For those who want the details, please read the Pillar Gray Paper. Here is a short version:
The European Commission’s Fire Study of Next Generation Internet recently concluded ...
Internet should ensure citizens' sovereignty over their own data and protect privacy;
Internet should ensure diversity, pluralism and a right to choose; and
Internet should avoid the concentration of data in a few proprietary platforms.
Personal Data Spaces was seen as a very important technology area for all the above top ranked values.
These are the problems the Pillar project will address. We want to give people a better, safer dashboard to their digital world, starting with an open-source wallet. We have two main objectives:
Replace accounts with atomic ownership. We all have dozens of accounts. With accounts, you log in and all your valuable data is trapped inside the app or the service. This presents huge concentration risk. By switching from accounts to wallets, each person owns his/her own assets and can switch vendors freely.
Replace apps with services. Apps on our phones are miniature desktop apps. This harkens back to the days of paper-based processes, showing once again that humans always adopt the old ways of working to new technology. Now that we all have superconnected computers in our pockets, we believe the personal data locker will replace iOS and Android to become the operating system for all your devices.
The decentralization movement and technologies like blockchain will lead to a fundamental reversal of power, putting people in control of their digital lives.
The Personal Data Locker
The concept of the personal data locker comes from David's book, Pull. We have seen many such projects come and go. Much of it comes down to trust - people don’t trust institutions, advertisers, or third parties to manage their data. This is why Microsoft and Google projects have failed.
We understand that consumers don’t want to manage their own data. There’s a detailed section of the gray paper that goes into consumer reluctance and how to find our early adopters. Right now, we have a chance - to create the world’s best wallet, integrate it into many systems, and let it lead to the personal assistant that “magically” helps you manage your life. See this early video from 2010 that shows the use cases for the project:
The Pillar Wallet
Having waited patiently for 15 years, we believe the moment is here now. We will start by building the world’s best cryptocurrency and token wallet. We will focus on the user experience - to make it as easy as possible to set up and use a wallet. There are a few excellent wallets - we have our work cut out for us. But since our target is to build a dashboard for your digital life, our wallet will be different. Our wallet will be mobile first. It will include a browser, and we hope to include one or more exchanges. We want the experience to be as easy as possible. We’ll be targeting specific use cases and personas and working to make their experience as familiar and powerful as possible. Almost everyone is a beginner. Almost everyone finds managing private keys challenging. Almost everyone doesn’t appreciate the complexity behind wallets and exchanges and smart contracts. This is our mission - to simplify, build a strong foundation, and keep adding what our customers want next.
The Pillar Ecosystem
Pillar is far more than a wallet, a browser, and an exchange. Pillar brings to life the concepts in David Siegel’s book, Pull. As David explains, apps are a huge waste of resources and prevent innovation. Apps have to be maintained on half a dozen platforms - more than 50% of every app is just infrastructure related to presenting content and offers. What really matters are content, connections, and commerce, and being able to mix them as you like. The Pillar wallet will let you sort, filter, compare, mix, and match these things to suit your needs. This represents the convergence of the semantic web and the web of value.
As an example, think of attending a conference in a city far away. To do this on your phone you’ll need a dozen apps that don’t talk to each other, and you’ll sign contracts for air, rail, car, hotel, tours, shows, excursions, currency exchange, babysitting, restaurants, conference registration, scheduling, events, meetings, and more. At best, each of these has its own app, and probably its own reward point system. Now try to manage all the expenses and record keeping - more apps. Do the apps talk to each other? In general, they don’t.
The pillar ecosystem will create a new ecosystem of data, content, and commerce. We’re almost there - we have the standards, formats, and APIs to do much of what we want. It’s our job to bring these together to create a customer experience that is many times more compelling than using apps. In general, you’ll ask a question or say what you’re looking for, and the content, data, and transactions will come to you. We believe the wallet will be the center of your digital life, and it will pull everything you want when you want it, in a way that's more natural than apps.
The Pillar Token
While the wallet and platform are open-source and free, users will pay for the various PDL services with pillar tokens as they use them. The token will power (provide micropayments for) the entire ecosystem, giving an instant business model to many projects that can tie in. This is the beauty of the token: you may need a service exactly once and you won’t need to sign up for it, you’ll just pay for it with a Pillar token and you’re done.
Here’s an example: you go see your doctor, she does some tests and gives you a prescription for some pills. All the data from that visit, and the prescription, will be copied to your wallet. You can then manage the prescription any way you like, including asking for bids from pharmacies for the lowest price, or fastest delivery, etc. In this case, pharmacies compete for your order, and their software can be aware what the bid/ask is, and they may give you special offers to choose their service or even pay you to watch an ad for a particular drug. This is all under your control - you decide how you want it, and you pay a small number of pillars each time you use the system for storing your records and letting you manage your relationship with the health-care system. Your data can even go to a study being done - with your permission - and even though you’re anonymous in the study, if they want to send you a message, you’ll have a choice of receiving it or not.
