32 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: Toxic maximalism is great for Bitcoin (Giacomo Zucco vs. Paul Sztorc)

    Motion: Toxic maximalism is great for Bitcoin (Giacomo Zucco vs. Paul Sztorc)

    Guests:

    Giacomo Zucco: twitter.com/giacomozucco
    Paul Sztorc: twitter.com/truthcoin

    Host:

    Richard Yan (twitter.com/gentso09)


    Today’s motion is “Toxic maximalism is great for bitcoin.”

    I hear many no-coiners say that “the worst thing about bitcoin is the bitcoiners.” They are referring to their negative encounters with staunch bitcoin believers on social media. The criticism is that these bitcoiners are irrational, vicious and annoying, and they attack no-coiners in unison like a coordinated army. 

    The essence of this behavior is captured by the term: toxic bitcoin maximalism. The idea is that bitcoin is superior to all other currencies, which include fiat, obviously, and all other cryptos; and impolite behavior online is justified in promoting bitcoin or defending its legitimacy. 

    Well, obviously not all bitcoiners are like that. Today, we will have two bitcoiners facing off, on whether such behavior continues to serve bitcoin well.

    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):


    Article on the Bitcoin blocksize war: https://steemit.com/bitcoin/@tobixen/a-brief-history-of-the-bitcoin-block-size-warBook about the Bitcoin blocksize war: https://www.amazon.com/Blocksize-War-controls-Bitcoins-protocol/dp/B08YQMC2WMGiacomo Zucco personal website: https://giacomozucco.com/Paul Sztorc personal website: https://truthcoin.infoPaul Sztorc article on Bitcoin post-maximalism: https://www.truthcoin.info/blog/bitcoin-post-maximalism/Paul Sztorc's drive chain proposal: https://www.drivechain.info/

    Guest bios:

    Giacomo first heard of Bitcoin in 2012 and shortly started to mine the cryptocurrency. He quit to focus on Bitcoin full-time in 2013 and has since cofounded and supported Bitcoins startups. He is cofounder of BCademy, a website dedicated to cryptocurrency and blockchain technology education and consultation.

    Paul is a self-branded independent Bitcoiner. He is perhaps best known as the proposer of Drivechain, a project that seeks to leverage sidechain technology in order to introduce additional functionality to Bitcoin. One use case of this is a zcash-like fully encrypted sidechain using Drivechain.

    • 1 hr 34 min
    Motion: It's a bad idea to make Bitcoin compulsory tender (George Selgin vs. Yves Bennaïm)

    Motion: It's a bad idea to make Bitcoin compulsory tender (George Selgin vs. Yves Bennaïm)

    Guests:

    Yves Bennaïm: twitter.com/ZLOK
    George Selgin: twitter.com/georgeselgin



    Host:

    Richard Yan (twitter.com/gentso09)




    Today’s motion is “It's a bad idea to make Bitcoin compulsory tender.”

    If you’re somewhat into crypto, you must have heard about El Salvador’s Bitcoin Law that has made Bitcoin a legal tender in addition to USD. With an asterisk. Dictionary definition of legal tender says a legal tender is a money that must be accepted if offered in payment of a debt. But El Salvador goes one step further, and says not only do lenders have to accept payment in bitcoin, but merchants that provide products and services must also. This is why the motion uses the term compulsory tender instead of legal tender.

    The two debaters today will discuss what all this means. One of them will argue why this is not in line with bitcoin’s values and why this may even hurt bitcoin’s adoption. The other will argue that adoption of a new money necessitates such coercion, and this will give the little guys the same kind of opportunity as sophisticated financiers in getting involved with bitcoin.

    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):


    Full text of El Salvador Bitcoin Law (3-minute read): https://freopp.org/el-salvadors-bitcoin-law-full-proposed-english-text-9a2153ad1d19Bitcoin Beach in El Salvador: https://www.bitcoinbeach.com/How the community custodial wallet works on Bitcoin Beach, explained in another podcast: https://stephanlivera.com/episode/279/Explanation of how Strike uses a private instance of the Lightning Network: https://twitter.com/AdrianoFeria/status/1411344200390557701

    Guest bios:

    George Selgin is a senior fellow and director of the Center for Monetary and Financial Alternatives at the Cato Institute and professor emeritus of economics at the University of Georgia.

    Yves is the founder of 2B4CH, a Bitcoin Think Tank and Industry Advocacy Group in Switzerland. He also writes about Bitcoin and crypto for the Swiss business magazine Bilan as well as the daily Swiss newspaper Le Temps.

    • 1 hr 43 min
    Motion: Algo and fractional stablecoins are flawed (Bennett Tomlin vs. Sam Kazemian)

    Motion: Algo and fractional stablecoins are flawed (Bennett Tomlin vs. Sam Kazemian)

    Guests:

    Bennett Tomlin (twitter.com/bennetttomlin)
    Sam Kazemian (twitter.com/samkazemian)


    Host:

    Richard Yan (twitter.com/gentso09)




    Today’s motion is “Algo and fraction stablecoins are flawed.”

    A good stablecoin can sustainably hold its peg, and recover quickly from a premium or discount. This is a basic requirement for stablecoins. 

    An obvious design is the bank coin model, where coins are backed 1-to-1 by fiat. But this creates a single point of failure and incurs compliance overhead. 

    Hence MakerDAO, which made a smart contract driven stablecoin, and is de-coupled from the banking system. But it requires over-collateralization. 

    So new designs popped up and tried to make the next capital-efficient stablecoin to allow under-collateralization, with innovative collateral adjustment mechanisms. We call these algorithmic and fractional stablecoins. 

    Historically, most of these coins failed to hold their pegs. Is there a fundamental problem? Or can these challenges be overcome?

    The two debaters today include the founder of an algo/fractional stablecoin that has been holding its peg relatively well since launch, that is about half a year, as well as a well-known critic of various stablecoins.

    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):


    Dragonfly research on FRAX stablecoin: https://medium.com/dragonfly-research/a-visual-explanation-of-frax-bcce72c1730fBennett Tomlin article on FEI stablecoin: https://bennettftomlin.substack.com/p/fei-protocol-analysis-last-reminderFrax stablecoin: https://frax.finance/Bennett Tomlin blog (mostly crypto): https://bennettftomlin.substack.com/Maker DAO's Black Thursday: https://medium.com/@whiterabbit_hq/black-thursday-for-makerdao-8-32-million-was-liquidated-for-0-dai-36b83cac56b6

    Guest bios:

    Bennett Tomlin regularly publishes articles about fraud in the crypto space via his blog. His dayjob is data scientist and fraud investigator in the pharmacy benefits area.

    Sam Kazemian is cofounder and CEO of Frax Finance, a stablecoin project that brands itself as the world's first "fractional-algorithmic" stablecoin. Sam also started Everipedia, the first decentralized online encyclopedia on the blockchain.

    • 1 hr 16 min
    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 26 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

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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