What Is Mastercoin? A Talk With Executive Director Ron Gross

Mastercoin: Multiple assets negotiated on the Bitcoin platform.

Mastercoin: Multiple assets negotiated on the Bitcoin platform.

The basic functionality of Bitcoin is to store, send and receive the digital currency, but on top of this other functionality can be added to support what are called smart contracts and smart property.

The idea is to eventually provide services like lending, property registries, distributed exchanges, share IPO’s and more all on top of the Bitcoin network that not only includes the block chain, but also an ever increasing information processing capacity through the Bitcoin miners.

In this interview Ron Gross talks about one of the projects seeking to create these new protocols to expand the functionality of Bitcoin: Mastercoin.

We spoke about:

- Ron’s background and role in Mastercoin.
- What is Mastercoin?
- Is it formally organized as a non-profit?
- Is the protocol open source?
- What is the Mastercoin currency?
- What functionality is being built on top of Bitcoin?
- How does it use the Bitcoin block chain?

Please watch the video below:

About Donald McIntyre

From stock broker to internet entrepreneur, to financial adviser, to Newfination! Donald McIntyre started his career on Wall Street in 1992 working as an Investment Consultant for UBS Securities and then for Smith Barney Inc. In 1999 he started Dineronet.com, a financial portal for Latin America, with the support of investors SoftBank and Carlos Slim. In 2002 Donald started McIntyre S.A. to provide financial advisory services to Carlos Slim’s Inbursa and after 2004 opened the practice to private clients. In January of 2013 he started Newfination to help consumers discover the best new finance services to manage their money.

9 thoughts on “What Is Mastercoin? A Talk With Executive Director Ron Gross

  1. Hi Donald:     
    Thanks for the interview with Mr. R Gross of Mastercoin.   
    One idea that surfaced is the possibility of positioning Newfination as a Cryptocurrency financial advisor. I would be interested in this aspect, athough it looks like Moneero may have a good approach as far as educating users about the pragmatics of Bitcoin.
    Best wishes,
    Harold Glascock

  2. Dear Donald:le
    While I am concerned about the Mastercoin Parser and any opportunity to manipulate it (as I posted to Newfination’s Google + account) I do understand that I would be responsible for writing the code that would effect a Smart Property instance in the MC protocol layer.
    Does this mean that MC is agnostic and/or completely removed from liability if something goes off the rails because of blockchain bloat or bad karma by a privileged MC programmer? 
    Yes, these are Qs I need to ask Mr. Gross directly, I know.
    Seems like Coinsetter and Mastercoin are similar to the extent that both are ‘kind of’ derivatives. Do you agree? Of course, Coinsetter comes with more fiat protection in place while MC is stealthy healthy but I still don’t thoroughly understand how the distributed exchange works even though I guess it would enable/facilitate offsetting positions in currency and/or commodities versus Bitcoin trades.

    All the best,
    Harold
    P.S. I drank an Arg Cab S in your honor a couple of nights ago. Seems like Chile has much higher vino visibility in Nippon than Argentina. Wonder whether the Embassy is promoting hard enough?

  3. Hello HaroldGlascock I will ask Ron or someone from the Mastercoin community to answer this. Salud for the Malbec! Chile has done much more marketing globally and the problem with Argentina wines is that 95% are consumed internally in Argentina! Remember we only eat meat and drink wine!These are the only two ingredients of our diet.

  4. Mr. McIntyre does an admirable job of trying to get an explanation of what MasterCoin is, and what the vision for it is.   The interviewee paints a very abstract picture, showing that basically, MasterCoin is just a pie in the sky and doesn’t actually exist. 
    Perhaps in the future, it may exist and be able to do something, but it definitely doesn’t do anything now, and is just a dream.  And not a very well articulated dream either.

  5. hnaparst All initiatives, when they start, are a “pie in the sky”. People invest money in early stage companies because they value the vision, leadership and execution, and believe the company can implement the vision. Those who do not, do not invest. It is quite simple.
    For a more articulated form of this dream, see my full presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gPGE9Icv4B0&feature=youtu.be
    and https://www.dropbox.com/s/u43ylvjvqf0p9f7/Mastercoin%20Status%20Nov%202013.pptx
    You’re also welcome to http://talk.mastercoin.org/ to engage and discuss.

  6. hnaparst hnaparst All initiatives, when they start, are a “pie in the sky”. People invest money in early stage companies because they value the vision, leadership and execution, and believe the company can implement the vision. Those who do not, do not invest. It is quite simple.
    For a more articulated form of this dream, see my full presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gPGE9Icv4B0&feature=youtu.be
    and https://www.dropbox.com/s/u43ylvjvqf0p9f7/Mastercoin%20Status%20Nov%202013.pptx
    You’re also welcome to http://talk.mastercoin.org/ to engage and discuss.

  7. HaroldGlascock Thank you for your questions.
    Mastercoin cannot be liable for anything, because it is a protocol, not a legal entity … just like Bitcoin is not responsible for crimes committed by Silk Road and its users / operators.
    The Mastercoin Foundation is supporting the development of open source software and are not operating any service, and thus are not legally liable. We are assembling a legal team to help define that in proper terms.
    As an issuer of Smart Property, you need to do all legal checks in your own region. You should consult with you own attorney (we will provide assistance in key locations throughout the world including the U.S)
    Coinsetter is a service provider. Mastercoin is a layer on top of which people can implement various mechanisms. I do not find them that similar.
    Please check out my presentation:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gPGE9Icv4B0&feature=youtu.be
    and https://www.dropbox.com/s/u43ylvjvqf0p9f7/Mastercoin%20Status%20Nov%202013.pptx
    You’re also welcome to http://talk.mastercoin.org/ to engage and discuss.

  8. ripper234 hnaparst The 1.5 hour presentation where you are standing in front of the screen is incomprehensible.  The powerpoint deck is also too abstract to get anything from.
    I maintain that Mastercoin has not articulated a vision beyond “A layer on top of Bitcoin”.  This is not a vision.  
    Thank you for your advice on investing.  I am also a venture capitalist.  I even listened to the 30 minute presentation to the VCs.  I did not hear any concrete evidence of a plan or vision.  
    A “distributed exchange”  does not mean anything to me.  That you want to embed information in the blockchain is clear.  But since the blockchain is downloaded to every client, the amount of information in the blockchain is quite limited.  It is very unclear how you plan to use the blockchain as a generalized database for the world and embed that within the blockchain, which is an incredibly slow database.

  9. hnaparst ripper234 Sorry about the less than perfect video, we’ll do better next time. Perhaps this version will be better - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-udT6NVl1E

    Lite clients will use backend “blockchain servers” in the same way that Electrum clients work with Bitcoin – the clients do not need to hold all the information. They can work with a grid of servers e.g. Obelisk Servers (https://github.com/spesmilo/obelisk). 

    The project is just at it’s very early stages, a lot of infrastructure needs to be built. FYI high frequency trading is definitely not our focus here, and the standard bitcoin block time of 10 minutes is quite sufficient for most operations / confirmations. 10 minutes aren’t required for every operation, just like in bitcoin you have instant transactions for most operations, but are encouraged to wait more for additional security.

    A distributed exchange is a p2p system that enables every client to exchange some form of value for another, without a central control point. Form of values include bitcoins, mastercoins, smart property, CFDs/backed currencies, loans, bets and more.

    You’re welcome to ask more questions at bitcoin.stackexchange.com, Quora, or talk.mastercoin.org