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The Defiant

Author: Camila Russo

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The internet of money is being built with blockchain technology and without banks. We call it DeFi, short for Decentralized Finance, and this is where you can hear the builders and users of this cutting edge world tell their stories first hand. Hosted by Camila Russo.
61 Episodes
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In this week’s episode, I speak with some of the creators and investors behind Stoner Cats, the NFT-infused adult cartoon show about a group of cats who become sentient from their owner’s marihuana. And there are famous humans behind these cats, Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin is one, and Jane Fonda is another. Ashton Kutcher’s VC fund is also involved. With all these big names, there was huge anticipation around this NFT sale -- so much, that the demand made Ethereum gas prices spike, so that many purchases didn’t go through and over $700,000 were lost in failed transactions. Ashton Kutcher said after this interview that the team is going to personally gift ETH to cover all failed transaction fees. Producer Lisa Sterbakov, investors Maaria Bajwa, Morgan Beller, and NFT creator Jonathan Howard, talk about the motivation behind Stoner Cats, how NFTs is changing the game for creators, what the chaotic launch was like for them, how they got Vitalik to join the show, and more behind the scenes scoops. Many thanks to our sponsors: Balancer, one of the leading DeFi automated market makers (AMM) for multiple tokens. Dive into their pools at https://balancer.finance/! Enzyme provides an easy way to build, scale and monetize DeFi investment strategies Kraken, consistently rated the best and most secure cryptocurrency exchange, which can get you from fiat to DeFi Aave, an open source and non-custodial liquidity protocol where users can earn interest on deposits and borrow assets The DeFi Pulse Index, by Index Coop - DPI is the easiest way to capture the upside of DeFi with the benefit of diversification.  Buy DPI today on your favorite DEX.
In this week’s episode, I interview Chris Blec, a researcher advocating for transparency in DeFi.  He was first drawn to cryptocurrencies through Bitcoin. He decided to go into crypto full time, first consulting with a token project in the ICO days, and later, in late 2019, by creating a YouTube channel where he aimed to educate users on how DeFi projects work under the hood. Here is where he came across what has become his focus since; the actual centralization behind supposedly decentralized protocols.All these questions and what appears to be constant criticism inspired some in the DeFi community to try to raise $50M for him to quit crypto. Meanwhile, Cointelegraph wrote a feature piece calling him maybe the most annoying man in DeFi. Chris seems unphased. To him, he’s just doing his part so that we don’t waste this opportunity to make a new, better financial system. Big thanks to our sponsors: Balancer, one of the leading DeFi automated market makers (AMM) for multiple tokens. Dive into their pools at https://balancer.finance/! Enzyme provides an easy way to build, scale and monetize DeFi investment strategies Kraken, consistently rated the best and most secure cryptocurrency exchange, which can get you from fiat to DeFi Aave, an open source and non-custodial liquidity protocol where users can earn interest on deposits and borrow assets
In this week’s episode I interview Raoul Pal, who retired from the hedge fund world at 36 years old and has run financial media company Real Vision for the seven years since. He predicted the housing bubble, he was early to call the devastating effect the pandemic would have on the economy, and now he gives us his thoughts on what he sees is coming up in the next few months. Raoul believes the second half of 2021 will be worse than expected, but that the decline will be short-lived thanks to even more stimulus to be added to the global economy. This will cause risk assets to continue their climb, including crypto. And for that he’s well-positioned: he says 100% of his liquid net worth is in cryptocurrencies but if he had to own just one asset over the next 12 months, that would be ETH. Big thanks to our sponsors: Colony, which makes it easy for people all over the world to build organizations together, online. Balancer, one of the leading DeFi automated market makers (AMM) for multiple tokens. Dive into their pools at https://balancer.finance/! Enzyme provides an easy way to build, scale and monetize DeFi investment strategies Kraken, consistently rated the best and most secure cryptocurrency exchange, which can get you from fiat to DeFi Aave, an open source and non-custodial liquidity protocol where users can earn interest on deposits and borrow assets
