691 episodes

Crypto assets and blockchain technology are about to transform every trust-based interaction of our lives, from financial services to identity to the Internet of Things. In this podcast, host Laura Shin, an independent journalist covering all things crypto, talks with industry pioneers about how crypto assets and blockchains will change the way we earn, spend and invest our money. Tune in to find out how Web 3.0, the decentralized web, will revolutionize our world. Disclosure: I'm a nocoiner.

Unchained Laura Shin

    • News
    • 4.6 • 1.2K Ratings

Crypto assets and blockchain technology are about to transform every trust-based interaction of our lives, from financial services to identity to the Internet of Things. In this podcast, host Laura Shin, an independent journalist covering all things crypto, talks with industry pioneers about how crypto assets and blockchains will change the way we earn, spend and invest our money. Tune in to find out how Web 3.0, the decentralized web, will revolutionize our world. Disclosure: I'm a nocoiner.

    The Chopping Block: Iggy Azalea, Hamster Kombat, & Airdrop Insights

    The Chopping Block: Iggy Azalea, Hamster Kombat, & Airdrop Insights

    Welcome to The Chopping Block – where crypto insiders Haseeb Qureshi, Tom Schmidt, Robert Leshner, and Tarun Chitra explore the latest trends in the crypto world. In this episode, we dive into the impact of celebrity-endorsed memecoins, featuring Iggy Azalea's new coin 'Mother' and Andrew Tate's 'Daddy.' We discuss how these phenomena influence the broader crypto market, recent trends in airdrops, and the challenge of Sybil resistance. Additionally, we explore the permissionless nature of crypto and the trade-offs involved in fun and chaotic projects, including the explosive rise of 'Hamster Kombat.' Tune in for an in-depth look at how pop culture intersects with the core principles of cryptocurrency, shaping current market sentiment.
    Show highlights
    🔹 Crypto Market Sentiment: Discussion on the latest market trends and how inflation numbers are impacting the community. 
    🔹 Memecoins & Celebrities: Analysis of Iggy Azalea's $Mother and the phenomenon of celebrity-launched memecoins. 
    🔹 Emerging Memecoins: Insights into new memecoins, including issues with fake and hacked accounts. 
    🔹 Tap-to-Earn Games: Overview of the rapid growth of simple click-based games like Hamster Kombat. 
    🔹 Airdrop Controversies: Exploration of recent controversies, particularly involving zkSync and LayerZero, and challenges of Sybil attacks. 
    🔹 Future Airdrop Strategies: Discussion on the evolution and need for clear, ungameable metrics.
    Hosts
    ⭐️Haseeb Qureshi, Managing Partner at Dragonfly 
    ⭐️Tom Schmidt, General Partner at Dragonfly
    ⭐️Robert Leshner, CEO & Co-founder of Superstate
    ⭐️Tarun Chitra, Managing Partner at Robot Ventures

    Disclosures

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    • 1 hr 4 min
    Are Memecoins the Next Evolution of Wall Street Bets?

    Are Memecoins the Next Evolution of Wall Street Bets?

    Nathaniel Popper just published his latest book, "The Trolls of Wall Street," covering the Wall Street Bets phenomenon. Funnily enough, his book comes at a time when there are striking similarities with the current memecoin mania in crypto. 
    In this episode, Popper explores the rise of online investing communities like Wall Street Bets and their reflection of broader societal changes, particularly among young men. 
    He also touches on the parallels between the trolling culture of these communities and the rise of figures like Donald Trump, and delves into the hidden dangers and psychological influences of memes in modern investing.
    Show highlights:

    01:21 The rise of online money communities and the shift towards investing based on ideas rather than traditional financial fundamentals

    04:06 How the changing roles of young men in society have influenced the growth of crypto and online financial communities

    13:36 How Robinhood's design choices changed retail investing, sparking FOMO and controversy by making trading as easy as a swipe

    18:04 The hidden dangers of memes in modern investing, and how they balance fostering community with driving speculation

    22:56 Why Trump's ties to the crypto community highlight the mix of serious intent and trolling

    30:07 Crypto News Recap

    Visit our website for breaking news, analysis, op-eds, articles to learn about crypto, and much more: unchainedcrypto.com
    Thank you to our sponsors!

