Discover more from web3 newsletter
going from web2 to web3, how to pitch, trend updates
💸 Feature: On financial freedom, web2 to web3, & company building big to small
David Marcus, Sonal Chokshi
This wide-ranging conversation on our recent episode of the ‘web3 with a16z’ podcast covers company building big to small — including what is the right cadence, and when is the right time in product development, to ship — as well as views on scaling, remote work (yay or nay?), and more.
We also touch on the journey from web2 to web3, and the journey from payments to crypto — including why bitcoin — since our guest is David Marcus, CEO and co-founder of Lightspark (previously head of Novi/Diem/Libra, head of Facebook Messenger, former president of PayPal). From the tension between centralization vs. decentralization and the role of platforms in power, we also talk about the importance of financial freedom and American innovation.
💎 Resource: On ‘protodanksharding’, ‘danksharding’, and ‘data availability sampling’ … in 30(ish) minutes
In just 36 minutes, a16z crypto research partner Valeria Nikolaenko describes and explains protodanksharding, danksharding, data availability sampling, rollups (how they work, types)… all of which are important for future upgrades to Ethereum, and for understanding networking/ blockchain scalability. Nikolaenko also highlights some of the best data availability schemes so that others can improve on them, incorporate those ideas into their own projects, or do further research. For more on why these topics matter — as well as more resources for understanding and applying them — see also this past edition 🧩 of our newsletter (and check out this paper 📄).
▶️ How to: On preparing to pitch
Startup fundraising can feel like “as much fun as chewing glass”, observes Simpson in this talk (first delivered at our Crypto Startup School) — it can be that daunting for some. So she covers the process of pitching from start to finish — before making a deck, before the pitch, during the pitch, and following up after — including especially how to craft a narrative for your product and team. Why is this a big market/ vision/ opportunity? Why are you the right team to bring it to market? And what is the one question Simpson likes to ask every founder? (Hint: the answer will be the key theme throughout your pitch).
🌐 Trend: On stateless blockchains
Miranda Christ and Joe Bonneau
As blockchains grow to support more users and more frequent transactions, so too grows the amount of information (the “state”) that validators have to store to verify transactions. For example: in Bitcoin, the state consists of a set of unspent transaction outputs; while in Ethereum, the state consists of an account balance for each account, as well as code and storage for each smart contract. These storage burdens will become unwieldy as blockchains grow (given enough accounts or everyday transactions), making it difficult to become a validator — posing a potential threat to decentralization.
While it’s tempting to turn to cryptography as a solution — where tools such as Merkle trees and zero-knowledge proofs have previously helped us achieve the implausible — to create “stateless” blockchains, they remain far from practical despite substantial research (e.g., Boneh et al, Buterin, Srinivasan et al, Todd). In fact, argue the authors of this piece (including a16z crypto research intern & PhD student Christ), stateless blockchains won’t ever be feasible without additional measures to manage the state. But such “impossibility results” shouldn’t be discouraging, because they can direct researchers and builders to pursue more fruitful paths…
read the post “On the impossibility of stateless blockchains”
watch the video “On limits on revocable proof systems, with implications for blockchains”
check out the full paper “Limits on revocable proof systems, with applications to stateless blockchains”
🗞️ News & moves: IRS guidance on staking; crypto & banks; more
Our ongoing regulatory updates — as curated by the a16z crypto regulatory team — cover news, guidance, legislation, and frameworks released by agencies, associations, governments, banks, and other entities around the world as they impact the crypto industry in terms of regulation and policy. The last update covered notable news and moves from July through mid-August:
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