AMA with

Jake Brukhman

Founder Coinfund. Engineer; Investor; Researcher of Crypto Economic Systems & Decentralized Networks

15th November 2018, 4:00 pm

This AMA is over!

Thank the host

Message from the host 💬

Thank you for your questions! Follow me on Twitter @jbrukh and CoinFund @coinfund_io.

Hi Jake, What according to you makes a “Good” Token?

Tokens are not inherently good or bad, but an effective token might be one that helps a cryptoeconomic system accurately and securely perform its purpose, and perhaps that purpose is useful to the world. In some cases, tokens are used as an investment exposure mechanism — in that case an effective token is one that captures the economic value one is trying to get exposure to.

Hi Jake, Thanks for the AMA.

As a crypto economist, why do you think the value of coins of almost every blockchain company is decreasing? Do you think inflationary model is flawed? Do you think apps didn't get enough time to prove themselves?

Thanks for the question, I am hardly an economist, I am much more a technologist or cryptofinancial analyst. :)

I think the value of blockchain assets is decreasing because prices today are not driven by fundamental value but by sentiment. And sentiment is down on most assets in today’s market.

I don’t think any given model is necessarily flawed. All models have their application spaces. Livepeer has a super interesting inflationary cryptoeconomics with variable inflation rates based on network participation — that’s super fascinating and interesting.

No one has built a proper mainstream app yet. CryptoKitties came slightly close, but not there yet. We’ll need to spend some more time on base layers and infrastructure and middleware in order to be able to create proper mainstream user experiences.

Do you think eventually all countries or central banks will create their own cryptocurrency?

The currencies of most countries are largely digital already. If cryptocurrency becomes the foremost currency technology, this outcome is possible, even likely.

Thanks for the AMA, Jake! Do you think "Decentralized Communities" are the future?

We’ve been living with decentralized communities on the internet for years. If they are the future, then we are living in it. :)

What happens when false data are stored on chain e.g school certificate? What's the significance? Secondly, as an academic body, how can blockchain ensure validity certificate issued to student? How can it curb impersonation and faking of certificate?

Generally speaking, blockchains provide the ability to immutably store data but in and of themselves they do not assure validity of that data -- that is the job of the process or protocol that adds the data to the blockchain.

As an example, if you are a university and you want to issue and store diplomas on a blockchain, you will achieve immutability -- the diploma will stick around forever, even if the university is shut down. The validity of the diploma may be based on trust -- "I trust Harvard not to lie that they issued someone a diploma, and I know Harvard created this record" -- or other methods like decentralized voting or attestation.

If you have a certificate that is immutable and digitally signed by the issuing institution, this is a pretty strong deterrent to impersonation and faking.

Hey Jake, Thanks for the AMA 😀

What advice do you have for developers entering the Blockchain space?

If you want to be a good systems engineer, learn how blockchains work underneath.

If you want to be a good frontend engineer, learn how blockchains work underneath.

Is it ever possible to mint more tokens than total supply in a fixed token economy?

Of course. One way is via a bug in the implementation of the economy. :)

Are decentralized and open source protocols going to be more significant than their web equivalent in the near future?

We don’t know, but that is the fundamental thesis of folks who are studying, building, and investing in open source (decentralized) protocols.

Hi Jake,

I have a small team that developed our first demo apk and 0 funding. I was wondering if you had any networking tips for fundraising or recruiting the best blockchain developers while a company is in it's fledgling years.

Vik

Congratulations on your progress so far. If you're looking to raise money from blockchain-focused VCs or cryptoinvestors, then you need to get access to them. My advice is to attend quality blockchain-focused conferences and events, ask other founders who they raise from, and pursue warm intros to investors.

Hey Jake,

Thanks for the AMA!

I recently attended a crypto conference and listened to some people who claimed that we need regulations in order for cryptocurrencies to become widely accepted. What is your opinion about this? Do regulations mean that there can be no true decentralized system?

On a political level, I am not a fan of cryptocurrency regulation as it has unfolded in the US so far. The main reason is that not enough time and attention is given by our regulators to recognize the potential of new technologies and they would rather use old frameworks which don’t quite make sense. It’s also a political issue, so no one wants to take on the reputational risk of actually setting guidance and the space’s founders are left with an environment where it’s difficult to operate.

I don’t think this stops systems from being decentralized in a technical sense. Also, globally, there are vastly different regulatory attitudes toward cryptocurrencies, some of which support the technological principles of blockchains well.

Jake, I would like to know what you think of blockchain and cryptocurrencies to make the world a better place. I am the founder of OpenDomain - we have donated domains worth millions to open source and non-profits for over 20 years. I saw a problem where donations were not getting to the people in need, so I created CharityCoin. We use the blockchain for verifiable giving - we won the Techstars blockchain challenge last year.

How would you setup a charity coin? Some percentage of mining goes to charity? Could you suggest how to enforce that without legal contracts or a semi-private blockchain?

Did you know that the United Nations voted that everyone should have access to the internet? I would love a new law - where everyone has the right to universal cryptocurrency. That way people are protected from illegal seizures or fiat currency devaluations. How would you suggest we protect against the problems with Tether and Petro?

Thank you VERY much for your help with this - We would like to create "a better bitcoin" and would love any suggestions

That’s an interesting question but sadly way too big of a topic for an AMA.

I don’t think you could enforce charity payments without legal contracts or without the charities being on-chain. On the other hand, you may not need to enforce it. It’s a good research area, but I have seen very few decentralized “non-profit” models, or any that work.

Can you give me your opinion on my idea that everyone should have the right of access to universal cryptocurrency?

