29 episodes

It seems that the future of blockchain industry can go down very different paths, and each path has its group of hard core believers. They can’t all be right. Perhaps by hearing the experts debate, the rest of us can compare their reasoning and see the future a bit more clearly. Whether you’re a builder or investor, whether you consider yourself blockchain-savvy or blockchain-curious, if you want to hear all arguments before predicting the future of blockchain, this podcast is for you. Follow our twitter at @blockdebate. Host: Richard Yan (@gentso09). See you soon! Consensus optional, proof of thought required.

The Blockchain Debate Podcast Richard Yan

    • Technology
    • 4.9 • 19 Ratings

It seems that the future of blockchain industry can go down very different paths, and each path has its group of hard core believers. They can’t all be right. Perhaps by hearing the experts debate, the rest of us can compare their reasoning and see the future a bit more clearly. Whether you’re a builder or investor, whether you consider yourself blockchain-savvy or blockchain-curious, if you want to hear all arguments before predicting the future of blockchain, this podcast is for you. Follow our twitter at @blockdebate. Host: Richard Yan (@gentso09). See you soon! Consensus optional, proof of thought required.

    Motion: Security is about maximizing the minimum set of colluding miners (Anatoly Yakovenko vs. Dankrad Feist)

    Motion: Security is about maximizing the minimum set of colluding miners (Anatoly Yakovenko vs. Dankrad Feist)

    Guests:

    Anatoly Yakovenko (twitter.com/aeyakovenko)
    Dankrad Feist (twitter.com/dankrad)
    Host:

    Richard Yan (twitter.com/gentso09)


    Today’s motion is “Security is about maximizing the minimum set of colluding miners.”

    This is a mouthful. The minimum set of colluding miners is the smallest cartel of dishonest block producers you need to attack a network. Maximizing that set is about increasing the size of such a successful cartel, essentially making it harder for block producers to collude. Note this debate statement leaves out full nodes. And that’s the essence of this debate: Are they important in securing the network?

    So, to get more context on this, take a look at a recent blogpost by Vitalik Buterin on limits to blockchain scalability. This article instigated the sparring between our guests on Twitter, and led to today’s debate. In his article, Vitalik argued that the ability for consensus nodes to collude and do bad things should be held in check by full nodes. And therefore, there’s a strong need for regular users to be able to run full nodes. 

    Today’s debate is essentially an examination of the validity of that statement. Is security about maximizing the minimum set of colluding miners (aka increasing the smallest number of consensus nodes required to censor or collude), or should we also worry about making sure to onboard more full nodes?

    The two debaters today are from Solana and ETH 2, respectively. When it comes to ensuring security of the network, they disagree on how important it is to make it easy to run full nodes.

    The debate took a major detour. The two debaters were very passionate about their respective projects and went down the rabbit hole several times pointing out potential weaknesses they see in each other’s designs. I decided to keep all of that in, because one way or another, those discussions found their way back to the topic at hand.

    If you’re into crypto and like to hear two sides of the story, be sure to also check out our previous episodes. We’ve featured some of the best known thinkers in the crypto space.

    If you would like to debate or want to nominate someone, please DM me at @blockdebate on Twitter.

    Please note that nothing in our podcast should be construed as financial advice.

    Source of select items discussed in the debate (and supplemental material):
    Multicoin article on Solana’s decentralization: https://multicoin.capital/2021/05/25/technical-scalability-creates-social-scalability/Solana’s dashboard for validators and full nodes: https://solanabeach.io/Dankrad Feist article on full nodes: https://dankradfeist.de/ethereum/2021/05/20/what-everyone-gets-wrong-about-51percent-attacks.htmlVitalik Buterin’s article on the limits of blockchain scaling: https://vitalik.ca/general/2021/05/23/scaling.html

    Guest bios:

    Anatoly is founder and CEO of Solana, a layer-1 public blockchain built for scalability without sacrificing decentralization or security, and in particular, without sharding. He was previously a software engineer at Dropbox, Mesosphere and Qualcomm.

    Dankrad Feist is a researcher at the Ethereum Foundation, working on ETH 2.0. He was previously an engineer for Palantir, and co-founded a healthcare startup named Cara Care.

