Steven Kokinos is a veteran Web entrepreneur with multiple hundred million dollar startup exits, his first back in 1999. Now he is CEO of Algorand where he is commercialising the innovations of Silvio Micali, one of the godfathers of Modern Cryptography and Turing Award winner. We talk about how to decide and execute a ‘go to market’ strategy for a generalisable layer 1 protocol and the potential of DeFi, Security Tokens and CBDCs (Central Bank Digital Currencies).
- Solving the ‘blockchain trilemma’
- The Journey from Web 1 to Web 3
- Straddling The CeFi to DeFi spectrum
- Security Tokens and CBDCs (Central Bank Digital Currencies).
Jamie: Welcome to the Founders of Web 3 series by Outlier Ventures and me your host Jamie Burke. Together we’re going to meet the entrepreneurs that backers and the leading policymakers that are shaping web three. Together we’re going to try to define what is web three, explore its nuances and understand the mission and purpose the drivers founders. If you enjoy what you hear, please do subscribe, rate and share your feedback to help us reach as many people as possible with the important mission that is web 3.
Today, I’m really happy to welcome Steven Kokinos, CEO vowed around algorithm and describes itself as being able to support traditional finance and decentralised financial businesses to embrace the world of frictionless finance and also as the first Pure proof of stake blockchain platform and we’ll get into a little bit about what that means later. And Steve, welcome to the show.
Steven: Hey, thanks for having me, Jamie. It’s great to be here.
Jamie: So some of the reasons why I wanted you on the show we’re prior to out around you’re a seasoned entrepreneur, you have taken a company public, you’ve exited to, I believe the one prior to our grand that you found it around for 14 years, which is longer than most marriages, though. Well done. And you were effectively employee number one, to have a technical founder, an auger round spat out of a research paper. And I think that’s a really interesting dimension to how a startup emerges in web three. And I believe potentially, you’re one of the last big major layer ones to come out in the space. So I think it’s going to be interesting to understand the advantages to being relatively late in The game and how you’ve kind of capitalised upon those. I’m really looking forward to having you on the show.
Steven: Likewise excited to be here. And yeah, I think there’s a lot of ground to cover for sure. It’s a lot of interesting things going on.
Jamie: So it’s just trying to summarise your background. Have you go through your LinkedIn profile? There’s a lot there. But fortunately, as I said, in some of the previous roles, you’ve had comparatively long stints there unusually long stints in terms of the periods from founding all the way through to being CEO and chair. So originally, you started with a bachelor’s degree in economics at McGill University and graduating in 98.
Steven: Yeah, seems like a long time ago.
Jamie: Yeah, I’m sure. And you then went straight into founding web? Yes, Inc. Is that right?
Steven: Yeah. I actually started a while I was in school. And, you know, I think there’s a lot of parallels. I know it’s for people who are at it today. But there’s a lot of parallels in the early days of the internet to the early days of crypto and You know, interestingly, if you if you go back 20 years or a little bit more of these days, you know, the early days of the internet were very anti commercial. It was very libertarian, decentralisation and decentralised networks or a big, something that was like a very big, you know, featured part of it. And, you know, the web was really about giving people the power to self publish, when it you know, really it was it was a very small number of media outlets. And so it was a fascinating time. But yeah, I started web. Yes, when I was 19, we were one of the first internet infrastructure companies and, you know, ultimately built that up and sold it. So it was a real adventure. But it was, you know, I think one of the learnings back then, that it’s not always the first movers in a new market that are the ones who build generationally meaningful companies. I think if you look at the Internet days, Google came quite late, actually, but really had the benefit of being able to see what the problems were in the first wave of tech and, you know, really solve the problem the right way. And I think there’s some similarities to that and kind of the web three spaces for sure.
Jamie: yeah. And of course, definitely benefit to learn on somebody else’s book. So whether you’re saying was doing control panels, application management, I believe had like 10 data centres, and really you’re kind of supporting very early stage ecommerce vendors and stuff like that. 2001 you co founded the second startup, which was, was that six B logic, yeah, right. Okay, six blade logic. And I was also datacenters automated solutions for an enterprise segment. Right?
