Bitcoin SV Technical Standards Committee member in focus: James Belding
By Liz Louw
Published: September 27, 2021

 
In our new blog series, we introduce you to the members of the Technical Standards Committee (TSC) – those who construct the processes and standards that allow the rest of us to build on a powerful platform and within a highly professional ecosystem. 

In the second edition of our series, we speak to committee member James Belding – Co-founder and CEO at Tokenized

Background information on TSC member James Belding: 
 

Industry
Financial services  
 
Roles
Architect of the Tokenized protocol, product design, engineering, executive duties.  
Belding is an engineer, entrepreneur and ardent supporter of Satoshi Nakamoto’s original vision for Bitcoin.  
 
Belding is the creator of the Tokenized Protocol, an open-source token and smart contract system for the BSV blockchain. He is committed to building universal and easy-to-use tools that help make Bitcoin’s value accessible to society at large.  
 
About Tokenized  
 
Tokenized‘s mission is to use blockchain-based tools to make volunteer exchanges simpler, faster and more affordable. The administration of commercial activities can be slow, difficult to understand, and expensive. The process can be quite wearing on the parties involved, and regardless of the material impact, its outcome with terms and conditions is not fully understood.  
 
Tokenized solves this by creating an application-layer protocol that uses the Bitcoin network to pass and store the data that records commercial actions and events. It offers a platform that brings people together to draft, issue, manage and trade all types of smart contracts and commercial records through the full commercial life cycle.  
 
Belding envisions Tokenized to be much further reaching than just commercial record keeping, as having tokenized contracts makes it possible for business opportunities to exist that were previously not possible.   
 
 
Role within the TSC
Belding joined the TSC during the inception workshop in London in January 2019.   
 
As a solution-oriented person, he mainly wants to focus on token components, which he describes as a heavy topic that can have multiple dead-ends. With his knowledge and experience in this field, he hopes to save time in the standardisation process.  
 
Belding is the Proposer and Sponsor of the Envelope Specification Working Group, which will be the second-ever published standard of the TSC. He plans to continue the work of the working group by proposing an extension to the specification.   
 
He was actively involved in the development of the TSC roadmap, which has just been published, and is also a member of the sub-committee to develop the TSC library.   

Australia, the frontier of BSV blockchain development 

While Belding is Canadian, he has been living in Australia for the last 10 years along with an strikingly large number of BSV developers and business founders. 

‘Right now, Australia is a hub of talent. My theory is that it’s a new frontier, similar to America with its pioneering spirit. It’s not too crowded, it’s resource rich, and there’s room to grow. These conditions seem to draw a lot of talented people.’  

‘Maybe there’s something in the water. Maybe it’s the way the toilets go. But, yes, Australia is punching above its weight in the BSV contest,’ he jokes. 

Other than that, Belding can’t explain the shared nationality of a long list of BSV talents; Elas Digital’s Brendan Lee, Predict Ecology’s Daniel Keane, Jon Sothhurst, MetaStreme and WeatherSV’s Paul Chiari, Metanet’s Eli Afram, TAAL’s Stefan Matthews, Relica’s Daniel Street, Brent Bevear, Dean Little, nChain’s Steve Shadders, Bitcoin Association’s Raylene Wilson and even Dr Craig Wright.  

Involvement in the Satoshi Block Dojo Project  

Belding is listed as an advisor on the Satoshi Blockchain Dojo project. We asked what this role entails and how he would describe the project’s mission. 

‘The idea is that I can help advise on projects that come through. It’s like an incubator and a seed fund. We’re looking to invest in entrepreneurs early in the start-up stage, before the product is built and the market has been fit,’ Belding says. 

A dōjō is a hall or place for immersive learning or meditation. This is traditionally in the field of martial arts, but has been seen increasingly in other fields, such as meditation and software development. The term literally means “place of the Way” in Japanese.

Wikipedia 

‘There are a couple of guys putting the project together – Richard Boase, Craig Massey, and Robin Kohze. Craig is a successful entrepreneur who’s had a number of exits in the tech space, so he’s put his experience and some capital into kicking off the Dojo. He’s identified the pains of starting up a business: the legal work, fundraising, networking and product building. He’s using his experience to systematise the process to help BSV start-ups be as efficient as possible.’ 

From capital consumption and building a product to going to market, the Satoshi Block Dojo is a lucrative opportunity for BSV business and app developers, and a boon for the BSV ecosystem. 