    • 1 hr 25 min
    Motion: The US urgently needs to catch up on Central Bank Digital Currency (Robert Hockett vs. Lawrence White)

    Motion: The US urgently needs to catch up on Central Bank Digital Currency (Robert Hockett vs. Lawrence White)

    Guests:

    Bob Hockett (twitter.com/rch371)
    Larry White (twitter.com/lawrencehwhite1)

    Host:

    Richard Yan (twitter.com/gentso09)


    Today’s motion is “The US urgently needs to catch up on CBDC.”
    Central Bank Digital Currencies are sort of like government-run Paypal accounts. They allow the government to do scalpel-like fiscal policies more easily, such as airdropping cash to citizens and stimulating spending.

    At the same time, CBDC could also allow the government to track individual spending behaviors.

    China is obviously leading the effort in CBDC adoption for all major countries. As of recording time, it’s already run multiple trials in various major cities. This has spurred a debate as to whether the US should follow suit.

    We discussed:

    * CBDC and privacy

    * The consensus from the right and the left on the importance of CBDC, but the lack of urgency for implementation

    * Countries adopting Bitcoin as a legal tender

    * Hype vs reality: The possibility of China's CBDC becoming a currency to settle international trade and therefore be a real threat to USD

    * CBDC's potential cannibalization of private banks
     

    If you would like to debate or want to nominate someone, please DM me at @blockdebate on Twitter.
    Please note that nothing in our podcast should be construed as financial advice.


    Source of select items discussed in the debate (and supplemental material):
    Bob's article explaining his position: https://thehill.com/opinion/technology/497427-americas-digital-sputnik-momentLarry's article explaining his position: https://www.cato.org/cato-journal/spring/summer-2021/should-state-or-market-provide-digital-currency


    Guest bios: 

    Bob Hockett is a professor at Cornell Law School, focusing on Corporate Law and Financial Regulation. He is a fellow of the Century Foundation and a regular commissioned author for the New America Foundation. Bob also does regular consulting work for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the International Monetary Fund, Americans for Financial Reform, the 'Occupy' Cooperative, and a number of federal and state legislators and local governments. He is the author of the book “Financing the Green New Deal: A Plan of Action and Renewal.”
    Larry White is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute’s Center for Monetary and Financial Alternatives. He is also a professor of economics at George Mason University. He has written five books on banking and monetary policy, including The Clash of Economic Ideas, The Theory of Monetary Institutions, and Free Banking in Britain. He is editor and co-editor of various publications, including Renewing the Search for a Monetary Constitution and The History of Gold and Silver. He also writes regularly for the Center for Monetary and Financial Alternatives publication called Alt‐​M.

    • 1 hr 34 min
    Motion: Trustless smart contracts for Bitcoin is impossible without forking (Ruben Somsen vs. Muneeb Ali)

    Motion: Trustless smart contracts for Bitcoin is impossible without forking (Ruben Somsen vs. Muneeb Ali)

    Guests:

    Ruben Somsen (twitter.com/SomsenRuben)
    Muneeb Ali (twitter.com/muneeb)

    Host:

    Richard Yan (twitter.com/gentso09)


    Today’s motion is “Trustless smart contracts for bitcoin are impossible without forks.”
    A few projects have been known to try to bring smart contracts to bitcoin. But are they doing this in a way as you understand it? This episode explores this question. We pitted a bitcoin developer against the founder of Stacks, and you can draw your own conclusions after listening.
    We discussed:

    * How Stacks differentiates itself from other projects that also operate at the intersection of bitcoin and smart contracts. 

    * Whether there is a trustless way to fully utilize bitcoin on the STX chain.

    * The robustness of the reward mechanism for staking STX (or “stacking”) in return for rewards in BTC. 

    * We also went off course a bit and spent a significant amount of time discussing adoption of Stacks in the bitcoin community, since Stacks introduced yet another altcoin, generally not something welcomed by the bitcoiners.

    If you would like to debate or want to nominate someone, please DM me at @blockdebate on Twitter.
    Please note that nothing in our podcast should be construed as financial advice.


    Source of select items discussed in the debate (and supplemental material):
    Stacks 2.0 Whitepaper: https://blog.stacks.co/stacks-2-whitepaperRuben Somsen’s work: tiny.cc/somsenSpacechain explainer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UY8CDEpg5_UUnhashed podcast: https://www.unhashedpodcast.com
    Guest bios: 

    Ruben Somsen is a self-proclaimed Bitcoin Sorcerer. He does protocol design in order to enhance Bitcoin. He has previously proposed softchains, statechains and spacechains for Bitcoin. He also helps maintain the bitcoin-dev mailing list, and is co-host of the Unhashed Podcast. Lastly, he is organizer/founder of the Seoul Bitcoin Meetup.