In this week’s episode we speak with Tim Beiko, who organizes the Ethereum core developers calls and knows all the intricacies and latest development of the world’s most active blockchain. We spoke right after Beiko had proposed a date for the implementation of one of the biggest changes expected to happen to the Ethereum blockchain in recent history EIP 1559. If you’re not 100% clear on what this means, fear not, because Tim explains in non-dev terms exactly how this change will reduce volatility in Ethereum gas prices and also reduce the uncertainty of whether user transactions are approved or not. Importantly, it also means that part of ETH paid per transaction will be burned. That means that if demand for ETH and use of the Ethereum blockchain are greater than ETH issued, it should put pressure on the ether price to increase. Big thanks to our sponsors: Colony, which makes it easy for people all over the world to build organizations together, online. Balancer, one of the leading DeFi automated market makers (AMM) for multiple tokens. Dive into their pools at https://balancer.finance/! Enzyme provides an easy way to build, scale and monetize DeFi investment strategies Kraken, consistently rated the best and most secure cryptocurrency exchange, which can get you from fiat to DeFi Aave, an open source and non-custodial liquidity protocol where users can earn interest on deposits and borrow assets
In this week’s episode we speak with Dan Robinson, a research partner at Paradigm, one of the most active VC funds in DeFi and crypto. One of the fund’s investments is Unsiwap, where Dan also had a central role in the design of v3, the latest version of DeFi’s most popular decentralized exchange. Dan talks about why Uniswap was so exciting as an investment, and about what drove the change to v3. He believes the new design will impact DeFi and crytpo, while rolling back the very revolution Uniswap itself prompted by creating a more hybrid model. ** Because of connectivity issues, the sound cuts off at times – huge apologies for that. We're providing a public transcript to make up for it. Big thanks to our sponsors: Colony, which makes it easy for people all over the world to build organizations together, online. Balancer, one of the leading DeFi automated market makers (AMM) for multiple tokens. Dive into their pools at https://balancer.finance/! Enzyme provides an easy way to build, scale and monetize DeFi investment strategies Kraken, consistently rated the best and most secure cryptocurrency exchange, which can get you from fiat to DeFi Aave, an open source and non-custodial liquidity protocol where users can earn interest on deposits and borrow assets
In this week’s episode we speak with Jess Sloss, the instigator of Seed Club, a DAO that builds and invests in community tokens. We talk about the emergence of the social token economy, and how that’s different from the creator economy or the gig economy; the difference is that social tokens and DAOs allow individuals to create wealth rather than create revenue.  They’re tools for creators, and importantly, also for creator’ fans, to build something that’s similar to equity in a company, instead of having a salary. Another concept that describes this, Jess says, is the ownership economy. This is the idea that creators and fans can have actual ownership of their communities and platforms. Jess says we’re about to see billion-dollar communities on the internet. Big thanks to our sponsors: Colony, which makes it easy for people all over the world to build organizations together, online. Balancer, one of the leading DeFi automated market makers (AMM) for multiple tokens. Dive into their pools at https://balancer.finance/! Enzyme provides an easy way to build, scale and monetize DeFi investment strategies Kraken, consistently rated the best and most secure cryptocurrency exchange, which can get you from fiat to DeFi Aave, an open source and non-custodial liquidity protocol where users can earn interest on deposits and borrow assets
In this week’s episode, I speak with Soona Amhaz of Volt Capital. Soona saw the value of crypto from very close when her family lost most of their savings after Lebanon’s currency crashed. She immediately told them to move their money to Bitcoin to protect themselves against further currency devaluation and currency controls. She was working on a startup as an engineer while trying to learn about bitcoin and onboard others into the space, and she realized there was very little information about crypto. So she decided to start the newsletter called Token Daily. The newsletter went from being a network of information to a network of people thanks to live events. That’s how she got to meet great teams building interesting projects in crypto and see their progress before anyone else did. When she saw big funds come in and invest in the projects she also knew had potential, she realized she had an edge and decided to start her own fund, Volt Capital. Big thanks to our sponsors: Colony, which makes it easy for people all over the world to build organizations together, online. Balancer, one of the leading DeFi automated market makers (AMM) for multiple tokens. Dive into their pools at https://balancer.finance/! Enzyme provides an easy way to build, scale and monetize DeFi investment strategies Kraken, consistently rated the best and most secure cryptocurrency exchange, which can get you from fiat to DeFi Aave, an open source and non-custodial liquidity protocol where users can earn interest on deposits and borrow assets