Steven: Yeah, I think the way to think about that is, you know, I, after getting kind of several years into the internet infrastructure side of things, you know, we realise that you couldn’t continue to grow by just, you know, throwing people at the problem. And, you know, as we started to look really carefully at what tools existed out there found there weren’t a lot of good ones to really help automate day to day operations of data centres and servers and applications. And, you know, that’s sort of what led to the idea there. So it was it was a pretty logical step from the infrastructure side of things. In a lot of ways, it was really, you know, kind of the early beginnings of what, what morphed into, you know, cloud infrastructure that people use today.
Jamie: So you had clients like GE, Time Warner, Microsoft cable and wireless, Walmart, etc. And that company went public in 2007 and was acquired in 2800 million. So congratulations, that’s not not bad. But that was a 16 year stint. Right. So I mean, if you think about that, and no, that was like, 2001. I want to say 2000, you know, seven, eight, something like that.
Okay, right. But still, I guess, at a formative part of the internet coming out of 2000 coolest like during during during the bubble, then 2017. Is that right? You’re at fuse.
Steven: Not So okay, so there’s a little bit of a confusing story there. So fuses originally a company called thinking phones, which we started in, I guess, late 2006, something like that, and grew that over, you know, Around a decade, and then we acquired fuse and then rebranded the company as fuse because we thought it was a little bit more modern, easier to remember name. And they had had a brand in the market, but that’s it was a sort of one. That’s one continuous thing. And you know, fuses are pretty good size business today, it’s, you know, over 100 million in revenue and doing quite well.
Jamie: And you’ll still chat on that as I understand this, he found found it and went all the way through to championship went through and yeah, I’m still in the board. And that’s been an adventure for sure. It’s gone through a lot of phases. And I think seeing, you know, companies grow from something, you know, pretty small and kind of moving through the different phases and scaling was a real learning, learning experience for sure.So then, as I said, you were brought in in 2018. So our ground was founded in 2017 by Silvio McCauley. Did I pronounce a surname right? Yeah, great. As much as I’m gonna do for Brett anyway. And he brought you in a year later as CEO is kind of the first Senior High So Silvio oversees the research theory, security and finance component. And of course, you’re presumably there to help scale this organisation and the commercial component to it to the extent that you’ve done with other ventures but it’d be good to understand how did that start? So I understand that you’re interested in the space predated agora and and even knowing Silvio. And it was a connection that was made through Union Square ventures when you were kind of looking for people to collaborate with connect with it was recommended that I think you were recommended to one another. But how did that come about?
Steven: Yeah, well, actually, you know, to seed investors or pillar and Union Square ventures and Jamie Goldstein at pillar new Silvio quite well, and the Union Square guys knew him as well, you know, but I had really been, I was introduced to sort of Bitcoin by a friend who really felt like I should take a look at crypto space and when I finally had a little bit of time on my hands, started digging into it a little bit more as minors running with my kids in the basement of my house. This kind of thing just to learn about the tech and understand it, you know, but the more I learned, the more I felt it was a really fascinating space that had, you know, really the same level of dynamism or similar anyway, that I saw in early days of the internet. That’s the first time I’d really seen anything like it and, you know, the 20 years between, and I naturally sort of originally gravitated towards ideas around to mystery tokenization of assets. That seemed to be, you know, definitely something that we’re that you can build a business around and wrap your head around. But, you know, Jamie, and then, you know, folks that usv suggested that if going to do that, you know, Sylvia was sort of somebody worth talking to, and I think, you know, what Silvia undertook with Algren was really something that you know, only a handful of people could could do, which is to take a step back from what Bitcoin represented, and look at what was innovative, but also think about if you are going to have decentralised systems and digital money that truly everybody in the world could use. on one platform, you know, what would the tech have to look like what hard computer science problems needed to be solved. And Silvia along with, you know, a group of really amazing researchers really sat down and it’s one of the few truly ground up solutions that isn’t derivative from, you know, any existing blockchain that that’s out there today. And so I think the results have been pretty good. But yes, originally, Silvio released now grand paper, basically a white paper describing, you know, the technology that they come up with, presented that in a variety of academic conferences got a lot of interest, there’s a lot of question as to whether it could really be implemented because the theory is quite complex. And the different group at MIT decided to take up that challenge, implemented it publish their own scientific paper on the results of the implementation, and you know, prove that the theory held up in you know, actual reality. You know, from there, Sylvia decided to spin things out. So I actually ended up co investing with pillar and Union Square in the first round and joined the board and then I decided to come on full time a little bit later.
