ICYMI...In our sixth edition of 21 Questions with decentralize.today, ​we feature Maidsafe Founder David Irvine who has over 23 years’ experience in IT and 15 years running companies. He designed one of the World’s largest private networks (Saudi Aramco, over $300M). Involved in start up businesses since 1995, he has presented technology lectures at Google (Seattle) and British Computer Society (Christmas Lecture) amongst others. A published author on papers in the fields of complex networking, distributed computing and cryptography related technologies, he is also the author of 30 patent applications in the field of computer networking.

decentralize.today: If you could choose three words to describe yourself, what would they be and why?

David Irvine: Inquisitive - I like to watch things and understand then try and improve them.

Generous - Money does nothing for me, we should all share it like water

Optimistic - I have to be, no choice, otherwise the project would have failed a long time ago and we need this. In the world of crypto you need huge amounts of this or the ability to ignore folk.

dt: How/when did you discover Bitcoin/crypto?

DI: 2009 when I was sent the white paper and tested it out. Paul Grignon from Canada introduced me. I was not convinced initially folk would run nodes but delighted they did.

dt: What were you doing as a profession before Maidsafe?

DI: Network Design for various large corporates and then smaller companies back in Scotland.

dt: How would you describe your current work to a 5 year old kid?

DI: We're exploring infinity kid!  

dt: What was your first ever job (even as a kid)?

DI: As a kid, 5 am in a baker, carrying boards of Allinson's on my head. As an adult apprentice mechanical maintenance Engineer.

dt: Who is your biggest inspiration when it comes to work/business?

DI: Richard Feynman for work, everybody for business. Jonas Salk was inspiring as well though.

dt: What’s the best life and work advice you’ve ever been given?

DI: It's just a ride, only a ride!
Work meetings etc. - find somebody's greed and feed it.
Life - the words of " A man's a man for a that"

dt: Your favorite superhero or fictional character, and why?

DI: I don't have one, they are not real -)

dt: What were you like as a student?

DI: 1st President of the student union, 3 weeks later took over the college. Lowest attendance rate in college (17%). Lecturers who read from books hated me. Generally all play and nonsense, but one of only 6 of 34 who passed.

dt: What would be your dream project if money was no object?

DI: MaidSafe, I considered crime to do this but could not be sure I would find a jail with a laptop and Internet access so had to get investment.
I have a workshop, wood, metal, electronics and robotics. I would love to work on things like plasma/ion drives, machines with no moving parts, Neuroevolution (especially this), electrical generation, hydrogen & anything along those lines. First I need life extension and at least 10 parallel lives.

dt: What is your favorite sport or game to watch?

DI: Don't watch much, Rugby, shinty and hurling are the only sports. Used to Box (for Scotland) and like some of the old fights there, not so much now.

dt: As a pioneer in cryptography, distributed networks, and technology, what was your first thought when you read the Bitcoin White Paper?

DI: Loved it but thought the POW was a real put off for folk. The simplicity of it was the thing I really liked and after spending a while looking at b-cash and a data based currency it seemed elegant.  Like most white papers I skimmed it at speed though. I still don't see it as a biblical answer to everything, more a step to greater things.

I ain't no pioneer though. I treat it all as Engineering, just the next thing to build on, a new tool.

dt: Who are your real life heroes?

DI: Richard Feynman I think was way way better than anyone realises.

dt: What does your family think of Bitcoin / crypto?

DI: They don't really know what it is.  

dt: What was the last book you read that you would recommend to others?

DI: Zero - The biography of a dangerous idea or The Secret life of trees

dt: What grinds your gears or is your pet peeve?

DI: Lies

dt: Do you have an “I lost my private keys” story? Or a crazy crypto related story? Do share!

DI: Well, we did have maidsafe coins locked in a wallet we had no idea what the password was. John the ripper and lots of guesses later and we got it, otherwise maidsafe may not be here.  

dt: Where do you see Bitcoin/crypto in ten years?

DI: Hopefully as intended and a digital currency that cannot be manipulated, but as things move on, finance is involved so greed follows and I fear all the usual financial tools will make crypto in many ways just as evil and owned by the rich, old or new rich. I hope everyone benefits but I can see the fewer benefit and all benefits meaning how much cash do I have, rather than look at the financial freedom I have to give or get from anyone in the World.

dt: What’s your go-to form of entertainment or pastime? What do you do for fun?

DI: I live in the countryside with sheep chickens ducks and dogs,  so groundworks and any time I get (rare) to go into the workshop and tinker.

dt: You have the power to solve one world problem forever. Which one would you choose?

DI: Intellectual laziness.

dt: You have one thing to say to your 18 year old self. What would it be?

DI: Stick with Fiona, she's a nice lassie.

Thank you, David

Finally, for contact David recommends their forum as "it's the place to figure stuff out and it's run by the community"

Find them at https://safenetforum.org/