Jed McCaleb

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Jed McCaleb
Born (1975-06-08) June 8, 1975 (age 48)
Alma materUniversity of California, Berkeley
OccupationSoftware developer
Known foreDonkey, Mt. Gox, Ripple, Stellar
TitleCTO of Stellar

Jed McCaleb is an American programmer, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. He is the founder and CEO of aerospace startup Vast[1] and a co-founder and the CTO of Stellar.[2] Prior to co-founding Stellar, McCaleb founded and served as the CTO of the company Ripple until 2013. McCaleb is also known for creating the Mt. Gox bitcoin exchange, and the peer-to-peer eDonkey and Overnet networks as well as the eDonkey2000 application.

As of March 2023, McCaleb is worth US$2.4 billion according to Forbes' Billionaires List.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

McCaleb was born in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and attended the University of California, Berkeley.[4] He eventually dropped out and moved to New York City.[5]


In 2000, McCaleb founded MetaMachine Inc. and released his eDonkey2000 application.[6] Sam Yagan joined him in 2001 and served as CEO of the company.[7] McCaleb served as the CTO of the company and continued to develop the peer-to-peer eDonkey network as well as the Overnet network and the eDonkey2000 application.[8] At its height, the network grew to have over 4 million active users at any given time.[9] In September 2006, the company reached a settlement with the RIAA and agreed that the company and its top executives would "immediately cease distributing eDonkey, eDonkey2000, Overnet and other software versions" and the company would pay $30 million to the RIAA to avoid copyright infringement lawsuits.[10]

In 2007, he purchased the domain with the intent to create a trading site for Magic: The Gathering cards. After moving on from his original idea, McCaleb repurposed the site in late 2010 as a bitcoin exchange that could process bitcoin-to-dollar trades. The website grew in popularity within months.[11] McCaleb sold the company to Mark Karpelès in February 2011 and remained a minority owner in the company until its collapse in 2014.[12][13]

In 2011, McCaleb began developing a digital currency in which transactions were verified by consensus among network members which became known as the Ripple protocol, which differs from the mining technique used in bitcoin.[14] He recruited David Schwartz and secured an investment from Jesse Powell before adding Arthur Britto as the chief strategist. McCaleb recruited Chris Larsen to be CEO of the new company, which became known as Opencoin. He continued development of the Ripple protocol and its currency while securing investments[15] before McCaleb left his active role with the company in July 2013.[11]

In 2014, he co-founded the non-profit organization the Stellar Development Foundation with Joyce Kim[16] to develop the Stellar open source protocol to allow cross-border monetary transactions including fiat and digital currencies.[17][18] The organization debuted on July 31, 2014, and received $3 million loan from the technology company Stripe.[19] The organization originally based its payment network on the Ripple protocol McCaleb previously developed, but in 2015 adopted the Stellar Consensus Protocol.[20] McCaleb serves as chief technology officer of Stellar.[21]

In May 2017, McCaleb also launched, a commercial endeavor building on the Stellar network. Lightyear facilitates Stellar, becoming a global payment and currency exchange initially directed at the developing world.[22] In October 2017, Lightyear partnered with IBM to launch blockchain banking in the South Pacific using Stellar's lumen currency.[23] In September 2018, McCaleb negotiated the merger of Lightyear and, creating the new merged entity named InterStellar.[24]

The New York Times named McCaleb one of the top 10 people leading the blockchain revolution in 2018.[25]

In 2021, McCaleb founded aerospace company Vast. Vast's announced mission is to develop artificial gravity space stations. As of 2023, McCaleb is Vast's CEO and sole funder.[26][27][1]


McCaleb donated US$500,000 worth of XRP (at the time of donation) to the Machine Intelligence Research Institute (MIRI), and remains one of its largest donors,[28] as well as joining its advisory board.[29] In February 2018, McCaleb was announced as a new donor to the artificial intelligence research group OpenAI.[30]


