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Blockchain technology is about to transform every trust-based interaction of our lives, from financial services to identity, from health care to our Internet of Things devices. In this podcast, host Laura Shin talks with industry pioneers across tech, financial services, health care, government and other sectors about how the blockchain and cryptocurrency will open up new opportunities for incumbents, startups and everyday people to interact more efficiently, directly and globally.

Jun 2, 2020

Jesse Walden of Variant Fund, and Robert Leshner of Compound explain all of the problems associated with the decentralizing process in terms of governance and compliance, pulling from their own lessons and their commentary on other projects. We cover:

  • Why projects must start with some level centralization
  • How projects can both monetize and not put their code at risk of being forked
  • How they can decentralize while also maintaining security, especially for composable DeFi projects that may become vulnerable as new technology and new protocols are introduced
  • How and when to distribute the token so as not to attract only speculators and also not trip regulatory wires 
  • How Compound’s current governance works, how it is decentralizing, why they decided to use a governance token, and what Compound (the company) will do after full decentralization 
  • Why open-sourced projects are still able to extract profits, even after a fork
  • Whether or not teams should have admin keys, such as what was used in response to the bZx attacks
  • Whether or not projects should be upgrade-able
  • What Block.One, which raised $4 billion in an ICO, did right to only pay a $24 million fine to the SEC 

Thank you to our sponsors!

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Episode links: 

Jesse Walden:

Robert Leshner:

A16z Crypto startup school:


Progressive Decentralization playbook:

What recent moves by the SEC say about mutability when it comes to crypto networks:

Compound’s $COMP token:

More on Compound’s governance token:

Unchained discussion about bZx attacks:

Eric Wall tweet storm on admin keys:

tBTC shutting down:

More on tBTC:

Unchained interview about tBTC in which Matt Luongo explains the admin key:

Is the SEC trying to kill the SAFT? 

Block.One settlement with SEC: