a16z Podcast

a16z Podcast: All about Stablecoins

Andy Milenius, Jesse Walden, and Sonal Chokshi

Posted December 20, 2018

The history, evolution, and use of money revolves around the important concept of debt: It’s what allows us to “time travel” and build toward the future — growing livelihoods, businesses, and the overall economy as a result. When it comes to crypto, however, this concept plays a key role as a way to potentially stabilize the volatility of cryptocurrencies, and more importantly, provide a more stable medium of exchange so key applications can be built on top of blockchains.

That’s where stablecoins (cryptocurrencies pegged to a more stable asset, such as fiat dollars) come in. Because they’re deployed on top of blockchains, they retain the advantages of cryptocurrencies — digital, global, easily transferable, decentralized. And because open source networks are more transparent and auditable, these systems are far less opaque than, say, the huge house of cards that collapsed in the case of the 2008 financial crisis.

But beyond bringing more people into a better financial system, why do stablecoins like Dai — and Maker, one of the oldest decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) on the Ethereum blockchain — matter to the crypto developer community? To banks? To anyone who thinks about the future of innovation… or even the future of the firm, and the future of work? How do (and don’t) DAOs and these kinds of smart contracts change everything we know about management and software development? This episode of the a16z Podcast explores the answers to these questions and more, with Maker CTO Andy Milenius in conversation with Sonal Chokshi and a16z crypto partner Jesse Walden. Here are just two quotes from our jam session: Blockchains are an “open-access, permissionless, choose-your-own adventure story”; and smart contracts are an mp3-like “compression format” for scaling trust. Let the music begin!