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Guest Host and Research Analyst at Delphi Ventures Can Gurel sits down with John Wu, president of Ava Labs, the creators behind the 3rd generation blockchain platform Avalanche.

Episode Highlights

Guest Host and Research Analyst at Delphi Ventures Can Gurel sits down with John Wu, president of Ava Labs, the creators behind the 3rd generation blockchain platform Avalanche. Avalanche is built from the ground up as a platform to host interoperable blockchains and enable both permissionless and permissioned use cases to bring new financial primitives into crypto.

We would like to thank Cosmos for making this podcast possible through their sponsorship! Cosmos is on a mission, link one million blockchains. Name brand projects like Terra, Band, Kava, and Secret use Cosmos and the Cosmos Hub to connect to every other chain in our network. The Cosmos Hub is the port city that delivers Inter-Blockchain Communication today. Learn more at cosmos.network.

Every Delphi Podcast is dropped first as an video interview for Delphi Digital Subscribers. Our members also have access to full interview transcripts. Join today to gain exclusive early access to every new interview before it’s published.


Show Notes

(2:06) – (First Question) – John’s Background and what brought him to crypto.

(9:54) – Avalanche’s vision / what is a sub-net and how does it allow us to have permission and permission-less flows.

(14:04) – Avalanche’s security mechanisms.

(16:08) – Enterprise use cases on Avalanche.

(22:55) – John’s thoughts on Layer 1s.

(25:53) – Bridges to Avalanche and how to port over new liquids.

(27:19) – Avalanche’s advantages and its benefits for the community in the future.

(31:23) – Avalanche main upgrades.

(34:40) – John’s thoughts on the regulatory environment in crypto how the space will evolve evolve over the next month.

(37:39) – Price, Institutions, and smart people joining the crypto space.


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Disclosures: This podcast is strictly informational and educational and is not investment advice or a solicitation to buy or sell any tokens or securities or to make any financial decisions. Do not trade or invest in any project, tokens, or securities based upon this podcast episode. The host may personally own tokens that are mentioned on the podcast. Lets Talk Bitcoin is a distribution partner for the Chain Reaction Podcast, and our current show features paid sponsorships which may be featured at the start, middle, and/or the end of the episode. These sponsorships are for informational purposes only and are not a solicitation to use any product, service or token. Delphi’s transparency page can be viewed
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 Music Attribution:



Interview Transcript:

Can (00:00):

Hello everyone. This is Can from Delphi research team. Together with me today, I have John Wu, President of Ava Labs, the company which creates the avalanche platform. It’s great to host you today, John. How are you?

John Wu (00:21):

Can, thank you for having me. I’m wonderful and we read some of your wonderful work. I think you guys do a great job of capturing the deep, underlying understanding of not just our technology, but a lot of tech behind a lot of these blockchain products and projects out there. Thank you.

Can (00:41):

Yeah. Thanks for the kind words. I appreciate it. I have too many questions to ask you. Avalanche is a particularly very exciting project for me, but before I do that, can I have a little bit of background on how you entered this ecosystem? I know you have a traditional finance background. Can you walk us through your entry into this ecosystem, please?

John Wu (01:05):

Yeah, absolutely. So I started most of my career on the technology investor side. I was part of some pretty well-known hedge funds and funds like Tiger Management, [Hinding 00:01:17] Capital. I started my own tech fund that was sponsored by Blackstone. And then in early 2014, I started getting really involved in the space first in Bitcoin, and I started looking at Bitcoin. [inaudible 00:01:29] had just happened, so Bitcoin crashed. And as a tech investor, I’m always running to something out of curiosity to see what it was all about. And at first, frankly, I’m not sure I really got it, Bitcoin, but simply though I thought it was a good investment because if you just look at the demand and supply dynamics of it, it was only 50 million units that were released back then, I think, and the price was a few hundred dollars.

