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web3 with a16z crypto

Author: a16z crypto, Sonal Chokshi, Chris Dixon

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"web3 with a16z" is a show about the next generation of the internet, and about how builders and users -- whether artists, coders, creators, developers, companies, organizations, or communities -- now have the ability to not just "read" (web1) + "write" (web2) but "own" (web3) pieces of the internet, unlocking a new wave of creativity and entrepreneurship. Brought to you by a16z crypto, this show is the definitive resource for understanding and going deeper on all things crypto and web3.

From discussing the latest and leading trends to sharing research, data readouts, and insights from top scientists and makers in the space, this is a variety show with a variety of formats and topics listeners can pick and choose from. It is hosted by the longtime showrunner of (and original team behind) the popular a16z Podcast. Learn more at a16zcrypto.com.
43 Episodes
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with @jessepollak @NoahCitron @rhhackettWelcome to web3 with a16z, a show about building the next era of the internet by the team at a16z crypto, that includes me, host Robert Hackett. Today’s episode covers the bustling area of “layer 2” rollups, a technology for scaling “layer 1” blockchains such as Ethereum. Joining us is Jesse Pollak, who previously led engineering for Coinbase’s retail side and who now is the company’s head of protocols where he founded and leads the popular layer 2 rollup Base.We’re also joined by Noah Citron, an engineer at a16z crypto who works on many open source projects and protocols, and who closely tracks developments in this area.Our conversation digs into the shifting history and future of Ethereum, the arrival of upgrades like EIP-4844, experiments in futarchy, and the difference between leading — and innovating — inside companies versus within decentralized communities. We also discuss the challenges of winning developer mindshare, how to refine business metrics and measures, understanding the tangled interactions between rollups and bridges, and whether you should ever hyphenate the word “onchain.”Resources for references in this episode:jessepollak.com — Jesse Pollak's personal website"A rollup-centric Ethereum roadmap" by Vitalik Buterin (Fellowship of Ethereum Magicians, October 2020)"The Coinbase Secret Master Plan" by Brian Armstrong (Coinbase, September 2016)"Proposed milestones for rollups taking off training wheels" by VItalik Buterin (Fellowship of Ethereum Magicians, November 2022)L2Beat — dashboard of the state of the layer 2sDefiLlama — dashboard of the state of DeFiRelevant Dune dashboards relating to layer 2sEthereum blobsEthereum blob fee marketDEX cross-chain metricsFarcasters users transactions by chain"How rollups *actually* work" by Kelvin Fichter (ETHGlobal Scaling Ethereum Summit, March 2023)"Rollups are L1s (& L2s) a.k.a. how rollups *actually actually actually* work" by Jon Charbonneau (Mirror.xyz, May 2023)"Rollups, Rigor, and Reality" by Kevlin Fichter (kelvinfichter.com)"Futarchy: Vote Values, But Bet Beliefs" by Robin Hanson (George Mason University, August 2000)"Ethereum Rollup Improvement Proposals (RIP)" (Github)Ethereum EIP-4844 (Github, March 2023)As a reminder none of the following should be taken as tax, business, legal, or investment advice. See a16zcrypto.com/disclosures for more important information, including a link to a list of our investments.
with @SuccinctJT @samrags_ @moodlezoup @rhhackettWelcome to web3 with a16z, a show about building the next era of the internet by the team at a16z crypto. That includes me, host Robert Hackett.  Today's all new episode covers a very important and now fast developing area of technology that can help scale blockchains, but that also has many uses beyond blockchains as well.That category of technology is verifiable computing, and specifically, SNARKs.  So today we dig into zkVMs, or "zero knowledge virtual machines," which use SNARKs, and we discuss a new design for them that the guests on this episode helped develop — work that resulted in Jolt, the most performant, easy-for-developers-to-use zkVM to date.The conversation that follows covers the history and evolution of the field, the surprising similarities between SNARK design and computer chip architecture,  the tensions between general purpose versus application specific programming, and the challenges of turning abstract research theory into concrete engineering practice.Our guests include Justin Thaler, research partner at a16z crypto and associate professor of computer science at Georgetown University, who came up with the insights underpinning Jolt, along with collaborators from Microsoft Research, Carnegie Mellon, and New York Universities.  His is the first voice you'll hear after mine,  followed by Sam Ragsdale, investment engineer at a16z crypto, and Michael Zhu, research engineer at a16Z crypto, both of whom brought Jolt from concept  to code.Resources for references in this episode:"Jolt: SNARKs for Virtual Machines via Lookups" by Arasu Arun, Srinath Setty & Justin Thaler  (Cryptology ePrint Archive, 2023)the Jolt Github pageMichael Zhu and Sam Ragsdale’s post on the open source implementationJustin Thaler’s post on the ideas behind Joltan FAQ untangling this new SNARK design paradigmour Lasso + Jolt archives▶️📹 Jolt, zkVMs, and speeding up blockchains by Justin Thaler — a quick (five minute) explanation of what Jolt is and why it's important▶️📹 Correcting some SNARK misconceptions by Justin Thaler — a deeper dive into some of the common misconceptions behind Lasso (the theoretical foundation of Jolt) and how this new paradigm works"Zero Knowledge Canon, Part 1 & 2" by Elena Burger et al. (a16z crypto, September 2022)Computational Complexity: A Modern Approach by Sanjeev Arora and Boaz Barak (Princeton University, January 2007)As a reminder, none of the following should be taken as tax, business, legal, or investment advice. See a16zcrypto.com/disclosures for more important information, including a link to a list of our investments.
