Sunny King Interviewed by Crypto Capitalism Center - July 06, 2016

Sunny King was interviewed by a PHD student from the Crypto Capitalism Center. The interview took place on July 6th, 2016.

Sunny King: hi ying-ying
Ying-Ying: Hello!
Ying-Ying: Should I just call you Sunny? :slight_smile:
Sunny King: sure :slight_smile:
Ying-Ying: Thanks for taking the time for the interview!
Sunny King: do you mind if we chat a bit freely
Ying-Ying: sure
Sunny King: probably won’t be able to answer everything listed in the guide
Sunny King: i am actually quite interested about your group
Ying-Ying: did you have a look at the CCC website?
Sunny King: yes a bit
Ying-Ying: We are studying blockchain from a business/ economics/ social perspective…
Sunny King: I like the work of your group that tries to look at the new technology from all points of view
Ying-Ying: Thanks. Not many people in business schools are doing this at the moment.
Sunny King: let me introduce myself a bit, I am actually developer of both peercoin and primecoin
Ying-Ying: So, I study trust and legitimacy of CC platforms, and hopefully I can connect it to the FinTech and DAO phenomena.
Ying-Ying: cool!
Ying-Ying: How did you get involved in cryptocurrencies in the first place?
Sunny King: the two cryptocurrencies are actually kinda connected, in the sense that it both attempts to solve the energy consumption issue of bitcoin
Ying-Ying: Could you tell me more?
Sunny King: oh bitcoin was pretty hot already in 2011
Sunny King: i remember the first leg up to $40 in 2011 was reported by wallstreet
Ying-Ying: exactly
Sunny King: i actually heard it earlier than that, but it was those news in 2011 made me look at it more seriously
Ying-Ying: Were you a bitcoin miner back then?
Sunny King: not really
Sunny King: i was then talking to a friend about it
Sunny King: about bitcoin’s design
Ying-Ying: sure
Sunny King: eventually in late 2011 we began a research group to study alternative designs to bitcoin
Ying-Ying: Were you involved in bitcoin in anyway?
Ying-Ying: How many people were there in your group?
Sunny King: i was not involved in bitcoin development, no
Sunny King: basically two of us, but another friend also was in the meetings
Ying-Ying: all developers, I guess?
Sunny King: the there came the project peercoin, the ideas that there is no need really to consume all these energy
Sunny King: so peercoin was born with also proof-of-stake consensus system
Ying-Ying: It’s a hybrid as far as I know, correct?
Sunny King: yes it’s designed to be hybrid with peercoin, but to be more precise the consensus system is pure proof-of-stake
Sunny King: proof-of-work is only used for initial distribution
Ying-Ying: I see… so now peercoin is pure PoS
Sunny King: the distribution is meant for many years so it still has PoW mining
Sunny King: but many fork project already disables PoW and use a different issuance (like stocks)
Ying-Ying: it makes sense…
Ying-Ying: so why created two coins? What’s the motivation?
Sunny King: I guess I am a technology kinda person, likes to try different things
Sunny King: we released peercoin in August 2012, then in march of 2013, i thought about another way to do PoW
Sunny King: like mining prime numbers
Ying-Ying: so it’s like an experiment… sort of… how did it turn out?
Sunny King: it was interesting thoughts as nobody could come up with a mining system that generates byproducts
Sunny King: yes still keeping bitcoin’s properties
Ying-Ying: exactly!
Sunny King: i did, so there you got primecoin, I releaseded it in July 2013
Sunny King: i am quite proud about these two projects
Ying-Ying: Do they differ a lot in design philosophy, target audience…etc.?
Sunny King: in my opinion they were better work than my career work :slight_smile:
Sunny King: from a technology point of view
Ying-Ying: ha ha!!
Ying-Ying: Yes, it is really amazing how you created these platforms!
Sunny King: they were both designed as currency, different audience, maybe
Ying-Ying: Are they being maintained by the same developer group?
Sunny King: as thoese are experimental tech, you never know, more is better
Sunny King: if one fails, the other might not
Ying-Ying: Of course, you I know, but are other people involved in both as well?
Sunny King: we have a community at peercointalk.org
Sunny King: yes there are quite a few members and developers, including me
Ying-Ying: What’s the composition of it? developers? miners? enthusiasts?
Sunny King: guess all of them
Sunny King: as you can see, i am more focused on the tech side of things
Sunny King: though I am kinda interested to hear from you people on social economic side
Ying-Ying: I can send you a copy of my research draft once it’s done… : )
Ying-Ying: So why did you choose to remain anonymous? : )
Sunny King: in my view the bitcoin technology is kinda like gold
Sunny King: a form of digital gold
Sunny King: though there is some significant difference
Sunny King: it has better monetary property than gold in some aspects
