Announcing the Pillar Project

Meet Max.

Max is a digital native. He uses his phone for most of his daily tasks and his laptop for everything else …

I have been writing about the personal data locker for over 15 years. In 2010, I wrote a book about it …

… and I made this vision video:

My premise is that we don’t need miniature desktop apps in our pockets, we need a mobile personal assistant, able to help solve problems in context. This is something Google and many others are working on, but more and more, we don’t trust big companies with our personal data, especially when the government can require them to hand it over.

Now we can build a system that uses blockchain to safeguard your data, artificial intelligence to help you, and get rid of apps. Wouldn’t that change your life?

The Pillar Vision
The Pillar project will start as an open-source digital wallet to hold all your assets — it starts with cryptocurrencies, but it will extend to your money, assets, financial records, health records, resume, and much more. All the ownership will be on various blockchains, and you’ll have the ownership and the password. Then, you won’t need any accounts — you’ll have services. The Pillar personal assistant will help you find what you’re looking for and interact with many digital services automatically. As you travel, buy things, eat, consume media, use services — your personal data locker will pay your way as you go, without having to log into hundreds of apps.

Think about your phone. Because of Moore’s Law, your phone has become a supercomputer for around $300. But in just ten years, that same functionality will be $30. In that not-too-distant-future, your phone could be very different from what it is today. You could log in via a chip in your ring or watch or under your skin, or it could scan your face and eye, and then the phone comes to life with all your data. BUT — if you lose your phone, just grab mine, look at it, and instantly my phone becomes your phone. Who cares about the hardware? When you get into any car — any car at all — your information instantly “shakes hands” with the car, your insurance is approved, and every kilometer you drive puts information into your personal data locker. Now any car is your car, whether you drive it or the car drives you. No logging in, no accounts, no dealing with vendor systems — it’s your system, and it’s under your control. In this world, the hardware and software become commodities, and you can control what items and services you use in real time as you go.

A few apps are incredibly useful: cameras, calculators, simple games, and a few other utilities will still probably be apps. But many game apps are already gateways to larger gaming communities, so you can imagine apps getting more and more service-like and then many apps just disappearing entirely. Think of bar-code readers and other scanners — they are just an intermediary step. They will disappear, and the data will just flow. You won’t need a messaging app, or banking, or maps, etc. — you’ll just use these services as you need them.

The Pillar system will use its own native utility token, called the pillar (symbol: PLR). The pillar is a meta-token. Tokens are going to be everywhere, used for everything from identity to energy to coffee to golf. The Pillar wallet manages all those tokens for you ‘automagically,’ so you only see and deal with pillars, even though there could be hundreds of tokens underneath. By launching a meta-token, we’re telling consumers they will have a single interface into their digital lives. No more downloads and installs, no more accounts, no more passwords.

The Pillar Project
We’re starting with a wallet, but we’re aiming for iOS and Android. Look at your phone — all your apps are miniature desktop apps that trap your data and keep your credit-card number on their servers. The apps don’t talk to each other, so when you want to do something, you end up using several apps. The Pillar system has no apps. It uses tokens, smart contracts, and a growing ecosystem of online services that let you pull the information you want, find what you’re looking for, buy what you need, manage the ownership, and interact with hundreds of other systems easily. Walk into a new doctor’s office — all the paperwork, test results, prescriptions, billing, and insurance are taken care of automatically, without filling out any forms. We envision all consumer devices and wearables being powered by the Pillar wallet.”

Pillar is staffed by a group of 30+ volunteers who are part of the Twenty Thirty blockchain community. The founders include David Siegel, Tomer Sofinzon, Yogesh Gaikwad, and Vitor Py. Advisors to the project include Doc Searls, Richard Titus, Kirt McMaster, Phil Windley, Kaliya Hamlin, Efi Pylarinou, Anish Mohammed, Thomas Power, and others. After a successful fundraise, the team will set up London’s first blockchain-only innovation center. We hope you’ll come visit, learn more, and join us.

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