with @creeefs @blauyourmind @rhhackettWelcome to web3 with a16z, a show about building the next generation of the internet from the team at a16z crypto — that includes me, Robert Hackett, your cohost and an editor here. Today's episode explores the merging of the physical and digital worlds, as well as what that means for the future of our interactions and identities.Our guests today are Chris Lee, cofounder of IYK, a startup that's bringing the physical closer together to the digital through NFC chips, and joining us is Michael Blau, a deal partner at a16z crypto who creates generative art in his spare time.In the conversation ahead, we cover new consumer experiences in everything from concert-going to commerce, the intersection of high tech and high fashion, and differences between building in web2 versus web3. We also dig into the power of open standards, the challenges of posed by bots and counterfeiting, and debates over terminology, including whether 'phygital' should be a thing.Resources for references in this episode:"After Taylor Swift Ticket Chaos, Senators Question FTC Over Bot Law Enforcement" (Rolling Stone, November 2022)"Pearl Jam: Taking on Ticketmaster" (Rolling Stone, December 1995)IYK FAQ (Notion)"Tap to pay your fare with OMNY" (MTA)"Introducing Stories Highlights and Stories Archive" (Instagram, December 2017)Taylor Swift | The Eras TourQueen - Bohemian Rhapsody (Live Aid 1985) (Youtube)"Queen win greatest live gig poll" (BBC News, November 2005)"The tech behind Taylor Swift concert wristbands" (Wired, June 2023)"Finally, The P.J. Tucker x D&G Collab is Here" (GQ, July 2021)On different models for linking NFTs to physical items (Mirror.xyz, February 2023)"Lessons from 2023's fashion and beauty NFTs" (Vogue Business, December 2023)"Singer Vérité’s fan-first approach to Web3, music NFTs and community building" (Cointelegraph, October 2023)"How to Spot a Real Moncler Jacket" (TheRealReal, November 2019)"Why Knockoffs Can Help Build a Strong Brand" (Freakonomics, September 2012)On the verification process at StockX (StockX)"I Returned to Webkinz So You Wouldn’t Have To" (Yale News, January 2019)"A Wine-Soaked True Crime Doc with ‘Fraud, Deception and Intrigue’" (Wine Enthusiast, May 2023)Sour Grapes (2016) documentary (Amazon Prime)"I Love the Blockchain, Just Not Bitcoin" (Coindesk, November 2014)"Timeline: Causes of the global semiconductor chip shortage" (Supply Chain Digital, January 2023)"ERC-721 Non-fungible Token Standard" (Ethereum Foundation, November 2023)Read Write Own by Chris Dixon book, bookmark, and NFT (Random House, January 2024)On Duolingo outfits (Duolingo Wiki)Ready Player One (Netflix, 2018)On "phygital" (Collectid, March 2023)As a reminder none of the following should be taken as business, legal, tax, or investment advice. Please see a16z.com/disclosures for more important information including a link to a list of our investments.
