with @cdixon @alive_eth @tim_roughgarden @smc90
We set some context, quickly, into the connection between blockchains, crypto, and web3 – and offer some useful analogies, and more mental models, for thinking about a blossoming area of computer science in both theory and practice.
web3 with a16z is a new podcast for anyone seeking to understand and go deeper on blockchains, crypto, and web3. It is about how users and builders -- whether artists, coders, creators, developers, companies, organizations, or communities -- now have the ability to not just "read" (web1) + "write" (web2) but "own" (web3) and build with pieces of the internet, unlocking a new wave of creativity and entrepreneurship.
Brought to you by the team at a16z crypto (and the original team behind the a16z Podcast), this show features hallway conversations, discussions, interviews, oral essays, and more on the latest and leading trends in the space, including sharing research, occasional data readouts, and insights from the top scientists, and makers, in the space. It is hosted by Sonal Chokshi, longtime showrunner (2014-2022) and host of the popular a16z Podcast and network, now editor in chief at a16z crypto; as well as a rotating cast of characters from our team who appear in and occasionally co-host episodes as well.
In the initial episodes, we start by setting some quick context, before we dive deep the rest of the season on topics ranging from auction design and mechanics, NFTs, security, zero knowledge, gaming, decentralized media, tokenomics, history, infrastructure, roadmaps, and much more -- in the form of everything from hallway conversations to interviews to oral essays; but as always, as is a signature of our other shows, with high density insights and respect for our listeners' time and attention.
You can find show notes with links to resources, books, or papers discussed; transcripts; and more at a16zcrypto.com.
This episode was produced, and edited by Sonal Chokshi. The episode was technically edited by our audio editor Justin Golden, with thanks to longtime sound engineer Seven Morris. Credit also to Moonshot Design for the art. And special acknowledgments to Chris Dixon, founder and managing partner; CMO Kim Milosevich; and several others on our team here for their support.
To follow more of our work and get updates, resources from us, and from others – be sure to subscribe to our newsletter web3 weekly; you can find it on our website at a16zcrypto.com.
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 Chokshi The Four Horsemen of Centralization (2018) by Ali Yahya Decentralization for web3 Builders: Principles, Models, How (2022) by Miles Jennings Network 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.
19 September 2023 •
with @aeyakovenko @alive_eth @guywuolletjr @smc90 This 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.
5 September 2023 •
with @davidmarcus @smc90 This 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)
22 August 2023 •
with @alive_eth @danboneh @smc90 This 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 Cordeiro A 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 Cordeiro Fixing Hardware Security Bugs with Large Language Models (2023) by Baleegh Ahmad, Shailja Thakur, Benjamin Tan, Ramesh Karri, Hammond Pearce Do Users Write More Insecure Code with AI Assistants? (2022) by Neil Perry, Megha Srivastava, Deepak Kumar, Dan Boneh Asleep at the Keyboard? Assessing the Security of GitHub Copilot's Code Contributions (2021) by Hammond Pearce, Baleegh Ahmad, Benjamin Tan, Brendan Dolan-Gavitt, Ramesh Karri Voting, 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.
12 August 2023 •
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.
31 July 2023 •
with @skominers @smc90 In 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 Kominers Why build in web3 by Jad Esber and Scott Duke Kominers Vampire attacks: A theory (and thread) on 'blood sucking' platform competition by John William Hatfield and Scott Duke Kominers Why NFT creators are going cc0 by Flashrekt and Scott Duke Kominers Decentralized identity: Your reputation travels with you by Scott Duke Kominers and Jad Esber Increasing returns and the new world of business (1996) by W. Brian Arthur Network effects, origin Stories, and the evolution of tech with W. Brian Arthur, Marc Andreeessen, and Sonal Chokshi The five competitive forces that shape strategy (2008 reformulation of 1979 paper) by Michael Porter Strategies 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.
