Jed McCaleb is a distinguished American programmer, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. With his exceptional skills and innovative mind, McCaleb has founded multiple companies that have significantly impacted the tech industry. Currently, he serves as the CEO of aerospace startup Vast and the CTO of Stellar, a global payment network.
Early Life and Education
Born in Fayetteville, Arkansas, McCaleb’s academic journey took him to the University of California, Berkeley. His passion for technology and innovation led him to leave college and move to New York City, where he would soon make significant contributions to the tech world.
McCaleb’s career is marked by the establishment of groundbreaking companies and technologies. In 2000, he founded MetaMachine Inc., releasing the eDonkey2000 application. This platform grew to support over 4 million active users and became a pioneer in the peer-to-peer file-sharing space.
The next significant milestone came in 2007 when McCaleb purchased the domain Mtgox.com. Originally intended for trading Magic: The Gathering cards, he transformed it into a bitcoin exchange in 2010, which rapidly grew in popularity.
In 2011, McCaleb ventured into digital currencies, developing the Ripple protocol. This innovation differed from Bitcoin, as transactions were verified by consensus among network members. This venture led to the establishment of Opencoin, later renamed Ripple, where McCaleb served as CTO until 2013.
In 2014, McCaleb co-founded the Stellar Development Foundation, further innovating the global payment network. Stellar allows cross-border monetary transactions, supporting both fiat and digital currencies.
In addition to his work in digital currencies, McCaleb has expanded into aerospace. In 2021, he founded Vast, a company with the mission to develop artificial gravity space stations. By 2023, McCaleb has taken on the role of CEO and is the sole funder of Vast.
McCaleb’s philanthropy is as noteworthy as his technological innovations. He has generously donated to the Machine Intelligence Research Institute (MIRI), where he is also an advisory board member. Further, McCaleb supports artificial intelligence research as a donor to OpenAI.
With a net worth of US$2.4 billion as of March 2023, McCaleb’s influence spans multiple industries, and he continues to be a leading figure in technology and philanthropy.