Jamie: Yeah, and maybe for context for the listeners. Silvio is world renowned, really for his work in cryptography. Also zero knowledge and some of the things that I don’t fully understand but certainly looking at how you secure protocols, mechanism design abilities, co venture of probabilistic encryptions, zero knowledge proofs, verifiable random functions and some some kind of core primitives in the context of cryptography. He’s also a Turing Award winner, as well as several other things. So when you read that paper, did it reaffirm a direction that you were already thinking about somebody that had seen the first two cycles of web? Did it feel like a step change something that you would understand this web through? or How did you kind of refer me I think, you know, that it sort of caused me to take a step back and you know, what I realised is You know, it really is the case that the sort of layer one, like bandwidth and protocols and infrastructure didn’t exist, and the way that it was going to be needed, if like high scale applications, were going to be deployed on public networks. And I think my observation is that, you know, it’s like, almost always been in large tech waves that the public networks went out over private ones. And I think we saw that in the internet. We saw that in cloud computing with Amazon and others. And, you know, I think we’re seeing the same thing play out a little bit on this side. But you know, I felt that, you know, Sylvia’s work was fascinating. He’s an amazing thinker and problem solver. And, you know, also, I think the fact that he’s, you know, in all respects, you know, one of the founders of modern cryptography carries, you know, a lot of weight in the market is very well known. And, you know, that was one of the things to me also was that I think there was a real need in the space for You know, a organisation or a group of people to show up, they could engender some confidence that they could deliver technology and, you know, build community and get people excited about the platform. And, you know, nothing that I’ve seen since that has diminished my enthusiasm. And so it’s been a fun ride for sure.
It sounds like a circuitous meeting for for both of you. How does that working practice, you know, work between very academic, technical founder and yourself who’s, you know, very kind of commercial entrepreneur, especially in the context of getting things to market because from the outside, it looks like you’ve shit, you know, pretty quickly iterated pretty quickly. And what I found in the past dealing with very technical founders, is they sometimes over engineer or over optimised to try to find perfect solutions. And so how do you how do you have that working relationship and and how do you balance the tension between shipping and you know, perfection.
Steven: Well, I think perfection is the enemy of the good in a lot of cases. So, you know, we try to live by that motto, but, you know, definitely we have very bright people. But I think the company is a really good balance between people that come more from the research end of things, and people come from the practical end. And, you know, I think what we found is it’s not that hard to, you know, meet in the middle. And I think one of the benefits of having, you know, an amazing research team is that they’re good at solving all sorts of problems, not just, you know, coming up with new technical theory. And, you know, I think at the same time, you know, there’s mutual respect that, you know, we’ve just seen a lot of things and building businesses, and, you know, sometimes you have to, you know, decide the right way forward and, you know, iterate from there. So, I think it’s been, you know, a really good working relationship on both sides. I think it is the fact that we’ve been able to deliver technology that not very many groups irrespective of crypto but you know, just in relative to the quality computer science are doing are able to do at all in the fact that we’ve been able to, you know, have releases on a regular schedule and continue to innovate and, you know, see what the what the market is sort of doing with the protocol and come up with new ideas as a result, I think are all really positive. So, you know, I think part of it is, you know, every company is a little bit different, you know, company culture is a reflection of the people who were there. And I think for us, we we definitely have a strong academic heritage and we try to use that to its fullest benefit. And at the same time, we have a lot of strong folks, you know, like Sean Ford or coo was managing a billion dollar business or helping manage a billion dollar business before he came to Grand and I think if you look not only is our research team very strong and experienced, but the business team is quite experienced as well. And I think that helps because people have you know, have conviction know kind of how to set things up understands kind of seeing problems as they come up. And you know, all in all, we aren’t without our problems every every growing company is but I think we’ve been able to manage things quite well and and make a lot of progress.
Jamie: So operate Li is the r&d team separate and distinct from, say, the commercial and product team. Often in web three, you have this strange mix of a nonprofit foundation that does a lot of the r&d work. And then you have like, one or several commercial entities, how do you structure our grant?