with @dennnnnnnnny @smc90We know that technology has changed art, and that artists have evolved with every new technology — it’s a tale as old as humanity, moving from cave paintings to computers. Underlying these movements are endless debates around inventing versus remixing; between commercialism and art; between mainstream canon and fringe art; whether we’re living in an artistic monoculture now (the answer may surprise you); and much much more. So in this new episode featuring Berlin-based contemporary artist Simon Denny -- in conversation with a16z crypto editor in chief Sonal Chokshi -- we discuss all of the above debates. We also cover how artists experimented with the emergence of new technology platforms like the web browser, the iPhone, Instagram and social media; to how generative art found its “native” medium on blockchains, why NFTs; and other art movements. Denny also thinks of entrepreneurial ideas -- from Peter Thiel's to Chris Dixon's Read Write Own -- as an "aesthetic"; and thinks of technology artifacts (like NSA sketches!) as art -- reflecting all of these in his works across various mediums and contexts. How has technology changed art, and more importantly, how have artists changed with technology? How does art change our place in the world, or span beyond space? It's about optimism, and seeing things anew... all this and more in this episode.As a reminder: none of this is investment, business, legal, or tax advice; please see a16z.com/disclosures for more important information, including a link to a list of our investments. SHOW NOTES: 
with @brian_armstrong @cdixonWelcome to web3 with a16z, a show about building the next generation of the internet from the team at a16z crypto. This episode features Brian Armstrong, CEO and cofounder of Coinbase, in conversation with a16z crypto founder and managing partner Chris Dixon.The conversation was originally recorded at our Founders Summit in November. It covers the aftermath of FTX and the rise of crypto in politics — but it also goes into company building at scale, lessons for directing product development, how to balance core business with disruptive innovation, and more.As a reminder none of the following should be taken as business, legal, tax, or investment advice. Please see a16z.com/disclosures for more important information including a link to a list of our investments.
with @tobi  @bhorowitzWelcome to the web3 with a16z podcast. Today's episode features a conversation between Tobias Lütke, CEO and cofounder of the ecommerce platform Shopify, and Ben Horowitz, cofounder of a16z, which took place at our second annual Founders Summit in November. They discuss what it takes to build a breakout startup in a crowded category; the changing face of retail; how to effect change in the workplace; and how to handle individual emotions and corporate culture — including dealing with calls for activism as well as the value of embracing negativity. They also touch on the moral imperative behind creating quality software, the symbiosis between AI and crypto, and more.As a reminder, none of the following should be taken as business, legal, tax, or investment advice. Please see a16z.com/disclosures for more important information, including a link to a list of our investments.
with @cdixon @pmarca @bhorowitz @rhhackettWelcome to the web3 with a16z podcast. Today's episode is the final installment in our limited series on Read Write Own, the new book by a16z crypto founding partner Chris Dixon. Today's episode features Dixon in conversation with a16z cofounders Ben Horowitz and Marc Andreessen. Their discussion covers the internet’s corporate takeover and how that affects startups, creativity, and innovation; blockchains as inheritors of the open source ethos; where AI comes in; and the next battleground in global politics. This episode is a crossover from the Ben & Marc Show, which you can find and follow on the a16z YouTube channel or wherever you get your podcasts.Resources for references in this episode:"How an economic moat provides a competitive advantage" by Chris Gallant (Investopedia, August 2023)"The dynamics of network effects" by D'Arcy Coolican and Li Jin (a16z, December 2018)"Skeuomorphism" (Interaction Design Foundation)"How to rebuild social media on top of RSS" (Hacker News, December 2022)"Cardinal conversations: Reid Hoffman and Peter Thiel on 'technology and politics'" (Hoover Institute, January 2018) [see @ 29:00]"Peter Thiel: AI is communist" by Dan Primack (Axios, February 2018)"Sam Altman seeks trillions of dollars to reshape business of chips and AI" by Keach Hagey and Asa Fitch (Wall Street Journal, February 2024)"Join a union—but also join a DAO" by Daisy Alioto (The Nation, December 2021)Fully Automated Luxury Communism: A Manifesto by Aaron Bastani (Verso, June 2019)"Friedrich Hayek and the price system" by Randal K. Quarles ("The Road to Serfdom at 75" conference, November 2019)Pandora's Box: A Fable from the Age of Science "Part 1. The Engineers' Plot" by Adam Curtis (BBC, June 1992) [see @ 25:00]"Going from web2 to web3: 'Your take rate is my opportunity'" by Chris Dixon (a16z crypto, August 2021)"Blockchain & internet glossary (A–Z): Key terms from Read Write Own" by Chris Dixon and Robert Hackett (a16z crypto, February 2024)"Why decentralization matters" by Chris Dixon (a16z crypto, February 2018)"The Vision Pro needs apps. Now is not a good time for Apple to be at odds with developers" by Hasan Chowdhury (Business Insider, January 2024)"Upgrading