In this week’s episode I speak with Mariano Conti, the former head of smart contracts at MakerDAO. Mariano knows the value of having permissionless and uncensorable currencies first hand —he started earning in Bitcoin in 2014 in Argentina because pesos would instantly lose value and it was hard to get dollars. When he learned about Ethereum he went all in and started working at Makerdao before DeFi was even a thing in 2016. When Dai was created, he was one of the first to take out a collateralized loan against his ETH and used that loan to buy a car. It must have been the first DeFi loan used to buy an actual physical thing.  The crypto space has come a long way since with an entire financial system built out of money legos and this week with a huge milestone of El Salvador becoming the first country to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender. Mariano talks about this historical moment and why it’s significant that it was a Latin American country to take this step. Big thanks to our sponsors: Colony, which makes it easy for people all over the world to build organizations together, online. Balancer, one of the leading DeFi automated market makers (AMM) for multiple tokens. Dive into their pools at https://balancer.finance/! Enzyme provides an easy way to build, scale and monetize DeFi investment strategies Kraken, consistently rated the best and most secure cryptocurrency exchange, which can get you from fiat to DeFi Aave, an open source and non-custodial liquidity protocol where users can earn interest on deposits and borrow assets
In this week’s episode, I speak with Terry Crews, a legit star. He was a professional football player, has starred in multiple Hollywood films and currently leads in TV shows including America’s Got Talent. He is also a cryptocurrency enthusiast, minting his own social token called POWER. Terry has a very powerful story on how he got into crypto. It was at a design show in Milan. He wanted to support his friend at the show, but wasn’t able to withdraw money from his own American Express account. He realized a financial system that’s based on trusting a long line of intermediaries is broken. He thought, even when he did everything right, and he was already wealthy and famous, he still got the door shut in his face —so what’s left for the rest? All of that cemented his view that the financial system should be permissionless, transparent and global. Big thanks to our sponsors: Colony, which makes it easy for people all over the world to build organizations together, online. Balancer, one of the leading DeFi automated market makers (AMM) for multiple tokens. Dive into their pools at https://balancer.finance/! Enzyme provides an easy way to build, scale and monetize DeFi investment strategies Kraken, consistently rated the best and most secure cryptocurrency exchange, which can get you from fiat to DeFi Aave, an open source and non-custodial liquidity protocol where users can earn interest on deposits and borrow assets
In this week’s episode, I interview Jeff Dorman, chief investment officer at Arca, an investment management firm focusing on digital assets. Jeff has been valuing assets for the past 20 years, from investment-grade bonds, to high-yield debt and equities, and now he’s doing the same for crypto. We talk about the recent selloff and he thinks the big crash is over but that doesn’t mean we’ve seen the market bottom. Still, Jeff says this is a buying opportunity and he gives insights into which sectors will outperform and underperform. He believes we’re heading to a 10 to 20-year secular bull market in crypto, where there will be a decoupling of sectors and where DeFi continues to grow. Big thanks to our sponsors: Kyber, whose Dynamic Market Maker, or DMM, is designed to react to market conditions to optimize fees, maximize returns Balancer, one of the leading DeFi automated market makers (AMM) for multiple tokens. Dive into their pools at https://balancer.finance/! Enzyme provides an easy way to build, scale and monetize DeFi investment strategies Kraken, consistently rated the best and most secure cryptocurrency exchange, which can get you from fiat to DeFi Aave, an open source and non-custodial liquidity protocol where users can earn interest on deposits and borrow assets
In this week’s episode I interview Kayvon Tehranian, founder & CEO of Foundation, a platform for minting, buying and selling non-fungible tokens. We talked about the future of the internet —Kayvon believes blockchains are adding property rights to the internet. He also thinks that instead of having to wait for old institutions to come online, new ones in the form of decentralized autonomous organizations, or DAOS, will be built. He foresees a future when a lot of people will start saying, ‘why aren't you asking me to connect my wallet? Why do I have to log in this other way, that I don't have control over what I'm doing?’ I also believe that future is not so far away. Big thanks to our sponsors: Kyber, whose Dynamic Market Maker, or DMM, is designed to react to market conditions to optimize fees, maximize returns Balancer, one of the leading DeFi automated market makers (AMM) for multiple tokens. Dive into their pools at https://balancer.finance/! Enzyme provides an easy way to build, scale and monetize DeFi investment strategies Kraken, consistently rated the best and most secure cryptocurrency exchange, which can get you from fiat to DeFi Aave, an open source and non-custodial liquidity protocol where users can earn interest on deposits and borrow assets