John Wu (01:57):

So if you did the math, on a daily basis, they were about incremental $1 million worth of Bitcoin with mind a day. And if you track the wallets and look at the address as it made some minimal assumptions, I just realized there’s more than $1 million worth of demand a day here. So it was clear as day that this thing was going to go off as a commodity supply and demand. I really got into the space though in 2017, when the ICO boom happened. Now, as a professional investor, I’ve seen my share of IPOs and I knew what that process was like, how long it took, how much it costs these companies, sometimes $10 million plus, depending on the size of the IPO. And the headache and the mind share it took these companies to raise money in a IPO manner. So when I saw seemingly like $10 billion worth in 2017, maybe even more get raised in a crowdfunded manner globally so quickly, I instantly realized, “Wow, this business model could be fantastic for the entire financial services industry, especially on the fundraising side.

John Wu (03:15):

The other thing I did notice though, was that that raise in the U.S. was effectively illegal. The security tax in 1933 and ’34 really are pretty clear and a raise like that required you to have exemptions by the reg D or 144a to trade these things. So with that, I was also buying private shares back then, that was Airbnb, Lyft, Uber on a secondary platform called Sheriffs posts. And one thing led to another, I thought that the ATS license they had with the SEC could be also used to help facilitate fundraise and trading of security tokens. I became CEO of the Digital Assets Group of SharesPost. We worked with the SPC. We did a change of membership agreement of that ATS. And when we had a commercially viable entity to legally raise money in the way the ICLs were doing, they called it a security STL.

John Wu (04:16):

So I think it was a reg tech success, but from a commercial, my ability was still lagging because back then in ’17, ’18 and ’19, if you were a good tech startup, if you just walk down Sandhill Road and 10 doors are open and help you raise money. But what that showed me though, was I realized what I was passionate about, and I want to be in operating space because when I was a professional investor at some great firms, getting access, getting discovery of great private securities or anything I wanted that was out there and traversing through the workflow, the regulatory, all of that stuff, and getting access, hard to find stuff, it was relatively easy to an institution, but to an individual, it’s almost impossible. So I saw that the blockchain as a potential way to really, really help smooth out and automate a lot of financial processes but it needs a powerful, fast, scalable platform.

John Wu (05:22):

Ava Lab’s Emin Gun Sirer out of Cornell University started literally at the consensus protocol layer and figuring out what needed to be done to improve and have a more scalable and lower price as well as a more secure and more decentralized platform, and then created a blockchain architecture. And that’s the same mission I was on. Basically, he had the mission of tokenizing or digitizing the world’s financial assets, $700 trillion worth of it. And ever since then we’ve joined forces, I’m president of the labs and we’re on this mission to make everyone’s life hopefully more empowered in a financial sense.

Can (06:11):

Thank you. Yeah. A lot of points. So you mentioned your MPN, your security tokens. I remember it was such a hype back then in 2018 or so. But then later on, due to multiple reasons, these security tokens didn’t lift off. Right? So the expectations weren’t met. As an expert in this era, what do you think was missing back then, which is not missing now? Why do you think in the future, how you can bring this 700 trillion assets basically in crypto?

John Wu (06:59):

I think there’s three things that were missing back then. One was commercial understanding of the power of the blockchain and how it could help this intermediates and make the workflow better. People were just learning what the blockchain was back in ’17 and ’18 practically. Also, regulation was so unclear and it took a long time to talk to the SEC in order to get that change of membership agreement. And lastly, to really do this well, I would call it the first types of smart contract chains out there were very good to show the world that, “Hey, we have programmable contracts now that perhaps Bitcoin was not as good for,” but in order to make it really done well, you needed features like speed, scale and ultimately low costs. And Gun and the team at AVA Labs who created avalanche protocol, had the foresight to see this even back then. So the third thing was technology. And I think we’re at a stage now where commercially, financial services firms, as well as banks are all looking at blockchains to help solve problems for them.

John Wu (08:15):

Regulatory wise, we’re nowhere close to where we will be, but we are much further along. And in terms of technology, from all the labs who created avalanche as now really created something I think is very special and powerful enough to really support tokenizing lots of assets and allowing them to exchange on a scale level.