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    Guest

    Nathaniel Popper, author of The Trolls of Wall Street

    Links
    Previous coverage of Unchained on memecoins:

    Unchained: Why Memecoins Have Been 2024's Most Profitable Crypto Trade: Ansem and Kelxyz - Ep. 641


    BRETT Becomes First Memecoin on Base to Reach $1 Billion in Market Cap

    DWF Labs to Invest in Memecoins, Onchain Data Reveals LADYS Transactions

    Celebrity Tokens Continue to Bleed With Some Memecoin Traders Losing Six-Figures

    The book:

    Blockworks: What do memecoins and meme stocks have in common?: A review of ‘The Trolls of Wall Street’


    Fortune: Q&A with the author of ‘The Trolls of Wall Street’: Gambling, conspiracies, and the return of Roaring Kitty, 

    Meme culture

    WSJ: 

    Meme Stocks Are Back, but Fund Investors Moved On

    Meet the ‘Degen’ Traders Fueling the Latest Meme-Stock Mania

    CoinDesk: In Defense of Meme Coins



    What else could memecoins be? By Vitalik Buterin


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    • 46 min
    Why Robinhood, a TradFi Hub, Is Growing Its Crypto Business Globally

    Why Robinhood, a TradFi Hub, Is Growing Its Crypto Business Globally

    Robinhood has been in the spotlight for its $200 million acquisition of European crypto exchange Bitstamp. The TradFi app’s venture into crypto is paying off: its recent earnings showed that revenue is growing substantially, and the Bitstamp acquisition is just one way the company will grow the pie.
    Johann Kerbrat, general manager of Robinhood Crypto, came on the show to discuss the acquisition, Robinhood's plans for expanding its crypto business internationally and into the institutional market, the company's approach to listing crypto assets, how regulation has affected its business decisions, and its efforts to bridge traditional finance and decentralized finance.
    Show highlights:

    02:14 How the acquisition of Bitstamp will reshape Robinhood

    08:51 Whether Robinhood could list more coins and whether it’s considering more acquisitions

    11:54 Whether the U.S.’s unclear crypto regulation influenced the decision to acquire Bitstamp and which other jurisdictions, besides the EU, Robinhood Crypto is eyeing

    17:46 Why Johann was disappointed by the Wells notice Robinhood received from the SEC

    20:47 Johann’s U.S. crypto regulation wish list and why Robinhood supports the FIT21 bill

    24:09 Why Robinhood delisted ADA, MATIC, and SOL, and the process for listing or delisting a coin on the platform

    29:49 Johann’s background in crypto and trajectory at Robinhood Crypto

    31:35 How Robinhood is uniquely poised to help bring real-world assets and securities on-chain, and how it will handle offerings for institutional investors

    37:48 The impact and importance of the introduction of spot bitcoin ETFs

    44:26 Why Robinhood decided to offer staking, but only for Solana, not Ethereum

    46:11 Whether there’s demand for crypto-native features in the Robinhood platform

    48:26 Robinhood’s collaboration with Arbitrum and whether the company might build their own Layer 2

    54:29 Johann’s take on the memecoin mania and whether Robinhood could list them

    59:26 What Johann thinks about the political fight around crypto in the U.S.


    Visit our website for breaking news, analysis, op-eds, articles to learn about crypto, and much more: unchainedcrypto.com
    Thank you to our sponsors!
    Polkadot
    Guest:

    Johann Kerbrat, general manager of Robinhood Crypto
    Links
    Acquisition of Bitstamp: 

    Unchained: Q&A With Robinhood Crypto General Manager: Why the Crypto Giant Went to the EU


    Fortune: Robinhood defies the SEC by forking over $200 million for a crypto exchange


    DL News: Robinhood crypto head says Bitstamp will help lure wealthy investors


    Robinhood’s crypto business:

    Bloomberg: Robinhood (HOOD) Profit Beats Estimates as Crypto Revenue Surges


    Robinhood Reports First Quarter 2024 Results

    Regulatory actions:

    Reuters: Robinhood Crypto gets Wells notice from US SEC 

    Robinhood Crypto Launches Staking in Europe with Localized Apps to Follow

    Memecoin mania

    Unchained: 

    Celebrity Tokens Continue to Bleed With Some Memecoin Traders Losing Six-Figures 

    Why Memecoins Have Been 2024's Most Profitable Crypto Trade: Ansem and Kelxyz


    Ether ETFs:

    Unchained: 

    Ethereum ETFs Likely Protect Ether From the SEC. But What About Staked ETH? 