  1. ^ a b "Vast Space Becomes the Newest Member of "Space Beach"". BusinessWire. 2023-01-10. Retrieved 2023-04-06.
  2. ^ Cheng, Evelyn (March 21, 2018). "An early bitcoin pioneer predicts how the blockchain will change banking". CNBC. Retrieved July 1, 2019.
  3. ^ "Forbes". Retrieved March 7, 2023.
  4. ^ McMillan, Robert (September 30, 2013). "Bitcoin Maverick Returns for New Crack at Digital Currency". Wired. Retrieved May 5, 2018.
  5. ^ "The Death of Bitcoin's Mt. Gox".
  6. ^ McCarthy, Caroline (September 27, 2006). "File-sharing site eDonkey kicks it". CNET. Retrieved May 5, 2018.
  7. ^ Helm, Burt (October 24, 2005). "A Hard Ride For eDonkey". Bloomberg. Retrieved May 5, 2018.
  8. ^ Dumez, Christophe (2003-01-29). "Nouveau client officiel eDonkey et interview". Tom's Hardware (in French). Archived from the original on December 4, 2017. Retrieved May 5, 2018.
  9. ^ Cullen, Drew (September 13, 2006). "RIAA drops the dead eDonkey". The Register. Retrieved May 5, 2018.
  10. ^ "EDonkey File-Sharing Network Is Shut Down". Los Angeles Times. September 13, 2006. Retrieved May 5, 2018.
  11. ^ a b McMillan, Robert (September 30, 2013). "Bitcoin Maverick Returns For New Crack at Digital Currency". Wired. Retrieved 19 March 2018.
  12. ^ Farivar, Cyrus (May 1, 2014). "Original Mt. Gox founder: "I lost around $50,000" in site's collapse". Ars Technica. Retrieved May 5, 2018.
  13. ^ McMillan, Robert (March 3, 2014). "The Inside Story of Mt. Gox, Bitcoin's $460 Million Disaster". Wired. Retrieved May 5, 2018.
  14. ^ Reutzel, Bailey (December 7, 2002). "Disruptor Chris Larsen Returns With a Bitcoin-Like Payments System". PaymentsSource. Retrieved 19 March 2018.
  15. ^ Empson, Rip (April 11, 2013). "Now Backed by Andreessen & More, OpenCoin Looks to Build a Better Bitcoin - And a Universal Payment Ecosystem". TechCrunch. Retrieved 19 March 2018.
  16. ^ Shu, Catherine (October 19, 2017). "Led by Stellar Cofounder Joyce Kim, SparkChain Capital is a New $100M Fund for Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Startups". TechCrunch. Retrieved 19 March 2018.
  17. ^ Hackett, Robert (December 6, 2017). "Stripe-Backed Stellar Kicks Off Worldwide Money Transfers". Fortune. Retrieved May 5, 2018.
  18. ^ Brown, Mike (January 2, 2018). "As Ripple Surges, Why STellar Could Be the Next Cryptocurrency to Go Huge". Inverse Innovation. Retrieved 19 March 2018.
  19. ^ del Castillo, Michael (August 1, 2014). "Mt. Gox Founder Raises Unconventional $3M 'Investment' For His All-Star Bitcoin Startup". The Business Journals. Retrieved 19 March 2018.
  20. ^ Simonite, Tom (April 15, 2015). "A New Competitor For Bitcoin Aims to be Faster and Safer". MIT Technology Review. Retrieved 19 March 2018.
  21. ^ Hochstein, Marc; Yurcan, Bryan (May 11, 2017). "This cryptocurrency project is now courting banks". American Banker. Retrieved 2018-03-20.
  22. ^ Roberts, Jeff John (May 11, 2017). "Stripe-Backed Stellar Places a Bet on Blockchain in the Developing World". Fortune. Retrieved 19 March 2018.
  23. ^ Roberst, Jeff John (October 16, 2017). "IBM and Stellar Are Launching Blockchain Banking ACross Multiple Countries". Fortune. Archived from the original on 16 October 2017. Retrieved 19 March 2018.
  24. ^ Chavez-Dreyfuss, Gertrude. "Lightyear buys U.S. blockchain start-up Chain; to move business to..." U.S. Retrieved 2018-10-19.
  25. ^ Popper, Nathaniel (June 27, 2018). "The People Leading the Blockchain Revolution". The New York Times. Retrieved July 1, 2019.
  26. ^ Foust, Jeff (21 February 2023). "Vast acquires Launcher to support space station development". SpaceNews. Retrieved 6 April 2023.
  27. ^ Alamalhodaei, Aria (21 February 2023). "Vast acquires Launcher in quest to build artificial gravity space stations". TechCrunch. Retrieved 6 April 2023.
  28. ^ McBain, Sophie (25 September 2014). "Apocalypse soon: the scientists preparing for the end times". New Statesman. Retrieved 2019-07-01.
  29. ^ Rosenberger, Patrick (2018). Bitcoin und Blockchain: Vom Scheitern einer Ideologie und dem Erfolg einer revolutionären Technik. Berlin: Springer Vieweg. p. 42. doi:10.1007/978-3-662-56088-4. ISBN 978-3-662-56087-7.
  30. ^ Bell, Lee (February 28, 2018). "Elon Musk is leaving board of OpenAI due to Tesla conflict". The Inquirer. Archived from the original on February 22, 2018. Retrieved May 5, 2018.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)

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