Ethereum | 4.2.5 Deneb" by Ben Edgington (Eth2book, September 2023)"What to expect from Ethereum's Cancun-Deneb Upgrade" by Wilfred Daye (Coindesk, February 2024)"Bitcoin Obituaries" (99 Bitcoins)"An Overview of H.R. 4766, Clarity for Payment Stablecoins Act" by Paul Tierno and Andrew P. Scott (Congressional Research Service, September 2023)"The Rings of Power" (The Lord of the Rings Wiki)"There's no downplaying the impact of Operation Choke Point" by Dennis Shaul (American Banker, November 2018)"Operation Choke Point 2.0: The Federal Bank Regulators Come for Crypto" by David H. Thompson, et al. (Cooper & Kirk Lawyers, March 2023)"Google Chatbot’s A.I. Images Put People of Color in Nazi-Era Uniforms" by Nico Grant (New York Times, February 2024)"This is Worldcoin: Humanness in the age of AI" (Worldcoin, February 2024)The Blocksize War: The Battle for Control Over Bitcoin's Protocol Rules by Jonathan Bier (Amazon, March 2021)"Balaji Srinivasan: The Bitcoin Network State" (Bitcoin Magazine, October 2023)
with @stevenbjohnson @cdixon @rhhackettWelcome to the web3 with a16z crypto podcast. Today's episode features a conversation between Steven Johnson, a prolific author of books about technology and innovation who is also, as editorial director at Google Labs, helping to develop AI writing tools such as NotebookLM, and Chris Dixon, founding partner of a16z crypto and author of the new book Read Write Own: Building the Next Era of the Internet. The two discuss the history of their shared interests, they explore the emergent properties of decentralized networks, and they dig into the past, present, and future of the internet.Resources for references in this episode:Author page for Steven JohnsonGoogle Labs's personalized AI writing tool NotebookLM"Beyond the Bitcoin Bubble" by Steven Johnson (New York Times Magazine, January 2018)How We Got To Now: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World by Steven Johnson (Riverhead Books: 2015)Enemy of All Mankind: A True Story of Piracy, Power, And History's First Global Manhunt by Steven Johnson (Riverhead Books: 2021)Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software by Steven Johnson (Sribner: 2002)Chris Dixon's blog at cdixon.orgThe Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs (Random House: 1961)The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York by Robert Caro (Vintage: 1975)The Cluetrain Manifesto: The End of Business as Usual (Basic Books: 2000)"A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace" by John Perry Barlow"1000 True Fans" by Kevin KellyIndex, a History of the: A Bookish Adventure from Medieval Manuscripts to the Digital Age by Dennis Duncan (W.W. Norton: 2022)ReadWriteWeb blog (ca. 2003)"Airbnb Proposes Giving Hosts a Stake in the Company" by Aisha Al-Muslim and Maureen Farrell (Wall Street Journal, September 2018)"Lyft Unlikely to Get SEC Pushback on Plan for Two Share Classes" by Nabila Ahmed and Ben Bain (Bloomberg, March 2019)"OpenAI Says New York Times Lawsuit Against It Is Without Merit" by Cade Metz (New York Times, January 2024)
Read Write Own: A new era

Read Write Own: A new era

2024-01-3001:18:371

with @cdixon @rhhackettWelcome to the web3 with a16z crypto podcast. I'm Robert Hackett, an editor here at a16z crypto, and I'm here with Chris Dixon, founding partner of a16z crypto and author of the new book Read Write Own: Building the Next Era of the Internet.  I had the privilege of editing Chris throughout the book writing process, and I'm thrilled now to talk to you about what went on behind the scenes, the big themes of the book, the challenges, and also about the crypto industry at large as well as what we can expect from it in the future.Learn more at https://readwriteown.com/.Resources for references in this episode:Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas TalebThe Tipping Point by Malcolm GladwellSpider-Man: Across the Spider-verse"'It's a canon event' TikTok trend, explained"Chris Dixon's blog at cdixon.org"Come for the tool, stay for the network""The next big thing starts out looking like a toy""Can't be evil"The Cold Start Problem by Andrew ChenOn Andrew Chen's writing habitsOn investing in Coinbase in 2013Guidance from the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission in 2019: "Framework for 'Investment Contract' Analysis of Digital Assets"On blockchains as "a programmable computer that lives in the sky" via a16z crypto head of research Tim RoughgardenGödel Escher Bach by Douglas Hofstader"How Aristotle Created the Computer" by Chris Dixon for The Atlantic"A Symbolic Analysis of Relay and Switching Circuits" by Claude ShannonPrincipia Mathematica by Bertrand Russell and Alfred North WhiteheadAn Investigation of the Laws of Thought by George BooleThe End of Education by Neil Postman"Inside out vs. outside in: The adoption of new technologies" by Chris Dixon"The Inevitable Showdown Between Twitter and Twitter Apps" by Chris Dixon"Elon Musk says X is discouraging links in posts" by Sara Fischer"Make Ethereum Cypherpunk Again" by Vitalik Buterin"What Will Happen in 2024" by Fred Wilson"A Logical Calculus of the Ideas Immanent in Nervous Activity" by McCullough and PittsCrossing the Chasm by Geoffrey A. MooreOn "thesis, antithesis, and synthesis" and Hegel's DialecticsAs a reminder, none of the following should be taken as business, legal, tax, or investment advice; please see a16z.com/disclosures for more important information, including a link to a list of our investments.