By and large, most people on the planet who have access to the internet also have access to cryptocurrency and that access would be generally hard to censor.

What do you think about certifying real world items on the blockchain like art? (Please note that the link to your artwork on your site does not seem to show anything.)

There's a whole space of NFTs (non-fungible tokens) which are dedicated to this area. You can read about CryptoKitties, NFT collectibles, and NFT marketplaces like SuperRare and OpenSea.

Hey Jake, I see you are a great fan of Steemit and it's model. I have two questions related to Steemit:

  1. How Steemit manages to keep the STEEM value close to $1?
  2. Is steemit failing? The traffic has come down to 14M in October from 50M in Jan this year.

Screenshot 2018-11-15 16.08.46.png

  1. I don’t think Steem’s blockchain does that — I think the market trades it around a dollar. If you’re referring to Steem Dollars (SBD), then those assets have a stabilization mechanism based on data feeds built into the Steem blockchain.

  2. I’m not sure. Steemit is a private company. Steem is a public blockchain. It’s hard to see how a public blockchain might “fail” in the traditional sense of the word. It just keeps doing what it does. Steemit the private company might fail in the sense that it will fail to generate revenue and fire its employees, but I have no special knowledge of the inner workings there.

What do you think of the different proof? Proof of work vs Proof of Stake? Is there a way to make the proof of work more environmentally friendly or be able to do useful work?

Certainly.

PoW is a very energy-inefficient (but secure) way of reaching consensus in a distributed system. You can use a number of other consensus algorithms to reach consensus, such as BFT, DAGs, and Proof of Stake.

Proof of Stake systems, for example, require no special hardware and don't use exorbitant energy, but are much trickier to prove the security of (and to prove security, you need to make assumptions about the network).

Hi Jake, I was going through the team page of Coinfund. One of your team members is working as "Principal Engineer".

  • What is the role of an engineer at Coinfund?
  • Are you guys hiring developers?
  • If yes, how can I apply?

Today, our engineering team works to helo CoinFund participate in open, decentralized networks as a voter, supply-side service provider, or miner. It also performs data acquisition tasks on decentralized networks.

We are not currently hiring but send your resume to [email protected] and we will get in touch when we are.

Hi Jake, I am a student of Economics with great interest in Blockchain. What role can blockchain play to bring efficiency in measuring a nations GDP?

Generally speaking, blockchains tend to be transparency technologies. (They also have aspects in privacy as well.) If you can manage to get most economic activity (payments, purchases, investments, financial operations) onto blockchains, and if you can convince the transactors to be transparent about them, then this will probably represent the most accurate real-world measurement of GDPs. That's a lot of if's though. :)

Hi Jake ,As a student I have learned to make dapps (basic) like multiple Poll generator (ethereum) etc but I want to learn more ,so that I can build some dapps that have good security , best practices (solidity) and some complex logic under the hood. What are some good resources to boost my knowledge to expert level? Apart from building dapps on ethereum , what are some of the other ways of building dapps and I should focus on them also?
Thanks for the AMA!

You should look up some of your favorite blockchain projects and contribute to their open source repos! The best resource for an engineer, especially a blockchain engineer, is experience.

Ethereum is not going to be the only platform upon which you can launch dApps. Check out Tezos, Cosmos, Dfinity, Polkadot, and many of the other projects which are providing platforms for development.

How important is golang in blockchain related app development?

It's a popular language for the backend technologies that comprise a lot of the node software used to run decentralized networks or blockchains. Rust is also a popular language for this purpose.

I would say knowing Golang is a good idea for blockchain and in general.

How would you explain what coinfund does to a noob?

CoinFund is a private, digital asset class focused investor. It invests in the companies, projects, digital assets, and networks which comprise the blockchain and decentralization space.

Hello Jake, thanks for this session!

I'm a software developer with an interest for blockchain. Previously I've worked with machine learning pipelines, web apps and some devops on the side, 2 years experience total. I'd like to get into more serious software engineering and I see blockchain as a gateway into such topics as distributed systems, cryptography and protocol design.

Is there any community, company ( or any course of action really ) that you could recommend to me? Do you consider pursuing a masters degree a viable option? Are there any interesting open-source projects that could use someone less experienced?

Piotr

Well, blockchain has relatively little "backend programming" unless you're programming the consensus layers or blockchains themselves. If you want to pursue this, I recommend learning some backend languages (in blockchain, Go and Rust are popular) and then learning as much as you can about consensus, various consensus algorithms (BFT, Nakamoto, Proof of Stake systems) and find a team which is building a base layer technology.

If you want to program the "backends" of dApps, then you're coding a smart contract programming language. The most popular one is Solidity, and there is a large amount of literature on Solidity programming and many deployed contracts have their code available for inspection on Etherscan.

If you want to focus on the frontend, there is a large overlap between dApp frontend programming and just JavaScript frontend programming in general. Here, you'll want to learn things like the Web3.js framework, how to connect hardware wallets like Ledgers and Trezors to the frontend, and interacting with the Ethereum (or another blockchain) from JavaScript.

All of these activities should be accompanied by a fundamental understanding how blockchains, and probably Ethereum, work underneath. Most blockchain projects are open source and maintain open developer communities that you can participate in. Just pick a project you like and see if they have open bounties (see: Decentraland, Aragon, district0x, etc.).

That's a very comprehensive answer, I'll certainly draw from it. Thank you!

What would you recommend to people who are making steps in governance projects? What should they pay the most attention to?

Learn how to deploy and use a DAO. (See e.g. Aragon Project, DAOstack). Probably learn about how to run a governance process — you could study the theory of social choice and voting and/or how other open organizations function.