Amir Taaki is a busy guy. Between working on new Bitcoin technologies, the British-Iranian software developer finds time to churn out projects that could impact trade, communication, national security, transparency, and pretty much everything else, not to mention stir controversy.
Taaki doesn't see these as isolated projects, but as part of something bigger. "With the future we're heading towards, we need to have these tools that we can use to live," he told me.
PayPub is a Bitcoin-powered app that financially incentivises people to leak documents, be they classified government secrets or corporate documents. DarkMarket is a prototype of an online marketplace similar to Silk Road that can't be shut down owing to its decentralised model. The layer underneath this, and the piece of technology that could have the most impact, is Dark Wallet, a browser plug-in that aims to make anonymous, secure Bitcoin transactions easy for anyone to carry out.
At the moment, Taaki and the Dark Wallet team—which also includes 3D-printed gun enthusiast turned Bitcoin evangelist Cody Wilson—are attempting to develop a ground layer to allow anyone in the world to use Bitcoin. But his hope ultimately is that people will be able to use the technology to form self-governing communities. I got in touch to find out more about Taaki's big picture.
It takes a couple of days to get hold of him. Primarily based in London, he hops from one continent to another, invited to collaborate on various projects or to enter programming competitions. I get a mobile number to ring while he's in Paris, where he says Mozilla are trying to get his Dark Wallet app onto a $25 phone they're developing. "That's massive because you now have anonymous Bitcoin on a [cheap] phone," he said. "It gives them access to a global market."