Sunny King: but it also lacks the domination of gold, that is, gold has actually no competition in the physical world (commodity)
Sunny King: so bitcoin will be subject to tech competitions, unlike gold
Ying-Ying: exactly.
Sunny King: but still, i believe the experiment has already shown that it is indeed a new form of money
Ying-Ying: In addition, the fact that it is not physically tangible could mean something cognitively different to people.
Ying-Ying: More like money than gold then?
Sunny King: the reason some of us chose to be semi anonymous, of course ,
Sunny King: of course the idea is controversial in that
Sunny King: governments of the world have been on fiat for over a century now
Sunny King: maybe they wouldn’t be quite open to the idea that gold, in a different reincarnation
Ying-Ying: they are certainly still trying to make sense of it!
Ying-Ying: How does anonymity of developers affect the perceived trustworthiness? (or does it have any other effects at all?)
Sunny King: but so far the development in the past few years, i am also optimistic
Sunny King: i think peeople have been quite open to the new ideas
Ying-Ying: could you elaborate on that? examples?
Sunny King: not always pinning it down to the negative side
Sunny King: of course we all hear about these negative news
Sunny King: like some bad guy demanding ransom in bitcoin, or trading drugs in bitcoin , and so on
Sunny King: but now more people are welcoming the technology it brings
Sunny King: so this blockchain technology could also bring us more than anonymous currencies
Ying-Ying: yeah, association with bitcoin vs association with blockchain makes a difference!
Sunny King: for example DAO you mentioned, but possibly even more
Sunny King: so I think there were many more tech people open to this ideas than a couple years ago
Ying-Ying: But it just got negative publicity … too bad…
Sunny King: I think iam also proud in the sense,
Sunny King: that I have contributed in the key tech to enable these new applications of blockchain
Ying-Ying: What do you think was the problem of the DAO? Is it the code’s problem or deeper (e.g., to do with the ethereum platform)
Sunny King: PoS enables DAO
Sunny King: DAO is a concept that blockchain can be used to manage an organization
Sunny King: ethereum is just one platform trying to implementing it
Sunny King: in our community we had a project called peershare also
Sunny King: I heard vitalik also realizeds the importance of PoS and wants to upgrade ethereum to PoS
Sunny King: PoS enables DAO in the sense that it no longer depends on mining
Ying-Ying: yes, I read about it yesterday…
Sunny King: so basically every organization can run their own blockchain without the need to worry about mining power
Ying-Ying: so would you say PoS is more secure and more trustworthy in general?
Sunny King: it’s huge savings for the DAO economy
Sunny King: I think they are close right now in terms of security, but PoS’s economic advantage is huge
Ying-Ying: more efficient I guess? How about stability?
Sunny King: stability is related to engineering, PoS algorithm is more complex i can agree
Sunny King: I think it would keep improving
Ying-Ying: definitely!
Ying-Ying: what’s your view on decentralization in general then?
Sunny King: it’s kinda like a double edge sword
Ying-Ying: how so?
Sunny King: it’s more resistant to censorship, to oppressions
Sunny King: but it’s also can be a tool for bad people
Ying-Ying: but do you really think complete decentralization is achievable?
Sunny King: so i think , the future of the tech is more dependent on people being more open minded to this new tech
Ying-Ying: For example, developers still have huge power and control over cryptocurrencies…
Sunny King: probably not just developers, you would see corporations owning lots of blockchains in the future I think
Sunny King: probably would be hard to see ‘complete decentralization’
Ying-Ying: they are already doing this in house…
Sunny King: a healthy competition between blockchains would already provide a lot of the benefits you are looking for
Ying-Ying: perhaps become something like the internet?
Ying-Ying: how do you define a “healthy competition”?
Sunny King: internet is hardly decentralized in my opinion
Sunny King: healthy meaning no artifical barrier to new competitions
Ying-Ying: perfect competition in economic terms I guess…
Sunny King: at least right now i think it’s reasonably healthy
Ying-Ying: So which other coins do you consider comparable or competitors of peercoin?
Sunny King: ethereum looks pretty good, maybe ripple, and so on
Sunny King: some coins are focused on social and business aspects, i look at projects with technological merits
Sunny King: btw vitalik used to be a big fan of primecoin
Ying-Ying: nice!
Sunny King: he was a writer for bitcoin magazine when primecoin was release in July 2013
Ying-Ying: can I find the article online?
Ying-Ying: I mean what he wrote about primecoin…
