Modern Finance breaks down all things bitcoin, cryptocurrency, finance hacks & tips, decentralized finance (DeFi), yield farming, NFTs, robo-investing, and more. Join entrepreneur and technology venture capitalist Kevin Rose as he interviews experts and the entrepreneurs building modern finance tools. Time Magazine calls Kevin one of the "Top 25 Most Influential People on the Web," and Bloomberg lists him as a "Top 25 Angel Investor." Kevin has appeared on the Jimmy Fallon Show, Charlie Rose Show, as well as the print covers of Businessweek and Inc. Magazine.
Earning interest on your crypto? Kevin sits down with Zac Prince from BlockFi and Matt Ballensweig of Genesis to discuss which option will serve you better.
Zac Prince (@BlockFiZac) is the CEO and founder of BlockFi, a bank-like platform that allows users to buy, borrow, and earn interest on crypto. Matthew Ballensweig (@mattballen4791) serves as the Head of Business Development of Genesis, a full-service digital currency prime broker.
Full show notes and links here.
O(1) Labs' Evan Shapiro joins Kevin to discuss Mina, the world's lightest blockchain -- at 22 kilobits, "the size of a couple of tweets." Here, he explains how this works, what drove its creation, what this protocol looks like from a security perspective, and its real-world applications already being put to the test today.
Evan Shapiro (@evanashapiro) is the CEO and co-founder of software development company O(1) Labs, and board member at Mina Foundation, the world's lightest blockchain.
Full show notes and links here.
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Art Blocks mastermind Erick (aka Snowfro) joins Kevin to discuss the ins and outs of generative art, the innovations that make it so exciting and accessible, and why NFTs that can be recreated from their fingerprints on the blockchain are poised to be the most resilient art in human history.
Erick (aka Snowfro @artonblockchain) is a Houston-based artist who works in various media, including projection-mapped installations, LED light art, cut vinyl, and 3-D blocks. He is also the founder of Art Blocks, the world's first platform dedicated to decentralized generative art.
Full show notes and links can be found here.
BlockTower Capital Founder and CIO Ari Paul joins Kevin to discuss the crypto cycles of bull and bear markets, the potential for a DeFi collapse, why you should avoid a crypto index fund or ETF, and a new cryptocurrency called MobileCoin, which aims to power all mobile payments.
Ari Paul (@aridavidpaul) is the Co-Founder and CIO of crypto-asset investment firm BlockTower Capital, and author of The Cryptocurrency Investor blog, where he has published papers on cryptocurrency lending, the history of money, and applying investment concepts to cryptocurrency.
LINKS & SHOW NOTES
All links and detailed show notes can be found here.
The Sandbox's Sebastien Borget joins Kevin to discuss the practical use of blockchains and NFTs for securing digital property and rewarding creators in virtual gaming worlds.
Sebastien Borget @borgetsebastien is the Co-Founder and COO of The Sandbox, a decentralized gaming virtual world, and President of The Blockchain Game Alliance, advocating for NFTs and blockchain in games.
All episode links can be found here.
