Unchained

Laura Shin

Your No-Hype Resource for All Things Crypto

  • 1 hour 1 minute
    How Satoshi Nakamoto and Vitalik Buterin Inspired Key Parts of Celestia - Ep. 672

    Mustafa Al-Bassam was a teenage hacktivist who outsmarted a US government contractor, shamed the Westboro Baptist Church, hacked Sony a record number of times, and eventually got arrested—though his 80 transgressions got halved for a funny reason. 

    At the Modular Summit in Brussels, Laura had a fireside chat with Mustafa to discuss how he went from his teenage years as the head of LulzSec and member of Anonymous to founding Celestia, a project aiming to solve key issues in blockchain scalability by going with a modular approach. 

    He also discussed data availability sampling, why he believes Celestia has achieved significant product-market fit since its launch, and the three key components of Celestia’s road map.

    Show highlights:

    • 00:00 Intro
    • 01:47 Mustafa’s origin story and how he became a developer who ended up hacking FBI affiliates and Fox News
    • 05:32 How he hacked a military contractor to the US Department of Defense and Sony
    • 09:16 Why Mustafa was arrested at the age of 16
    • 11:14 What about Bitcoin attracted his attention and got him interested in the industry
    • 15:22 Why he founded Celestia, after doing a PhD in scaling blockchains and understanding the problems of sharding
    • 21:16 What data availability sampling is and why it is important
    • 23:52 Why Mustafa believes that Celestia has had “extreme product market fit” since the launch
    • 26:16 What’s next for Celestia and why Mustafa is so excited about the possibilities that increased block size can enable
    • 29:36 How Celestia is working with zero knowledge accounts for defragmenting liquidity in rollups and access liquidity even within the Cosmos ecosystem
    • 30:57 What the endgame for Celestia and the overall industry looks like, according to Mustafa
    • 37:36 Q&A with the audience
    • 44:44 Crypto News Recap


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    12 July 2024, 1:00 pm
  • 1 hour 10 minutes
    Why the SEC Lawsuit Against Consensys May Hold Little Ground - Ep. 671

    In this episode, crypto lawyers Kayvan Sadeghi and Sam Enzer delve into the SEC's lawsuit against Consensys, which focuses on MetaMask's swaps and staking services, and explore the implications of the SEC's stance on MetaMask acting as a broker-dealer, and the classification of its staking product as a security. 

    They discuss how recent rulings on Coinbase and Binance challenge the SEC's claims, and whether differing judicial opinions could lead to the Supreme Court. 

    Also, they talk about the potential impact of the Supreme Court striking down Chevron deference for crypto regulation.

    Show highlights:

    • 00:00 Intro
    • 01:22 The key claims in the SEC's lawsuit against Consensys and how they relate to MetaMask's swaps and staking services
    • 03:42 How recent Coinbase and Binance rulings challenge the SEC's claims against Consensys
    • 09:29 Whether differing judicial opinions on whether wallets with private keys act as brokers could end up being decided by the Supreme Court
    • 12:55 How the SEC will substantiate its claims that MetaMask acts as a broker-dealer and that its staking product is a security in Texas legal briefings
    • 17:42 Why a token itself is not considered a security, according to Sam, and how this distinction affects secondary market transactions in the SEC's case against MetaMask
    • 22:14 What Lido and Rocket Pool can do in response to the SEC tangentially naming their liquid staking tokens as securities
    • 31:27 How the SEC and Consensys lawsuits will proceed, and whether conflicting rulings could arise from their parallel tracks
    • 36:35 The key distinctions in the Binance case compared to those of Coinbase and Kraken, and how the Binance ruling might impact future crypto cases
    • 50:08 What Chevron deference means and how its removal impacts crypto
    • 56:49 How the elimination of Chevron deference affects current crypto cases and legislative gridlock


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    9 July 2024, 4:00 pm
  • 41 minutes 29 seconds
    How Crypto Prediction Market Polymarket Signaled Early That Biden Might Drop Out - Ep. 670

    Prediction markets are gaining mainstream traction, particularly with the upcoming US elections. In this episode, Nick Tomaino, founder of 1confirmation, which is an investor in Polymarket, explores how platforms like Polymarket identified the possibility that President Biden might drop out of the campaign before the mainstream media did. He talks about the journey of Polymarket, the challenges it faced, and how it overcame them to provide a credible platform for betting on political outcomes. 

