As a writer and lover of good drama, I first looked at BitBay as a possible source of an exciting story. The original founders of BitBay raised a tremendous amount of BTC as a startup, and while the details are still murky, the BTC disappeared and the project was nearly abandoned before BitBay even took its first steps.
BitBay survives today only because of the passion of one of the original developers, David Zimbeck. David made a promise to investors and himself… one he intends to keep, even without access to the original funding. The BitBay community still believes and supports him, though he carries on with the development alone, striving to make BitBay’s vision a reality. As you will read below, there are big plans for BitBay in the near future. If you visit the Bitcointalk thread you will see updates are being made on a regular basis.
David was gracious enough to answer some questions for me. As you read his interview below, I know you will hear the same determination I did. I would not say BitBay is back from the dead. Instead, I would say it has never gone away, and putting the past behind, it is closer today than ever before to becoming everything it promised.
Crypto_Currency_News (CCN) — Can you tell me how you got started?
David Zimbeck (DZ) — As a kid I began programming maze games in QBasic, and worked my way up to C++ as a teenager, but I never did anything serious. I moved on to programming webpages in HTML in my twenties. When I found Bitcoin, I had some ideas, but I could not find anyone who could write the code for me. As a result, I started to learn Python on my own, primarily working in the Bitcoin and Blackcoin environments.
I did the work on BitHalo, and its sister client, BlackHalo. The two clients together were the world’s first multi-signature software, before Armory, the first Smart-Contracting software, long before Ethereum, the first software with joint accounts, and the first software integrating multiple coins. The Halo software has IMAP under the hood (Internet Message Access Protocol), so it also serves as double-encryption Email software. It leverages the Bitmessage platform to make it the world’s first decentralized market in BitBay and BitHalo/BlackHalo respectively. I believe it is still unique in the industry with all of these features rolled into one client.
The user base testing and reporting bugs was the key to getting BitHalo working. I was programming from scratch and learning as I went, so initially there were many fixes with an interface that was mostly text. The result you see today, though, is an impressive final product.
CCN — How did you come up with the new ideas and make it all happen?
DZ — Tenacity is probably my strongest trait. Being self-taught, and working on new projects before anyone else, required out of the box thinking. Often, the code I needed for my ideas was not available, and only with firm resolve was I able to piece together a solution. For example, an entire ‘change’ system had to be developed in BitHalo. It breaks coins into smaller denominations to accommodate volumes of contracts in all sizes to allow for precise negotiations of offers and counter-offers. Also, there were no guidelines on how multi-sig features worked, so I ended up designing and coding an exclusive version for BitHalo.
CCN — You mentioned to me you are the only developer working on this project. Why is that?
DZ — There are two main reasons I am the only developer. The first reason, as many may already know, is the founding members of BitBay abandoned the project. They brought me on to leverage my reputation to increase the price of BAY, then took off, taking the investor’s Bitcoin with them. Once gone, they used anonymous profiles on the forums to attempt to shift the blame my way. Being associated with this team hurt my reputation, but they did not count on me sticking around to finish what I had started. For a long time this betrayal affected my work and personal life, but I have moved on and am more determined than ever to complete the project. BitBay will rise from the ashes like a phoenix. There is nothing they can do to prevent BitBay’s success.
The second reason I work alone is lack of resource availability. I have searched for competent programmers to assist, but I have not found anyone who reliably meets deadlines and is able to do what I need done. It makes more sense for me to work alone than for me to hire someone, train them, and then have them not deliver what is needed.
CCN — Can you walk me through your vision for BitBay?
DZ — I was on the team when BitBay still consisted mostly of undeveloped ideas. I was already working on decentralized markets with BitHalo, and the guys who brought me in just had a coin and a marketing plan. The original idea for BitBay was an international market, much like EBay. Unlike EBay though, BAY could be used to exchange anything, including the purchase of good and services, negotiating contracts, employment, and even in bartering. Also, unlike EBay, there are no fees. Perhaps most importantly, BitBay will be developed as a secure way for two entities to make any kind of unbreakable contract without the need for anyone else to be involved… no arbiters… no middle-man. This unbreakable contract technology was already a feature I built into BitHalo the year before. I was able to simply integrate it into BitBay.
CCN — How can there be no arbiter? What happens when there are disputes?
DZ — It is probably easiest to start a comparison by looking at the way EBay handles disputes. On EBay, if you are the seller, and the buyer has a complaint, EBay always sides with the buyer. If the buyer said something was not what they were expecting for any reason, Ebay forces the seller to give a full refund, and in addition pay for return shipping, no matter what the truth is.
Alternatively, BitBay has unbreakable contracts where both the buyer and seller make a deposit as part of the contract. If there are unresolvable problems, the deposits on the contract for both parties are lost. People either work together to resolve any issues, or both parties lose. When everything works out, both parties close the contract and the deposits are returned.
CCN — I also read BitBay is going to be pegged to a specific price. What is your plan for making this happen?
