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Author: Laura Shin

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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.
156 Episodes
Former CFTC chairman Christopher Giancarlo talks about how his experience of the financial crisis piqued his interest in blockchain technology, why the CFTC thought the introduction of Bitcoin futures would help pop the 2017 Bitcoin bubble, and how "there's no simple answer" to explain when a token goes from being a security to a commodity. He discusses why he believes there needs to be a "refresh" of regulations written decades ago that are difficult to apply in a digital world, why he thinks Libra represents a fundamental generational change and why he thinks the project should be allowed to go forward. We also cover the Chinese digital yuan, why the USD should not assume that its global dominance today will translate into global dominance tomorrow, and his own proposal for a digital dollar, which he dubs "Zelle + JPMorgan Coin." Plus, he gives the behind-the-scenes look at why he decided to speak "as a dad" in the Congressional hearing that made him an overnight crypto celebrity. Thank you to our sponsors!  Kraken: CipherTrace: Episode links:  Christopher Giancarlo: CFTC: Chamber of Digital Commerce: Let the technology evolve before regulating/CFTC is behind on regulating: Popping the Bitcoin bubble:  Talks with Facebook pre-Libra launch: The introduction of Bitcoin futures helping to pop the crypto bubble: Wall Street Journal op-ed proposing a digital dollar: Initial confusion over LedgerX not receiving approval or disapproval within 180 days to launch Bitcoin futures: CoinDesk article with emails from LedgerX on CFTC dispute: Commodity Exchange Act: Emails sent from LedgerX to the CFTC: Paul Chou’s blog post summarizing what happened: More context from Noelle Acheson on the dispute:
Christian Catalini, co-creator of Libra and chief economist at Calibra, explains why Facebook made the design choices it made for Libra, reveals whether the team was prepared for the regulatory blowback it received after publishing the white paper, and talks about what it means for Libra now that nearly all the initial payment company members have left the Association. He describes how Facebook defined stability for Libra, whether the Chinese renminbi could ever be added to the reserve the way it is part of the IMF special drawing rights basket, and if so, what the Libra or Calibra would do if the Chinese government tried to censor individuals or transactions in the system. We also cover the tension between the desire to have strong know-your-customer and anti-money laundering processes on the platform but then also to bank the unbanked, who often don't have strong government identification. We also discuss how Facebook will make money from Calibra, what it would take for Facebook to let the Libra Association go forward without it, and why Facebook, which not too long ago was trying to woo China to enter the Chinese market, now says it is the best counterweight to a Chinese digital yuan. Plus, he answers how Facebook and Calibra will handle privacy.  Thank you to our sponsors! Kraken: CipherTrace: Episode links:  Christian Catalini: Libra: Calibra: Libra white paper: Letters to payment companies from Congress:,%20Ajaypal%20Banga,%20and%20Alfred%20Kelly.pdf Mark Zuckerberg's testimony in front of Congress: Reported breakdown of the Libra reserve: Calibra — can send money at low to no cost: Chargebacks in Libra: Asian central banks not too open to Libra: Unconfirmed interview about UN work with blockchain-based vouchers:
Hunter Horsley, cofounder and CEO of Bitwise Asset Management, and Matt Hougan, global head of research at Bitwise, describe their vision for Bitwise, its current funds and indices, as well as how it handles things like forks and airdrops. Then they give their reaction to and interpretation of the SEC disapproval of their Bitcoin ETF proposal, as well as what their focus will be now to try to get a Bitcoin ETF approved. We also discuss their general thesis around how the crypto space will develop, whether or not indices and funds around the top 100 assets will ever make sense, their ideas on how to value these networks and whether or not the company would ever try to compete in the DeFi space. Plus, don't miss our conversation on Bitcoin IRAs.  Thank you to our sponsors! Kraken: CipherTrace: Episode links:  Bitwise: Hunter Horsley: Matt Hougan: Unchained interview with Spencer Bogart: Bitwise 10 Private Fund fact sheet:  Bitwise 10 Offshore Index Fund: Grayscale Bitcoin Investment Trust: Bitwise Ethereum Fund:  SEC order disapproving the Bitwise Bitcoin ETF proposal: Matt on CNBC discussing the Bitcoin ETF proposal: Bitstamp/BitMEX trading manipulation: Jake Chervinsky’s tweet about how the SEC is unlikely to approve a Bitcoin ETF under Chair Jay Clayton:  Unchained interview with Jake: SEC commissioner Hester Peirce’s dissent to the disapproval of the Winklevoss Bitcoin ETF: Van Eck’s withdrawal of the Bitcoin ETF proposal: Chris Burniske on how to value these networks:
Congressman Patrick McHenry, or 'Mr. Fintech' to his peers in the House, is announcing the reintroduction of the Financial Services Innovation Act, a bill that would create what he calls "permanent beta testing," or many jurisdictions call "regulatory sandboxes," in which entrepreneurs can apply for regulatory approval to conduct innovative experiments. The bill is intended to get regulators into a position where their default leans more toward yes than no. He describes how this would affect teams that want to conduct ICOs, how it would square with the phenomenon of some token teams trying to raise through Reg A+, and whether it would allow exchanges without BitLicenses to operate in New York. He also discusses what type of digital currency he believes is best suited to compete against a Chinese digital yuan, and says the government is currently looking into whether or not the Federal Reserve has the authority to issue a digital dollar. Thank you to our sponsors!  CipherTrace: Kraken: Episode links:  Congressman McHenry: On Twitter: The House Libra hearings from July 2019: Financial Services Innovation Act explainer: Introduction of the bill in 2016: Congressman McHenry’s interest in fintech: CNBC article on how Libra is being slowed by regulation while China’s central bank digital currency speeds ahead: Fortune article:
Mariano Conti, the head of smart contracts for MakerDAO and creator of SelloutDAO, and Peter Pan, the summoner for Metacartel DAO, discuss all things DAOs, including how Peter started Metacartel DAO after being rejected from MolochDAO, and why Mariano initially voted against Peter joining. (Peter eventually joined.) They also discuss how they came to form YangDAO, why Mariano almost rage quit MolochDAO after the YangDAO formed, and how other MolochDAO members felt about SelloutDAO, which Mariano describes as an experiment in "on-chain corruption." We discuss how DAOs are actually heavily built on trust and why they require a lot of social coordination off-chain. They also discuss funding for LAOs, which have a legal entity such as an LLC affiliated with them, why Metacartel is launching a LAO, and which types of projects should be funded by DAOs vs traditional corporate structures. We also cover governance issues at MakerDAO, why it has a CEO, and what role leadership in general plays in a DAO.  Thank you to our sponsors! Kraken: CipherTrace: Episode links:  Mariano Conti: Peter Pan: MakerDAO: Metacartel DAO: SelloutDAO: Unchained interview with Ameen Soleimani of MolochDAO: Unchained interview with Santiago Siri: DAO Revival: Andy Milenius’s account of MakerDAO’s change from a decentralized to a centralized project: CoinDesk story on the rift: Two most recent MakerDAO votes: Unchained interviews with Rune Christensen of MakerDAO: Part 1: Part 2: MakerDAO vulnerabilities:  ETH could have been stolen:  The LAO: Critique of the LAO: MakerDAO launching multi-collateral Dai: Are DAO’s legal? Unconfirmed interview with Uniswap: Unconfirmed episode with Ryan Zurrer about resurrecting the DAO: Unchained interview with Aragon:
David Andolfatto, senior vice president at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, gives his thoughts on Facebook's Libra, including why regulatory issues will make it hard to compete with the US dollar, and why Bitcoin wouldn't have such issues. He also says, "who cares?" about the US dollar losing global reserve status, pointing out that many prosperous countries have currencies that don't function as global reserves. He tells us how he would design a central bank digital currency, and why, even if central banks enabled citizens to open accounts with them, thus bypassing commercial banks, it wouldn't drive banks out of business. We also cover how that could affect fractional reserve banking and credit creation, the People's Bank of China's soon-to-be-issued digital yuan, and why blockchains haven't yet substantially helped the unbanked, as they were originally touted to do. Thank you to our sponsors!  Kraken: CipherTrace: Episode links:  St. Louis Federal Reserve: David Andolfatto: David's blog: Letter from House Reps to Fed Chair Jerome Powell: Talk on blockchain, cryptocurrency and central banks: Blog post on cost efficiency of a centrally managed ledger: David’s paper on the impact of central bank digital currency private banks: Raskin and Yermack paper: David on FedCoin:  Philadelphia Federal Reserve banker Patrick Harker on a G20 CBDC being inevitable: Related Unchained interview: Dong He and Yan Liu on central bank digital currencies:
Emily Parker, cofounder of Longhash, describes what the company, which has an Asia-focused incubator and data media site does, how she ended up launching an Asia-focused company, why she’s seeing US crypto teams and ICOs going to Singapore, why the Chinese government cracked down on crypto, and what misconceptions she sees about crypto in China. She explains how the Chinese still trade Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies despite the ban, why Tether plays a big role, how the China ban has affected crypto entrepreneurship and how the upcoming People's Bank of China digital currency could impact crypto. We also discuss how the attitude toward crypto has changed in Japan over time, why so many crypto teams are settling in Singapore, and whether or not the philosophies of censorship-resistance or decentralization resonate in China.  Thank you to our sponsors! Kraken: CipherTrace: Episode links:  Longhash: Longhash's Twitter: Emily Parker: Emily Parker on Twitter: Emily Parker on LinkedIn: Longhash's incubator: BTC trading by US EST and PST vs. China: Bitcoin metrics on Longhash: Emily's interview with SEC commissioner Hester Peirce: Unchained interview with commissioner Peirce: Longhash article showing more ICOs in Singapore than in US in Q1 2018: Longhash's graphic showing money transmitter laws in the US: Longhash on ICOs fleeing the US: Unchained interview with Primitive Ventures: Unchained interview with Da Hongfei and Patrick Dai (not Lai!): Unchained interview with CZ of Binance: Emily's interview with Coincheck's president: Longhash deck of cards of crypto players:
Spencer Bogart, general partner at Blockchain Capital, the first VC firm to tokenize one of its funds, talks about how well offering tokenized shares has worked out, why it didn't do so for the following fund, the appeal of security tokens generally and what advantages tokenized securities offer over non-blockchain platforms like Second Market, in which investors can trade shares in private companies. He also explains what entrepreneurs are looking for from VCs now that they have more ways to raise from the crowd, how Blockchain Capital decides between investing in equity vs. tokens when there is an option, and why the firm believes there will only be five or fewer dominant blockchains. He describes why he thinks it's likely Bitcoin will take the lion's share of the market, noting its $200 billion market cap vs. the $20 trillion in other store-of-value assets such as gold, real estate and art, and whether or not it's possible to invest in Lightning, the second layer built on top of Bitcoin. We also cover the Bitcoin ETF proposals, stablecoins, how crypto might take off in video games and its 66x return within two years on its investment in Block.One.  Thank you to our sponsors! Simbachain: Kraken: CipherTrace: Episode links:  Blockchain Capital: Spencer Bogart: Unchained interview with Brock Pierce: BCAP Q2 Nav: Upgrading of BCAP to Securitize platform: Funding of Securitize: Blockchain Capital’s fourth fund: Story about Blockchain Capital trying to separate itself from Brock Pierce: Interview with Brock Pierce in which he describes leaving Blockchain Capital: Lightning Network statistics: Tweets from LNBig on how they earned $0.10-$0.30 a day on Lightning fees: LNBig on how they spent $1,000 or so to open their Lightning channels: Profitability of running a lightning node: Letter to the SEC: Blog post about Bitcoin’s likely dominance: Spencer's Reddit post with questions/concerns about MakerDAO: + tweetstorm:
Olga Feldmeier, CEO of SmartValor, describes how her upbringing in Ukraine when it was undergoing 10,000% and 5,000% annual inflation helped her understand the potential in Bitcoin years later, and helped her connect with Wences Casares, CEO of Xapo. She also talks about how Xapo was able to get regulated in Switzerland, without having to get a banking license, and why she believes Switzerland has been open to the crypto industry. She explains why she is now focused on security tokens and tokenizing other real-world assets with her venture SmartValor, why it is also licensed in Lichtenstein, why it is aiming to make South Korea its second home, and what her view is on Facebook's Libra.  Thank you to our sponsors! Simbachain: Kraken: CipherTrace: Episode links:  Smart Valor: Olga Feldmeier: Forbes interview with Olga: Untold Stories interview with Olga (episode 14): Xapo receives approval to operate as a financial intermediary in Switzerland: SmartValor white paper: SmartValor launches in Switzerland: Insider interview on tokenizing physical objects: Smart Valor makes South Korea its second home:
Sebastian Sonntag, the new CEO of LocalBitcoins, and Mika Impola, software developer at LocalBitcoins, explain why the peer-to-peer bitcoin trading company has a new CEO, why it stopped cash trades and what kind of response they've received from the community about it. They describe how the service works, how it has changed over time, the range of payment options available amongst sellers on the site, and how peer-to-peer trading differs from country to country. Plus, we cover why it suspended buying in Iran, how regulation is changing the site in general, how it handles forks and what Sonngtag's plans are for the company. Thank you to our sponsors! Simbachain: Kraken: CipherTrace: Episode links: LocalBitcoins: LocalBitcoins blog: LocalBitcoins names a new CEO: LocalBitcoins stops cash trades: New Finnish AML regulations:  LocalBitcoins’ new ID verification system:  LocalBitcoins trading volume across countries: LocalBitcoins trading in Venezuela: LocalBitcoins suspends buying in Iran: Bitcoin Cash hard fork decision: Bitcoin Maven: Hack on LocalBitcoins forums:
Comments (21)