    Finally, Nick explains why prediction markets are currently illegal in the U.S., the implications of the Supreme Court striking down Chevron deference, and what the future holds for prediction markets in the U.S.

    Show highlights:

    • 00:00 Intro
    • 01:28 Why prediction markets like Polymarket finally gained mainstream traction, and how 1confirmation became an early investor
    • 04:01 What challenges Polymarket faced in its journey to mainstream recognition, and how it managed to overcome them
    • 07:22 How prediction markets contribute to bringing more truth to the world, particularly in the context of media narratives and social media algorithms
    • 12:52 What challenges have arisen from conflicts in resolving prediction markets on Polymarket
    • 19:00 How bets are created and how the wording and resolution of prediction markets is managed on Polymarket
    • 21:56 How trading volumes affect the credibility of prediction markets on Polymarket
    • 22:38The regulatory environment of prediction markets in the US and whether the elimination of Chevron deference by the Supreme Court will have a positive impact on these markets
    • 28:35 Crypto News Recap


    Visit our website for breaking news, analysis, pop op-eds, articles to learn about crypto, and much more: unchainedcrypto.com

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    Recent news on Polymarket:

    Commentary:

    • Vitalik’s tweet: “Prediction markets and Community Notes are becoming the two flagship social epistemic technologies of the 2020s. Both truth-seeking and democratic, built around open public participation rather than pre-selected elites. I want to see many more things like this.”
    • Nick Tomaino’s tweet: “2024 will go down in history as the year prediction markets went mainstream.”

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    5 July 2024, 1:00 pm
  • 1 hour 7 minutes
    The Chopping Block: Biden's Resignation Odds, Market Predictions, and Chevron Ruling's Impact on Crypto - Ep. 669

    Welcome to The Chopping Block – where crypto insiders Haseeb Qureshi, Tom Schmidt, Robert Leshner, and Tarun Chitra explore the latest trends in the crypto world. In this episode, special guest Laura Shin is sitting in for Tom to discuss the impact of prediction markets on politics and crypto. They explore how prediction markets like Polymarket affect public perception during the presidential election, contrasting their reliability against traditional journalism. The conversation also touches on the implications of prediction markets on insider trading, market manipulation, and the role of expert information. Additionally, they discuss the Supreme Court's overturning of the Chevron doctrine and its potential impact on regulatory shifts in the crypto industry. The episode provides an insightful analysis into how prediction markets could revolutionize journalism and the evolving landscape of crypto regulation.

    Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Podcast Addict, Pocket Casts, Pandora, Castbox, Google Podcasts, TuneIn, Amazon Music, or on your favorite podcast platform.

    Show highlights

    🔹 Discussion on the recent presidential debate and its implications for prediction markets and the crypto industry. 

    🔹 Overview of the prediction market phenomenon and its growing importance in political forecasting. 

    🔹 Examination of the recent Supreme Court ruling overturning Chevron Deference and its implications for crypto regulations. 

    🔹 Debate on whether the ruling will lead to more specific legislation from Congress or if it will hinder effective rulemaking. 

    🔹 Speculation on how different political figures might impact future crypto legislation and regulation.

    Hosts

    ⭐️Haseeb Qureshi, Managing Partner at Dragonfly 

    ⭐️Tom Schmidt, General Partner at Dragonfly

    ⭐️Robert Leshner, CEO & Co-founder of Superstate

    ⭐️Laura Shin, journalist, author of ‘The Cryptopians,’ founder and CEO of Unchained


    Disclosures

    Timestamps

    • 00:00 Intro
    • 01:50 Presidential Debate Chaos
    • 04:25 Mainstream Media vs. Prediction Markets
    • 16:48 Insiders in Prediction Markets
    • 30:38 Prediction Markets vs. Sports Betting
    • 38:58 Market Manipulation
    • 50:22 Supreme Court Ruling & Chevron Deference

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    4 July 2024, 4:00 pm
  • 55 minutes 14 seconds
    Bits + Bips: Ethereum and Solana ETFs and Why Crypto Is Poised for a Breakout - Ep. 668

    Are Solana ETFs on the brink of approval? How might political outcomes influence this decision? 

