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Venmo Trust and The Blockchain

One of the ideas I am most proud of contributing to was “Trust” on Venmo. Part of Andrew Kortina and Iqram Magdon-Ismail’s original version of Venmo, the idea was to allow people who signed up for Venmo to “trust” (vs. friend or follow) other users. That gave the trusted person the ability to withdraw money from other users’ bank accounts at will, which made transacting with trusted friends easier and—more importantly—created a new type of micro-credit.

Venmo trust was a very disruptive idea that never quite made it to the mainstream. But I am increasingly convinced that one of the best use cases for blockchain is to re-implement what Venmo tried to do in a centralized way almost a decade ago. In doing so, this would provide a framework for peer-to-peer credit and monetary expansion.  

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This web of consumer trust would allow people to directly borrow potentially large sums of money from each other in aggregate by borrowing small amounts of money from many different people.