Can (08:42):

Yeah, that’s very exciting. I know that avalanche’s vision is basically not to like take a market share of existing blockchains. From the get-go, it was built a inter operability hub, basically allowing many socially or legally bonded validators to run their own blockchains and then have a way for regulatory compliance fashion, a way to host new financial assets basically. So can you elaborate on practically, what it’s going to look like in our launch in the next months, years or so when we see like multiple subnets being launched? Basically from a very dumbed down way, what is a sub-net, how does it allow us to have permission and permission-less flows and etcetera?

John Wu (09:45):

Great. That’s a great and very insightful there because the avalanche platform is uniquely equipped to bring decentralized and institutional financial assets onto one platform. So it has the capability on the permissionless side to support high throughput, low fees, etcetera. And it also supports the regulator cases that financial institutions really need to be compliant. And you mentioned some of it. So the way to think about subnets really is think of it almost like a permission private blockchain that you can build on top of the underlying permissionless blockchain. And with that, one of the biggest problems I saw in the security token world working with financial services firms or banks, and that Gun saw from his vantage point was that these banks or these financial services companies, they had to comply with different laws, different rules, different regulation and different geographies, different asset classes, and they couldn’t go to just a simple permissionless entity like a first layer of blockchain, because they had to make sure because their licenses and their ability to survive as a financial institutions, dependent on them being compliant.

John Wu (11:05):

Call it a private blockchain on top of the avalanche protocol allows these financial institutions to create the sudden network of validators, where they can determine who can be in that validator and what the rules are being inside and effectively create their own governance back and change over time based on the consortium they put in, because they’re the guys who actually want some of this subnet. The other thing that’s great and why a lot of financial institutions are talking to us is because they want to future proof themselves. They want to be able to say, “Okay, great. Now we can get into this game if you will, by having a private blockchain, because we want to learn about this and possibly now tokenize funds, tokenize assets in a compliant way.”

John Wu (11:52):

But what happens in five, 10 years, if the permissionless world and the regulation gets clear, we want to have access to seamlessly plug into the permissionless world. And that’s what the avalanche platform allows you to do. It allows you to seamlessly almost like turning on an API key, allows that private blockchain to also be part of a permissionless interoperable ecosystem. The other thing that avalanche has done very well is, it’s EVM compatible, but with the way our blockchain architecture is set up, you can create multiple VMs. So no matter what, a VM becomes more predominant in the future, we will allow people to be able to work on the environment they want most or the one that’s easiest that they can even create their own VM if necessary. And that interoperability between different VMs is something that the avalanche platform can provide.

Can (12:55):

And that’s very interesting. So if we even go one step deeper than that, when you have subnets, you can have some validators basically like, for instance, just to give an example, it could be like real estate brokers in New York running a blockchain. And then do we need an identity mechanism on top of this to enable all this flow and make it a reality? Is this still missing fundamental part or maybe other parts as well?

John Wu (13:37):

That’s very insightful because one of the biggest pains in the system is, and it’s necessary to be clear, I’m a proponent of this session that U.S. has KYC, AML, and accreditation for a lot of these securities. If you don’t have accreditation in the U.S. you’re not allowed to invest or transact with certain assets. So if you can create some identity where the person can feel comfortable that they’re not giving away all of their PII, they’re going to get credibility so that they can go invest in certain things, that is an unbelievable solution that one day we’ll encourage more people to get involved. We’ll create more liquidity for hard to buy assets today and ultimately better price discovery for the assets themselves.

John Wu (14:24):

So you’ve mentioned this because I know you wrote a great paper. We have created features in the avalanche protocol where NTT, non-transferable tokens, where certain Prudential’s, if you’re an X and Y will happen. It’s like almost programming the rules, not just at the smart contract layer, as many other blockchains, but also at the network layer. So when you do that, you have two levels of programmability and more flexibility, so that when times change, when rules change, you have the ability to change with it. It’s the whole life cycle of the asset you can control.