    Why the SEC May Not Be Done in Its Legal Battles Over Ethereum

    Kerbrat’s statement on ETFs



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    • 1 hr 5 min
    How Coinbase Might Bring 1 Billion People Onchain Using Its Smart Wallet

    How Coinbase Might Bring 1 Billion People Onchain Using Its Smart Wallet

    Coinbase’s “onchain summer” has kicked off with the launch of its new smart wallet. This interview with Luke Youngblood, founding contributor to Moonwell, gives a peek at how it’s sweetening the pot for developers and users alike. 
    In this episode, Youngblood describes how smart wallets are different from traditional wallets, how they do away with past security issues, and the more minor potential risks that still do exist with smart wallets. He also gives details on the ways that Coinbase is trying to use its smart wallet to get users onchain: making it much easier to transact onchain directly from their Coinbase accounts, subsidizing gas costs for certain dapps, and making sure everything is web-accessible. 
    Plus, he explains why Moonwell chose Base, how it is branching out to non-crypto native DeFi users, such as populations that only have mobile phones and not desktop computers in geographies like Africa, Latin America, and Asia, and how the DeFi lending protocol differentiates itself from bigger ones that have established a beachhead on Base. 
    Show highlights:

    (00:00) Intro

    (01:40) How smart wallets differ from traditional wallets and embedded wallets

    (04:06) Why Luke is excited to be working with Coinbase smart wallet

    (06:33) What happens if the user loses the device linked to their smart wallet

    (08:12) How hard it would be for a hacker to try to get access to the assets in this smart wallet

    (09:36) How Coinbase is initially paying for user gas fees on dapps like Moonwell and other launch partners

    (12:02) How Coinbase’s Magic Stand feature enables users to transact onchain straight from their Coinbase accounts

    (14:24) How Coinbase might keep paying gas fees for some dapps even after the initial launch period

    (16:38) Why the smart wallet is also accessible via the web, and not just through an app

    (19:50) Why Moonwell has focused on lending and borrowing

    (18:03) Why Moonwell chose to build on Base as opposed to, say, Solana

    (21:24) Moonwell’s plans to grow 

    (23:00) How having access to Coinbase’s user base changes Moonwell’s strategy for attracting users

    (26:14) Crypto News Recap


    Visit our website for breaking news, analysis, op-eds, articles to learn about crypto, and much more: unchainedcrypto.com
    Thank you to our sponsors!

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    Guest
    Luke Youngblood
    Links

    Previous coverage on Unchained:

    Coinbase Smart Wallet: Coinbase Launches Its Smart Wallets, Dubbing It Crypto’s ‘IPhone Moment’


    Wallets: 

    Why (Almost) Everyone in Ethereum Is So Excited About a Wallet-Related Proposal

    What Are Externally Owned Accounts (EOAs) in Ethereum?

    An Introduction to ERC-4337 (Account Abstraction) Standard

    Base: 

    How Ethereum’s Dencun Upgrade Could Lead to the Rise of Millions of Layer 3s

    Dencun Day One: Ethereum Layer 2 Networks See Drastic Drop in Transaction Fees



    Base Daily Transactions Spike to 2 Million Post Dencun Upgrade 

    Why Base’s Creator Thinks Social Apps Will Be a ‘Huge Part’ of the Layer 2 Blockchain’s Success

    Base TVL Hits $4 Billion as Transactions Per Second Surpass Ethereum

    3 Reasons Why Layer 2 Network Base Has More Than Doubled Its Total Value Locked This Year

    Ethereum Layer 2s:

    Ethereum L2 Networks Reach Record High of 7 Million Distinct Addresses


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    • 42 min
    Bits + Bips: Is This the Real Reason the SEC Approved the Ethereum ETFs?