    Dr. Muneeb Ali is the founder of Stacks, a decentralized network that brings apps and smart contracts to Bitcoin. He serves as the CEO of Hiro a company that builds developer tools for the Stacks blockchain. He has raised $75 million USD in funding from investors like Union Square Ventures, Y Combinator, Lux Capital, Winklevoss Capital, and others. 

    • 1 hr 47 min
    Motion: NFTs are dumb (Edmund Schuster vs. Andrew Steinwold, co-host: Maria Shen)

    Motion: NFTs are dumb (Edmund Schuster vs. Andrew Steinwold, co-host: Maria Shen)

    Guests:

    Edmund Schuster (twitter.com/edmund_schuster)
    Andrew Steinwold (twitter.com/andrewsteinwold)
    Host:

    Richard Yan (twitter.com/gentso09)
    Special co-host: Maria Shen (twitter.com/mariashen)

    Today’s motion is “NFTs are dumb.”
    Non Fungible Tokens have taken the world by storm. A transaction in NFT is a transaction in some sort of digital ownership. Or as the Bloomberg columnist Matt Levine put it, “digital ostentation.” As the new owner of the NFT of a song or a jpeg, you don’t have exclusionary access to the 0’s and the 1’s that make up the digital object. But there is still scarcity ascribed to the thing you’re buying, because the seller promises to only do this transaction a small number of times.
    So as a buyer, you may feel good about a special bond you have now formed with the seller - in general an artist. Or you can signal to the world that you have deep enough pockets to have made such a transaction.
    In our debate today, on one side, we have a London School of Economics professor who is both a staunch no-coiner and an NFT bear. On the other, we have a founding partner of a NFT dedicated fund that started in 2019. Our cohost is from a renowned crypto fund, an NFT advocate and a collector herself. So this will be interesting.
    If you would like to debate or want to nominate someone, please DM me at @blockdebate on Twitter.
    Please note that nothing in our podcast should be construed as financial advice.

    Listen-along transcript: https://share.descript.com/view/NnA9YEyInkE

    Source of select items discussed in the debate (and supplemental material):
    Edmund Schuster: http://edmundschuster.com/Andrew Steinwold’s podcast: https://twitter.com/zima_redAndrew Steinwold’s NFT & Metaverse newsletter: http://andrewsteinwold.substack.comMaria Shen at Electric Capital: https://www.electriccapital.com/team/maria-shenNBA Topshot: https://nbatopshot.com/Opensea (NFT sale platform): https://opensea.io/Beeple’s $69M NFT sale: https://www.theverge.com/2021/3/11/22325054/beeple-christies-nft-sale-cost-everydays-69-millionTwitter thread questioning whether NFT is true un-censorable: https://twitter.com/jonty/status/1372163423446917122Guest bios: 

    Edmund Schuster is an Associate Professor of corporate law at the London School of Economics and Political Science. In October 2019, he published the paper “Cloud Crypto Land” that discusses inherent obstacles in the legal system that prevent blockchain systems and smart contracts from being truly useful. He is a self-declared no-coiner.
    Andrew Steinwold is a managing partner of an NFT-focused crypto fund named Sfermion. He also publishes content about the NFT world via his newsletter and podcast, both named Zima Red. He thinks “NFTs are eating the world.”
    Maria Shen is a partner on the investment team at Electric Capital, a well-known crypto fund. NFTs are part of their scope of investment. She is the author of the well-followed crypto developer report.

    • 1 hr 14 min
    Motion: Ethereum is too early for institutional money (Lyn Alden vs. Qiao Wang)

    Motion: Ethereum is too early for institutional money (Lyn Alden vs. Qiao Wang)

    Guests:

    Lyn Alden (twitter.com/lynaldencontact)
    Qiao Wang (twitter.com/qwqiao)

    Host:

    Richard Yan (twitter.com/gentso09)


    Today’s motion is “Ethereum is too early for institutional money.”

    Quite a few institutions have voted with their feet on Bitcoin. This ranges from corporate treasuries to money managers. At what point will Ethereum catch the attention of non-crypto native capital allocators? Our debaters today are Lyn Alden and Qiao Wang, both well known in crypto circles. Lyn wrote a well-researched article arguing that from an institutional perspective, Ethereum feels like an unfinished product and isn’t likely to pick up significant interest in the short run. Qiao has been looking at Ethereum as an investment in its early days, and it’s fair to say he has been a perma-bull.

    If you’re into crypto and like to hear two sides of the story, be sure to also check out our previous episodes. We’ve featured some of the best known thinkers in the crypto space.