Can (15:03):

Yeah. Yeah. That’s fascinating. Could we expect like enterprise use cases suit on avalanche? Maybe this podcast would be the first time you-

John Wu (15:16):

The answer is, we’re working on them. We have relationships. And the answer is yes, you can assume it relatively soon. Especially with enterprises, it’s under strict NDA, so it’s hard to just announce it, but I can give you examples of some of the stuff that we’re working on. For instance, there’s a large asset management firm who wants to tokenize a new fund on the blockchain. And they want to achieve two things. One, if all their LPs, the auditors or third party service providers themselves at the GP, the counting, the transfer agents, all of those third-party services are in the same blockchain, they’ve calculated that they can smooth out the workflow, decrease the technology, and you can say 2%, 3% in terms of just automation. Now that’s a lot when you’re talking about large asset management from back in the billions of dollars. Especially if you can raise a billion to $2 billion fund.

John Wu (16:24):

That’s all. It’s like 20, $30 million, you can say. Another benefit they see in this now is if it’s a closed loop, blockchain or private blockchain, where the LPs are connected, the rules are different from a permissionless blockchain. So now these LPs actually can trade LP units with each other and in a less… There are still rules that you have to follow, but it’s a less restrictive rule set. So that’s a huge benefit for their LPs if they want it to be on the blockchain. So that’s an example of something we’re working on. Another thing that we’re working on with financial services firms is we’ve all heard about the infrastructure bill coming around in the U.S., so the anticipation is there is this giant construction loan market out there. It’s a very OTC, over the counter market. There’s no a New York stock exchange where all this stuff trades and sometimes the discovery, but the price as well as the access to these loans is not the easiest thing.

John Wu (17:28):

So if you are a fund specializing in this, you have like the inside track to know where and how to price the stuff. But it’s not easy for everyone to get access to this stuff. And sometimes there’s great return and the risk adjusted return is incredible in some of this stuff. So there is a bank work group to digitize or tokenize some of these and create a marketplace in a regulatory compliant way. That’s another example of how applying blockchain or avalanche protocol technology to new use cases, I would say, and to make an existing market that much more efficient.

Can (18:14):

Yeah. Thank you for these insights. How do you see the current market right now? We’ve been through summer defi and then a institutional driven bull market. Maybe we’re in a bear market now. So a lot of things are moving. I’m having a hard time keeping track of it actually. But I want to ask you about, especially with regards to institutions attitudes towards crypto. We see like in these this year PayPal, Revolut, MicroStrategy, Square, they’re all one way or another adopting or supporting cryptocurrencies. And so do you think this trend to continue even further? Are we going to see like S&P 500 companies having cryptocurrencies in their balance sheet a common norm in the future? How soon are we there?

John Wu (19:16):

Well, first of all, I hope so is the answer. And I do see it increasing over time. So these, call it enterprises or micro strategies, not a financial services firm, but these enterprises, they first got into it as putting them on their treasury, in their balance sheet. So as almost like an investment or diversifying their portfolio of assets for treasury. And then we saw the players like PayPal, who are enabling more people and Square and Revolut enabling more people, access to cryptocurrencies and Bitcoin. Now the institutions like hedge funds, private equity firms, those people are now looking at this, not just for the store value, hedge on inflation, but what they’re seeing, especially if they’re in the financial services game, they’re realizing the potential utility of blockchains and the cryptocurrencies.

John Wu (20:18):

They are actually trying to get ahead of the curve, future-proof themselves. They see what Amazon did in commerce. They don’t want the same thing to happen to themselves. So they are actively looking at use cases. And we’re beginning to see use cases. I know we’re going to be talking about Defi. Defi is an incredible use case at its peak well over a $100 billion in TV, though it’s a little bit lower now because of the price. However, even with this sell off recently, if you look at the unique visitors or number of wallets created in the Defi ecosystem, it has been going up even though the prices are coming down. So use case has actually increased even in the down market for the prices. So just like the last cycle, and I’m not saying we’re in a bear market, no one really knows for sure, but down markets are actually great times for companies to really focus on operating and developing and creating more good technology.

