Jed McCaleb has been in the technology industry as an entrepreneur for 18 years. He now works for two nonprofits in the industry. The first one is the Machine Intelligence Research Institute. He donates money to this organization and serves as a top advisor. He says that artificial intelligence an area of technology that holds great promise but also grave peril. This nonprofit was created to provide guidance to AI researchers in order to ensure that what they create is safe for humanity. He says that while this technology will improve people’s lives around the world it can also be used in ways that are a threat to people.
The other nonprofit Jed McCaleb works at is one he co-founded, Stellar Development Foundation. He established this nonprofit in June 2014 and he is the chief technology officer. His goal is to use open-source software to unleash the financial system from its current outdated infrastructure that doesn’t work for far too many people. He said he got the idea for Stellar from the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. Bitcoin uses blockchain technology which is a distributed database that serves as a virtual ledger keeping track of Bitcoin transactions and who owns what.
At Stellar, Jed McCaleb says the goal is to give people a way to make financial transactions who today don’t even have a bank account. Banks don’t want low-income people as customers because they cost more than they bring in, he says. The new financial system he is creating will give these people a way to save and transfer money, something that right now is far too expensive for many people around the world if it’s even available at all.
Nonprofits and companies around the world are now using Stellar. Jed McCaleb says that one of these nonprofits is the Praekelt Foundation in South Africa. They have slotted Stellar into their messaging app, Vumi. This allows young South African girls a way to save money using airtime credits. Airtime credits, he explains, is a form of mobile money that is used in developing countries around the world.