He's SA's single most influential person in the world of cryptocurrency, yet you've probably never heard of him. Riccardo Spagni is lead developer of a cryptocurrency or "coin" called Monero, with a market capitalisation of more than $2bn (R28bn) in mid-2018. Its value fell by half in a recent crypto crash that included market leader bitcoin, but it's still worth more than six times what it was just two years ago. Spagni, who lives in Plettenberg Bay, is also co-founder of Tari, a protocol for managing digital assets like loyalty points and virtual tokens, using the decentralised ledger technology called blockchain. The tale of how he came to be the steward of Monero is the stuff of cloak-and-dagger drama. All cryptocurrencies depend on their communities of users and developers for their evolution. When the original founder attempted to merge what in 2014 was called BitMonero with a coin regarded as a scam, Spagni led a revolt of developers who "forked" it into a new version of the ...

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