Welcome back to web3 with a16z -- a show about building the next generation of the internet, from the team at a16z crypto. This show is for anyone -- whether company leader or other entrepreneur, creator or developer, media or policymaker -- seeking to understand, and go deeper on all things blockchains, crypto, and web3. We’re back with all new episodes this season, beginning with some conversations that took place at our recent Founders Summit. Today's guest is Jonathan Dotan, tech founder, Emmy-nominated producer, and writer who spent six seasons on HBO's show Silicon Valley. He is also the founding director of The Starling Lab for Data Integrity at Stanford & USC -- which prototypes tools and principles to bring historians, legal experts, and journalists into the new era of web3 -- and where he leads applied research on the decentralized web and human rights.  This episode is based on a conversation that took place at our recent second annual Founders Summit -- with a16z crypto's Robert Hackett (also former senior writer at Fortune) -- in which they discuss how cryptographic technologies can help establish "ground truth" in conflict zones; the history of open source regulation; and more. Dotan is also a fellow at Stanford’s Center for Blockchain Research and a lecturer at Stanford’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Graduate School of Business. This talk was preceded by a short presentation from Dotan on the "enduring promise of web3" delivered at our second annual a16z crypto Founder Summit in November 2023, which you can watch on YouTube.  As a reminder, none of the following should be taken as business, legal, tax, or investment advice; please see a16z.com/disclosures for more important information, including a link to a list of our investments.
with @smc90 @stanfordgsb How does one *communicate* well -- especially in crypto, but also in other technical industries or open source communities? Or in distributed, decentralized organizations, where you may have participants that are both remote and in person, or a mix of regulars and newcomers/ strangers.  (Take for instance a community call to discuss technical or governance changes.) How do you present information to different types of stakeholders; speak spontaneously; or resolve and recover from conflicts on the spot? So in this special book-launch episode of web3 with a16z, we invited  Matt Abrahams -- author of the new, just-released book, Think Faster, Talk Smarter: How to Speak Successfully When You're Put on the Spot (he also hosts a popular podcast by a similar name, “Think Fast Talk Smart”, which you should also subscribe to!). Matt is not only a lecturer at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, but he works with lots of companies and leaders on strategic communication, persuasive communication, interpersonal communication, and much more.In this episode, Matt covers --  in conversation with host Sonal Chokshi -- specific templates, tactics, and tools that anyone can use; but we begin the first 15 minutes setting some foundational context, including the difference between informal vs. formal communication; why structure matters and how it relates to "spontaneity";  the art of listening with pace, space, and grace (for listening to oneself, too). We then cover several types of structures that anyone -- whether leader or individual contributor, engineer, marketing, sales -- can use in many types of communication. Ultimately, crypto isn't just about technology and code -- but about open source, decentralization, collaboration -- people coordinating with each other at unprecedented scale: a very human thing. That's why finding the "common" in communication is essential, and represents the future of work, now. resources referenced in this episode:How to Moderate Talks, Panels, Meetings, and More (Virtual and Beyond!), a16z Podcast, November 2020 -- with Matt Abrahams and Sonal ChokshiEthereum, Merge and Beyond, web3 with a16z podcast, September 2022 -- with Tim Beiko et alNone of the following should be taken as investment, legal, business, or tax advice. Please also see a16z.com/disclosures for important information -- including a link to a list of our investments -- since we are investors in some of the companies mentioned in this episode. 
with @guywuolletjr @eddylazzarin @smc90"Which blockchain should I build in?" Is a very top of mind question for builders in web3, including  for people coming into the space for the first time -- but also relevant to anyone interested in tech innovation, tech stacks, and the evolution of infrastructure. So how does one decide among all the chain choices out there, particularly given how fast-moving the crypto and web3 space is? Things are constantly changing, things are still being built, and there's no one size fits all answer...So in this episode, we -- a16z crypto’s Guy Wuollet, and CTO Eddy Lazzarin, in conversation with host Sonal Chokshi -- tease apart all the tangled threads and nuances of the topic. In the first third of the discussion, we sketch out the overall landscape, why it matters, quick definitions. Then, we focus on common/ frequently asked questions, specific tradeoffs, and a framework for deciding which chain -- including discussing different technical specs, as well as other dimensions such as: community, marketing & ecosystem support, security, custody, programming languages, and much, much more. resources related to or mentioned in this episode:Programming Languages & Crypto (2023) with Sam Blackshear, Eddy Lazzarin, Noah Citron, Sonal ChokshiThe Four Horsemen of Centralization (2018) by Ali YahyaDecentralization for web3 Builders: Principles, Models, How (2022) by Miles JenningsNetwork Effects, Origin Stories, and the Evolution of Tech (2018), with Brian Arthur, Marc Andreessen, and Sonal Chokshi  [see also this paper referenced]None of the following should be taken as investment, legal, business, or tax advice. Please also see a16z.com/disclosures for important information -- including a link to a list of our investments -- since we are investors in some of the companies mentioned in this episode. 