Steven: Sure, well, the algorithm Foundation, which is based in Singapore is responsible for the release of the algo our token, and, you know, really, they took on a lot of the role of community building, you know, helping with the grant process for developers, and, you know, encouraging, encouraging people to come in and take a look at the platform, Al grand Inc, which is, you know, a Boston based business, we’re focused on, you know, research, core technology development, and, you know, releasing open source code that, you know, we hope gets included in the protocol. And so that’s, that’s how we’ve sort of done that. Now, as the project grows. There’s many other people who are developing solutions, you know, that are needed. You know, but I think if you look at sort of the Linux example, that’s one that we, we think about where, you know, even today, Linus Torvalds, still oversees the kernel releases. And I, so I think we kind of think of the consensus protocol a little bit like that, where, you know, we hope there’s many, many people contributing different elements to the platform, and that, you know, ultimately, you know, it becomes kind of an ecosystem of applications. But, you know, there’s probably the core kind of very detailed computer science areas that that at least for now, you know, we’re happy to keep contributing to it.
Jamie: And I know you referenced Singapore that now often in the past, that has been the case of regulatory arbitrage, but you guys do really seem very committed to Asia, and we’ll talk about that a little bit later. I know you’ve just launched. I think it’s an accelerator or some activity around generating a genuine ecosystem in.
Steven: Sure. Yeah, we sent an event this morning. That was broadcast from Hong Kong, right?
Jamie: So you claim to have solved the blockchain trilemma. Could you just explain that at a high level, why that’s important how you’ve done it in laymen terms, it’s accessible, and what trade offs if any, have to be made outside of that trilemma to to achieve.
Steven: while we have solved it. So I think that’s, that’s pretty good. Just to to give everybody sort of a high level view of what that is, you know, vitalik butor, and sort of posed a theory that was sort of coined the blockchain trilemma, which is that you can pick two out of scalability, security or decentralisation. And, you know, Silvio felt was that, you know, those limitations were really the result of the need for, you know, new fundamental computer science that, you know, especially address some of the distributed computing issues. And if you look at you know, most of the first generation blockchains you know, they all had to make compromises somewhere along the way. You know, if you take proof of work as an example, proof of work you have, you know, miners, the miners are all You know, solving puzzles to confirm the next block, you know, you can have a trade off where the risk of collision and network partition is higher the faster your blocks confirm, it’s lower the longer they take. So, you know, in Bitcoin, it takes 10 minutes to confirm a transaction. So that’s obviously not very fast. And, you know, at the same time, it is decentralised and you know, at least the Bitcoin network is proven to be quite resilient and secure. The way valgrind works is actually almost opposite of how most of the other platforms run and we were really the first public permissionless proof of stake network. Virtually all the other proof of stake networks are centralised in some way, or have some way of voting in block proposers which are somewhat small in number. And what algorithm does is unique in that it uses a novel form of cryptographic sortition ie a lottery. And for all the people who are online, every block one leader is selected at random in you run a lottery pewter takes about a millisecond. And it’s over. So it’s computationally trivial. We’re not using a lot of power, one person wins as the block proposer, and about 1000 people are selected at random as the block of validators to confirm that that block is is okay or not. And if you get a majority, there’s only one way to get a majority, see the thumbs up, thumbs down, and the votes are all circulated effectively around the same time that the block is circulated around the network. So the reality is an algorithm transactions confirm in a few seconds, they’re immediately final, because there’s no way to fork the platform. And, you know, in terms of attack vectors, like you know, 51% attacks and whatnot. The problem is, you don’t know because the neither the block validators or the block proposer are known until the block is circulated. There’s no way to know who to attack until it’s too late. Because once you find out who to attack, the block is over, you’ve moved on to the next block. And so that’s the fact that that proposal and the confirmation happen in secret. And those people don’t communicate with each other, make Algren very resilient. And it also means that as the number of users on the network grows, security, you know, grows along with it. And because the committee’s are relatively, you know, similar size, there isn’t any real performance hit to growing that. So it’s really scales, because scale to billions of users won’t really change the performance characteristics. And it becomes more secure as more users are added to it. And so that, you know, I think that sounds simple, but the, you know, computer science behind, you know, the inner workings there and how you implement that are actually quite complex. And to sort of your, one of your previous points, you know, the way we think about it is we have a research team, that’s about a dozen people, you know, they think they think about, you know, new advancements new tech that they’re working on, and then, you know, the product and engineering team, you know, works closely to sort of understand what they’re working on. But then ultimately, we’ll go and implemented and we have kind of a process that we go through To identify what we think are the most meaningful updates that we can create.