16 May 2023 •
with @lera_banda @danboneh @rhhackett This 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 partner Dan 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 Boneh on Proto-Danksharding, a technical analysis / grizzly-answer-991 EIP-4844: the specification of ProtoDankSharding / Ethereum Foundation Proto-Danksharding FAQ / Vitalik Buterin Danksharding workshop video / Devcon (Oct 2022) 2D data availability with Kate commitments discussion on commitments' expansion / Ethereum Research Forum a 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.
5 May 2023 •
with @cdixon @eddylazzarin @DarenMatsuoka @rhhackett An 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 Zinn the State of Crypto Index / Daren Matsuoka, Eddy Lazzarin, Robert Hackett, & Stephanie Zinn on the “domino effect” meme / knowyourmeme on John Carmack, see "Masters of Doom" by David Kushner / book on web3 gaming & on-chain games / web3 with a16z crypto podcast on EIP-4844 aka “protodanksharding” / Ethereum Improvement Proposals on “Jevons paradox” in economics / Wikipedia on the concept of “induced demand” / WIRED on zero knowledge applications to machine learning / Elena Burger the zero knowledge canon (parts 1 + 2) / Elena Burger, Bryan Chiang, Sonal Chokshi, Eddy Lazzarin, Justin Thaler, & Ali Yahya on developer activity trends in crypto / Electric Capital None 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.
16 April 2023 •
with @amandacassatt @kimbatronic @smc90 All 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!
6 April 2023 •
with @ariannasimpson @eddylazzarin @smc90 This episode provides an overview of web3 gaming, as enabled by crypto & blockchains -- including what ownership and decentralization really means for gamers and others; degrees of on-chain games; and a pulse-check on what’s working so far, what's more or less ready, and where the most exciting design spaces are for all kinds of builders. The conversation -- between a16z crypto general partner Arianna Simpson and CTO Eddy Lazzarin, in discussion with editor-in-chief Sonal Chokshi -- also covers specific trends such as "play-to-earn" (P2E), metaverse, autonomous worlds, and other forms of worldbuilding -- and also touches on key themes such as design, user onboarding, open source, and frameworks for technology innovation. shownotes // links referenced in this episode: on "strong vs. weak" forms of technology / Chris Dixon on Carlota Perez' framework for Technological Revolutions and Financial Capital, a summary / Jerry Neumann on "autonomous worlds" / 0xPARC on "on-chain procedural generation" / 0xPARC on a few of the things we're excited about / a16z crypto 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.
29 March 2023 •
with @milesjennings @brianquintenz @colinmccune @smc90 We provide an overview of policy and regulation in the crypto industry right now -- from a lay of the land to pulse checks on sentiment -- as well as share helpful frameworks for policymakers, and quick guidance on how things work (and how to navigate and participate) for builders. We also dig into the mindsets, myths, debates, nuances; and quickly discuss what to expect for regulation in a few specific domains -- from DeFi to DAOs, to briefly touching on CEX vs DEX, stablecoins, banks custodying crypto, unhosted wallets, etc. Our expert guests include: Miles Jennings, general counsel at a16z crypto; he was also previously at Latham & Watkins, where he co-chaired its global blockchain and cryptocurrency task force -- Jennings has written a lot for us here, including developing frameworks for regulating crypto while preserving both innovation and protecting consumers; developing and evolving legal frameworks for DAOs; releasing "can't be evil" licensing for NFTs; and sharing detailed guides to decentralization for builders. Brian Quintenz, now head of policy at a16z crypto; previously, he was a commissioner of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), where he had led the agency’s Technology Advisory Committee -- during his service, the CFTC oversaw the listing of the first U.S. regulated Bitcoin and Ether futures contracts on derivatives exchanges, and the rapid expansion of DeFi. Collin McCune, who joined as head of government affairs at a16z crypto a few months ago; he has spent a decade on Capitol Hill, and most recently was Deputy Staff Director of the House Financial Services Committee. I asked McCune to jump in on this episode for where we cover navigating Congress and the legislative process. ...all in conversation with editor in chief Sonal Chokshi. To stay up to date on our ongoing efforts, regular regulatory recaps, and other resources or educational materials that you can use or point others to, please also subscribe to our newsletter for the latest dispatches. As a reminder: none of the discussion 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.
