Emzy is a well-known and respected server infrastructure provider, best known for his involvement in the Electrum and the Mempool.space projects. We recorded this interview in September 2022, during the first day of the Baltic Honeybadger conference in Riga. For everyone watching the video version of this interview, I must apologize in advance for the bad lighting in the room which sometimes makes the camera go out of focus.
In the first part of the interview, Emzy and I talk about his contributions to the Mempool.space Bitcoin blockchain explorer and also explore the topic of open source projects and why they matter. Then we compare Mempool with Blockchain.info and Blockstream.info, the two main competitors which find themselves on different sides of the spectrum – the former is too basic and shitcoiny, while the latter is too technical and geeky. As Emzy will tell you, Mempool is the perfect middle ground between the two other popular services.
In the second part of the interview, we also discuss the recent introduction of a Lightning network explorer and what the data means. Naturally, the conversation gets sidetracked by legitimate concerns about data collection – if Blockchain.info monetizes user input with third parties to finance the development and sustainability of its servers, does Mempool.space do the same? Emzy reassures us that there’s currently no tracking or data collection on the side of Mempool.space – and you don’t have to trust them, as you can run your own instance on top of a Bitcoin node.
Last but not least, Emzy and I talk about finding work in the Bitcoin space. Both of us agree that bear markets are the best time to get a job working on a resilient and long term thinking project related to Bitcoin. If bull markets, bring the quantity (lots of jobs to keep up with the increased demand), then the bulls take us back to focusing on quality and rationalization of our intentions.
Throughout the podcast, Emzy’s dedication to the Bitcoin community shines through. He’s candid, open, and willing to share some of his experiences.
Listen to Emzy on Apple Podcasts, Spotify & YouTube!
Generally, I recommend options that don’t collect data about your podcast consumption – including IP address, e-mail accounts, and other internet traffic information which may point out to your identity. So if you’d like to enjoy a privacy-friendly experience, then I strongly advise you to use this free player and open it in Tor browser.
Not only that you get the same options you find in big tech options, but you can also download the episode audio for offline listening. Who knows, this might be the perfect time to dust off your internet-free iPod Nano for morning jogs or meditative evening walks.
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Below, you can also find the YouTube video recording with time stamps for the most important moments in our conversation. Hope you’ll enjoy this one!
Vlad introduces Emzy and talks about his involvement in the Mempool.space project.
Emzy’s involvement in Mempool.space [00:02:15]:
Vlad and Emzy discuss Emzy’s early involvement in the Mempool.space project and how it compares to other blockchain explorers like blockchain.info and blockstream.info.
Emzy’s contribution to Mempool.space [00:04:28]:
Emzy talks about his contribution to the Mempool.space project, including running his own instance of Mempool.space and helping with networking and scaling.
Importance of open-source projects [00:05:24]:
Emzy emphasizes the importance of open-source projects like Mempool.space and why he prefers to work on them.
Mempool.space’s unique features [00:07:06]:
Vlad and Emzy discuss Mempool.space’s unique features, including its visual representation of Bitcoin transactions and blocks and its accuracy in predicting when transactions will be confirmed.
Other blockchain explorers [00:07:49]:
Emzy briefly mentions other blockchain explorers and their usefulness for certain tasks, but emphasizes the goal of Mempool.space to provide a comprehensive and trustworthy source of information for Bitcoin users.
Running Mempool.space on personal nodes [00:09:44]:
Vlad and Emzy discuss the ability to run Mempool.space on personal nodes, allowing users to access information without relying on third-party websites.
Different implementations in Mempool.space [00:09:53]:
Vlad and Emzy discuss different implementations in Mempool.space and plans for future additions.
Promotion of Wasabi Wallet, Cryptosteel, BumBee, and ShopinBit.
Introduction to Mempool.space’s Lightning Explorer [00:14:41]:
Vlad introduces Mempool.space’s Lightning Explorer and its comparison with other explorers.
Development of Mempool.space’s Lightning Explorer [00:15:35-00:16:53]:
Vlad and Emzy discuss the development process of Mempool.space’s Lightning Explorer and its features.
Data usage and privacy concerns in Mempool.space [00:19:40]:
Vlad and Emzy discuss data usage and privacy concerns in Mempool.space and the project’s philosophy on advertisements.
Data Collection and Tracking [00:20:37]:
Emzy explains that Mempool.space does not collect any data from users and has no third-party tracking. They only track the number of visitors to the page for their own use.
Trust in Server Honesty [00:23:24]:
Vlad asks Emzy why anyone should trust the servers of Mempool.space. Emzy explains that it is impossible to prove the honesty of the servers, but users can trust them based on their reputation and the fact that they do not sell user data.
Running Electrum Servers [00:24:28]:
Vlad and Emzy discuss the use of Electrum servers and why Emzy runs them. Emzy explains that he started running them for personal use and decided to make them public to help others.
Emzy’s Bitcoin Journey [00:29:52]:
Emzy talks about his decision to quit his day job and work in Bitcoin full-time, and how it compares to his experience during the dot-com bubble.
Finding the Right Bitcoin Project [00:34:42]:
Vlad and Emzy discuss the process of finding the right project in the Bitcoin space, and the importance of taking risks and committing to the project.
Demand for Work in the Bitcoin Space [00:37:19]:
Vlad and Emzy talk about the current demand for work in the Bitcoin space, and how it has grown over the past few years. They also discuss the importance of conviction and commitment to the project.
Running Mempool.space and Lightning Explorer [00:38:33]:
Emzy talks about the importance of having a full Mempool.space and the upcoming Lightning Explorer. They also discuss the unpredictability of Bitcoin transactions and the difficulty of predicting future transactions.
Connecting with Emzy and Running Your Own Node [00:41:31]:
Emzy shares his Twitter handle and how to connect with his Bitcoin services. He recommends the Raspiblitz project for those interested in running their own node and becoming more sovereign in their Bitcoin usage. The discussion also touches on the future of finance and the potential for Raspberry Pis to play a larger role.
Trying Lightning Wallets [00:46:51]:
Vlad and Emzy discuss non-custodial Lightning wallets like Phoenix, Breeze, and Moon, and encourage listeners to try them out before committing to running their own Lightning node.
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