Jamie: So now you have the latest release around 2.0, which, as I understand it has three components to it aasa, atomic transfers, and ASC. One, could you explain those improvements, new features, functionality that’s been enabled and why those things now in the sequence of the rollout?
Steven: Sure, platforms are live for about a year, year now a little over a year and has performed very well. We’ve had, you know, no real, technical, technical issues during that time. And, you know, one of the things that we felt was that it was important to just deliver the consensus protocol, you know, effectively as originally conceived, to, you know, be able to get that into the market. But when we really looked at, you know, what are some of the use cases that people are leveraging blockchain for, you know, tokenization of assets creation of fungible and non fungible tokens securities really being able to instantiate digital assets in any form. And, you know, there’s a number of different ways that that people look to do that. The second is once you have assets, you want to be able to exchange them. And so atomic transfers are really the ability to swap an asset in a single transaction. And you can do that both a single asset with a single party, multiple assets, multiple parties. And we think that that’s sort of as you know, the types of financial products and assets that people bring on online, grow more complex, that will be increasingly important. And then the third is, you know, people need to control under which conditions, assets change hands and build applications around it. And that’s really what the smart contract layer is for now, one of the things that’s quite different about el grande is that in most other platforms, one you would need to create smart contracts to do any of the things I just described. The second is the smart contract platforms, you know, in aetherium, as an example, Turing complete, which is very flexible and very innovative, but also means there’s a lot of potential pitfalls around security, and is led to, you know, seeing a lot of smart contracts that have bugs in them lead to, you know, loss of money, either through a bug or through theft. And, you know, I think there’s a lot of issues there. So the concept behind el grande is that one, once you have a performance secure foundational layer is the consensus protocol. And you also need a set of primitives in layer one that really take the safety and security and scalability of the protocol itself, but make it very easy for people to you know, go about their business. So as an example, if you want to create an asset, and now grand, our standard Asset Framework allows you to post a transaction or asset is created. You can manage it from there versus having to create a whole series of smart contracts and, you know, understand what’s different. And, you know, that also means that every smart contract is code compatible with every asset, and we put a high priority I would say not Only on trying to simplify and make secure a lot of the common things that the people wanted to play on the blockchain, but also make the developer experiences very similar. Very, very simple. And I think that that’s a sort of a critical thing to consider. Because for us, the focus is somewhat less on the 100,000 hundred thousand or so developers that are already focused on blockchain today, and more focused on the 19 million that aren’t building for blockchain today. And I think our conclusion is that, you know, like with other technologies, as you know, these platforms move into the mainstream simplicity of developer experiences becomes incredibly important. And simplicity of end user experiences is really important, too. And so I think if you look, algorithm 2.0 was, you know, a big step towards, you know, looking at once you’ve solved the consensus protocol and the trilemma problem, you know, what are sort of the next set of elements that that people would look for, as they’re starting to, you know, deploy a more scaled application. And that’s what really led to algorithm 2.0, which have another release, I’ll grant 3.0, it’ll most likely be adopted by the network sometime toward the end of July, that adds state to our smart contracts. And now you’ll be able to have long running smart contracts. And as a host of other features. So, you know, we’re excited to continue to innovate and, you know, build on the platform is there. And I think what’s even more exciting now is there’s, you know, other people building on the platform, it’s not just one group of people that are doing it.
Jamie: When you talking about the kind of smart contract functionality, what’s the linkage between that and the collaboration you’re doing with block stack around clarity?