13 February 2023 •
with @b1ackd0g @noahcitron @eddylazzarin @smc90 This episode is all about programming languages and crypto -- and it’s for both existing blockchain & smart contract programmers, and also other non-web3 developers seeking to enter the space... and, for anyone who is just curious about how programming languages evolve and come into existence (as well as interested in the intersection of language, code, and expression!) It's a fun and fascinating ride, because we cover everything from differences (and similarities) in conventional programming languages vs. smart contract programming; discuss and debate the unique constraints (and opportunities) of blockchains; and also touch on topics such as formal verification, governance & community, tooling, cross-platform adaptation, and much much more... But we also dig into with the history, ebbs, and flows of traditional programming to today. Our guests in this episode, in conversation with Sonal Chokshi, include: Sam Blackshear -- co-founder and CTO of Mysten Labs (which is building foundations for the decentralized future of web3); Sam has a long history in programming languages from his PhD to working at Facebook (and Libra/Diem) to creating and being one of the authors of Move, an open-source programming language for building smart contracts; Noah Citron, smart contract & research engineer here at a16z crypto (who also recently authored a light client for Ethereum called Helios, and, won a challenging gas-optimization challenge with another partner here); and Eddy Lazzarin, head of engineering for a16z crypto; before that, Eddy was in software engineering at Netflix, as well as data engineering and data science at Facebook. 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.
30 January 2023 •
with @robertiger @cdixon @smc90 In this intimate chat with Bob Iger (now-again CEO of Disney, although this conversation was recorded a few months ago), a16z crypto host Sonal Chokshi and founding general partner Chris Dixon discuss the interplay between technology, content, and distribution... Bob shares his journey (as captured in his book The Ride of a Lifetime and beyond) -- and the journey of various creators! -- especially as the industry has evolved from TV and cable to the advent of the internet/ web 1.0; to web 2.0 and distribution models like streaming, to business models like advertising; to web3 and emerging technologies like VR and AR. We also touch briefly on related top of mind topics like IP, decentralization, remote work, and more. As well as other themes top of mind for company (and community) builders of all sizes -- from the innovator's dilemma and whether to build vs. buy, to managing creatives and much more. --- As a reminder, none of the discussion should be taken as investment, business, legal, or tax advice; please see a16z.com/disclosures for more important information, including a list of our investments.
20 December 2022 •
with @brian_armstrong @bhorowitz An all-new, guest-hosted episode based on a chat that took place just this week between: CEO and co-founder of Coinbase Brian Armstrong; interviewed by a16z co-founder Ben Horowitz, who authored the bestselling business books The Hard Things About the Hard Things and What You Do is Who You Are on how to create your business culture. Their conversation — which took place just this week (November 29, 2022) at our inaugural a16z crypto Founder Summit — goes into management, company culture, and much more on building and overcoming the hard things while innovating… as well as commentary on recent events and news (FTX etc.) in the crypto industry and beyond. You can also watch this on our YouTube channel at: https://youtu.be/_YqQGs4QxDM --- As a reminder, none of the discussion 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.
2 December 2022 •
A hallway-style conversation between a16z crypto's Chris Dixon, Eddy Lazzarin, and Sonal Chokshi about market conditions, cycles of innovation, and mental models for navigating crypto and web3 -- as well as the longer arc and evolution of technology; methods & metrics for measuring price-innovation cycle ebbs and flows; some key trends; and more. This episode originally ran in May 2022, as episode #1 in our new show 'web3 with a16z'. The 2022 State of Crypto report referenced can be found at a16zcrypto.com/stateofcrypto -- please sign up for our newsletter to be notified about the next report and other resources + updates: https://a16zcrypto.substack.com/ As a reminder, none of this discussion 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.