DZ — There is a Freezing and Unfreezing mechanism for BAY. By fluctuating the liquid supply of coins publicly available, the price can be maintained at a constant level. This is arguably the only proven method of decentralized price control. Everyone’s supply will be affected equally, so you may own frozen and unfrozen currency. When demand increases, frozen coins will be converted to unfrozen to keep the price the same, and vice versa. The mechanism for this is very predictable, since it is based on voting by the miners. These are the pools or people generally holding the majority of the coins, and by simply voting in their own best interest to maintain a healthy economy, the price will be sustained or increase. Frozen coins will make an entirely new asset class within BitBay for anyone voluntarily locking their coins. These Frozen coins, with the promise of future value, will be able to be exchanged for other assets, so they can be used to create bonds, credit swaps, and trustless loans.
The pegged value is not a hard peg, it is a soft peg, meaning the price can increase in value. This is an incentive for investors to buy. They receive the benefits of a traditional investment without the volatility of Bitcoin.
CCN — Why is pegging necessary with BitBay?
DZ — In order to have a currency people can trust, it will need to have the same or greater purchasing power when they receive it as when they go to spend it. There cannot be a pump and dump mentality where someone is concerned the BAY they receive today will only be worth a fraction of its value tomorrow.
An added benefit of successful pegging is other coins will be able to utilize the same code in their system. This means ‘Kitty Coin,’ ‘Truck Coin,’ or ‘Whatever Coin’ can return from the dead by freezing coins to maintain a consistent value, making them once again valuable and competitive. The freezing will be done at the Blockchain level, so exchanges attempting to withdraw at any price other than the pegged price will actually have the withdrawals denied by the Blockchain itself.
CCN — What are your short term goals for BitBay?
DZ — Even though the investors are begging me to finish the pegging code, there is more to be done in the client itself first. In its current state, the client translates into ninety two languages, has a live debugger, a python interpreter, and tons of advanced pricing options, including price tracking and various sending options such as ‘Pay to Email.’ A few of the features I still need to add before the next release are staking, voting, time locks, and Tor options for URL requests. I am even working on an anti-key logger to enter passwords using your mouse movements without clicking.
After I have those changes finished, I am planning to add more user templates. Currently, I have a “Mom friendly” template called “Cash for Coins”, which handles the exchange rates, and BTC/BAY purchasing for cash, including the deposits. The second template currently available is called “Custom,” and lets a user set whatever parameters for any ‘unbreakable’ contract for two parties to agree to. The templates I am planning to add next are for Sales, Barter, Employment and Python contracts.
CCN — And longer term? What are your plans after those changes?
DZ — One I reach the short term goals, I have a decision to make. I will either start work on an exchange for BitBay trading, or I will start on the pegging. Both are needed, but the demand and pressure for pegging is so high… investors have been really patient with me. I will probably work on that first. Also, I’ll admit I am excited about coding it. I know how to do it, and have everything I need to get it done. I have not written a whitepaper yet because I don’t want everyone to find out my pegging methods before I make it happen. I have some really simple and creative mechanisms planned.
CCN — It sounds like your experience with BitBay has been rocky as well as fulfilling. How has it changed you?
DZ — The theft and mistrust that happened with the founders in the beginning affected me emotionally, and to this day I still have problems believing people can do that kind of thing to other people purposefully and without any misgivings. I was just not raised that way. It was a real life lesson, and took me a long time to get over.
When I was at my lowest point, completely discouraged, I started to understand there are also virtuous people; people I can trust. Two good friends in particular gave me a place to stay and tremendous emotional support when I needed it most. I have also been amazed at the kindness I receive from the community, investors, and many new friends I have made through BitBay. Their loyalty and belief in me and the BitBay concept kept me going, and helped me get back to where I am today. I continue developing BitBay, striving to keep my promises to them and to myself. Actions speak louder than words, and I think the continually improving software speaks loudest.
CCN — Can you tell me a little about what makes BitBay different, and better, than other coins?
DZ — Most other coins rely on speculation to keep their communities and the stability of their currency together. BitBay will rely on pegging technology to keep the coin stable, so nobody will be able to crash the price. As I mentioned earlier, the unbreakable contracts, with no fees or middle-man, will change the way people transact. In today’s world, contracts rely on lawyers, backed by the governments, law enforcement, and ultimately guns, to enforce them. BitBay contracts are enforced with deposits from both parties, so it will be in everyone’s best interest to fulfill them.
Ultimately, the contract software designed for BitBay will be able to be used with other currencies, such as Ethereum, with changes specific to the other platforms. When the tools I am working on are done and available, other coins may choose to implement the same ideas used in the open source code. This would require a hard fork and significant changes on their side though, so there will always be advantages to using BitBay.
Bitcoin has one fatal flaw many other coins, including BitBay, are addressing. It is limited in the scripting possibilities able to be accomplished with it. It is a currency with one main function; to be sent and received. BitBay’s freezing capability gives it the ability to control the value of the coin using supply and demand. It is programmed to coordinate with international markets, and to create secure, unbreakable contracts. The frozen assets will serve as extremely useful financial instruments. BitBay functions the same as Bitcoin, but also has additional utility to provide meaningful services a global society requires.
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