Steven: Sure. Okay. So the I think our point of view is, while it’s very important to have a set of primitives in layer one, that’s not possible to do everything under the sun in layer one, there are a need for long running applications. There’s a need for general purpose smart contracts. And we actually just recently released our architecture for layer two general purpose smart contracts. And at the same time, one of the things we looked at Are you know, what are the The characteristics that you would look for in a general purpose smart contract language. How do you make sure it’s very simple? How do you make sure it’s very deterministic, so that people can still, you know, stay out of trouble. And, you know, block stack is a project that I’ve known for a long time and no money. Well, and you know, and Silvia and his team started thinking about the underlying characteristics that they’d be looking for to go along with the smart contract platform they were designing, they realised that, you know, the work that had been done on clarity was in a very philosophically simple, similar to what they would come up with themselves. And I think that’s sort of spawned a little bit. You know, first of all, we think it’s a very meaningful partnership, and we hope other people adopt clarity, as well. But I think one of the real exciting parts is that, you know, on top of the rest of the things we’ve talked about, we really believe that it’s going to be a multi chain world, people will use different chains for different purposes. And, you know, really a tech stack will start to emerge, and we don’t think it makes sense that people have to leave different tools, different programming languages, for every chain they want to use, we think that, you know, you need to be able to interoperate with them. And so, you know, I think you could see that somebody would use, you know, storage specific chain or tools if there’s identity tools or other things that people like. And so we’re happy to kind of see those that start to evolve. But we think the idea of having a very simple, smart contract language like clarity, where you can then ultimately deploy different parts of your application to different chains makes a lot of sense and definitely can help in that goal of encouraging more mainstream adoption of blockchain platforms.
Jamie: I think it’s really encouraging to see actually two different projects collaborating on on growing the talent, talent pool, as you said, and working on interoperability and the modularity of being able to use different elements of each other stack. So in that universe, where does Algar and sit alongside other protocols so one of the channels With layer one projects is so generalizable that where do you start? Right? Which of the use cases do you start in as a team? Where do you allocate your attention and your resource? How have you defined that that strategy? Is it that you are just responding to demand? Or is it something that’s a bit more kind of structured?
Steven: Sure. Well, I think a part is definitely we’ve seen demand in the market. And I think what we’re encouraged by there is, you know, there are a variety of applications where people either have built scaled applications, but had to do so in a permissioned way, or they have more established businesses and are looking to deploy something that would be pretty much scaled on day one. And you know, really need to think about the underlying tech, but, you know, there are certainly some themes that I think have sort of come to the forefront for us in terms of ways we’re seeing people use the platform. And you know, one is defy applications, open finance applications, and In our point of view on that is, you know, in order to encourage more applications and growth, there was a real need for stable coins, which announced this morning or Terkel just announced this morning that they’re bringing a version of us DC to El Grande. And prior to that tether launched a version of their stable coin and El Grande. And we’ve had a number of others, like meld, which is a gold backed digital currency, and REM, which is, you know, regulated money and in the EU. So I think we have a sort of growing an interesting set of assets that people can use can build their defy applications around. And we see that as like a very interesting market, but still, you know, relatively nascent one relative to the size of like the global financial services industry. You know, the second area that that we’ve seen, that’s, you know, quite interesting is our more traditional financial network, more traditional financial companies, whether banks or payment networks, and for anyone who’s interested Silvio recently published a paper on co chains, which is algorithms Take on permissions networks, a people’s ability to play their own private networks. One of the unique features about our coaching architecture is that it still allows people to take assets that have been created on their chain and transact with them on the public network using atomic swaps and other other tools, or use the public network to send that asset to somebody else’s private network. And, you know, again, we feel very strongly that public permissionless networks will win out in the end. But at the same time, there’s also regulatory requirements and other things that, you know, certain institutions just, you know, can’t easily get around. And so, you know, we want to encourage them to do things the way that they’re, they’re comfortable, do it in a way that doesn’t preclude the possibility of using the public network later. So that’s sort of a second and then, you know, third in emerging market that we see our central bank digital currencies, we recently announced that the Marshall Islands is ailing their sovereign currency, the sov on top of the algorithm platform and really excited about that, and that You know, I think taking a step back, we think that, you know, there will be retail, you know, currencies that people use, there’ll be bank to bank ones, there’s going to be a lot of different variations that I think we see emerge in the space. And you need to have slightly different, you know, technical approaches that meets the needs of those different constituents, I think, especially if you’re going to generate network effects, and, you know, ultimately have a place where a lot of those assets live. And, you know, that’s what we think is a real opportunity right now.
Jamie: And so, you know, you’re one of the rare projects that, I guess straddles the full spectrum of, let’s truly call it C phi d phi. And I guess you know, something in between. There’s a school of thought that says, you know, defy really is just a permissionless sandbox is where innovation happens. And it can only scale to a certain point before it gets co opted or needs to integrate into the existing financial system and what what’s your view Do you think that the fi can replace or eat you know, elements of the existing financial system? Or is it always just going to be this fringe thing where crazy innovation happens?