    Join hosts James Seyffart, Alex Kruger, and Joe McCann as they delve into the latest buzz around Solana’s potential spot ETFs, dissect the SEC's puzzling delay on Ethereum ETFs, and debate why Bitcoin’s recent performance has diverged from the NASDAQ.

    They also discuss the U.S. presidential election, the event that Alex says was the “second most bizarre thing” he’s seen in his life, what the bond market seems to indicate about expectations for a Trump presidency, and how upcoming nonfarm payroll reports and potential rate might affect the markets. 

    Show highlights:

    • 00:00 Intro
    • 01:47 How political outcomes might influence the approval of spot Solana ETFs
    • 04:16 Whether futures ETFs are 100% needed for an approval of spot crypto ETFs
    • 09:26 The high premium on Grayscale's Solana Trust (GSOL)
    • 13:50 How the outcome of the 2024 U.S. presidential election could impact the crypto industry
    • 20:55 Why the SEC delayed the launch of the Ethereum ETF
    • 24:53 How the upcoming nonfarm payroll report and potential rate cuts impact market volatility and the Federal Reserve's decisions
    • 27:51 How the rise of populist candidates in France and changes in currency markets might affect the US dollar and the broader economic landscape
    • 31:40 How Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Solana performed in Q2, and the surprising outperformance of BONK
    • 34:45 Why Bitcoin's performance diverged from the Nasdaq's recent rally
    • 45:48 How recent movements in long-term bond rates are linked to political changes, such as the rise of right-wing populism and concerns about fiscal responsibility
    • 52:45 How FTX creditors could potentially influence market dynamics, and the irony in the US government using Coinbase as a custodian

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    3 July 2024, 4:00 pm
  • 1 hour 29 minutes
    How to Figure Out Whether a Crypto Token Is Worth Its Trading Price - Ep. 667

    The problem of low float, high fully diluted valuation (FDV) coins is one that is frequently discussed in crypto. But there’s another wrinkle: investors need to understand the unrealized gains of these coins to really understand the price. 

    In this episode, Jose Macedo of Delphi Digital and Ari Paul of Blocktower Capital explain the various metrics that reveal what a coin is really worth, why a wave of token unlocks that will be hitting the crypto markets in the next few years are not bullish, and whether there is a better way to design token unlocks for teams and insiders. 

    Plus, they cover whether venture capitalists are extractive to crypto, whether these games with circulating supply and FDV have caused investors to turn to memecoins, and why they believe the ICO era was better for retail investors. 

    Show highlights:

    • 00:00 Intro
    • 01:58 Why upcoming token unlocks are creating market jitters
    • 10:22 How the ratio of unrealized gains to market cap influences token price movements 
    • 12:22 How some token projects manipulate their reported circulating supply
    • 20:24 Whether and how everyday investors can uncover the truth about token projects
    • 23:37 What secondary market trading says about the potential impact of upcoming token unlocks
    • 34:50 Why Jose believes that the current token launch strategy, despite its flaws, is still favored by insiders and unlikely to change soon
    • 41:02 Why some projects favor decisions that are more likely to result in short-term gains over long-term success
    • 46:36 Why Jose believes that simple time-based token unlocks often work better than complex metrics, and how projects can balance funding with realistic success metrics
    • 53:04 Why Ari believes the SEC's investigations into VCs for acting as securities dealers might be justified, and how these practices resemble pump-and-dump schemes
    • 59:11 With numerous token unlocks looming, why the outlook is bearish for many projects, and what challenges they face in mitigating potential sell-offs
    • 1:05:52 Why many crypto investors might end up holding the bag in the current cycle, despite plans to sell early and avoid losses
    • 1:12:27 What the future role of VCs is in crypto, and how the influx of token unlocks and the rise of memecoins could shape the bull cycle