How two big shifts in the gaming world are being addressed by blockchains and NFTs. [00:46]
Sebastien shares his background of nearly 14 years as a serial entrepreneur, and what catalyzed his work to merge gaming with the decentralized world of crypto that resulted in The Sandbox we see today. [03:04]
Currently, what parts of The Sandbox are centralized and decentralized, and how long does Sebastien project it will take for full decentralization? [05:51]
In The Sandbox, to what extent can a creator give life to what their imagination dreams up? [06:45]
How are additional attributes (like speed, power, and defense) extended onto a static, LEGO block-style creation in The Sandbox, and who defines these attributes? Is there a way for a community to be involved in these definitions if the creator wishes to allow it? [08:39]
The unforeseen benefits of opening up feature definition to a community. [11:31]
What kind of game is a first-timer to The Sandbox expected to play, and how can this be modified? For instance, is participation in player-vs-player content mandatory, or are there places in The Sandbox where a player can choose to opt-out? [12:36]
How does real estate ownership and property value work in The Sandbox? Will new land be generated over time, or has a limited inventory been established? [14:51]
How big are parcels of land in The Sandbox, and how long would it take to "walk" across one of these parcels? Does this size in any way limit an owner's capacity to create? [17:32]
What was the base price for a new parcel of land when The Sandbox began, how has it fluctuated, and what factors might have an impact on a parcel's value? [19:08]
How is the $SAND token being used, and how can it be acquired? [20:33]
What is a game jam, how can interested parties participate in The Sandbox's game jam, and what coding languages do they need to know? [22:26]
In what ways can people start interacting, creating, and trading in The Sandbox today? When will The Sandbox officially go live? [23:48]
Will creators be able to bring
NFT mania is in full swing, but where did it really start to gain momentum? CryptoPunks, 10,000 unique, algorithmically generated pixel art characters were sent to the Ethereum blockchain by Matt Hall and John Watkinson of Larva Labs in 2017, where they soon became a sensation. Kevin talks to Matt and John about the CryptoPunks origin story, their current chapter, and what we can expect from them in the future.
Here's what CryptoPunks are, who created them, and how they're responsible for setting the current NFT craze in motion. [00:26]
Matt Hall and John Watkinson of Larva Labs take us back to the conception of CryptoPunks. What inspired them at this time? [03:08]
What made Matt and John draw the connection between centralized collectible and decentralized, on-chain collectible? Were they already involved in the world of cryptocurrency? [04:33]
How did the Ethereum blockchain become the ideal platform for their experiment? [06:41]
How is this data actually stored? [08:35]
What is a hash? [10:00]
Were there similar art projects going on at this time? [11:13]
Who came up with the name "CryptoPunks," and why was this format selected? [11:58]
Why did they decide on limiting the number of CryptoPunks to 10,000? [12:58]
Most CryptoPunks are human in appearance, but there are also a small number of zombies, apes, and aliens. How did these enter the picture, and were there any interesting ideas that got left on the cutting room floor? [14:26]
Knowing now that these creations would carry historical significance in the circles of fine art and finance, do Matt and John ever wish they'd done things differently? [16:21]
Do Matt and John have any personal favorite CryptoPunks? [18:24]
There are no duplicated CryptoPunks. How many attributes were they programmed to exhibit, and do the number of attributes contribute to (or detract from) a piece's rarity? [21:49]
How were CryptoPunks launched, and what could someone expect to pay for one circa June 2017? What helped to escalate their visibility and popularity within the crypto community? [23:30]
When did Matt and John notice CryptoPunks commanding mind-boggling prices in secondary marketplaces? [27:08]
How many CryptoPunks have gone missing? [30:09]
Have traditional museums or curators reached out to Matt and John during the current NFT craze? [32:25]
Where do CryptoPunks and NFTs go from here? Are we in a bubble, or are we just experiencing the beginning of a new, sustainable commodity? [35:00]
What are A
Beeple (@beeple, aka Mike Winkelmann) is a graphic designer who has worked on concert visuals for Justin Bieber, One Direction, Katy Perry, Nicki Minaj, Eminem, Zedd, deadmau5, and many more. He recently made headlines when he sold a collage of his first 5,0000 "everyday" pieces of art as an NFT for $69,346,250 -- making it the third most expensive artwork by a living artist.