21 November 2022 •
with @punk6529 @cdixon @smc90 Chris Dixon and Sonal Chokshi chat with Punk6529 about NFT use cases; NFT art (and generative art!); VR, AR, metaverse; more. As well as about regulatory mindsets, moves, and news -- such as Apple's in-app purchasing guidelines for NFTs, and Reddit NFTs. links: https://twitter.com/punk6529 https://web3-with-a16z.simplecast.com/episodes/metaverse-crypto-vr-games-virtual-society https://web3-with-a16z.simplecast.com/episodes/web2-to-web3-nfts-art-ai-hot-topics-trends-cycles-in-computing-u_kA5xPh https://future.com/podcasts/crypto-creators-art-galleries-tokenized-collectibles/ https://cdixon.org/2019/01/08/strong-and-weak-technologies https://tylerxhobbs.com/essays/2021/the-rise-of-long-form-generative-art --- web3 with a16z is a show about building the next generation of the internet, from the team at a16z crypto. As a reminder, none of the content 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.
4 November 2022 •
This episode is a deep dive on all things metaverse, defining what the metaverse is, and what it isn’t; covering frequent misconceptions (and nuances) around how VR or virtual reality, videogames, and other applications relate (and don't relate) to the metaverse; and discussing how communities, fashion, sports, and more play here. We also go into where crypto comes in -- including discussing trends in on-chain gaming, DAOs; themes like interoperability, composability; etc. But we also go well beyond technology -- and into science fiction, the arts, low-fidelity design, narrative, and much, much more -- in this wide-ranging, hallway-style conversation between: Herman Narula, author of the new book Virtual Society: The Metaverse and the New Frontiers of Human Experience; Narula is also the CEO and co-founder of Improbable; Elena Burger, deal partner on a16z crypto (where she focuses on games, NFTs, web3 media, infrastructure, and more); Berger also wrote a thoughtful review of Narula’s book; ...and host Sonal Chokshi (who also shares writings on topics such as "narrative collapse" and more as well as past episodes of the a16z Podcast with Narula on distributed systems at scale, gaming, and more). For more on metaverse from the a16z crypto, please see this piece. To order Narula's book, please select from here. --- web3 with a16z is a show about building the next generation of the internet, from the team at a16z crypto. As a reminder, none of the content 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.
21 October 2022 •
with @kevinrose @cdixon This wide-ranging discussion is a tour through tech trends and hot topics both within and beyond crypto – including art, AI, the evolution of mediums including blockchains; a deep dive on NFTs, artists, communities; debates around cc0, modding and copying on the internet, royalties; plus role of brands, DAOs, wisdom of crowds; and much more. The hallway-style conversation took place this week between Chris Dixon (founding general partner of a16z crypto, former entrepreneur) and Kevin Rose (co-founder of Proof Collective, Digg, more). Their discussion is not just a journey through time (long cycles of computing, web2 to web3) and place (LA, SF, NYC), but into "the age of wonders". Are we at the end of (computing) history, or the beginning? You decide... but only after listening to this conversation. As a reminder, NONE of this is investment, business, legal, or tax advice -- nor is it directed at any investors or potential investors in any a16z fund – also, please note that any a16z investments and portfolio companies mentioned are not representative of all a16z investments; you can see a16z.com/disclosures for more important information, including a link to a list of our investments.
9 October 2022 •
with @timbeiko @tim_roughgarden @alive_eth @smc90 A deep dive on all things Ethereum, which this week makes the big move to Proof of Stake in The Merge. So in this long and wide-ranging conversation with Tim Beiko -- who runs the core devs calls and Protocol Support for Ethereum Foundation -- a16z crypto head of research (Tim Roughgarden), general partner (Ali Yahya), and editor in chief (Sonal Chokshi) cover: how Ethereum got here today -- and the co-evolution of the protocol and the community; what went into The Merge -- both technical and the social processes behind the outcomes; what changes, what doesn't; top of mind tech trends such as rollups, data availability, EVMs, and more (as well as hot topics including proposer-builder separation and others); views on token governance the nature of distributed collaboration especially between R&D ...but it's really a conversation about how innovation happens, in a decentralized way. And what does that mean for community involvement, who participates, and how more people can participate in web3? In case you missed it, check out last week's episode for an overview of proof of stake blockchains. 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. "web3 with a16z" is a show about building the next generation of the internet from the team at a16z crypto; this show is for anyone seeking to understand, and go deeper, on all things crypto and web3.