    Visit our website for breaking news, analysis, op-eds, articles to learn about crypto, and much more: unchainedcrypto.com

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    Guests:

    Links

    High FDV and unlocks:


    Solutions:

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    2 July 2024, 4:00 pm
  • 43 minutes 47 seconds
    Why the Mt. Gox Repayments May Not Hurt the Bitcoin Price Much - Ep. 666

    Ten and a half years after filing for bankruptcy, Mt. Gox is finally set to disburse 142,000 Bitcoin worth nearly $9 billion to creditors between July and October. 

    Market concern has been growing over the potential impact on Bitcoin prices, but Alex Thorn, head of research at Galaxy, explains why only a small fraction of those bitcoins will be sold. He also discusses the implications of this redistribution on the market, the potential success of Ethereum ETFs, and the chances of a Solana ETF approval.

    Show highlights:

    • 00:00 Intro
    • 02:04 Why Alex estimates the amount of bitcoins that creditors sell will be a tiny fraction of the 142,000 to be repaid 
    • 13:35 What market shocks could arise from Mt. Gox creditors receiving billions in Bitcoin, and why he believes Bitcoin Cash is the real wild card
    • 18:18 Whether Ethereum ETFs could be as successful as Bitcoin ETFs in attracting investors
    • 23:06 Whether potential outflows from Grayscale's Ethereum Trust will dampen the excitement around Ethereum ETFs
    • 25:07 How the combination of Mt. Gox repayments, Ethereum ETFs, and German and American government Bitcoin sales might affect crypto prices
    • 27:32 The chances the SEC approves a spot Solana ETF


    Visit our website for breaking news, analysis, op-eds, articles to learn about crypto, and much more: unchainedcrypto.com

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    Guest

    Links

    Mt. Gox.

    Governments selling:

    Solana ETF

    Reuters: Investment manager VanEck files to list first spot Solana ETF in US |

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    28 June 2024, 1:00 pm
  • 1 hour 14 minutes
    The SEC Ends Its Ethereum 2.0 Investigation, but Staking Isn't in the Clear - Ep. 665

    Last week, Consensys revealed that the SEC had concluded an investigation into Ethereum 2.0, referring to when Ethereum transitioned from a proof-of-work consensus mechanism to a proof-of-stake one.

    In this episode, Laura Brookover, senior counsel & head of litigation and investigations at Consensys, and Sam Enzer, partner at Cahill Gordon & Reindel, explore the implications of this decision on Ether’s status as a commodity versus a security, and why the SEC dropped the pursuit, including whether the shifting political winds played a role. For instance, how much of the decision was influenced by the ETH ETF approvals, Democrats crossing party lines to vote for FIT21 and the repeal of SAB 121, and/or SEC crypto enforcement chief David Hirsch’s resignation? 

    In this discussion, they also explained why the closure doesn’t necessarily mean that staking, or restaking, is safe from the SEC. Plus, what’s the impact of this closure on the other big crypto cases, such as Coinbase, Kraken, Uniswap, and Ripple?

    Show highlights:

    • 02:13 How Consensys managed to get the SEC to reveal that it had concluded its investigation into Ethereum 2.0, and the significance of that move
    • 08:14 The SEC's possible reasoning behind investigating Ethereum after it had switched to proof of stake
    • 15:19 How uncommon is it for the SEC to send a letter concluding an investigation like the one into Ethereum
    • 18:45 Whether recent events around crypto as an election issue, the ETH ETF approvals, votes for FIT21 and the repeal of SAB121, and David Hirsch’s resignation, might be connected to the decision to close this investigation
    • 29:03 Whether the Biden administration has shifted its stance on crypto and whether Gensler should remain as chair
    • 33:24 How the SEC might still go after staking
    • 37:18 Whether restaking, such as pioneered by EigenLayer, is safe from regulatory actions
    • 39:13 Why the SEC might be pursuing different judgments in various jurisdictions for MetaMask and Coinbase Wallet
    • 44:24 What crucial evidence from the closed Ethereum 2.0 investigation could strengthen Coinbase's defense in its ongoing lawsuit
    • 47:58 Why the SEC's aggressive stance on various crypto enforcement actions seems to remain unchanged despite closing the Ethereum 2.0 investigation
    • 52:13 Why Sam and Laura believe Solana should not be considered a security, despite the SEC naming it as such in various crypto cases
    • 58:13 How the SEC’s argument about an “ecosystem” is nonsensical, according to Laura Brookover
    • 01:00:31 What the implications of the closed investigation are for the cases of Kraken and Ripple
    • 01:04:58 What Sam and Laura B. are watching out for in terms of regulation and ongoing legal cases


    Visit our website for breaking news, analysis, op-eds, articles to learn about crypto, and much more: unchainedcrypto.com

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    25 June 2024, 4:00 pm
  • 57 minutes 35 seconds
    LayerZero Fought the Sybils and Airdropped Its Token. Did the Team Win? - Ep. 664

    LayerZero’s token claims went live on Thursday, and as with every recent airdrop, there was plenty of controversy.

    In this episode, Bryan Pellegrino, cofounder and CEO of LayerZero Labs, joined to discuss their ambitious anti-Sybil campaign and the subsequent token distribution. He delved into the challenges of ensuring genuine user participation, the decision to offer a self-report option for Sybil attackers, and the complexities imposed by industrial-grade farmers. Bryan shared what he would have done differently and why a mandatory donation to Protocol Guild was imposed.

    Also, are airdrops dead? How can the industry improve this not-so-effective distribution method? 

    Show highlights:

    • 00:00 Intro
    • 01:23 Why LayerZero launched an anti-Sybil campaign with its airdrop, and what challenges they faced in ensuring genuine user participation
    • 04:51 Why LayerZero offered a self-report option for Sybil attackers, and how this strategy revealed both the complexities and the creativity within the crypto community
    • 10:16 How the anti-Sybil campaign uncovered over a million fraudulent accounts
    • 14:34 What Bryan would have done differently in their campaign
    • 17:18 What alternative methods, such as KYC and proof-of-humanity protocols, LayerZero could have used for their anti-Sybil campaign
    • 18:35How LayerZero navigated the cat-and-mouse game with industrial airdrop farmers
    • 23:08 Why they decided to impose a donation to Protocol Guild to claim the ZRO token
    • 32:07 What caused the dramatic drop in LayerZero's activity post-announcement of their anti-Sybil campaign, and why the team is optimistic despite the decline
    • 35:23 LayerZero's plans for future airdrops 
    • 38:40 What Bryan thinks the future holds for airdrops in crypto, and how the current broken system can be improved to achieve better distribution and user engagement
    • 42:43 Crypto News Recap

    Visit our website for breaking news, analysis, op-eds, articles to learn about crypto, and much more: unchainedcrypto.com

    Thank you to our sponsors!


    Guest

    Bryan Pellegrino, cofounder and CEO of LayerZero Labs

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    21 June 2024, 1:00 pm
  • 52 minutes 35 seconds
    The Chopping Block: VC Tokens, Memecoins & Celebs, and Seasonal Patterns - Ep. 663

    Welcome to The Chopping Block – where crypto insiders Haseeb Qureshi, Tom Schmidt, Robert Leshner, and Tarun Chitra explore the latest trends in the crypto world. In this episode, we dive into the impact of celebrity-endorsed memecoins, featuring discussions around Iggy Azalea's 'Mother' token, Waka Flocka Flame's 'Flocka' token, and other celebrities. We debate the broader implications of these phenomena on the crypto market, address criticisms of venture capital's role in crypto, and explore the seasonal nature of crypto trading. Tune in for an in-depth look at how pop culture intersects with cryptocurrency, shaping current market sentiment.