Where's Beeple based, and where's he been? He's in Charleston, SC, but he's from Wis-con-sin. [01:54]
Why does Beeple view sports and art as similar constructs? [02:56]
Why did Beeple choose art as a career over programming, and how did he start? [04:54]
Would you buy O'Reilly classic cover art as NFTs? [07:18]
How Beeple clips became ubiquitous in the VJ world (which was as surprising to him as anyone). [08:35]
What's the difference between an artist and a designer? [13:21]
When did Beeple really start to feel like he could make a legitimate living from his art? [14:49]
How was Beeple introduced to the world of NFTs and cryptocurrency? [16:09]
Where did Beeple sell his first NFT, and what were his early impressions of the format? [20:25]
Why the "everyday" pieces are perfectly made for collecting, and how Beeple justifies their value to the collectors. [23:30]
Imagining the possibilities: what NFT collecting might look like in the future. [29:36]
Who were the subjects of Beeple's earliest work, and how did his process evolve over time? [36:08]
What drives Beeple's more topical work? [37:59]
So...the Dick-Milking Factory. What's that all about? And will it incite a future Hot Pockets vs. Beeple ruling by the highest court in the land? [40:54]
What's next for Beeple? [43:33]
How can an art collector of modest means pick up a piece of Beeple's work nowadays, and how does this compare to what his art was selling for just a few months ago? [44:21]
At the end of the day, how does Beeple feel about copyright infringement? [47:42]
Other NFT artists Beeple thinks we should keep an eye on. [49:16]
Digital art isn't new. Only the ability to quantify and commodify it is. [50:19]
Parting thoughts. [52:16]
Enjoy the show? Please consider leaving a nice review here so others can learn about and enjoy it, too! [52:45]
Chris Hutchins (@hutchins) is the Head of Autonomous Financial Planning at Wealthfront. Previously he was co-founder and CEO of Grove (acquired by Wealthfront), co-founder of Milk (acquired by Google), and a Partner at GV, where he focused on seed and early-stage investments.
Chris brings us up to speed on what's been happening at Wealthfront in his 18 months there. His focus: automated savings. Future goals: self-driving money. [01:52]
If anyone knows how to get the most out of his credit card points, it's Chris. Between credit cards, bank accounts, and brokerage accounts, how many accounts does this Pointsmaster have -- and why? [02:38]
Thoughts on new cards that offer Bitcoin instead of cash-back rewards, and why Chris has changed his mind about them over time. [03:39]
What Chris considers to be the best way to pack your finances. [05:18]
How do Square's Cash App "boosts" work? [06:43]
How Square and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey continues to pleasantly surprise us with his forward-thinking entrepreneurial prowess. [08:38]
Remember how hard it used to be to accept credit cards as a business? We do. [10:13]
Why does Chris have such good credit? [10:57]
How does someone get on the waitlists for BlockFi and Gemini cards? [11:54]
What goes into building a diverse crypto portfolio. [12:32]
Gemini offers interest on crypto. [16:41]
Chris shares his tragic CryptoPunks story. [19:35]
My mission with this podcast. [21:11]
How you can keep your finger on the pulse of DeFi. [21:43]
Why I consider Yearn to be an insanely well-run project. [23:19]
How Chris is earning interest on his crypto right now, and why the current low-regulation climate makes it lucrative -- but not without its risks. [24:37]
My own interest-earning strategies tend to be lower risk. A little primer on stable coins, how staking works, and why I trust Coinbase. [26:24]
Why Chris wound up converting a lot of his random altcoins to USDC. [30:37]
You can learn the basics of trading crypto without betting the farm. Sometimes it even pays back with interest (just don't depend on it). [31:17]
What Chris considers to be the best way to optimize your dollars now. [33:38]
Are DeFi "gas fees" the new payday loan? [33:56]
Hot deals Chris is seeing right now (including how he snagged an Oculus Quest 2 for $150). [36:35]
Cashback Monitor: better than Rakuten? [42:33]
Dude, I got a Dell! (Well, Alienware.) [43:19]
What is ShopRunner? [43:41]
Where does Chris find his coupons?
Bram Cohen (@bramcohen) is the inventor of the P2P BitTorrent protocol, co-founder of CodeCon, co-author of Codeville, and Founder/CEO of green cryptocurrency platform Chia.net.