    By the way, we're planning episodes on CBDC, centralized lending versus de-centralized lending, the fad of NFT or non-fungible tokens, whether Bitcoin is good for America and whether Bitcoin is good for the environment.

    So if you're interested or know someone that would be interested in debating, please feel free to DM me at @blockdebate on Twitter.

    Please note that nothing in our podcast should be construed as financial advice.


    "Listen-along" transcript: https://share.descript.com/view/aDjpT7gmJCn


    Source of select items discussed in the debate (and supplemental material):
    Lyn's investment strategy website: https://lynalden.comDeFi alliance: https://defialliance.co/Grayscale ETHE trust: https://grayscale.co/ethereum-trust/John Pfeffer paper on crypto value accrual: https://medium.com/john-pfeffer/an-institutional-investors-take-on-cryptoassets-690421158904
    Guest bios:

    Lyn Alden runs an investment research service for both retail and institutional investors at LynAlden.com. Her focus is on fundamental investing with a global macro overlay, with a specialization in currency differentials and equity valuations. She also manages financial operation of an aviation simulation research facility.

    Qiao Wang is a macro and crypto investor. He is one of the founders for DeFi Alliance, an accelerator for decentralized finance projects. Previously, Qiao Wang helped build Messari, a startup aiming to create Bloomberg for the crypto markets. Prior to that, Qiao was a quantitative trader. He ran R&D teams and helped build two trading businesses at IMC and Tower Research.

    • 1 hr 5 min
    Motion: Diem is a glorified Paypal (David Gerard vs. Bryce Weiner)

    Motion: Diem is a glorified Paypal (David Gerard vs. Bryce Weiner)

    Guests:

    David Gerard (twitter.com/davidgerard)
    Bryce Weiner (twitter.com/bryceweiner)

    Host:

    Richard Yan (twitter.com/gentso09)


    Today’s motion is “Diem is a glorified PayPal.”

    Diem of course used to be called Libra. It’s a cryptocurrency floated by Facebook in 2019. It was a big deal back then. A global borderless currency for 2 billion install base is a game charger for commerce and remittances, and would have implications on capital control. There were some very high profile congressional hearings held on this matter with Facebook executives including Mark Zuckerberg. This also supposedly accelerated the adoption of CBDC by certain countries.

    So, what are the ambitious promises and regulatory constraints around Diem? What are the politicians’ biggest concerns on Diem? Will it end up getting reduced to a PayPal? How will Facebook make money from this? Our two guests will cover all of the above.

    If you’re into crypto and like to hear two sides of the story, be sure to also check out our previous episodes. We’ve featured some of the best known thinkers in the crypto space.

    If you would like to debate or want to nominate someone, please DM me at @blockdebate on Twitter.

    Please note that nothing in our podcast should be construed as financial advice.


    Source of select items discussed in the debate (and supplemental material):
    Diem official page: Diem.comSummary of Zuckerberg congressional testimony on Libra: https://techcrunch.com/2019/10/23/zuckerberg-testimony/David Gerard's book on Diem "Libra Shrugged: How Facebook tried to take over the money": https://davidgerard.co.uk/blockchain/libra/Tao network: https://tao.network/
    Guest bios:

    David Gerard is the author of two crypto books, “Libra Shrugged: How Facebook tried to take over the money” and "Attack of the 50 Foot Blockchain: Bitcoin, Blockchain, Ethereum and Smart Contracts." He is a no-coiner, and writes a popular no-coiner newsletter also named “Attack of the 50 Foot Blockchain.”

    Bryce Weiner is a former Fortune 500 developer with over 20 years of software engineering experience, with nearly a decade in cryptocurrency development and monetization. He is the lead developer of the Tao smart contract network and the CEO of US-based exchange AltMarket.

    • 57 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
19 Ratings

19 Ratings

KG123723n2356 ,

So glad that I found this!

I am new to blockchain and I am so glad that I found this podcast. It’s easy to digest but also super insightful. Unlike many other blockchain podcasts, it cuts all the gibberish and focuses on topics that truly matter. Can’t wait for more!!

math music mouse ,

A great forum for understanding blockchain technologies, for novice and experts alike

If you are interested in blockchain tech, this is a great place to learn about it, for the following reasons:
- The debate format keeps things interesting
- The guests invited are typically experts in this area (some are published authors, some are techno-preneurs)
- There is some "auxiliary" content that goes with the debates: eg, surveys, audience questions in twitter
I enjoyed listening to the Jimmy Song episodes. Look forward to listening more of them!

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