Steven: I don’t know, I don’t think it’s, uh, you know, but I don’t think the suggestion, it’s, you know, always has to be a fringe thing. makes sense to me. I think that it’s definitely a nascent market. But it’s one that definitely is generating a lot of enthusiasm and a lot of novel ideas that don’t exactly exist in the traditional world. And I think that that’s where, you know, disruptive ideas and applications will happen. And I think if you know, the world has shown us anything over time is that, you know, capital seeks yield. And I think to the extent that some of these defy applications can generate higher yield, at first, it’s going to be people who are more entrenched in the space. But as the user experiences improve, you know, if you look at some of the big consumer applications that have picked up steam over the past years, you know if you can get that right, I think some of these applications can move åpretty quickly to disrupt more traditional parts of the financial system. So we’ll see how it plays out on the flip side The traditional financial system has a lot of scale, they have regulations sorted out, I think there’s, you know, probably a middle ground that gets found somewhere. You know, I think it’ll be no matter what interesting to see how this plays out. And, you know, just to get a little perspective, go back 20 something years, I think when everybody was connected to the internet by via, via dial up modem, and you had to wait like five minutes for a banner ad to load, it would have been a little bit hard to imagine, you know, sitting in the back of the car watching Netflix on your cell phone. So I think, you know, a lot can happen over the next, you know, decade or two. But I think what, you know, certainly is the case is that financial systems and the plumbing of the financial networks is likely to see as much innovation if not more, over that time period that we’ve seen in the last 20 years with the internet. And I think, you know, you kind of think about that, I suspect at the tail end of it kind of the world’s going to seem like a pretty different place than it was today.
Jamie: So I mean, link to that. I’m going to ask the impossible question, which is assuming all this plays out, and you know, all these kind of parameters are in place, and we managed to start onboarding, the 99% of developers, and as a consequence, people start building businesses and sustainable businesses on top of it all. Where does it all lead to, at least in the context of our around and the vision that its management and founder has? What’s the big picture view? And I guess what, what do we think? Could it be possible that in the world in the future world that isn’t currently possible today?
Steven: Well, I’ll answer your question a little bit different than you asked it. I think one, for sure. It’s the case that there will be a handful of platforms that are our winners in the space and become the underpinning for a lot of the innovation that’s that’s likely to happen over the coming years. So I think from our standpoint, you know, we obviously would like Algren to be one of the platforms that wins there. And I think if I think You know, we’re gonna keep doing the best we can to encourage, you know, adoption over the early part. I’d say the the kind of longer answer to your question, though, is, we don’t really know, because I think success here means what’s already happening continues to happen, which is more people are developing tools and ecosystem more people are building applications on top of the platform. And I think, you know, one of the, you know, really interesting elements of decentralised systems is that they tend to take on a little bit of a life of their own. And so, you know, I think that that’s a good sign. And we’ve been really happy with the engagement, we’re starting to see and, you know, people making contributions and the projects sort of building on and around the platform. But I, you know, I think that, you know, definitely, sort of a likely outcome here is, one, there’ll be a handful of platforms that sort of help form the basis of, you know, sort of new set of financial rails that exist, and I think the upside for That being done in a decentralised way is that about a third of the world’s population doesn’t have a bank account today. And investments are very complicated for people, you know, an often historically they’ve gone through multiple layers of managers and, you know, transaction fees account for, you know, over 5% of global GDP. I think there’s a lot of waste in the system that can one be changed. But to you know, ovr
Jamie: Right, Steve? Well, look, thanks so much for coming on. Where can people find you on the internet? What’s your Twitter handle and stuff like that?
Steven:My Twitter handle is @stevekokinos. He knows the algorithm. His Twitter handle is algorithm at Al grand algorithm foundation is at algo foundation and suggest anybody who’s interested in learning more about the project, go to Algren Comm. We have pointers there for anybody who’s interested in building on the platform. There’s developer dot Algren org, which is community site where we keep where they’re, you know, developer tools and all sorts of information on getting started but yeah, it was really great talking to you and appreciate you having me on.
Jamie: Yeah, it’s worth saying there’s $50 million set aside in ground funding. So for people that are looking to innovate on top of the platform, there is capital to support early stage startups as well. And Steve, thanks so much. Thank you. If you enjoyed today’s podcast, please make sure you subscribe, rate and share your feedback to help us reach as many people as possible with the important mission of web 3.
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