The pillar is a meta-token. For example, Brave has a native token for seeing customized ads and monetizing your browsing experience. Augur has a token for betting. Akasha has one for messaging. You'll encounter dozens or hundreds of tokens as you go about your day. All these tokens will be native in our system one level below the Pillar token. Users may only ever see pillars, or they may see the various utility tokens for the services they use.
We are market driven. We do experiments and look for opportunities. We pattern our company on Google (except for the interviewing part) - we plan to make a lot of small mistakes and let experiments take us into new markets. The wallet market is heating up. We need the resources to go after several different market segments:
- Early-adopter tech enthusiasts
We are already strong in business development and will get stronger. Eventually, we want our wallet not to be another app on your phone, but to be the software that runs your phone. We will need partners, industry veterans, strong marketers, excellent communications team, and more.
And we’ll need a great product. We are starting from scratch. We’re planning to hire after our token sale event, and we want you to be part of it. People who understand our mission and support us by buying our tokens, even if only a few, are the people we want to hire. We already have a strong team of technology people, but we’ll need many more. We expect to start in London and open a second office within six months.
We are very open. We know that people coming to our web site are excellent potential hires, consultants, and partners. Be sure to sign up for our newsletter - as soon as the token sale is over we’ll set up our online community and invite you to join us. And please consider coming to our hiring event in Slovakia.
We have laid out our financial plans and forecasts in the Gray Paper. Everything we do will be agile and responsive to our markets as they change. We also will use some of our proceeds to support the ICOs and entrepreneurs of other projects that will later become part of our system.
David Siegel, founder (Switzerland). David built a web-design and strategy agency in San Francisco in the 1990s and sold it to KPMG. He has been at the forefront of technology and venture investing for 30 years. He has written five books about technology and business. His first book remains Amazon.com's longest-running #1 bestseller. He has been a mentor to many startups and sat on many boards. In 2016, he was a candidate to be the dean of Stanford business school. He is an expert on blockchain, future technologies, angel investing, and startups. This is his 22nd company. You can see his work at dsiegel.com
Vitor Py, founder (Brazil). Vitor is a senior software developer, has led cross functional teams in areas as diverse as aerospace, energy, and law enforcement. Former founder of SIM, a Brazilian computational materials science startup. Vitor is our chief architect and will lead the development of the Pillar wallet. This is his 5th company.
Tomer Sofinzon, founder (Israel). Tomer is a serial entrepreneur living in Tel Aviv. He is an entrepreneur and business development executive. He founded ClearCi, a company focused on delivering Enterprise Intelligence solutions. He has worked in venture capital with a focus on strategic partnerships. This is his 8th company.
Yogesh Gaikwad, founder (India). Yogesh is a young Indian entrepreneur with a technology marketing background who started India's first growth hacking company and is contributing to tech startups around the world.
Martin Callinan (UK) has over 20 years’ experience in the software industry. He assists organisations leveraging the benefits of open-source software while managing the business risks of intellectual property, licensing, copyrights, security vulnerability management, and operational risk. He is a member of the leadership of OpenUK Industry Association for Open Source Software, Open Source Software SIG lead for TechUK’s CTO Council and a Partner in Global Cyber Consultants.
Anish Mohammed (UK) has been working in the security and cryptography area for the past 15 years, as a researcher and as a consultant. He has spent half his career researching cryptographic algorithms and protocols. He has also worked as a strategy consultant for Accenture and Capgemini. Most recently he has been involved in the Blockchain ecosystem as one of the founding members of UKDCA . He is also on the advisory board for Adjoint, Arteia, Privacy Shell, Ripple Labs and Chain of Things. These days he more focused on projects that involve security vs scalability vs consensus of Blockchain and using smart contracts for AI safety.
Kirt McMaster (USA) - is a tier-1 venture-backed Silicon Valley CEO in Palo Alto, California. He has personally raised over $200MM and is the Executive Chairman and founder of CYNGN (formerly Cyanogen), an autonomous vehicle startup. McMaster was a founder of Boost Mobile, now wholly owned by Sprint. McMaster has had 5 acquisitions of companies he has helped build including 3 IPOs. A Product guy whose greatest thrill is building strong teams.
Efi Pylarinou (Switzerland) Ph.D. in Finance, with 20+yrs experience. She is included in the 2016 Women in Fintech powerlist by Innovate Finance. She is the co-founder of Daily Fintech, a global insight driven platform and of the Fintech Genome, a P2P knowledge platform for Fintech conversations. Her Fintech domain focus is on Digital Wealth Management & Capital Markets. She works with us on Marketing and partnerships.