with @aeyakovenko @alive_eth @guywuolletjr @smc90This all-new deep-dive, hallway-style chat features a16z crypto general partner Ali Yahya and deal team partner Guy Wuollet, in conversation with Solana co-founder and Solana Labs CEO Anatoly Yakovenko --  who also worked at Qualcomm for over a decade, where he was a senior engineer and engineering manager among other things. The first half of the episode is a discussion/ debate blockchain architectures -- including of course Solana & Ethereum, the themes of monolithic vs. modular, et cetera -- but really is about what are the tradeoffs, and what should one optimize for (or not!), depending on what you’re building, and to make crypto happen at scale (now and in the future). The second half of the episode covers company-, community-, and ecosystem-building -- including discussing the nuances of leadership in open source; and wherefore messiahs/ prophets?! -- as well as touching on engineering hiring, devrel (developer relations), governance; the Solana phone, and some of the Solana backstory as well. What are the differences between hardware and software innovation? And how does innovation play out, in theory versus practice? These are the throughlines of this episode... For more on some of the topics discussed, see also: a high-level overview of topics including VDFs, defined (with Joe Bonneau)resources on all things VDFs /verifiable delay functions on a16zcrypto.com, including:an introduction to verifiable delay functions (from a16z crypto research partner Joe Bonneau)our episode on AI & crypto (with Ali Yahya)our discussion on the evolution of programming languages & crypto (including Move's Sam Blackshear)As a reminder: none of this should be taken as investment, legal, business, or tax advice; please see a16z.com/disclosures for more important information -- including a link to a list of our investments.
with @davidmarcus @smc90This wide-ranging conversation covers company building, big to small -- including what cadence and when is the right "time" to ship; the relationship between centralization, decentralization, platforms, and financial freedom; moving from web2 to web3 in both crypto AND payments... as well as why bitcoin, views on remote work, and much much more. Our guest is David Marcus, CEO and co-founder of Lightspark; Marcus was also a co-creator of Diem (aka Libra and Novi, the cryptocurrency project initiated by Facebook). Before that, he was vice president of messaging products there, where he ran the Facebook Messenger unit; and prior to joining Facebook, Marcus was the former president of PayPal (which had acquired his previous startup).  This episode begins with an interview just to help kick things off and then features a rich set of questions from the audience -- as this originally took place live on stage at our Crypto Startup School 2023. As a reminder: none of this should be taken as investment, legal, business, or tax advice; please see a16z.com/disclosures for more important information -- including a link to a list of our investments.related readings:Regulate apps, not protocols series (2022-2023) - Miles Jennings et al, a16z crypto)What it will take to create the next great Silicon Valleys (2014) - Marc Andreessen (Politico, a16z)Why bitcoin matters (2014) - Marc Andreeessen (NYT, a16z) When one app rules them all: The case of WeChat and Mobile in China (2015) - Connie Chan (a16z)  
AI & Crypto

AI & Crypto

2023-08-1201:02:412

with @alive_eth @danboneh @smc90This week's all-new episode covers the convergence of two important, very top-of-mind trends: AI (artificial intelligence) & blockchains/ crypto. These domains together have major implications for how we all live our lives everyday; so this episode is for anyone just curious about, or already building in the space. The conversation covers topics ranging from deep fakes, bots, and the need for proof-of-humanity in a world of AI; to big data, large language models like ChatGPT, user control, governance, privacy and security, zero knowledge and zkML; to MEV, media, art, and much more. Our expert guests (in conversation with host Sonal Chokshi) include: Dan Boneh, Stanford Professor (and Senior Research Advisor at a16z crypto), a cryptographer who’s been working on blockchains for over a decade and who specializes in cryptography, computer security, and machine learning -- all of which intersect in this episode;Ali Yahya, general partner at a16z crypto, who also previously worked at Google -- where he not only worked on a distributed system for a fleet of robots (a sort of "collective reinforcement learning") but also worked on Google Brain, where he was one of the core contributors to the machine learning library TensorFlow built at Google.The first half of the hallway-style conversation between Ali & Dan (who go back together as student and professor at Stanford) is all about how AI could benefit from crypto, and the second half on how crypto could benefit from AI... the thread throughout is the tension between centralization vs. decentralization.  So we also discuss where the intersection of crypto and AI can bring about things that aren't possible by either one of them alone...pieces referenced in this episode/ related reading:The Next Cyber Reasoning System for Cyber Security (2023) by Mohamed Ferrag, Ammar Battah, Norbert Tihanyi, Merouane Debbah, Thierry Lestable, Lucas CordeiroA New Era in Software Security: Towards Self-Healing Software via Large Language Models and Formal Verification (2023) by  Yiannis Charalambous, Norbert Tihanyi, Ridhi Jain, Youcheng Sun, Mohamed Ferrag, Lucas CordeiroFixing Hardware Security Bugs with Large Language Models (2023) by Baleegh Ahmad, Shailja Thakur, Benjamin Tan, Ramesh Karri, Hammond PearceDo Users Write More Insecure Code with AI Assistants? (2022) by Neil Perry, Megha Srivastava, Deepak Kumar, Dan BonehAsleep at the Keyboard? Assessing the Security of GitHub Copilot's Code Contributions (2021) by Hammond Pearce, Baleegh Ahmad, Benjamin Tan, Brendan Dolan-Gavitt, Ramesh KarriVoting, Security, and Governance in Blockchains (2019) with Ali Yahya and Phil Daian    As a reminder: none of the following should be taken as investment, legal, business, or tax advice; please see a16z.com/disclosures for more important information -- including to a link to a list of our investments – especially since we are investors in companies mentioned in this episode.