Want to help review this show? Here's how. [01:08]
Bram's original concept for Chia. [02:56]
Proof of work vs. proof of space and time in cryptocurrency, and why Bram favors one over the other. [04:15]
Understanding the mechanics of how this works in layman's terms. [06:10]
Bitcoin mining, ASIC chips, and the cost of electricity. [07:25]
How Chia farming is more sustainable and available to the average user than Bitcoin mining, and what it's doing in the process. [08:30]
What is the plot file, and what’s in it? [09:57]
Bram explains how "Timelords" operate in Chia farming. [10:30]
Where do the winning “bingo” numbers come from? [12:45]
What’s the smallest amount of hard drive space someone needs to start farming Chia? [13:19]
What is the mechanism behind Chia farming? What happens to the data? [14:21]
How is a farmer rewarded for their contribution? [15:52]
How does the network process and handle transactions? [16:39]
How should people think of this coin? What is it used for? [17:59]
There won't be any transactions at mainnet launch. Here's why. [19:22]
How many transactions per second will the Chia network eventually be able to support? [20:48]
How Chia will be able to support smart transactions better than Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. [22:25]
What is a colored coin? [23:55]
Using Chia for DeFi, here's how Uniswap on Chia could be done. [24:55]
How does a rate-limited wallet enhance security? [26:34]
Will there be support for pools in Chia? [28:35]
On supply of coin, halvings to fixed rewards, and inflation. [30:26]
Is there any advantage to farming on SSD vs. standard hard drives? [31:09]
Efforts Bram and the Chia team have made in improving plot speeds. [32:06]
The rude awakening that prompted me to fix my hard drive plotting. [33:25]
What does Bram see Chia looking like three to five years from now? [33:53]
Bram’s thoughts on NFTs, and if Chia will support them. [35:01]
How do we store large amounts of data on a blockchain (like NFT objects)? More important: should we? [37:15]
Bram's thoughts on Filecoin. [39:15]
Does Bram know Bitcoin founder Satoshi Nakamoto? Is Bram Satoshi Nakamoto? [40:20]
Is Bram bullish on Bitcoin? [41:53]
Does being green mean a lot to Bram? [42:28]
Why farming Chia makes me feel nostalgic. [42:48]
Aftab Hossain (Twitter: @iamDCinvestor) is a strategic advisor and private investor to projects in the cryptocurrency and blockchain space, with special focus on decentralized finance ("DeFi"). He specializes in technologies related to the Ethereum public blockchain -- the world's largest decentralized blockchain for programmable financial activity.
What is an NFT (non-fungible token)? For that matter, what is a fungible token? [02:20]
We've been able to freely download copyrighted material from the Internet for decades, so what makes NFTs valuable? How does something like a piece of art become a uniquely accountable asset when it's tied to the blockchain? [04:22]
Why might a collector (of art, baseball cards, comic books, or any scarce asset) find the NFT market so appealing? [07:44]
Why an NFT has better provenance than a mint copy of Marvel's Wolverine #1 or a rare Magic: The Gathering card. [11:44]
What is DeFi? [15:26]
What were the first NFTs, and how valuable are they today? [15:48]
How NFTs have infiltrated the mainstream, and what any collector should keep in mind about investing in anything that wildly fluctuates in value. [20:19]
How can someone "burn" an NFT? [26:49]
Where can someone check out curated NFTs for sale? [30:27]
What is generative art, and how is it represented in the NFT world? [32:11]
What is the first instance of generative art being tied to the Etherium blockchain? [38:04]
There are multiple new NFTs launching every day. What's caught our attention of late, and how does a potential collector discern between NFT-based art created by a legitimate artist that is likely to go up in value and junk churned out by some Photoshop-savvy teenager trying to cash in on the NFT gold rush? [40:32]
As the owner of two EulerBeats NFTs, what can Aftab do with those assets? What are the potential benefits of an NFT to an established artist? [42:21]
To someone asking if NFT collectibles are a bit like a Ponzi scheme, Aftab asks: aren't all collectibles a Ponzi scheme if you extend the analogy far enough? [45:02]
What are Unisocks, and how can they be used? Why, from a practical standpoint, is this whole NFT phenomenon something worth trying to wrap your mind around? [48:10]
Other projects in this space Aftab finds worthwhile. [53:43]
Will NBA Top Shot live up to its hype? [56:46]
Where can people learn more about NFTs? [1:01:12]