A Conversation With Tezos Co-Creator: Kathleen Breitman
Kathleen Breitman is person of the hour. She is co-founder of a company called Dynamic Ledger Solutions, or DLS, which has developed Tezos, a new blockchain-based cryptocurrency. Tezos is making major waves right now with its ongoing fundraising, which others are calling an Initial Coin Offering, or ICO. (DLS says the term is imprecise.) The sale, which ends next week, is being managed by the Tezos Foundation in Switzerland, which DLS set up as a neutral party to distribute, improve, and manage the Tezos “tokens.” As of Friday, the offering has raised well over $200 million, the most ever for an ICO. Breitman and her husband Arthur Breitman, the CTO, co-founded DLS and stand to gain 8.5 percent of the proceeds of the offering as well as receive a substantial amount of tokens over time.
So I was intrigued to meet up with this articulate, composed and enthusiastic 27-year-old. She is at the center of a world that has emerged so fast that even many businesspeople who consider themselves well-versed in tech do not understand it. Cryptocurrencies pose the potential, according to Fred Wilson in his onstage interview at Techonomy NYC, to underpin an alternative network that might dislodge Facebook from its empyrean perch. They may contribute to a radical decentralization of decision-making and authority across numerous, restricted dominions of commerce and government. They could, to hear Breitman and other partisans tell it, help recreate the internet as it should have been all along, with power truly and decisively distributed among its users.
In our meeting at a mid-Manhattan park, I asked Breitman a lot of questions, both smart and stupid. First, what was this offering all about?
“Tezos tokens have three purposes. They’re a way to power smart contracts on the network. They’re a way to vote and participate in the governance mechanism. And they’re also a way to conduct transactions.”
“Tezos has a way to facilitate innovation on chain by creating bounties to people who submit improvements, and have them earmark proposals for improvement with what they consider an appropriate token value in exchange…The main concept behind Tezos is that blockchain as a commons is a good that is shared by everyone, but you need pecuniary incentives to maintain it.”
“My hope is that the Tezos experiment pushes blockchains a little further by incorporating this governance aspect into it.”
Excited as Breitman is about the progress of her company’s innovations, she is careful not to make excessive claims for its success thus far. “The fundraiser being a massive success for the foundation is a key piece of catalyzing this type of experimentation on the blockchain,” she says. It remains experimentation.