John Wu (21:22):

And the beautiful thing about this time around versus 18 and the last winter is that, in the 18, your use case was ICO and it disappeared. Now there’s many use cases, not just Defi, there’s NFT, enterprises are also using it for private blockchains. So use cases are increasing, utility’s increasing, even if prices go down.

Can (21:46):

Yeah. That’s a great point actually. You just see how people value this benefit and then with blockchain, you have all these cool stuff. And then, yeah, this is very sticky. Once you get in, you don’t go out, but new people always keep coming. And then the pilot’s just throwing. So with that, you basically see a lot of fees going really overblown, right? So a lot of retail users getting overpriced by whales in the Defi world and then they basically cannot transact anymore. And that’s a part of the reason why we see also many other solutions later ones and layer 2.

John Wu (22:38):

That’s correct. This next generation, I call it third generation of blockchains or first layers, they saw that the previous generation of blockchains were missing certain characteristics and you’re a faculty talking about capacity. And lack of a capacity will increase prices. And there were people out there who were buying $10 NFTs, but paying $80 a gas crisis. That’s not something anyone wants to do. So beneficiaries of that or other first layer protocols, avalanche was a beneficiary of that because of the lower prices. That was very important. And I think you went to this point earlier, we don’t consider ourselves as an Ethereum competitor. We see ourselves as you’re in compliment. There are certain features and functions that they can do in the avalanche ecosystem and where everyone knows Ethereum is still the granddaddy of the ball, it’s the biggest place.

John Wu (23:44):

So it’s like saying, “Our firm is in Williamsburg in Brooklyn, but it’s like that bridge to Manhattan. If you want to have to wear a nice jacket and nice shoes, leather shoes, and go on and pay a high price dinner with some drinks, go to Manhattan and maybe you could go see a show. If you want to go put on your Birkenstock, t-shirt just cross that bridge, go to Williamsburg. The prices are still high, but you can have a more chill environment and have a different type of dinner.” So it’s just different. It’s not like Williamsburg is really competing with Manhattan. It’s a different flavor and having the right bridges and interoperability will allow different assets and different users to try different things and developers to develop different things. Person was creating a restaurant in Williamsburg and it created different vibe. The person who creates a Manhattan, Midtown Wall Street oriented restaurant.

Can (24:42):

Talking about like Manhattan and bridges, how much does it cost to bridge own? Because I know the Ethereum bridge, it attracted a lot of liquidity. And then at times it was also costly to cross over. It was also not necessarily a very fast experience. And I know that you’re doing some developments there. Could you talk a little about bridges to avalanche and how you’re planning to port over new liquids?

John Wu (25:17):

Yup. So you’re referring to one of the bridges, the community led-bridge from Ethereum to avalanche. We’re very grateful that the community thought it was important enough to create a bridge in order to have assets move back and forth. But you’re right, because the way it’s set up, done by the community in good faith and the way the fees are set up, you have to pay two sets of fees effective, one side of the bridge and one on the other side. So again, avalanche cannot affect the price on the other side of the bridge, only on the side that’s on avalanche. So I think if you look at the fee in balance, it was really one side that made it more expensive. And then in terms of functionality and difficulty, when you have these community led projects, I’m really quickly as much as it’s appreciated, it’s never going to be perfect.

John Wu (26:13):

However, I can tell you that there are some things that are being worked on right now that will make that experience a thousand times better and at least a hundred times, if not more cheaper. So both your concerns are being addressed and that’s all I can say right now, but it’s not too far before you can see it for yourself.

Can (26:42):

I’m obviously comfortable with the technical advantages of avalanche, but I’d like to also talk about it because viewers may not necessarily know it. So what’s super impressive for me is obviously how you can scale in the size of validators validating and securing avalanche. It’s really not realistic to expect a hundred or so validators to validate a web-scale applications over the long-term. Another big advantage is obviously the nearest and finality. So if there’s one thing I’m certain about crypto is that, moving forward 10 years from now, people are not going to prefer a slower blockchain. Yeah. And if you ask like any distributed systems engineer, they’ll tell that finality is the hardest problem. Throughput is not as much, but yeah. How do you think about these advantages showing themselves and then basically benefiting avalanche community in the future?