    Bits + Bips: Is This the Real Reason the SEC Approved the Ethereum ETFs?

    In this episode of Bits + Bips, hosts James Seyffart, Alex Kruger, and Joe McCann, along with guest Hal Press, founder of North Rock Digital, dive into the intricate challenges of pitching the ETH spot ETF to traditional finance and the Federal Reserve’s anticipated next steps. They discuss why Biden vetoed the repeal of SAB 121, and why that veto lends credence to an alternative theory as to why the SEC approved Ethereum ETFs. 
    Also, they talk about why the spot ETH ETFs are already turning out to be different from the Bitcoin ETFs, Hong Kong's (and perhaps China’s?) crypto ambitions, recent U.S. macroeconomic indicators, and whether or not Roaring Kitty’s recent antics with GME stock are illegal—and how he’s impacting memecoins. 
    Show highlights:

    Why Biden vetoed the repeal of SAB 121 and whether it was priced in

    The recent political change around crypto and the surprise Gen Z celebrity who could swing the U.S. presidential election

    The impact of the Trump conviction on the crypto industry

    Why ETF issuers were caught off guard with the spot ETH ETF approvals

    Whether Bitcoin ETF buyers will rotate to Ethereum, and when the products will launch 

    How the ETH ETF will be pitched to TradFi 

    Why Alex thinks ETH/BTC will go up 

    How Hong Kong is trying to become the Wall Street of crypto, according to Joe

    The recent macroeconomic indicators in the U.S. and their implications for crypto

    The massive glitches in the NYSE that showed Berkshire Hathaway going down 99%

    Whether what Roaring Kitty is doing with the GME stock is illegal


    Hosts:


    James Seyffart, Research Analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence


    Alex Kruger, Founder of Asgard


    Joe McCann, Founder, CEO, and CIO of Asymmetric

    Guest:

    Hal Press, Founder of North Rock Digital
    Links
    Politics: 

    Unchained: President Biden Vetoes SAB121 Repeal


    Unchained: FIT21 Bill Heads to The Senate: Should We Really Be Excited?


    POLITICO: Crypto super PACs get $25M boost


    Fortune: Coinbase donates $25 million to super PAC Fairshake days after Biden vetoes crypto custody bill


    Ether ETFs:

    Unchained: 

    Ethereum ETFs Likely Protect Ether From the SEC. But What About Staked ETH? 

    Why the SEC May Not Be Done in Its Legal Battles Over Ethereum

    Why ETH Spot ETFs Could Benefit Stakers and Make Ethereum More Resilient

    ETH ETFs Will Be Approved. But Could Grayscale Outflows Depress the Price of ETH?

    Blockworks: What we learned from the latest ETH ETF filing dump


    Hong Kong
    Bloomberg: Hong Kong Says 11 Crypto Exchanges Are Closer to Getting Permits

    Other recent events: 

    CNN Business: Berkshire Hathaway: NYSE says glitch that showed stock down 99.97% has been resolved 


    WSJ: E*Trade Considers Kicking Meme-Stock Leader Keith Gill Off Platform 


    TIMESTAMPS

    00:00 Intro

    01:59 Why Biden vetoed the repeal of SAB 121 and whether it was priced in

    08:43 The recent political change around crypto and whether this particular Gen Z celeb could swing the U.S. presidential election

    12:07 What the impact of the Trump conviction had in the crypto industry

    15:38 Whether Bitcoin ETF buyers will rotate to Ethereum, and when the ETH ETFs will launch 

    25:53 How the ETH ETF will or should be pitched to TradFi 

    31:02 Why Alex thinks ETH/BTC will go up 

    32:48How Hong Kong is trying to become the Wall Street of crypto, according to Joe

    36:27 The recent macroeconomic indicators in the U.S. and their implications for crypto

    45:15 The massive glitches in the NYSE that showed Berkshire Hathaway going down 99%

    49:26 Whether what Roaring Kitty is doing with the GME stock is illegal


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    • 57 min
    How the U.S. Government Can Protect the Dollar Through Stablecoins

