war” in Bitcoin is “very hard to explain to people”. But “as soon as you start talking about an honest money system, that’s transparent, where transactions are instant and extremely cheap …people actually hear that and they go ‘wow, I want to learn more’.”

One example of a consultancy project that makes use of Bitcoin is the development of a system to allow the automatic payment of royalties to an artist by an end consumer – making use of Bitcoin’s ability to pay out to multiple parties from a single transaction: “the fan pays the artist directly”.

In his work for the Bitcoin Association, Brendan says that what’s being built today still needs to achieve “feature parity” with existing applications on the Internet. “But once we get to the point that they do achieve feature parity, and start executing features that are in addition to what’s already available, we will see a moment where people start sitting up and listening” because they’ll have learnt that “if you use this application on Bitcoin, you can earn money really quickly”.

Brendan admits that there isn’t yet a defined body of knowledge around Bitcoin SV. In preparing his sessions for the Bali Bootcamp, he’s been “scouring the Internet” and talking to researchers at nChain to make sure that “my ideas and understanding of things is correct”. The result of the work will be a series of educational resources that the Bitcoin Association will release “so that people who are new to Bitcoin can come in and learn about these concepts – a lot of which are extremely important to understand if you are looking to build an application that works on top of Bitcoin”.

But Brendan is making no claims to be the final authority on the matters he’s teaching: “I’m working this out as I go along, and I have learnt so much in the process of putting these lectures together. What I’m really hoping for is that at some point someone comes to me and says ‘hey, I was thinking about what you said but here’s an even better way to do it’. That to me says that I’ve hit the right notes, I’ve got the creative juices flowing.”

Hear more from Brendan Lee in this week’s CoinGeek Conversation podcast:

You can also watch the podcast video on YouTube.

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