John Wu (28:01):

Yep, absolutely. You’re right. But all of those advantage go hand in hand to provide a lower price for transaction. That’s the ultimate advantage that everyone wants. But the reason why opulent has this advantage is because [inaudible 00:28:18] who is a well-known distributed system professor, and as well known in the space for a long time from Cornell University, he realized that if you really want to provide that perfect environment, you have to match a goal from the very ground up and recreate things. So in the history of consensus protocols, there has been the classical and then there’s the Nakamoto. Obviously the classics, it’s like 100, maybe 200, and those validators. You quickly run into various problems in terms of more decentralization and more distributed, if that was the problem there. Frankly, I think we’re 2.0, and a lot of private blockchains are still running under that consensus protocol.

John Wu (29:05):

Then you have the Nakamoto, the longest chain, which has its own issues. So we couldn’t say, “Well, how do we figure out how to provide the [inaudible 00:29:19]?” And instead of just like using one of the existing consensus protocols and then changing the blockchain architecture, avalanche is one of the few blockchains out there where I think it’s a different paradigm in terms of consensus protocol. It’s a sub sampling methodology. Whenever you do this, there is some minor trade-offs, but with a lot of math and Defi proofs, he realized that the trade-offs are so small and you can create basically an environment where the security is still incredible, especially when it’s so decentralized with, as you said a lot of validators. In fact, there’s over 1,000 validators on the avalanche protocol, no other blockchain first layer can honestly say that.

John Wu (30:09):

And I think that is a huge advantage, especially in a world where we want to see some distributed and decentralized governments. So it starts with not just the blockchain architecture, it started with avalanche all the way at the consensus protocol level. Innovation is what Gun is all about and he started at the most basic level instead of reconfiguring a blockchain architecture to try to solve some of those bonds, but he solved it from the very base layer.

Can (30:41):

Yeah. That’s very respectful. Crypto world can be full of copycats and all that, and then avalanche is a truly innovative ecosystem altogether. So moving forward, what should we be expecting in avalanche? I know there is two main upgrades. First the, Apricot and then the Blueberry, I think it’s called. So what do they signify? Could you talk a little bit about that?

John Wu (31:21):

Sure.

Can (31:21):

Yeah.

John Wu (31:23):

So for the more less technical audience you have, these two upgrades, think of it as similar to your iPhone. And when you get a message at night, there’s a software upgrade. You got to be a bit on, and then they fix patches or they improve the speed of the operating system so your iPhone can work better in the morning. This is similar, all blockchains have similar constant upgrades. Yes. You mentioned two big initiatives on the technology side and these upgrades will ultimately attribute to some incredible improvements in the underlying platform, including, we talked about this already make the sub network environment a reality, and that is literally just not that far away. Then there’s all these other things such as dynamic fees involved with this, where all of a sudden the fee structure will be valued more.

John Wu (32:19):

So there’s a lot of this functionality in these two, call it made upgrades. That’s what’s happening on the technology side. We’re really looking forward to that and very excited about that. On the business side, there are over 50 live that’s already in the ecosystem. And it’s very important to recognize that the Lego pieces that allow a Defi community to really grow are just getting to the point where we’re ready for liftoff velocity. And these decks that have launched on the avalanche platform, they had done it, not because we threw money in massive incentive programs. They’ve done it because we’ve led with tech innovation and they really just genuinely developers wanted to try it out. So now that the Lego pieces are almost there, the structure of Defi, you need stable coins, you need AMN, you need lending, you need maybe validators, maybe derivatives, indexes, insurance, all of those things are now starting to land on the avalanche protocol.

John Wu (33:25):

And when that system is ready to go, all the pieces are ready to go, there will be certain incentive programs that avalanche will get out there that will incentivize people to really try out the bridge and try out the other restaurants across the bridge, so to speak, if we go back to that Wilkinsburg example. And we’re very excited about that on the business side. Also, I did mention this earlier and I can’t name it, but there are some enterprise partnerships that will also be announced this summer. So lots of tech improvement, lots of, call it permissionless business development improvements, and then the enterprise private blockchain side. So it’s a very exciting time to be an avalanche.

