There are constantly new tokens, DeFi projects, NFTs collections and DAOs being launched – but how can you make sense of everything going on in the crypto space? From the hype to the scams, TechCrunch senior crypto reporter Jacquelyn Melinek explores the impact of crypto on finance, art, web3, and society as a whole. Whether you’re a fan or a skeptic, every Thursday, Jacquelyn chats with a crypto expert, learning alongside you to break down the nuance behind the wild world of crypto. Chain Reaction is produced by Maggie Stamets with editing by Kell Keller.
Subscribe to the Chain Reaction newsletter to dive deeper: https://techcrunch.com/newsletters
Starbucks Odyssey’s community lead expects NFT brand building to expand this year (w/ Steve Kaczynski)
For this week’s episode, Jacquelyn interviewed Steve Kaczynski, co-author of the book “The Everything Token,” and co-host of a web3 morning show Coffee with Captain.
He also co-authored the first Harvard Business Review article about NFTs and outside of that, he consults with agencies and brands about building their web3 strategies including his role with Starbucks where he is a community lead for its NFT-focused loyalty program, Starbucks Odyssey.
Before getting into the web3 world, Steve worked in communications and marketing roles at places for over 15 years.
Web3 brands and NFTs are on a global race for adoption (w/ Yat Siu)
For this week’s episode, Jacquelyn interviewed Yat Siu, co-founder and executive chairman of Animoca Brands.
Yat co-founded Animoca in 2014 and since then it has invested in over 400 web3 projects across a range of sectors like DeFi, education, infrastructure, blockchain gaming and the metaverse.
Animoca also has its own NFT collections, blockchain products and games like its web3 NFT-based community Mocaverse, the blockchain game and NFT collection REVV Racing, and The Sandbox, a decentralized virtual world with over 40 million mobile installs. The company has also worked with other well known brands and personalities like Disney, WWE, Power Rangers, The Walking Dead, Formula E and Snoop Dogg.
OpenSea’s CEO sees greater opportunity for NFT use cases to grow (w/ Devin Finzer)
This year, Chain Reaction is doing monthly series diving into different topics and themes in crypto. To start things off, this month we’re focusing on NFTs.
For this week’s episode, Jacquelyn interviewed Devin Finzer, the CEO of NFT marketplace OpenSea.
He co-founded OpenSea in 2017 and it quickly climbed to become one of the most well known – and well funded – NFT marketplaces. Two years ago, it raised $300 million in a Series C round at a $13.3 billion post-money valuation, bringing its total capital raised to over $400 million. Some of its investors include firms Andreessen Horowitz and Paradigm as well as celebrities like Kevin Durant and Ashton Kutcher.
Despite the NFT market’s trading volume falling from all time highs in late 2021 early 2022, OpenSea is still pushing forward even though other NFT marketplaces have popped up and challenged their dominance.
SEC Commissioner sees a need for a new Token Safe Harbor Proposal (w/ Hester Peirce)
This week we have a bonus episode with Hester Peirce, commissioner of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Jacquelyn moderated a fireside chat with Commissioner Peirce at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business alongside Eddie Cullen, a former candidate for New York City Mayor in 2021 and co-founder and CEO of Crescite Innovation Corporation.
They discussed a number of timely topics including the SEC’s spot bitcoin ETF approval, policy making to keep crypto innovation alive in the U.S. and the commissioner’s Token Safe Harbor Proposal 2.0 and whether she’s considering a new one.
Read Write Own this episode with a16z’s crypto partner (w/ Chris Dixon)
For this week’s episode, Jacquelyn interviewed Chris Dixon, general partner at venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz (a16z).
Chris has been at the firm since 2012 and founded and leads a16z’s crypto team, which invests in the web3 world through four mega-funds with over $7 billion under management. He’s also an author of the recently released book Read Write Own: Building the Next Era of the Internet.
Prior to a16z, Chris co-founded two startups, SiteAdvisor and Hunch, both were acquired by McAfee in 2006 and eBay in 2011, respectively. He also attended Columbia University for his bachelor of arts degree and masters in philosophy and has an MBA from Harvard University.
Bonus Episode: Worldcoin is going on a race to billions of users “as fast” as it can (w/ Alex Blania)
This is a bonus episode, where Jacquelyn interviewed Alex Blania, CEO and co-founder of Tools for Humanity, in a fireside chat at a StrictlyVC event in San Francisco.
The startup was co-founded by Alex, OpenAI’s Sam Altman and Max Novendstern. To date, it has raised about $250 million from investors like a16z, Bain Capital Crypto and others. It is also the entity that created a crypto-focused project called Worldcoin.
The startup is well-known across the venture capital, AI and crypto spaces for its futuristic-looking Orb device, which scans peoples’ irises then assigns them a “World ID” that lets users access Worldcoin’s application and a digital passport. The verification process aims to prove individuals’ identities and stop anyone from making multiple accounts.
They discussed how Alex got involved in Tools for Humanity over four years ago, how World ID could help improve digital verification during the rise of AI and more.
So good now
I’ve been a listener from the start and the conversations and production quality has only ever improved. Jacquelyn is such a researched host and has provided a lot of clarity for me in the current state of the industry. I’m always most intrigued by episodes with guests I haven’t heard of especially because it feels like an insider’s perspective on an already niche market where you need to know to ‘know.’ Chain Reaction breaks that down and keeps my finger on the pulse. Big recommend
Has become a fave!
Jacquie has a way of asking every question I want to know. This podcasts definitely isn’t just for people obsessed with crypto and web3. It’s a great way to dip your toe in if you’re crypto-curious as they say!
Excellent first episode! Looking forward to many more. Keep it up!