In today’s episode, we interview Preston Van Loon. Preston co-founded Prysmatic Labs, one of the main teams building Ethereum 2.0, and has been leading that team for the past three years. On top of that, he recently founded a DeFi project which bundles the entire crypto market cap in one token to allow anyone to easily buy something like a crypto index. Preston talks about the latest in ETH2  —he says Etheruem’s big migration into its proof-of-stake chain is about six months away, give or take two months. He says Ethereum may be at a disadvantage relative to other Layer 1s, which are launching with more scalable technologies. But he also believes it will be hard for other chains to build the community Ethereum has, faster than Ethereum will upgrade. Big thanks to our sponsors: Kyber, whose Dynamic Market Maker, or DMM, is designed to react to market conditions to optimize fees, maximize returns Balancer, one of the leading DeFi automated market makers (AMM) for multiple tokens. Dive into their pools at https://balancer.finance/! Enzyme provides an easy way to build, scale and monetize DeFi investment strategies Kraken, consistently rated the best and most secure cryptocurrency exchange, which can get you from fiat to DeFi Aave, an open source and non-custodial liquidity protocol where users can earn interest on deposits and borrow assets
In this week’s podcast we interview Santiago Siri, who has been working on improving the way democracy works for over a decade. He started from the inside, co-founding a political party in Argentina, his home country, but realized traditional politics would change him before he could change politics. So he started building better representation for the new world and founded Democracy Earth Foundation. It’s worth noting, that he’s been hacked by communists two times in the process. Big thanks to our sponsors: Kyber, whose Dynamic Market Maker, or DMM, is designed to react to market conditions to optimize fees, maximize returns Balancer, one of the leading DeFi automated market makers (AMM) for multiple tokens. Dive into their pools at https://balancer.finance/! Enzyme provides an easy way to build, scale and monetize DeFi investment strategies Kraken, consistently rated the best and most secure cryptocurrency exchange, which can get you from fiat to DeFi Aave, an open source and non-custodial liquidity protocol where users can earn interest on deposits and borrow assets
In this week’s episode, we talk with Varun Kumar and Pranay Mohan from Hashflow, a new decentralized exchange that wants to unbundle Uniswap. What this means is, they want to keep the non-custodial side and the liquidity pools, but instead of finding prices with smart contacts and a formula, they use market makers applying their highly specialized strategies and algorithms behind the scenes. Anyone can become a market maker, and some may open their pools so that others will be able to share their capital in exchange for a portion of trading fees. Their bet is that they will combine machines and humans in just the right way, to provide cheaper rates at lower prices. Big thanks to our sponsors: Balancer, one of the leading DeFi automated market makers (AMM) for multiple tokens. Dive into their pools at https://balancer.finance/! Enzyme provides an easy way to build, scale and monetize DeFi investment strategies Kraken, consistently rated the best and most secure cryptocurrency exchange, which can get you from fiat to DeFi Aave, an open source and non-custodial liquidity protocol where users can earn interest on deposits and borrow assets Kyber, whose Dynamic Market Maker, or DMM, is designed to react to market conditions to optimize fees, maximize returns
In this week’s episode, we interview Do Kwon, cofounder of the Terra ecosystem which includes a payments network, a stablecoin, a lending protocol and a synthetic assets platform. We talk about how he was able to achieve what most crypto companies can’t which is to get a broad non-crypto native user base. Terra’s Chai payments system, which uses the Terra stablecoin, has about 2.6M active users in Korea. Kwon says there’s so much money to be made without bringing new people in, that many developers just settle with looking inwards in crypto. Big thanks to our sponsors: Zerion, a simple interface to access and use decentralized finance Balancer, one of the leading DeFi automated market makers (AMM) for multiple tokens. Dive into their pools at https://balancer.finance/! Enzyme provides an easy way to build, scale and monetize DeFi investment strategies Kraken, consistently rated the best and most secure cryptocurrency exchange, which can get you from fiat to DeFi
In this week's episode we interview 0xMaki, an anonymous DeFi developer contributing to SushiSwap and Yearn Finance protocols. We talk about growing Sushi beyond its drama-filled beginnings as a fork of Uniswap, into a DEX that can hold its own as the second-most active trading platform in Ethereum DeFi. He goes into the main pieces that set SushiSwap apart with its margin trading and a soon-to-be-released smart contract suite to easily launch tokens. He says, it’s short-sighted for DEX competitors to be fighting among each other, as they should be fighting outwards, to bring more people into DeFi, and not inwards trying to win over the people who are already here. Big thanks to our sponsors: Zerion, a simple interface to access and use decentralized finance Balancer, one of the leading DeFi automated market makers (AMM) for multiple tokens. Dive into their pools at https://balancer.finance/! Enzyme provides an easy way to build, scale and monetize DeFi investment strategies Kraken, consistently rated the best and most secure cryptocurrency exchange, which can get you from fiat to DeFi
