Meet the Team: Jonathan Wilkins
1. What made you decide to pursue a career in Bitcoin?
I have worked at the borders of privacy and security my entire career. When I realized that Bitcoin represented precisely quantifiable security and uncensorable money, I was all in. By quantifiable, I am referring to the cost to alter the ledger by constructing an alternate longer chain. Unlike trying to determine the cost to break into a building or to bribe or extort an insider, Bitcoin’s hash rate is known and the resources needed to attack it are public. No other cryptocurrency comes close. (https://crypto51.app/)
2. What’s your role at River Financial?
I am the Chief Security Officer. I ensure that from bits to atoms, the assets we handle are safe.
3. What did you do before joining River?
I had the same role previously at Blockstream. Prior to that I either worked for or consulted for a large number of well known companies including NCC Group/ISEC Partners, Microsoft, MySpace, Yelp, Zynga and Zero Knowledge Systems.
4. What projects or advancements do you think are most exciting in the Bitcoin space right now?
I am especially excited about using Lightning’s Sphinx layer for messaging and other privacy enhanced communications. Unlike the Tor network, sphinx onion routes in a way that is resistant to a global passive observer and even some forms of active attack. It also has a mechanism to pay for its own usage and various types of cover traffic are already there.
We are just starting to scratch the surface of what can be done with multisig. PSBT (Andrew Chow’s gift to the world) has seen extensive real world use in hardware devices. Coldcard led the field, and pushed everyone else to catch up, so it is available on Ledger and Trezor as well now.
Carl Dong has done great work improving the reproducible build system and I hope that will see use everywhere.
5. Where do you see Bitcoin in 10 years?
It will have blended into the background much as the internet has. I got internet access for the first time in 1990 at age 13 via a “permissionless” dialup connection to my local university. That bears no resemblance to the internet of today. I already see Bitcoin being so much easier to use, but that aspect will continue to improve at an accelerating rate.
6. Describe Bitcoin in 5 words or less.
Unseizable, uncensorable money. Freedom seeds.
7. What are some of your favorite hobbies or interests?
Riding motorcycles, sailing, exercising 2nd Amendment rights, fomenting defiance.