Sunny King: sure, he probably stayed up the whole night right after primecoin’s release date, published a wonderful article on the second morning
Sunny King: i have a link somewhere
Ying-Ying: perhaps you can email me later once you find it…
Ying-Ying: back to what you said about focusing on technological merits, who do you (or peercoin) try to appeal to?
Sunny King: try search for primecoin-the-cryptocurrency-whose-mining-is-actually-useful
Ying-Ying: In other words, who are your target audience?
Sunny King: maybe not on bitcoin magazine site anymore
Sunny King: we didn’t try to appeal to a certain segment
Sunny King: it was designed as a currency, with properties tuned for currency
Ying-Ying: Found it, thanks!
Ying-Ying: still a bitcoin mag site!
Sunny King: ok :slight_smile:
Ying-Ying: same for primecoin? no target audience?
Ying-Ying: What properties did you look at so that it was tuned for currency?
Sunny King: first there were no stock-like issuance
Sunny King: so all the coins created were mined
Sunny King: there is also consideration between supply growth vs network security
Ying-Ying: you mean no token issuance?
Sunny King: right
Ying-Ying: I see… why currency in the first place?
Sunny King: back then there weren’t people doing stock issuance yet
Sunny King: also it was generally regarded as shady if you ‘premine’ a bunch of coins
Sunny King: After PoS with peercoin, some more serious token issuance projects came later on
Ying-Ying: i see… I don’t understand the logic of “premine” though…
Ying-Ying: How would you evaluate a cryptocurrency then? from the lens of trust
Sunny King: ‘premine’ is similar to issuance, just a different name when it was practiced on a PoW blockchain
Sunny King: evaluate?
Ying-Ying: yes, evaluate how successful a coin is
Ying-Ying: as if you were the user
Sunny King: it was just like a stock market, everyone has different views on different aspects of projects
Ying-Ying: how about from the technology’s perspective?
Sunny King: i mainly observe any innovations in the tech
Sunny King: but of course that’s only part of it, whether it would be successful it’s anyone’s guess
Ying-Ying: of course… for example economic research looks at the returns of cryptocurrencies…
Ying-Ying: I want to look at survival and growth…
Sunny King: maybe you are looking from a macro economic point-of-view
Sunny King: then i ma all ears
Sunny King: i can only look at monetary side
Sunny King: bitcoin has been stellar in that aspect in the past few years
Sunny King: volatility is lower than many national currencies in the past two years
Ying-Ying: interesting… it’s counter-intuitive…
Sunny King: it was staying around $400 for a long time
Sunny King: it just means it’s maturing as a currency
Sunny King: i probably should wrap things up now
Sunny King: it’s a great pleasure chatting with you today
Ying-Ying: sure, it’s great talking to you!
Sunny King: feel free to drop me email now and then
Ying-Ying: Is it ok to email you for future questions?
Sunny King: of course :slight_smile:
Ying-Ying: Thanks!
Ying-Ying: Have a great day (or evening… : ))
Sunny King: do you wish me to keep the interview private?
Ying-Ying: Is it going anywhere?
Ying-Ying: I thought that’s my question… ha ha : )
Sunny King: maybe sharing with my friends, or on our forum
Sunny King: but if you prefer it private conversation i wouldn’t
Ying-Ying: I don’t see any problem with that…
Sunny King: forum is public though
Sunny King: would that be an issue?
Ying-Ying: Would love to see people’s reactions… is it the peercoin forum?
Sunny King: yes
Ying-Ying: as long as there isn’t a phd student there stealing my idea… : )
Sunny King: lol :slight_smile:
Ying-Ying: How about you? How should I quote your words?
Sunny King: feel free to quote me no problem
Ying-Ying: sure!
Sunny King: Nice chat and see ya around :slight_smile:
Ying-Ying: Thanks again for the interview-- let’s keep in touch!

1 Like

Why does this interview feel like it is 2013? :smiley:

Probably because it was a normal chat conversation, complete with misspellings and grammar mistakes. :slight_smile: It also wasn’t known going into it that it would end up being posted publicly. I’m sure they would have been more careful if that was known ahead of time.

Great insight from Sunny.
Thank you for sharing this interview with the community!

great to hear Sunny mentioned XPM a few times. I thought he has already abandoned PRIMECOIN!!!

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i am glad that SK is not opposed to other coins but instead he tries to learn by their technology :slight_smile:

Omg,where is my sunny? Seek the Innovative guy of four years ago. :frowning:

Somebody guessed that Sunny King, Wei Dai(QuantumMechanics) was in the study group in 2011 and their mentor is Scott Vanstone.

“quantum mechanics” is mentioned in http://www.weidai.com/ (“A really simple interpretation of quantum mechanics.”) and QuantumMechanics posted “Proof of stake instead of proof of work” on July 11, 2011 at https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=27787.0