This grey-hat hacker found himself at the forefront of the blockchain world

Jared Polites
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The blockchain, and through decentralisation, is going to force people to be involved in a system that rewards things like transparency, and equality

Not even a full quarter into 2018, and this year is already proving to be the year of the blockchain. In particular, Southeast Asia is emerging as “Blockchain Valley”. Countries like Singapore are developing ecosystems to aid with growth and development of the entire industry, just as San Francisco has helped develop the global tech ecosystem.

The development of the industry is particularly aiding major protocols. According to CNBC, Ethereum recently crossed the highly coveted $1,000 mark. But talk to any cryptocurrency thought leaders, and more importantly, technologists, and the consensus is, “This is only the beginning.” Every major industry you can think of—finance, big pharma, entertainment, freight and logistics, etc.—is all about to heavily impacted by the world’s most fascinating technology to date: the blockchain.

I recently had the opportunity of chatting with one of the men behind some of the largest blockchain-based projects in the world, Bryan Larkin, about the future of the industry. His story, and how he found himself at the forefront of this new territory for technology, is fascinating in itself.

“I got my first computer in 1986,” he said. “It was an AT&T 6300. I was a successful child actor at the time, on the train home downtown New York City, when I saw a man reading a popular comic book. We started talking and he said he worked with computers—and even though I didn’t know what that meant, I knew I wanted one. It was my father who got me that AT&T 6300 and the stack of manuals it came with was taller than I was. But I read every single page, I was fascinated by them, and the next thing I knew, I was programming in basic on DOS.”

By the time Larkin was 15 years old, he was participating in IRC hacker wars through “The Undernet,” and in his 20s, he was hacking anything he could get his hands on—including university servers.

“I controlled Pepperdine University’s systems for almost 7 years,” he said. “I didn’t even graduate from college—and now, I get paid to consult companies on how to protect themselves from kids like me.”

It was in 2012 that Larkin first became introduced to the world of cryptocurrencies.

“In 2012 through 2014, I worked with a good friend of mine, Slavik Viner, who had a mining operation up and running but no one to admin it. I pulled the whole operation together, and at that time it was the largest mining operation in the United States—accounting for 1% of the Bitcoin space. In the end, though, the price of Bitcoin was falling and the costs for power usage were going up, so the system had to be shut down,” said Larkin.

Also read: ‘The Age of Cryptocurrency’ is a must read for anyone who wants to go from zero to one in blockchain

For some perspective, the price of Bitcoin then floated between $700, up to about $1,000, and then back down to $400. As of the end of 2017 (3 short years later), Bitcoin’s price had peaked at around $19,000.

“In March, 2017, is when my good friend, Brock Pierce (another successful child actor) reached out to be part of a few blockchain-related projects. Today, Brock has an advisory along with Scott Walker that I am involved with called DNAfund, which is the global leader of ICOs,” he said.

In addition, Larkin recently stepped down as CEO of SKYlab Technology to take on the challenging position of Chief Technology Officer for Blockchain Industries Inc (symbol: BCII)—a publicly traded company at the forefront of this new space.

When I asked Larkin where he sees digital security moving as an industry, and the role the blockchain will play, he made it very clear he believes the blockchain will soon affect everything.

“The blockchain is going to gobble up every industry you can think of,” he said. “I am an advisor on ICOs in everything from eSports to education. One of my most recent projects, ShipChain, raised $30 million before even making it to the public crowdsale. I see this technology changing everything—and I’ve been working in technology and securities for over two decades.”

He went on to explain that what’s most exciting about the rampant evolution of the blockchain is how it’s really pushing the boundaries of the conversations surrounding technology—and the potential it has to create positive change in our world.

“The blockchain world is so fascinating to me because, finally, all these suit-wearing corporate finance types are starting to feel the ground beneath their feet crumble. They’re realising they can’t be greedy forever, and I love that. The blockchain, and through decentralisation, is going to force people to be involved in a system that rewards things like transparency, and equality. As someone who has been on both sides of the hacking community—black and white—I think this is the movement worth being part of.”

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