12 September 2022 •
with @lera_banda @tim_roughgarden @smc90 We share an overview of proof-of-stake (PoS) blockchains -- from quick background on how blockchains work, differences between PoS & PoW (including the energy question), and approaches to improving both; to digging deeper into Sybill attacks and Sybill resistance... and much more on the design (and some debates) of PoS blockchains overall. We therefore also go into different consensus approaches for PoS blockchains, from Nakamoto to BFT-style consensus and beyond; touch briefly on the question/ debate of centralization vs. decentralization in practice when it comes to PoS blockchains; and cover costless simulation and long-range attacks... plus briefly discuss topics like slashing and more, when issues are "escalated" to the social vs. protocol layer. [We don’t go into too much detail on Ethereum or the Merge i this episode, since we cover that in an upcoming episode.] Our expert guests in this episode (in conversation with host Sonal Chokshi) are: Valeria (Lera) Nikolaenko, a16z crypto research partner -- who was previously on Novi at Meta (formerly Facebook), where she was a research scientist and cryptographer for the Diem blockchain; Lera specializes in modern cryptography, post-quantum cryptography, proof-of-stake blockchain design, and more. Tim Roughgarden, a16z crypto Head of Research -- who, among many other things, is also a computer science professor at Columbia, and before that Stanford (and who joins as co-host in this episode). Be sure to also subscribe to our YouTube channel for several introductory and deep-dive videos -- including the exact topics discussed in this episode, on an overview of PoS Blockchains & on long-range attacks on PoS blockchains, as presented by Lera -- just search for 'a16z crypto research'. See also Tim Roughgarden's YouTube channel with several lectures on foundations of blockchains, including on topics mentioned in this episode (Tendermint protocol, longest-range consensus, random leader selection, more). Finally, if you’d also like a more high-level survey of research in web3 -- and a quick tour through tech topics like VDFs, rollups, and more -- be sure to check out episode 8 in this feed, which was also a hallway-style jam with the research team... As a reminder, none of the following investment, business, legal, or tax advice; please see a16z.com/disclosures for more important information, including a link to a list of our investments.
29 August 2022 •
with @michelekorver @jai_ramaswamy @smc90 We tease apart the facts vs buzz around recent news -- that the U.S. Treasury sanctioned Tornado Cash for allegedly laundering proceeds of cybercrimes, and then later the Dutch Fiscal Information and Investigation Service stated that they arrested a suspected developer of Tornado Cash Tornado Cash -- including what's novel and what's not here, as well as the broader regulatory and compliance backdrop. But we also share an evergreen explainer that goes well beyond recent events, to help crypto founders and others navigate various regulatory and compliance requirements for builders... while still ensuring innovation. The first third covers a ton of analysis beyond the news around Tornado Cash -- from broader backdrop to specifics to players to what's novel or not in recent actions; as well as going into the differences between sanctions and national securities laws, to civil enforcement actions, criminal liability and money laundering, and Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and anti-money laundering (AML) program compliance requirements. We then do a brief interlude on the difference between obfuscating vs privacy preserving technologies, and why that matters in the big picture. And then the SECOND half of the episode dives deep into understanding and navigating compliance and legal for builders, covering: different frameworks, principles, common myths & misconceptions; when and how to resource (tooling to hiring); a lightning-round primer on the alphabet soup of governmentt entities relevant to this space; advice for BOTH entrepreneurs & government agencies on engaging with each other and much, much more… that’s all in the second half of the episode. Our expert guests (in conversation with Sonal Chokshi) are: Michele Korver, head of regulatory at a16z crypto, former federal prosecutor who was also at the Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network as their chief digital currency advisor; she also spent time in the U.S. Departmentt of Justice, where she was the first dedicated subject matter expert in cryptocurrency-related prosecutions and forfeitures; and Jai Ramaswamy, chief legal officer at Andreessen Horowitz, where he oversees legal and compliance; he was also formerly chief risk and compliance officer at cLabs, which launched the decentralized protocol Celo; Jai also headed (or advised) on AML compliance & risk management at major banks (Capital One, Bank of America); and previously spent over a decade in government including significant time in the U.S. Department of Justice criminal division, where he focused on cybercrime, asset forfeiture, and money laundering. As a reminder: None of the following is legal, business, investment, or tax advice; please see a16z.com/disclosures for more important information, including a link to a list of our investments.