with @mclader @smc90 In this wide-ranging conversation, Uniswap Labs COO Mary Catherine (aka MC) Lader discusses the challenges -- and opportunities -- of decentralized finance (DeFi); business strategy (& competition) in a world of open source; product vs. protocol innovation... as well as organizational structure & collaboration, hiring, metrics, community engagement, app store policies, decentralization, and much, much more. The conversation -- based on an interview with host Sonal Chokshi and founder Q&A live from a16z crypto Startup School earlier this year -- also covers how to make decisions on what to innovate on or not; how to move from  idea and vision to business; and the transition overall from traditional finance/ tradfi. Before joining Uniswap Labs (which contributes to Uniswap, a protocol for trading and automated liquidity provision on Ethereum) -- Lader was a managing director at BlackRock (and chief operating officer of the firm’s digital wealth business and head of its climate tech business); was formerly a fintech entrepreneur; and began her career as an investment analyst at Goldman Sachs. ---As a reminder: none of the following should be taken as investment, legal, business, or tax advice; please see a16z.com/disclosures for more important information -- including a link to a list of our investments.
with @skominers @smc90In this deep dive and tour through key business concepts, from theory to practice, we cover the topics of strategy, competitive advantage,  network effects, moats, and more -- covering both both basic foundations, as well as the tricky nuances in a new world of open source, including web3.  In the first half of this discussion, we cover foundational business concepts and questions -- such as the nature of competition, and how it *really* changes in web3; as well as how network effects really work -- and then, in the second half (in case you want to skip ahead), we cover mindsets and general guidance for builders…Our expert guest -- in conversation with editor in chief and host Sonal Chokshi -- is a16z crypto research partner Scott Duke Kominers, who is also a professor at Harvard Business School; a faculty affiliate in Harvard’s Department of Economics; and advises several companies on marketplace development, incentive design, and more; as well as advises, and is directly involved, in several NFT communities. Scott also teaches on these topics -- both at Harvard and also recently at our Crypto Startup School -- so be sure to subscribe to our playlist for those talks on the a16z crypto YouTube channel to get the latest updates as we release more videos from the 2023 cohort.  related links // see also:Can web3 bring back competition to digital platforms? by Christian Catalini and Scott Duke KominersWhy build in web3 by Jad Esber and Scott Duke KominersVampire attacks: A theory (and thread) on 'blood sucking' platform competition by John William Hatfield and Scott Duke KominersWhy NFT creators are going cc0 by Flashrekt and Scott Duke KominersDecentralized identity: Your reputation travels with you by Scott Duke Kominers and Jad EsberIncreasing returns and the new world of business (1996) by W. Brian ArthurNetwork effects, origin Stories, and the evolution of tech with W. Brian Arthur, Marc Andreeessen, and Sonal ChokshiThe five competitive forces that shape strategy (2008 reformulation of 1979 paper) by Michael PorterStrategies for two-sided markets (2006) by Tom Eisenmann, Geoffrey Parker, and Marshall Van Alstyne---As a reminder: none of the following is investment, business, legal, or tax advice; please see a16z.com/disclosures for more important information -- including a link to a list of our investments.  