Can (34:14):

Sweet. That’s great to hear. I want to also ask you about how you see the current regulation in crypto. Lots of documents, but it’s hard to keep track. Now, I know SEC allows banks to hold custody of funds. There’s new regulation that’s coming, Stable Act. Do you have any insight into what that implies for crypto as a whole and how you see the space evolving in the next month?

John Wu (34:53):

Yeah, I think those are very important points and I’m glad you brought it up because as we talked about earlier, the regulatory environment has improved since the call it maybe mid 20-teens, the ’15 to ’18 time period where there was just so much uncertainty. People had no idea, and the regulators had no idea what the technology was about. There has been a lot more cases and a lot more understanding. The regulators have given more guidance, whether it is banking related, money transmitter related, or SEC securities related. However, in fairness, we are still a long ways away for a full clarity. So the one thing that every Defi project is trying to figure out is how do you define decentralization? What is decentralization? Because a lot of the SEC securities rules that they are not forcing or not complying with is primarily because they feel like they’re decentralized.

John Wu (35:55):

What entity? How do you go after people if people are just doing things? It’s kind of a weird construct. I don’t know if anyone could ever say regulation is like a paradigm shift and just go from one level to another. In this space, it’s going to be evolutionary. And the most important thing for projects and for first layer protocols like avalanche to do is always to make sure that they are nowhere near the gray zone and comply as much as possible. And then they should hopefully not have to worry about anything. And reality is the space, although it’s like a kick out at about 1.5, 1.7 trillion, it is still tiny compared to equities debt where each one of those asset classes are anywhere from $300 to $600 trillion. So Gensler and the new SEC and other regulators are still more worried about, I think, other things from just facts to all these other regulatory related issues, but they are definitely more focused than ever. And I think ultimately that’s helpful and the whole community should actually embrace more guidance.

Can (37:14):

Yeah. That’s really helpful. Yeah. Thank you for that. With that, I think those are the points that I want to bring you to. Do you have any other things or comments that you want to make before we finalize this podcast?

John Wu (37:35):

Yeah. I do want to bring up one more comment. I think you mentioned price and institutions coming into this space. And if you look at the amount that’s custody, just looking at Coinbase for instance, maybe a year and a half ago, I would say there are assets under custody. AUC was by 70, 30 retail versus institution. Today, it’s probably more like 40% retail, 60% institution if the ratio side is more towards the institution because institutions dollars are much more. It’s no longer just hedge funds. It’s now possibly pensions and endowments. So as there’s more interest in this space, what I’ve seen, which is very important, more smart, young people are entering this space. Young people like yourself who find this fascinating, whether it’s the mission or the technology that they get to be part of, with great people coming into the space, a lot of the issues you’ve highlighted here will be solved.

John Wu (38:41):

I remember when I was a young guy and we were looking at the internet and there were people saying “One day, we’re going to have video streamed over your PC and watch a movie on your PC.” And all the smartest of the smart technology venture, as well as public equity investors did the math and said, “That’s absolutely impossible. The costs to digitize the film, the costs to send it through the pipes, the time it took, you might as well just go to bed, turn on your computer and start downloading the film and pray that there’s no disruptions so that in the morning you can see the film.” Well, no one can figure out how it’s going to get done, but 15 years later, Netflix showed everyone that it will get done. And that’s because there were a lot of smart people entering the space, whether it’s engineering, business, economics, you name it. Same thing’s happening here. Whatever you can imagine, the best is in the future. And it’s to come.

Can (39:38):

Yeah, I can’t agree more with you on that point. Thank you for taking time to join and share your thoughts here. It was really insightful and really helpful, and I wish you all the best luck in the future.

John Wu (39:57):

Thank you, Can. Pleasure.

Jul 6, 2021 | 40 minutes | Chain Reaction

Reach Out

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