19 August 2022 •
with @mg_486662 @riyazdf @nassyweazy and @smc90 This week’s all-new episode digs into recent high-profile hacks that took place in the crypto space over the last week -- we not only dig into what happened, including a more technical breakdown of the how and how we know -- but also cover the categories and issues specific to (and not specific to!) web3 security; as well as solutions and advice for builders. We also touch on related trends and topics such as the role of open source; communications around hacks, as well as social media status signaling; and much more. Throughout, we try to help tease apart what’s hype/ what’s real, as well as the signal vs. the noise, in the narratives out there... Joining host Sonal Chokshi this week are experts from the a16z crypto security team, including: security engineer Matt Gleason; CTO Riyaz Faizullabhoy; and CISO Nassim Eddequiouaq -- both of whom previously worked at Facebook, Anchorage, and Docker [Nass also appeared on an earlier episode of this show, on evolving NFTs & security, available here]. But for this episode, just to quickly recap for your context, the hacks we’re specifically covering are: The hack of the Nomad bridge -- which connects several different blockchains including Avalanche, Ethereum, Evmos, Moonbeam, and others – with reported range of between $185-$190M stolen; The hack of the Slope wallet -- a non-custodial, browser-based wallet that was reported to affect nearly 8000 users on Solana as well as other ecosystems -- with reported range of between $4.5-8M stolen. It occurred a week ago and Slope just posted their latest update today confirming some of the details in this episode (which was recorded a few days earlier). As a reminder: None of the following is investment, business, tax, or legal advice; please see a16z.com/disclosures for more important information, including a link to a list of our investments.
12 August 2022 •
@tim_roughgarden @josephbonneau @skominers with @alive_eth @cdixon A tour through top-of-mind blockchain & crypto tech topics, explained by several a16z crypto researchers, including VDFs (verifiable delay functions); zk-rollups, SNARKs, and zero knowledge in general; and others. We quickly zip up and down the stack, and across themes -- such as scalability; data availability; reputation and the creator economy, also discussing applications for NFTs and more. It is based on a conversation that took place a few months ago (on the heels of our a16z crypto research lab announcement), live on Twitter with: Tim Roughgarden, Head of Research at a16z crypto and professor in the computer science department at Columbia University; Joseph Bonneau, research partner at a16z crypto, who also wrote the textbook on cryptocurrency technologies, pioneered VDFs, and has taught cryptocurrency courses at several top universities; and Scott Duke Kominers, research partner at a16z crypto and professor of business administration at Harvard Business School, and a faculty affiliate of the Harvard Department of Economics, who also advises a variety of marketplace businesses, startups, and crypto projects, and serves as an expert on NFT-related matters. ...with moderators and general partners Chris Dixon and Ali Yahya. Be sure to also subscribe to our YouTube channel -- as well as our newsletter at a16zcrypto.substack.com -- for more related content, and videos from researchers, going deeper on the topics discussed in this episode and beyond... --- Welcome 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 researcher, developer, engineer, artist, company leader, community manager, entrepreneur or other builder) -- seeking to understand, and go deeper on all things crypto and web3: towards a decentralized, community-owned, and creator-owned internet.