with @lera_banda @danboneh @rhhackettThis episode introduces concepts behind -- and applications of -- data availability sampling (DAS), a key piece of the puzzle that could help blockchains like Ethereum achieve full scaling. A low-overhead technique that uses random sampling of data to ensure that all necessary blockchain data has been made available to nodes without straining the network, DAS features heavily in a series of planned Ethereum upgrades called "Danksharding" [named to reference Ethereum Foundation researcher Dankrad Feist]. The next Danksharding milestone for Ethereum is an upgrade called EIP-4844, known as "Protodanksharding" [also named to reference Ethereum researcher Protolambda, now at OP Labs] -- which is planned for later this year.Our expert guests include:Valeria Nikolaenko, a16z crypto research partnerDan Boneh, Stanford cryptography professor and a16z crypto senior research advisor...who discuss their recent piece on data availability sampling and Danksharding -- including a proposal they put forward to the improve current plans for upgrading Ethereum -- with Robert Hackett (a16z crypto features editor and head of special projects), based on a live conversation that took place recently on Twitter Spaces.links to pieces/ topics referenced in this episode:on data availability sampling and danksharding, an overview and proposal / Valeria Nikolaenko & Dan Bonehon Proto-Danksharding, a technical analysis / grizzly-answer-991EIP-4844: the specification of ProtoDankSharding / Ethereum FoundationProto-Danksharding FAQ / Vitalik ButerinDanksharding workshop video / Devcon (Oct 2022)2D data availability with Kate commitments  discussion on commitments' expansion / Ethereum Research Foruma note on data availability and erasure coding / Github---None of this is investment, business, legal, or tax advice; please see a16z.com/disclosures for more important information – including a link to a list of our investments. 
with @cdixon @eddylazzarin @DarenMatsuoka @rhhackettAn in-depth overview of web3 trends and tech progress toward building the next internet, this conversation covers themes from the 2023 State of Crypto Report. The first half of the discussion (from our recent Twitter Spaces), delves into data points and analyses: what’s behind the recent uptick in NFT activity and experimentation; the curious relationship between gaming (including on-chain gaming) and innovation; as well as challenges, and opportunities, in blockchain scaling. We also discuss the pace of advances in the field of zero knowledge cryptography, plus what new applications and products are now possible... including beyond web3. The second half (based on a separate discussion) delves deeper into the report’s methodology, especially behind the interactive State of Crypto Index data tool… finally zooming out on the big picture.Guests include Chris Dixon, founding general partner at a16z crypto; Eddy Lazzarin, chief technology officer; and Daren Matsuoka, lead data scientist -- in conversation with guest host Robert Hackett, a16z crypto features editor and head of special projects. links to pieces or topics referenced in this episode:the 2023 State of Crypto Report (+ PDF, livestream, Twitter Spaces) / Daren Matsuoka, Eddy Lazzarin, Robert Hackett, & Stephanie Zinnthe State of Crypto Index / Daren Matsuoka, Eddy Lazzarin, Robert Hackett, & Stephanie Zinnon the “domino effect” meme / knowyourmemeon John Carmack, see "Masters of Doom" by David Kushner /  bookon web3 gaming & on-chain games / web3 with a16z crypto podcaston EIP-4844 aka “protodanksharding” / Ethereum Improvement Proposalson “Jevons paradox” in economics / Wikipediaon the concept of “induced demand” / WIREDon zero knowledge applications to machine learning / Elena Burgerthe zero knowledge canon (parts 1 + 2) / Elena Burger, Bryan Chiang, Sonal Chokshi, Eddy Lazzarin, Justin Thaler, & Ali Yahyaon developer activity trends in crypto / Electric CapitalNone of the content is investment, business, legal, or tax advice. See a16z.com/disclosures for more important information, including a link to a list of our investments. Also, please note that any charts, data, or projections discussed here are subject to change without notice, may differ from opinions expressed by others, and are for informational purposes only – they should not be relied upon when making any investment decision. The content speaks only as of the date indicated, and a16z has not independently verified third party sources nor makes representations about the enduring accuracy of the information. 
with @amandacassatt @kimbatronic @smc90All about marketing, and web3 -- not just for marketers already in or seeking to enter web3, but also anyone doing community marketing/ community management, devrel (developer relations); or simply doing marketing in web2 or classic growth marketing, seeking to understand the latest trends and tactics.With the  author of the new book, Web3 Marketing: A Handbook for the Next Internet Revolution, Amanda Cassatt (who was also the first CMO at ConsenSys, helping bring Ethereum to market; and also founded and leads the pioneering, native web3-marketing agency Serotonin). Also joining this episode to share insights on marketing web3 -- in conversation with host and editor in chief Sonal Chokshi -- is Kim Milosevich, CMO at a16z crypto, where she oversees brand, marketing, events, and communications (and before that was VP of communications at Coinbase, where she took the company through its direct listing while leading internal, policy, product, and corporate communications internationally). The episode also covers key top of mind questions for web3 builders and others, including how to do community marketing, manage "profiles" in decentralized and open source, and finding your audience... including feedback for product-market fit. And much. much more! 
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