Follow up

More DeFi news – Curve premature launch

Here is another post around the DeFi phenomenon, this time in regards to the Curve project. Curve claims itself to be a decentralized exchange pool that is built on Ethereum. They also claim that their fees are only .04% of any trade of stablecoins.

The contracts were posted to Github before the CurveDAO was launched, so an anonymous user went ahead and deployed the token and contracts on the Ethereum mainnet.

The Curve team reviewed the code, determined everything was legit and just went ahead and accepted that the protocol was live and they couldn’t do anything about it.

Users quickly noted that wallets had already started staking and earning Curve tokens. Users also noted that it was unfair.

I’ve shared my opinions on DeFi in general on the show. I think the technology is incredible – and this particular case shows even further what is so appealing about it. It is almost completely unregulated, and has a low barrier to entry. Almost anyone can join a DeFi protocol and has a shot at earning. However the immaturity of the technology also makes it dangerous for people not in the know, and also makes it easy for users that are more advanced to milk the system and leave the uninitiated holding the bag. Until there is more maturity in the DeFi space, and until some DAO’s breakout as the leaders, I am going to continue to watch from the sidelines. Bitcoin is boring compared to all of these DAOs, but I know what the rules are, and those rules apply to everybody.

Follow up

The 2016 DAO Hack

In more follow up from our most recent show, I’m going to explain at a high level what Nick and I were referring to in regards to the 2016 DAO hack.

A DAO is a decentralized autonomous organization. In the case of the 2016 DAO hack, the people who created it saw it is an investment fund with no central control. Anybody that put money in could have a say in which companies to invest in, and the more you invested the more weight your vote would have in the direction this decentralized “company” would go.

This was all to run on Ethereum, a network built for apps that have no central control. Vitalik Buterin is the founder of Ethereum and had the vision of building decentralized applications that would allow for a democratic financial institution that would be difficult, if not impossible, to regulate.

On April 30 2016 the now infamous DAO deployed allowing governance by investors. All funds were pooled with people who owned tokens earning the ability to submit proposals to fund a project by using the DAO’s funds. A curator of these different proposals would examen the proposal. This curator is someone that the Ethereum community would have selected beforehand, and if the curator signed off on a proposal, then at that point investors vote on it, and if 20% say go then the DAO sends Eth to the smart contract. Any Eth gained by that proposal is given to investors.

In May 2016 there was an initial offering that required Eth owners to invest Eth in order to be an investor and in exchange earn 100 DAO tokens for each Eth supplied. Eth owners poured in their coins to the tune of $150 million USD becoming the largest crowdfunding event at that time.

The protocol had a built in way for minority “owners” to back out of a proposal they didn’t want to be a part of by removing their Eth from the DAO and going into a new DAO, or child DAO, with similar abilities and restrictions. Any owner of a token could start that process but it required 7 days of debate time.

All of this is done in code – again no regulatory body managing this. This is the spirit of DeFi, a way to invest money while circumventing traditional financial regulations. If the code is done right, then everyone has a fair chance, and no single entity has a better opportunity than anyone else, AS LONG AS THE CODE IS GOOD. That is a big if in the DeFi space.

In the case of the 2016 DAO hack, there was a bug that allowed for the Eth to be taken back before the balance would be updated. A hacker figured out a way get funds back over and over again before the code bothered to check the balance and this hacker pulled out 3.6 million Eth.

The Ethereum community had 27 days to respond because of the way that smart contract was written. They had a few different options and chose in the end to do a hard fork on July 20th. This is when Ethereum classic came to be as some people running mining machines chose to continue with the old protocols.

There are not enough participants in the Ethereum Classic community to prevent 51% attacks… And there is still plenty of money in Ethereum classic. In my opinion it is a dead project, but the only way for it to completely go down is for developers to back out, and for owners to sell their ETC and that doesn’t seem like it is going to happen. In the meantime, the protocol will continue to experience attacks.

Follow up

Podcast Players

I thought I’d do some follow up from this weeks show and talk a little about podcast player choices and what I would recommend using.

It starts with what you are using to listen to your podcast. I use iOS, and the stock podcast player there is Apple’s aptly titled Podcasts. It works fine. A better podcast player in my opinion is Overcast, and that one only works on iOS.

If you are on android then you can use Google Podcasts, but I’m not a fan of giving up even more of my personal info to Google than I need to. That one also happens to work on iOS. On Android I would recommend using Pocket Casts. This one also has an iOS version. Pocket Casts gives you some options similar to Overcast in that you have controls that let you trim silences, vary the speed to as much as 3x faster than normal, volume boost, and other controls. The variable speed is my favorite feature for a podcast player to have because you can listen to more content than you normally would. It saves you time, and that is priceless. Pocket Casts is also connected to Apple’s library of Podcasts, which is the largest out there, so you will not have any trouble finding your favorite podcast.

There are other options, but I’ll keep this simple. Pick one that makes sense for you and start listening to topics that are important to you.