    Show highlights

    🔹 Seasonality in Crypto: Exploration of the historical seasonal trends in crypto markets and their implications.

    🔹 Memecoins & Celebrities: Insightful discussion on the rise of celebrity-launched memecoins and their impact on the crypto world.

    🔹 Market Cycles: Exploration of the different phases in market cycles and their effects on asset creation and liquidation.

    🔹 VC Funding in Crypto: Examination of the role of venture capital in the crypto ecosystem and its impact on market dynamics.

    🔹 VC vs. Liquid Funds: Debate on whether venture capital funds are beneficial or detrimental to the crypto markets.

    🔹 Institutional and Retail Adoption: The importance of growing crypto usage among both institutions and retail investors.


    Hosts

    ⭐️Haseeb Qureshi, Managing Partner at Dragonfly 

    ⭐️Tom Schmidt, General Partner at Dragonfly

    ⭐️Robert Leshner, CEO & Co-founder of Superstate

    ⭐️Tarun Chitra, Managing Partner at Robot Ventures


    Disclosures

    Timestamps

    • 00:00 Intro
    • 01:58 Market Sentiment
    • 07:34 Celebrity Involvement in Crypto
    • 16:00 Celebrity Coins vs Endorsements 
    • 25:24 Influencer Economy and Social Tokens
    • 27:41 Legibility and Value of Memecoins
    • 28:37 Crypto Influencers
    • 31:07 VCs vs. Retail
    • 36:50 Future of Crypto Markets
    • 43:53 Institutional vs. Retail Adoption
    • 50:45 Taking on Populist Takes

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    19 June 2024, 8:00 pm
  • 1 hour 10 minutes
    Bits + Bips: Iggy Azalea, $MOTHER, and Celeb Coins: Is This the Top of the Crypto Cycle? - Ep. 662

    A few weeks after its launch, Iggy Azalea's MOTHER memecoin is still in the spotlight. Host Joe McCann, who recently had dinner with her in New York, gives the inside scoop on how Iggy’s $MOTHER came to be, plus her plans. 

    Also, Joe says Iggy is so bullish on Solana because it’s fast and cheap… but James Seyffart counters… nothing can be fast, cheap, and good. Except ETFs.

    Guests Phil Bonello and Kelly Greer delve into the role of venture capital in crypto, and more particularly into dynamics between liquid hedge funds and massive token generation events. And James tells a mind-blowing story about how one ETF and obscure SEC rules could cause whiplash to the prices of Apple and Nvidia stock over the next few months. 

    Plus, after SEC head enforcer David Hirsch resigned from the SEC this week, everyone gave their takes on why. Is Hirsch going to BlackRock, or was he scared about a potential lawsuit?

    Show highlights:

    • 00:51 The real story behind Iggy Azalea's MOTHER memecoin and the controversy between Joe and Haseeb Qureshi
    • 07:26 Why Iggy is bullish on Solana, and whether MOTHER is a hopeful case for crypto, reflecting the evolving relationship between entertainment and Web3
    • 12:35 Whether the market has already topped, given the involvement of celebrities in the industry
    • 15:32 Whether VCs are extractive to the overall space, and how liquid funds and token unlocks impact the performance of assets
    • 21:17 Why venture funds and hedge funds have different approaches to liquid crypto investments, and how memecoins are changing the game for allocators
    • 33:18 Why there’s a 0% chance that SOL gets an ETF this year
    • 34:19 What the recent macro trends point to, whether inflation going down is sustainable, and whether rate cuts are coming
    • 43:32 Why Nvidia's rapid growth is about to trigger a multi-billion dollar rebalance in tech ETFs, and how both $NVDA’s and $AAPL’s stock prices might soon seesaw 
    • 54:35 The theories about why the SEC’s chief crypto enforcer David Hirsch resigned from the agency (hint: it might have to do with the election)
    • 59:52 Why James believes Ethereum ETFs will launch on July 2 and what amount of inflows the ETH ETFs might garner, esp. considering potential ETHE outflows

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    19 June 2024, 1:00 pm
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