Andy Yen is the CEO of Proton, a privacy-focused company that has established a new encrypted email service. Now, the firm is working on bringing outside privacy tools onboard, some of which stem from bitcoin and blockchain technology.
Andy Yen On Bringing BTC to the Table
Yen sat down to an interview in which he discussed how he sees his company interacting with bitcoin and the growing crypto space in the coming years. He mentioned he’s a fan of bitcoin, and he would like to see the crypto adoption that’s become so prominent over the past year or so become even bigger. He stated:
We’ve been long-time supporters of bitcoin from the very beginning… It’s a means of independence. For the space to survive, for privacy to thrive, you need to be able to be independent. You need to be not under the control of big tech or even the banking system. This level of independence really needs to be there for you to really do what is best for users all the time. That’s why we also support crypto, and we support it as a payment method. I, personally, would like to see more adoption of cryptocurrencies because I think that’s something that leads us to a world where things are less centralized. Centralization is a very big risk because it means a single company can essentially cut you off and kill you. Resilient systems must be decentralized. We are building a platform or an ecosystem, but we are working as much as possible to be part of a broader ecosystem because we know we can’t do it alone.
Big Tech Is an Issue
One of the biggest dangers Yen believes is infiltrating society right now is the development of big tech monopolies. Companies like Google, Facebook, and Apple, for example, have provided examples of how they’re able to misuse or manipulate people’s sensitive information, and Yen is looking to offset some of these effects through Proton. He says:
There are acquisitions within the privacy space. The Zoom/Keybase acquisition was a very specific one. It was to try to repair the security and privacy reputation [of Zoom] that took quite a big hit last year. From the perspective of Proton, our business model doesn’t allow us to be acquired by Google and become part of big tech. It simply isn’t possible. It would undermine our value proposition and I think if you are building businesses in privacy that is something to keep in mind. Every so often, a lot of people start companies solely for the purpose of selling them, and the usual buyers in the past were big tech. That avenue isn’t possible for privacy companies, and I think that is a good thing because if it were possible, then big tech would just own everything, and you would have a competition issue.