6 August 2022 •
@jakeauch @cdixon @milesjennings A quick overview of principles for thinking about policy, briefly covering topics and recent moves that are top of mind in U.S. crypto regulation -- from stablecoins to NFTs to DAOs to more. It is based (only lightly edited for this medium) on a live conversation that took place a couple weeks ago on Twitter with: Congressman Jake Auchincloss of Massachusetts, also Vice-Chair of the Financial Services Committee (he also formerly led product development at both a Fortune 100 insurance company and a cybersecurity startup); Miles Jennings, general counsel and head of decentralization at a16z crypto who has advanced and published several frameworks for both builders and industry on topics such as decentralization in practice, legal frameworks for DAOs, and more; Chris Dixon, a16z crypto founding general and managing partner who also moderates this conversation. Welcome 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 developer, artist, community leader; startup entrepreneur or other builder, policymakers, company leaders, others – anyone seeking to understand, and go deeper on all things crypto and web3: towards a decentralized, community-owned, and creator-owned internet. As a reminder: None of the following is investment, business, tax, or legal advice; please see a16z.com/disclosures for more important information, including a link to a list of our investments.
23 July 2022 •
with @x0rart / @blauyourmind, @nassyweazy, @smc90 Building “usable” security will be critical as NFTs scale across applications and mediums — including “dynamic NFTs” for art, identity, experiences (token access, more). In the latest episode of our podcast ‘web3 with a16z’, expert guests discuss security best practices for builders, experiments, and trends now and ahead — also addressing common myths and misconceptions along the way (artist royalties in smart contracts? immutability?... well…) As a reminder: None of the following is investment, business, tax, or legal advice; please see a16z.com/disclosures for more important information, including a link to a list of our investments.
18 July 2022 •
with @enigmida @skominers @smc90 A special bonus holiday episode (during our brief summer vacation) based on a hallway-style conversation we did linking two seemingly unrelated things: puzzle design, and crypto. What's the connection? Our experts riff on all things puzzle design, from types of puzzles and mediums to mindsets -- as well as the parallels between the general principles of incentive design, engagement, accessibility, and more to NFTs, escape rooms, games, and other experience design -- drawing on their deep experience and passion from both inside puzzle communities and from work they've done for different crypto projects. Hosted by Sonal Chokshi, our guests in this episode are: Scott Kominers (a16z crypto research partner and professor at Harvard Business School), who also wrote Bloomberg’s puzzle column for a couple years; and Matthew Stein (former software engineer at Google and now full-time puzzle designer), who specializes in narrative puzzle hunts, as well as in designing alternate reality games for NFT communities, movies, musicians, companies, individuals, and others. Stein also designs puzzles for Art of Play's art journal; and is a reviewer for Room Escape Artist, the largest escape room website in North America, where he also writes about various topics in immersive gaming. As a reminder, none of this is investment, legal, business, or tax advice; please see a16z.com/disclosures for more important information, including a link to a list of our investments.
5 July 2022 •
with @RMcElhenney @cdixon @smc90 This first live taping of 'web3 with a16z' took place an event hosted by a16z crypto & Adim during NFT NYC June 20, 2022 -- with special guest Rob McElhenney* in conversation with Chris Dixon and Sonal Chokshi. Given the theme of "decentralized media"/ "decentralized content creation", the conversation covers decentralized creativity and collaboration; community, creator access; IP and evolution of the internet; and where NFTs and web3 specifically comes in... do we really need web3 for this? We also touch on topics such as the metaverse, storytelling across mediums, managing writer’s rooms, favorite TV shows, nostalgia, and much more. *Rob McElhenney is the creative force behind It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, the critically-acclaimed FXX comedy series in which he co-stars and serves as executive producer and writer; the fifteenth season premiered in December 2021, breaking the record as the longest-running live-action television sitcom in history. He is also the creator, executive producer, and star of Mythic Quest, the acclaimed comedy series that debuted on Apple TV+ (co-created by Megan Ganz and Charlie Day, and a co-production of Ubisoft and Lionsgate Television); it was recognized as one of the best new series of 2020. McElhenney is the co-founder and co-chairperson of Adim, which brings web3 technology to creative development to build a new model and value network for creators and collaborators to have a stake in the success and evolution of what they create -- initially through a scaled network of writer's rooms and through a platform for a broad character ecosystem. **As a reminder, none of this is investment, legal, business, or tax advice; please see a16z.com/disclosures for more important information, including a link to a list of our investments.