Motivations for joining the TSC 

Why would one devote valuable time and energy to the unpaid position of TSC member? Belding sees it as a win-win opportunity: a gain for the ecosystem as well as his own business. 

‘Technical standards are important, not only for BSV but also for Tokenized. At the heart of what we’re doing is a protocol, and that requires standards to make it useful and for other companies to interoperate with it,’ he says. 

‘The TSC is very helpful to our interests at Tokenized. We want to have a solution that isn’t tied to us only. If our business were to fail, we would want this to be a global standard so others can pick it up. If we succeed, our company will be successful because of it.’ 

The altruism of wanting the BSV blockchain to succeed is well-balanced with self-interest – a sustainability formula that even Ayn Rand would find difficult to fault. 

Looking back at the TSC’s first (almost) two years 

As one of the founding members of the TSC, Belding has been a key part of setting up the structures and organisational processes. What is his impression of the committee’s work and members? 

‘The foundational work makes sure that it’s a world-class organisation that people can have confidence in. The people involved in the TSC all have high integrity, so I’ve got a lot of faith that they’ll be steering the committee in a way that isn’t just good for them, but good for the whole community and industry. I’m proud to be amongst them,’ he says. 

‘The first three standards that have gone through the process have attracted some of the best people in the industry. They’ve all participated and contributed their time voluntarily, and they’ve done a really good job. There’s still a lot of work to be done before we start seeing widespread adoption of our standards, but we’re off to a really good start.’ 

Constructing the processes and technical standards that undergird the BSV platform and ecosystem isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, yet its value is indisputable.  

Hacker, hustler or operator? 

It’s said that every business requires a hacker (someone who can code), a hustler (someone with sales and marketing skills) and an operator (a project implementer). How does Belding classify himself? 

‘I have a pretty good technical sense and have a good sense of how things work, yet I don’t code. I do put myself out there and engage with people to promote Tokenized, so “hustling” is definitely one of my strengths.’  

‘As operator, I’m not good at organising other people effectively, but I am good at setting a framework and building a system within which people can operate. I think of myself more as a system builder rather than an operator: I bring people, technology and the product together to make sure it works like a machine. I’m very sensitive to the mechanics of an operation: how it’s working and where the weak links are.’  

Let’s conclude that Belding is a Jack of all trades and an expert in the mechanical operations of organisations.  

The TSC’s role in the future of blockchain adoption 

With most of the foundational work under its belt, the TSC is starting to implement the processes it has created. What are the committee’s future plans? 

‘We’re still in the planning stages, but it would be great to start getting in the groove and pumping out some standards. In 12 to 18 months’ time, I’d like to see a solid foundation of core standards formalised, fleshed out and the wrinkles ironed out,’ Belding says. 

‘The prospect excites me tremendously, as it will make our lives a lot easier and enable awesome features. At Tokenized, our focus is on integrating the financial system and the blockchain, but after all these years it’s still a pipe dream. If you look at all of the tools that exist, from ourselves to Ethereum, Binance and Cardano, they’re mostly toys. But in 18 to 24 months, BSV is going to be leagues ahead of everyone else and the TSC is going to be major part of that.’ 

As BSV is the only blockchain with a Technical Standards Committee, it’s safe to conclude it has a unique advantage over its competitors. 

Why you should participate in the TSC 

Over time, committee members will retire and new members will have to be recruited. Apart from serving as a committee member, the TSC invites participation in its Working Groups and public review of standards. Who should get involved, and what’s in it for them? 

‘I would encourage anyone who thinks they may gain value by participating in the development of technical standards by reviewing, steering and making sure it fits their use cases to reach out. We’re approachable and provide a lot of support,’ Beldings says. 

‘The TSC contracts technical writers and operators who take care of the organisation so that technical people contribute what they’re really good at without any of the hassles. I want that message to be really clear: it is a really great experience and you can gain a lot of value from it. You will be interacting with really good people. If you’re in a working group, there’s a good chance to meet other people that are interested in what you’re doing and connect with them, build business relationships and make friends.’ 

From administrative resources to networking and the opportunity to further your own business interests, the TSC offers participants just as much as it does to the ecosystem! 

Join the BSV Technical Standards Committee 

If you are interested in participating in the TSC, be sure to register as a contributor so we can let you know about the opportunities that become available. 

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