Balaji Srinivasan is the former Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of Coinbase.
He took over this role in 2018, after which his Earn.com was acquired by the exchange. In fact, he was the first person to assume the role at Coinbase, as the exchange didn’t have a CTO prior to 2018. By the following year, he had left the company as Coinbase Earn closed.
Despite having a CEO, CFO (Chief Financial Officer), COO (Chief Operating Officer) and CLO, Coinbase’s executive staff does not appear to have a specific CTO role at this time. Worth noting (Chief Legal Officer) and even CPO (Chief Human Resources Officer).
Manish Gupta, Executive Vice President of Engineering, will lead the Information and Technology business.
Former CTO of Coinbase
Srivathan is an Indian-born US entrepreneur and investor
Now, at 42, he has already achieved a lot in his long career.
His first success was co-founding the genetic testing company Counsyl in 2007. Counsyl was acquired by Myriad Genetics in 2018 for $375 million.
It is worth noting that Mr. Srinivasan holds a Bachelor’s degree and two Master’s degrees (one in Electrical Engineering and one in Chemical Engineering).
He joined the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz in 2013 as a general partner, but has since become an independent investor.
Founded a Bitcoin mining startup in 2013 that later failed after raising over $120 million from investors.
However, the company later turned into Earn.com, a company that enabled payments in digital currencies and was later acquired by Coinbase.
In 2014, he co-founded Teleport, a job search engine. Teleport was later acquired by Topia in 2017.
Since 2020 he has been living in Singapore and last year published his book The Network State: How To Start a New Country with some success.
Fame of Srinivasan
Srinivasan’s fame is due to some interesting initiatives he has taken this year.
In fact, in mid-March he posted a tweet on his official Twitter profile, effectively announcing that he had bet $1 million on the price of Bitcoin reaching $1 million in 90 days.
News of the bet spread around the world and briefly made Srinivasan something of a celebrity.
Frankly, it was clear from the start that it was a losing gamble, and perhaps the real purpose was only to raise awareness.
In fact, on May 2nd, he posted a video announcing that he had effectively used up $1 million.
Given that he has been the author of books since last year that sometimes contain sci-fi content, Srinivasan now needs some name recognition.
In his best-selling book, he said:How to create a new state” To build something new without historical constraints.
He says he believes there are at least six ways to create a new nation, three of which are conventional and three unconventional.
The most sci-fi is number six, the idea of colonizing other planets. Elon Musk’s SpaceX company may actually have plans to launch a new nation on Mars, although many consider it technically unfeasible or even downright insane, he said. claims to be seriously considering
In the book, he also adds a seventh way, perhaps invented by him, that a “cloud country” or digital community can be built.
Indeed, of all the methods listed here, this seems to be the most feasible and concrete.
Again, digital communities already exist.
Former Coinbase CTO Says Apple and Google
All of this underscores where Srinivasan is headed with his Twitter communications strategy.
For reference, it’s worth noting that he has less than 1 million followers, less than half that of Dogecoin founder Shibetoshi Nakamoto.
His goal, perhaps, is to clean slate politically and socially, but at the same time to do it peacefully, not necessarily starting by destroying what already exists, but to clean slate. Convince as many people as possible of its usefulness.
After all, his ideas about the Cloud Nation are precisely based on the concept of creating something new that adds to what we have, rather than destroying what already exists.
Perhaps such inspiration came from Bitcoin itself and its evolution through a second layer that builds on top of the existing Layer 1 without breaking or changing it. There is a possibility.
At this point, it seems quite logical for him to call Apple and Google “systemic risks,” but he is specifically referring to the world of cryptocurrencies.
According to Srinivasan, the problem with crypto giants like Apple and Google is that they can collude with governments to “run backdoors on iPhones and Androids to steal private keys.”
Perhaps Srinivasan was inspired by recent events surrounding leisure.
In fact, a well-known hardware wallet maker says they have a method of guessing the seed for these wallets. Until recently, it was absolutely impossible for anyone to estimate them, as this was considered technically impossible.
Apparently the system still exists, but the software code for the Ledger hardware wallet hasn’t been made public, so it’s not yet clear how exactly it works.
Importantly, if a hardware wallet owner can allow the seed to be exported, then in theory it might be possible for the government to force the wallet company to export it, even if it’s just three separate encrypted pieces. It means no.
This was also confirmed a few days ago by former Ledger CEO Eric Larschebek. who said The government could issue orders to the custodians of those fragments and force them to hand over the fragments.
Srinivasan goes further, not only referring to Ledger hardware wallets, but to any smartphone app that holds a user’s private keys.
Smartphone wallet risks
Apple and Google are the makers of the two largest smartphone operating systems, iOS and Android.
In theory, a powerful government could actually force both companies to build into their operating systems a feature that could transmit private keys stored in cleartext from the memory of mobile phones to authorities. Perhaps it could also be decrypted, in case it was stored in the phone’s memory in an encrypted way.
As far as we know, these are just loose theories at this point, but what Srinivasan envisions is nothing out of the ordinary. Right now it seems like science fiction, but nothing prevents it from becoming a reality tomorrow.
This is why he defines Apple and Google as systemic risks to the cryptocurrency sector, even though they are really just potential risks and not at all specific at the moment.