Can Solana Seize Marketshare From Ethereum With Serum? – Ep.193

Sam Bankman-Fried, the CEO of FTX and Alameda Research,  and Anatoly Yakovenko,  the co-founder and CEO of Solana Labs, discuss the Project Serum ecosystem that they are building on the Solana blockchain, and the unique approach to scaling the Solana blockchain is taking.

In this episode, they talk about:

  • their backgrounds, and how they became involved in crypto
  • why Solana takes a different approach to scaling and how it is implemented
  • why they think a relatively lower number of nodes is sufficient to protect from attacks or collusion
  • what the vision for Solana is, who they see using it, and how Serum fits into that vision
  • why they think there haven’t been more crypto projects migrating to Solana yet
  • Solana’s proof-of-history algorithm and how it works
  • how Solana plans to attract DeFi developers
  • why Serum was made interoperable with Ethereum
  • the types of traders they are hoping to attract with Serum, and what their experience will be like on the platform
  • why Project Serum is an ecosystem and not just an order book exchange
  • how high-frequency trading firm Jump Trading came to adopt Serum
  • how Serum will manage trading tokens from different chains
  • the purpose of Serum’s two tokens, SRM and MSRM
  • and what’s in store for Project Serum in the future


Thank you to our sponsors! 


Gods Unchained:


Episode links: 

Anatoly Yakovenko:


Sam Bankman-Fried:

Project Serum:

Project Serum on Twitter:


Solana CoinList auction in March:


Solana network stats:


The Block Research on Solana:


Proof of history:





Jump Capital:

Vitalik Buterin on Ethereum’s Five-Year Anniversary – Ep.183

Vitalik Buterin, co-founder of Ethereum, shares his thoughts on the five-year anniversary of Ethereum, challenges with ETH 2.0 and criticisms about DeFi. We discuss:

  • his thoughts and feelings ahead of Ethereum’s five-year anniversary
  • how to address the high gas fees on the Ethereum network
  • whether the complexity of Ethereum 2.0 creates a risk for the security of the network
  • whether staking will lead to a higher focus on ETH price and issues such as monetary policy 
  • how he looks at the ETH price with its significance for security in Ethereum 2.0
  • how proof of stake systems can be more democratic
  • whether staking lends itself to the kind of securitization that looks similar to mortgage-backed securities
  • his concerns about DeFi
  • the most optimal way for DeFi projects to distribute their tokens
  • his thoughts about Bitcoin on Ethereum
  • inherent risks to Ethereum users connected to China’s Blockchain Service Network (BSN)
  • his views on DCEP, other CBDCs and Libra
  • the indictment of Ethereum Foundation staff member Virgil Griffith for allegedly helping North Korea to circumvent sanctions
  • how he plans to make the Ethereum Foundation more transparent
  • whether lack of diversity would impact the success of Ethereum in the long term
  • where he would like to see Ethereum in the next five years

Thank you to our sponsors! 



Episode links: 

Vitalik Buterin:


Vitalik’s blog:


Median gas price:

Average gas price:


Solutions to gas price problem:


Reddit AMA with the Ethereum 2.0 Research team, including Vitalik:


Paper on how DeFi lending could undermine security in a POS system:


Vitalik tweet on yield farming:


Abra settlement with SEC and CFTC:


Maya Zehavi’s comments on what this could mean for DeFi:


China’s BSN using public chains, including Ethereum:


Unchained interview about DCEP:


Charges against Virgil Griffith:


More on Virgil Griffith case:


Unchained interview with human rights activist Yeonmi Park on what life is like in North Korea:


Unchained interview on why North Korea is interested in cryptocurrency:


Case against Steven Nerayoff:

Camila Russo on the Most Pivotal Moments in Ethereum’s History – Ep.182

Camila Russo, founder of The Defiant and author of a new book on Ethereum, “The Infinite Machine,” speaks about how currency controls in Argentina got her interested in crypto and explains why she chose to tell the Ethereum story. She discusses:

  • how she started covering the crypto space
  • what it was like living through currency controls in Argentina
  • why she started focusing on Ethereum instead of Bitcoin
  • what’s in her new book, The Infinite Machine
  • the most pivotal moments in Ethereum’s history
  • possible risks to Ethereum 2.0 because of delays
  • whether competing protocols could take market share away from Ethereum
  • the most surprising aspect of the Ethereum story
  • starting her own DeFi-focused media platform, The Defiant
  • why she launched ‘CAMI’ tokens and how they are used
  • the significance of ERC-20 tokens having a higher market cap than ETH
  • her predictions about trends and promising projects in the DeFi space


Thank you to our sponsors! 



