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What’s up with Blockchain? Web 3.0, DeFi, and scaling trust :: with Spencer Graham and Tony Little

In this episode of Ventures, I discuss with my guests Spencer Graham (https://twitter.com/spengrah) and Tony Little (https://twitter.com/DrTonyLittle) the past, present, and future of blockchain technologies and Web 3.0.

You can watch this episode below or listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts (search for “Ventures”).

In this episode we cover the following:

1:59 - Tony intro, including his new job at https://www.prescryptive.com/ 

2:38 - Spencer intro, Web 3.0 product manager.

3:50 - Tee-up about exploring the narratives of blockchain, starting first with explaining what blockchain is.

11:00 - How would Tony talk about the story of blockchain from its origin to today?

17:00 - A quick caveat from Spencer about the problem of narratives.

17:56 - How would Spencer talk about the story of blockchain from its origin to today?

22:17 - What’s up with DeFi (Decentralized Finance? Why has it been all the rage the last couple of years?

25:00 - Blockchain ecosystem today similar to the “primordial soup” in biology that gave birth to life. The “experiments” happening today are like that early environment, and time will tell what comes out of it and evolves.

26:36 - Transition from the infrastructure narrative into products. What prevents someone from borrowing money in the DeFi space and running away with it?

29:52 - Why would someone borrow ~$1k by putting up something like $1.5k in collateral? What is the engine that makes DeFi go right now?

31:55 - What other products in the DeFi space are catching Spencer’s interest? (discussing risk management products)  

34:59 - What’s up with yield farming and COMP’s governance protocol? (see also https://www.coindesk.com/defi-yield-farming-comp-token-explained)

39:44 - Recapping yield farming and the ability to potentially make more money from owning these tokens in the future.

42:06 - How active is yield farming now in DeFi? Is it a zero-sum game?

43:39 - What “net new” types of products can blockchain enable? (discussion around identity, shared governance, company ownership, and the future of work)

50:30 - Perhaps blockchains simply enable existing products/protocols to be scaled? (Will’s example of chaining internet through neighbors in mountain/valley environments, and a reminder that technology reduces cost and/or increases convenience)

53:50 - Blockchains as “scaling trust”.

55:38 - What is “trustless” then? Do we really mean “scaling trust” ?  An extreme minimization of trust? What are we trusting in with regard to the blockchain tech and ecosystem?

57:33 - What is Web 3.0? (A discussion of Web 1.0, Web 2.0, and the sharing of costs, ownership, and outcomes of ventures at the infrastructure and application level in Web 3.0. “Putting communities back in control”)

1:00:51 - Discussion of Filecoin / IPFS - and The Graph - as examples of new Web 3.0 stack components.

1:02:55 - Discussion of identity, “directory”, and consent.

1:04:30 - Discussion of Web 1/2/3 transitions as an expansion of protocols and interfaces with those protocols.

1:05:08 - How do Tony and Spencer think about the future of blockchain? What excites them?

1:09:06 - How can people find Tony and Spencer online to continue the conversation? https://www.linkedin.com/in/tony-little-nd/, https://twitter.com/DrTonyLittle,  https://twitter.com/spengrah