27 June 2022 •
with @skominers @tim_roughgarden @smc90 In this episode, we go into all things auctions – which, broadly defined, are simply ways of selling and allocating scarce things – and which applies in web3 contexts to everything from NFT mints, to blockchains themselves. (Which we also go into in this episode, including an overview of the technical challenges specific to mechanism design in a permissionless context. We also briefly cover EIP 1559). We provide a quick overview of auction types, and incentive design, and how it works in both theory and practice -- including the nuances of market-clearing prices, gas wars, and more… sharing tradeoffs, choices, and principles for builders designing these systems throughout. Our expert guests in conversation with host Sonal Chokshi are Scott Kominers, a16z crypto research partner and professor at Harvard Business School who specializes in market, marketplace, and incentive design; and Tim Roughgarden, head of research at a16zcrypto and professor at Columbia, who led the development of the field of algorithmic game theory -- which brings together computer science and economics to solve real-world computing problems. This conversation includes a brief mention of lotteries, which are sometimes used in conjunction with auctions, and which we kept for educational purposes only. Note there are some questions about the legality of such mechanisms like “sweepstakes” that narrow participants by requiring them to do something to enter -- so builders should NOT use these without consulting a lawyer. As a reminder, NONE of the following is legal, business, tax, or investment advice; please see a16z.com/disclosures for more important information.
14 June 2022 •
with @cdixon @eddylazzarin @smc90 A conversation about the markets and how recent events affect crypto and web3; mental models for thinking about crypto and web3, and the longer arc and evolution of technology history, open source, etc.; and methods & metrics for measuring price-innovation cycle ebbs and flows, creators in web2 vs web3, and much more -- as well as key trends that are top of mind. web3 with a16z is a new podcast for anyone seeking to understand and go deeper on blockchains, crypto, and web3. It is about how users and builders -- whether artists, coders, creators, developers, companies, organizations, or communities -- now have the ability to not just "read" (web1) + "write" (web2) but "own" (web3) and build with pieces of the internet, unlocking a new wave of creativity and entrepreneurship. Brought to you by the team at a16z crypto (and the original team behind the a16z Podcast), this show features hallway conversations, discussions, interviews, oral essays, and more on the latest and leading trends in the space, including sharing research, occasional data readouts, and insights from the top scientists, and makers, in the space. It is hosted by Sonal Chokshi, longtime showrunner (2014-2022) and host of the popular a16z Podcast and network, now editor in chief at a16z crypto; as well as a rotating cast of characters from our team who appear in and occasionally co-host episodes as well. In the initial episodes, we start by setting some quick context, before we dive deep the rest of the season on topics ranging from auction design and mechanics, NFTs, security, zero knowledge, gaming, decentralized media, tokenomics, history, infrastructure, roadmaps, and much more -- in the form of everything from hallway conversations to interviews to oral essays; but as always, as is a signature of our other shows, with high density insights and respect for our listeners' time and attention. You can find show notes with links to resources, books, or papers discussed; transcripts; and more at a16zcrypto.com. This episode was produced, and edited by Sonal Chokshi. The episode was technically edited by our audio editor Justin Golden, with thanks to longtime sound engineer Seven Morris. Credit also to Moonshot Design for the art. And special acknowledgments to Chris Dixon, founder and managing partner; CMO Kim Milosevich; and several others on our team here for their support. To follow more of our work and get updates, resources from us, and from others – be sure to subscribe to our newsletter web3 weekly; you can find it on our website at a16zcrypto.com.
31 May 2022 •
"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.
20 May 2022 •