"Bitcoin needs real life applications": cryptography pioneer Zimmermann

Some people think bitcoin totally rocks Keystone

Philip Zimmermann has been pioneering cryptography since the early days of the cyberphunk movement. So why has he only just dipped his toes into the rapidly expanding world of cryptoassets?


With a CV that includes creating the Pretty Good Privacy email encryption platform in 1991 and co-founding of the Silent Circle firm that produces encrypted software for mobile devices, it might have been natural to assume that he would have dived into bitcoin at an early stage.

But not so. Zimmermann owns a grand total of one quarter of a bitcoin, given to him in a present last year. “It’s a novelty, a bit like a pet rock that I look at once in a while,” says Zimmermann. 

“I just can’t see enough applications for bitcoin, other than as a currency," adds the 2012 Internet Hall of Fame and 2014 Cyber Security Hall of Fame inductee.

Zimmermann this year joined Swiss-based Tiberius Group as Chief Scientist and Security Officer for the commodity trader’s metals-backed token Tiberius Coin. “I’ve been approached by a number of projects before, but I turned them all down,” he told swissinfo.ch.

“There are a lot of questionable things going on in this space, but Tiberius Coin struck me as having firmer foundations. It’s not just a speculative bubble that you find with a lot of cryptocurrencies.”

T-Coin is a crypto token backed by a basket of metal assets that aims to reduce the type of price volatility associated with some cryptocurrencies. It is designed either to be used as a stable form of currency to buy everyday goods, like a cup of coffee, or as a means of storing valuable metals that can be cashed in whenever the holder wants. In this respect it acts much like a bearer bond.

“Supply chains are such a natural application for cryptocurrencies,” says Zimmermann. 

T-Coin continues its development apace. It will launch an initial coin offering this summer, having recently closed its pre-sale, and aims to issue tokens by the end of the year.

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