mr jj

great show wonderful history story.

Nov 14th


This was really hard to listen to. Please don't ever bring him back onto the show.

Oct 13th

Philip-Alexander Jach

fed economist = liar

Oct 8th


my opinion: for a better future, design to move as much as possible for real equal opportunity and anonymity, cut middlemen and gate keepers, give more to real workers and less to burucrats and owners, AI and robotics is coming, UBI, and if some people want to waste there own lifes doing nothing that's their own problem, no one should be forced to work if not necessary

Aug 21st

Philip-Alexander Jach

Fuck the IMF and fuck central banks. Crypto was made against, not for them.

Aug 14th


is this an interview or a date?

Jun 5th
Reply (2)

Jiasun Li

Unique takeaway: how to jump-starting a blockchain the Litecoin way.

Apr 30th

Lior Goldenberg

Great episode, very informative & help understanding the makerDao eco system! looking forward part2

Feb 4th

pablo creel

I would be great if you could do a podcast on Loyalty programs and blockchain. I topic you haven't talked that much in a high growing industry. Happy holidays

Dec 15th

Jomari Peterson

leveraging an opportunity zone fund can allow people to defer and eliminate their capital gain taxes “Don’t Worry About Capital Gain Taxes this Year.” by Jomari Peterson

Dec 4th

Rr Mathieu

ransom!? what facts are these statements based on? sounds like 2 old men who live in the past. terrible interview, very biased

Oct 30th

Rr Mathieu

I am an investor in crypto. Most of which is in Bitcoin and some alts such as, XRP, 0X. In my opinion you are doing a fantastic job with your research and top notch interviews. Believe me they help. Keep up the good work Laura! Ron M.

Oct 17th

R. R.

Financial derivatives are the foundation/underlying cause of the 2008 financial crisis.

Oct 3rd


Wow, she says that she was trading totally on inside information. And they wonder why regulators are playing it safe on the sector.

Sep 21st

R. R.

Q: So Robert, what are you having for lunch tomorrow? A: That's a great question......

Sep 20th

Devin Turner

Laura, your ability to point out flaws in your guest's weak arguments with counterexamples is why I love the show. No hype and no BS!

Jul 20th

Philip Schweitzer

The opening of this really made me wary of the future of Ethereum.

Jul 13th

Philip Duncan

amazing episode! keep up the great work

Jun 9th

Philip Duncan

Great job on this one!

Apr 29th
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