Meet the Team: Dieter Shirley on Cryptography and Strawberry Jam

May 10, 2020

Who are you?

I’m Dieter Shirley, the CTO of Dapper Labs and the Chief Architect of Flow. I was the co-creator of CryptoKitties and the creator of ERC-721.

What lured you into the world of blockchain?

A friend of mine, who knew I was interested in cryptography, shared the Bitcoin Whitepaper with me in 2011, and I’ve really been hooked ever since. Cryptography and economics were both minor hobbies of mine before then, and having them brought together with my profession as a software engineer was just more than I could resist!

How did you get hooked on Flow?

Well, it seems like a silly question to ask the person who came up with the idea, but it actually isn’t. It’s one thing to think “let’s build a blockchain”, but it’s another thing entirely to have the passion and dedication it takes to bring a whole new blockchain architecture to life!

In short, Flow is the blockchain I wished someone else would have built. Building CryptoKitties taught us a lot about blockchain: its strengths, its potential, and its limitations. We had some unique ideas about how to overcome those limitations (scale) to tap into the potential without losing the strengths (decentralization and composability). The result is Flow, and I couldn’t be happier with how it’s turning out.

What should I read next?

The Tendermint paper is remarkably easy to read (for an academic paper!), and if you take the time to really understand it, you will gain a remarkable appreciation for how “BFT Consensus” works, and why it’s so hard.

What’s better PBJ or PBB?
Strawberry jam, every time. Even an optimally ripe banana (which is a hell of a thing to find) can’t quite offset the stickiness of the peanut butter. But a proper strawberry preserve let’s the earthiness of the PB shine through, without letting it gum up your whole mouth.

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