This is a special episode of the a16z podcast — it’s an audio history, told through the voices of the a16z crypto team, about what crypto is, how it really works, and why it matters. This “innovation overview” is meant as a resource, and it features hallway-style conversations with the a16z team as well as outside experts.
In brief segments, we’ll take you from the ground up — from the basics, to the most current developments, and beyond that to a look at what we might see in the future.
Here are the topics and voices you’ll hear, with timestamps of the segments included for easy navigation:
- Introduction — Zoran Basich, a16z crypto editor
- Before bitcoin: previous attempts to create digital money (1:45) — Dan Boneh, computer science professor at Stanford and a16z advisor
- The core innovations of Satoshi’s white paper (3:36) — Dan Boneh
- Proof of work (5:36) — Alex Pruden, chief strategy officer at Aleo Systems and former a16z crypto partner
- Mining and why it’s important (7:10) — Alex Pruden
- The history of mining (8:20) — Alex Pruden
- Value in monetary systems, or why bitcoin is worth anything (9:53) — Arianna Simpson, a16z crypto partner
- Bitcoin as store of value (11:30) — Arianna Simpson
- Security in crypto (12:45) — Alex Pruden
- Why is it called a blockchain? (14:00) — Eddy Lazzarin, a16z data scientist
- Why the blockchain matters and what you can do with it (15:09) — Chris Dixon, a16z general partner
- Beyond bitcoin (17:01) — Eddy Lazzarin
- Ethereum as logical extension of open source (17:36) — Eddy Lazzarin
- Tokens: What are they? (19:04) — Eddy Lazzarin
- Tokens and the functions they serve (19:53) — Scott Kupor, a16z managing partner
- Tokens and the ownership economy (21:19) — Jesse Walden, Variant Fund founder, former a16z partner, and Mediachain founder
- What tokens enable for creators (22:18) — Ali Yahya, a16z general partner
- What DeFi means (23:58) — Eddy Lazzarin
- Yield farming: What is it? (25:16) — Eddy Lazzarin
- NFTs: What they are and why they matter (27:15) — Linda Xie, Scalar Capital managing director, and Jesse Walden
- Developer ecosystems, crypto, and composability (30:17) — Jesse Walden
- Decentralized networks, value capture, and what it means for builders (33:05) — Ali Yahya
- The big picture, web3, and DAOs (35:38) — Chris Dixon
For more crypto resources, please see our Crypto Startup School page, our documentary about the program, and our NFT Canon.
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