Geek of the Week: Stefan Thomas, CEO of Coil

Wouldn’t it be nice if content creators could get paid for their work instead of having to bombard you with ads or become part of a subscription collective? Stefan Thomas certainly thinks so, which led to the entrepreneur’s development of a tech company called Coil. Located in San Francisco, Coil is concerned with implementing a system by which content creators are paid in microtransactions for the visits and traffic their content develops. Stefan had made a name for himself when he worked on the cryptocurrency Ripple. The current payment protocol that Coil intends to use is called Interledger and was developed in combination with another of his peers from Ripple. Stefan’s journey to the CEO of Coil is a long one, but a few of his characteristics shine through.

After starting a degree in Economics and Computer Science at Berufsakademie Stuttgart, Stefan dropped out of the program, citing a lack of freedom to pursue what he wanted to do in the field. He switched over to the Open University and got his Bachelor of Arts in Business Studies in 2014. At that time, he was already working as the CTO of the cryptocurrency Ripple, having landed that job in October of 2012. In 2018, Stefan left Ripple along with intern Ben Sharifan to start working on Interledger. Coil came about as a means of utilizing Interledger. Stefan thinks that Interledger has the potential to be a tremendous idea, and wants Coil to be among the flagship companies that start using it as a payment protocol first of all. Ripple notes the work that Stefan has put in, and has recognized and praised his efforts. Coil will be utilizing Ripple’s XRP currency as a method of payment. Still, Interledger aims to go beyond the limitations of currencies and cryptos, to offer a payment methodology that can easily change currencies between one or more different systems.

In an interview that delved into the intricacies of Interledger Protocol, Stefan mentioned that he and his team learned a lot about payment systems going forward. What he did note is that, in creating Interledger, they noted the current struggles that cryptocurrency and other payment systems have been having consistently since their inception. Interledger was developed to provide a better way for regular people to do business, incorporating all the best practices that larger financial organizations such as VISA and Mastercard have pioneered through their own networks. Stefan stated that Interledger’s goal was to provide a system that ensured that regardless of how entrepreneurs or businesses wanted to be paid, there would be a system of ensuring that they could transfer finances quickly between different payment systems.

Stefan’s development of Interledger shows that he considers the interconnection of people to be the primary goal. By focusing on bringing technology to bear on the challenges that both business people and private citizens have to deal with, he hopes to create an environment that can benefit everyone in the world today. Coil, is the first step in introducing Interledger to the world, is doing an excellent job of encouraging people to use Interledger. Depending on its success, we might see more small and medium companies start adopting it as a method of payment that’s more cost-effective than existing methodologies.