In this week’s episode we talk with the DeFi artist of the moment. Pplpleasr got into DeFi drawn in by the crazy yields but really stayed when she resonated with the community  —the gaming-like, niche subculture of memes and internet-native humor. She started making videos for many DeFi teams, from Yeran to Pickle Finance. Her latest and best-known work though is the video she made for the highly anticipated v3 of Uniswap. The clip of a unicorn in an otherworldly oasis, Ethereum dapp symbols floating about, gained her universal praise. But it’s what happened later when it gets really interesting. Pplpleasr decided, like many other artists these days, to sell the video as an NFT. But unlike most artists fetching big chunks of cash, she was set on donating the proceeds to charity. Also unlike other auctions, it was a decentralized autonomous organization, or DAO, created just for the occasion, what ended up winning the piece. Big thanks to our sponsors: Zerion, a simple interface to access and use decentralized finance Balancer, one of the leading DeFi automated market makers (AMM) for multiple tokens. Dive into their pools at https://balancer.finance/! Casper, an enterprise-focused blockchain which aims to introduce unprecedented security, speed and scale for businesses Enzyme provides an easy way to build, scale and monetize DeFi investment strategies Kraken, consistently rated the best and most secure cryptocurrency exchange, which can get you from fiat to DeFi
Jim Bianco has decades of experience as a macro markets researcher. He's been leading his firm Bianco Research since 1990 and was at UBS and Lehman Brothers before that.  It was after installing MetaMask, and doing some yield farming and NFT investing, that he realized, DeFi is a new financial system, and it will replace the old one. And the reason is simple: it’s just better. He has carefully brought this up to his clients, but it’s been tough. Those that don’t underestimate open finance, are waiting to retire before they have to catch up. But Bianco thinks DeFi is taking over sooner than they think. Big thanks to our sponsors: Zerion, a simple interface to access and use decentralized finance Balancer, one of the leading DeFi automated market makers (AMM) for multiple tokens. Dive into their pools at https://balancer.finance/! Casper, an enterprise-focused blockchain which aims to introduce unprecedented security, speed and scale for businesses Enzyme provides an easy way to build, scale and monetize DeFi investment strategies Kraken, consistently rated the best and most secure cryptocurrency exchange, which can get you from fiat to DeFi
In this week’s episode we speak with Antonio Juliano, founder and CEO of dYdX, one of the biggest decentralized exchanges on Ethereum, focusing on derivatives. dYdX recently made news by being one of the first major DeFi projects to move to Layer 2.  One of the main goals for his team this year will be to further decentralize dYdX, Juliano said, from the order book to the control of their smart contracts. So yes, for those reading between the lines, that means decentralized governance, and Juliano isn’t ruling out a dYdX token. Juliano believes derivatives are going to be the biggest products in crypto and so his long-term goal is for dYdX to become one of the biggest crypto exchanges, period. He knows DEXes are just 5% of total crypto volume, but that’s up from 0% two years ago. He says, a lot of people are seeing the writing on the wall. Big thanks to our sponsors: Zerion, a simple interface to access and use decentralized finance Balancer, one of the leading DeFi automated market makers (AMM) for multiple tokens. Dive into their pools at https://balancer.finance/! Casper, an enterprise-focused blockchain which aims to introduce unprecedented security, speed and scale for businesses Kraken, consistently rated the best and most secure cryptocurrency exchange, which can get you from fiat to DeFi
In this week’s episode we speak with Mike Novogratz, the CEO of Galaxy Digital. He started his career at Goldman Sachs and then led a macro hedge fund at Fortress, which was shuttered in 2015. He then went all-in on crypto, in part thanks to convincing from his college roommate Joe Lubin, and founded Galaxy Digital, an investment bank for digital assets. After grinding through the 2018 and 2019 bear market, Mike says he can finally breathe. He is convinced that Bitcoin is finally derisked. While Bitcoin is firmly established as digital gold, to him, Ethereum is a venture bet because it’s not totally finished yet. It's getting there, and so the bet is it's going to happen, not that it's happened. Novo is wildly bullish DeFi. He says the threat to the banking system and payments is DeFi, not Bitcoin. But that also means the big guys are going to fight back with lobbying and regulation because protocols like Uniswap and Aave are going after their business. About the hype and rally in the crypto market, Novo says this time it’s different. Unlike in 2017, he doesn’t believe we’re in a bubble. He says we’re in a movement. Big thanks to our sponsors: Zerion, a simple interface to access and use decentralized finance Balancer, one of the leading DeFi automated market makers (AMM) for multiple tokens. Dive into their pools at https://balancer.finance/! Casper, an enterprise-focused blockchain which aims to introduce unprecedented security, speed and scale for businesses Kraken, consistently rated the best and most secure cryptocurrency exchange, which can get you from fiat to DeFi
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