    How the U.S. Government Can Protect the Dollar Through Stablecoins

    In this episode, Laura Shin speaks with former CFTC chairman Chris Giancarlo and former CFTC chief innovation officer Daniel Gorfine on the pressing need for the U.S. to safeguard the dollar. They explain why they believe the future of regulation is the government operating nodes on blockchains rather than regulating intermediaries, why even private USD stablecoins will want a USD central bank digital currency, and how China might export the technology behind the digital yuan—and its surveillance capabilities—to other countries. They also touch on how the upcoming U.S. elections could influence crypto policy, why stablecoins are more than just trading instruments, and what the U.S. must do to maintain its financial leadership.
    Show highlights:

    How governments should embrace blockchain technology to become better at its job, according to Chris

    How the financial system needs to change for the younger generations

    Whether the U.S. is losing ground in terms of innovation

    Why Daniel thinks stablecoins are much more than a trading instrument for crypto

    Why Daniel believes that the U.S. is making the regulation of stablecoins “far more complicated than it needs to be”

    How Singapore is already giving licenses to USD stablecoin issuers

    Whether the dollar should be trademarked to protect it

    How Tether has become one of the most profitable companies per employee in history without being under U.S. jurisdiction

    Who should be the next chair of the SEC and the need to regulate DeFi in order for it to become mainstream

    Why Daniel thinks that some of the criticism of the FIT21 bill “doesn’t hold water”

    Why Chris believes that China is lying about not intending to export the technology behind the digital yuan

    Whether algorithmic stablecoins should be banned, as proposed in the Lummis-Gillibrand bill


    Visit our website for breaking news, analysis, op-eds, articles to learn about crypto, and much more: unchainedcrypto.com
    First Bits + Bips episode: Bits + Bips: Does Macroeconomics Point to a Potential Crypto Supercycle?
    Thank you to our sponsors!

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    VaultCraft

    Guests:


    Chris Giancarlo, Former Chairman of the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission, author of CryptoDad

    Forbes: ‘Elizabeth Warren’s Anti-Crypto Wing Is A Shrinking Iceberg’, Says Former Top Regulator


    FoxBusiness Interview: Elizabeth Warren and others have declared war on cryptocurrency: Chris Giancarlo


    Op-ed in the FT Banking Risk & Regulation: Can CBDCs be made safe for democracy?



    Daniel Gorfine, Founder & CEO of boutique advisory firm Gattaca Horizons, former Chief Innovation Officer at the U.S. CFTC, and adjunct professor at the Georgetown University Law Center

    Opinion: Stablecoin and other digital assets are falsely framed as a choice between personal privacy and national security. We can have both. - MarketWatch

    Building digital infrastructure for the future of finance


    Links
    Stablecoins:


    Stablecoins Are Defense Tech by Morgan Beller 

    Unchained: 

    Opinion: Regulated Dollar Stablecoins Created by a Proposed New Senate Bill Would be Crypto’s Ultimate Trojan Horse 


    Tether's Record $4.5 Billion Q1 Profit Highlights Its Dominance of the Stablecoin Industry

    SAB 121
    Unchained: President Biden Vetoes SAB121 Repeal

    FIT21

    Unchained: FIT21 Bill Heads to The Senate: Should We Really Be Excited?

    Spot Ether ETFs
    Unchained: Analysts Up Odds of Spot Ether ETF to 75% as Prometheum Launches Product That Treats ETH as a Security


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    • 1 hr 27 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
1.2K Ratings

1.2K Ratings

F.Hayek1913 ,

Request

Hello - Would it be possible to link to the cases and opinions discussed on the pod? Like the Debt Box case, if it was linked that would be so sweet and go so far to credibility and for those who want to verify! Thank you!

nbvc75432$@& ,

Best Pod on SBF trial

Thanks for sharing the details in a way that makes me feel like I’m in the courtroom! And thanks for the interviews - you ask questions that help me understand what is happening behind the scenes.

darce_holliday ,

Chopping block is terrible

Love Laura but chopping block is a bunch of midwits shilling their own projects and trashing decentralized projects with no vc allocation

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