Episode links: 

Camila Russo:

The Infinite Machine:

The Defiant:


Excerpt from The Infinite Machine on CoinDesk:


Decrypt review:


Camila on what Ethereum has accomplished in five years:


Hidden Forces podcast with Camila:


Camila in the Keen On podcast:

Ethereum 2.0 phase 0 may not go live until 2021:

Ready Layer One: Who Competes With Ethereum? – Ep.174

This week’s Unchained is my panel at Ready Layer One! We talk everything layer one with four key players and projects — Illia Polosukhin of NEARprotocol, Zaki Manian of Cosmos, Rob Habermeier of Polkadot, and Arthur Breitman of Tezos — to find out how these projects plan to compete with Ethereum and attract developers and users. We discuss: 

  • What platforms they are building and at which stage in development they are 
  • How they differentiate themselves from Ethereum, and what problems they believe need to be solved 
  • How they plan to attract devs in an industry of network effects 
  • Whether or not Bitcoin and Ethereum are direct competitors
  • Whether, in the long run, crypto will be more winner-take-all or there will be multiple, interoperable chains  
  • How they plan to bring new users into the space
  • How they think the transition to ETH2.0 will shake up the existing blockchain space

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Thank you to our sponsors!



Episode links: 

Illia Polosukhin:

Near protocol:

Zaki Manian:


Rob Habermeier:


Arthur Breitman:


Near protocol on mainnet:

Electric Capital report on the number of developers in Ethereum:

The Rise of MakerDAO: A Personal Journey – Ep.167

Mariano Conti of MakerDAO, head of smart contracts at MakerDAO, reads from his essay about his personal experience with cryptocurrency, particularly as an Argentine whose family has experienced periods of hyperinflation, and as a freelancer accepting payment from foreign countries. He describes the evolution of Maker from single-collateral Dai (now Sai) to multi-collateral Dai, and also gives his perspective on the events of Black Thursday and the subsequent debt auctions the protocol undertook to right itself. 

Thank you to our sponsors!


Episode links: 

Mariano Conti:

Linda Xie’s essay about crypto memes on Unchained :

Teetering on the Edge: How Black Thursday Exposed the Flaws in the Crypto Markets – Ep.164 [podcast]

Kyle Samani, managing partner at Multicoin Capital, dissects Black Thursday, March 12, the day the crypto markets plunged twice amid the wider sell-off in the markets due to the coronavirus. He offers several theories for the first price drop that day, how that set off a series of liquidations on various exchanges, and then why liquidations stopped for about 12 hours before the next wave, which triggered the next price slump. He also describes why, at that point, the crypto market structure broke, as arbitrageurs attempted to move collateral from one exchange to another but could not because both the Bitcoin and Ethereum blockchains became congested, setting off a downward spiral particularly in Bitcoin, as miners began turning off equipment due to the falling BTC price. This led, ultimately, to there being $200 million worth of positions to liquidate on BitMEX, but only $20 million worth of bids on the entire BitMEX order book. Then we cover what happened next that ultimately saved the price of BTC dropping to $0 on BitMEXT.

Next, we discuss the second fall in prices that day, and how that affected MakerDAO, with congestion on the Ethereum blockchain preventing keepers from being able to liquidate undercollateralized vaults. A clever keeper sent a bid to liquidate a vault with a higher gas price, but realizing that there was no competition, bid $0, walking away with $4.5 million, and a total of $8 million being won this way. We covered how the price of ETH fell to $88 but because oracles weren’t properly updating, the last price of ETH on MakerDAO was at $101 — a dollar higher than the $100 where a bunch of liquidations would have occurred, which would have likely put more downward pressure on ETH, resulting in another downward spiral. 

Kyle also evaluates some of the technical options for preventing these issues in future times of volatility, why many of them aren’t promising but what is. 

Thank you to our sponsors! 



Episode links:

Links from news recap:

Kyle Samani:

Multicoin Capital:

Multicoin blog part 1:

Part 2:

Theory that BitMEX’s maintenance was to prevent a collapse in Bitcoin:

How traders took advantage of the roiling markets:

More on the liquidations in MakerDAO:

MakerDAO weighs emergency shutdown:

MakerDAO adds USDC as collateral:

Kain Warwick on USDC as Dai collateral:

Eva Beylin on USDC as Dai collateral:

Huobi’s derivatives platform introduces circuit breaker:

Debate over circuit breakers in crypto: