Somewhere along the lineage of Web 1.0 to Web 2.0, the Google Code of Conduct meritoriously promoted the axiom "Don't be evil." And then famously, years later, Google abandoned that mission statement. Web3, as explained by special guest David Campbell, promotes both the irrevocable commitment of an immutable framework, and also the financial incentive to behave honestly via the Bitcoin protocol. Join co-hosts Brian Comerford and Nick Lozano as they discuss these topics with DC, along a brief history of the Web from static brochure sites to zero knowledge technology.
David "DC" Campbell
00:00 Show Opening
00:36 Episode Intro
01:00 David "DC" Campbell Bio
05:15 Zero Knowledge Tech
07:33 What is Web3
28:11 Digital Currencies
37:25 What is the most important thing to know about Web3
46:56 Closing and where to find David "DC" Campbell
DC (David Campbell) 0:00
So I believe with strong conviction that the future platforms that define the gig economy and whatever comes after that, through web three, will provide a mechanism by which early adopters, and early contributors to the ecosystem will be able to accrue value and that ecosystem.
Brian Comerford 0:36
Thanks for joining us for another edition of lead dot exe. I'm Brian comer Ford.
Nick Lozano 0:40
And I'm Nick Lozano.
Brian Comerford 0:43
And we are here last hacking leadership code with David Campbell, our special guest today who's returning for a second time to the program. Thanks for joining us, David.
DC (David Campbell) 0:56
Hey, thanks, Brian. It's really great to be back.
Brian Comerford 1:00
And we're interested to kind of pick up where we left off and delve into some territory that's near and dear to you, related to web three context. But before we do that, I think it would be helpful to kind of, you know, provide some context in terms of who you are, you know, what your background is. I've known you as a serial entrepreneur, and just a general, deep tech nerd on a lot of fronts, as well as, you know, a co founder and advisor, a mentor to just a lot of standout brands and companies. But it's better to hear it from you than it is from me. So can you walk us through a little bit of your background?
DC (David Campbell) 1:45
Sure. So I've been, I think, drawn to technology from a very young age. So my I credit my old man with bringing home that PC when I was like seven years old, and encouraging me to take it apart and figure out how it worked and really kind of learn how to express myself creatively through that technology. And I was that nerdy kid in the basement writing Turbo C code to make bulletin boards connecting together. And this is part of the reason why web three is such a powerful inflection point for me is I've literally lived through the pre Internet era, connecting over dial up store and forward into web one through web two. And now here with web three. So it's, it's with a tremendous amount of excitement that I'm here to talk a bit about that with y'all today, to cover, especially plug in power. Yeah. I got drawn deeply into cybersecurity. And that was because I had a knack for just thinking, not how does this thing work? But how can I make it work differently? For how can I make it not work? And it turned out that that that kind of security mindset was quite valuable as the internet took off and started reorganizing civilization. And I was a consultant working for the Big Four out of university, just literally hacking stuff and saying, here's what we need to fix guys, let's Let's sort this out, then started my own consultancy company called Electric alchemy. And through that practice, which I ran for about 10 years, I identified a number of gaps in the market where products needed to exist that didn't exist. So mobile scope was an example of that acquired by EViD on jumpcloud was another example, which I think was recently valued at somewhere near $3 billion. And later went on to join SendGrid, when they were in a critical phase of their growth, the company had experienced a near death incident from a security problem that really shook the confidence of the employees and the investors and the customers. And so I was I was really humbled and pleased to be able to lead an amazing team of that organization through a period of just explosive growth. And I learned a lot about scaling people process and technology through that. After SendGrid had a successful IPO and was later acquired by Twilio, I took some time to look around and figure out where do I really want to lean in here. And that's when I really became interested and had really solid conviction that this, this web three phenomenon was real, and that it was here to stay. So I spent the previous four years in the past four years with the electric Coin Company, which is the organization that brought the Z cash cryptocurrency into existence. And Z cash is really extraordinary because it is the first production implementation of zero knowledge cryptography in cryptocurrency and what we're seeing is that zero knowledge cryptography is just popping up everywhere as a solution to probably problems, both in the digital currency space or the web three space, but more broadly in information technology. So I'm really excited to see where zero knowledge takes us because I think it could solve a lot of our problems around information security and identity.
Brian Comerford 5:15
I don't think I've ever been so excited by the phrase zero knowledge as just hearing you introduce it, just
DC (David Campbell) 5:24
I'll take like a quick 30 seconds worth of talk about what zero knowledge or z k tech is. And it's essentially the ability to prove for a prover, to prove to a verifier, that something is true without revealing the fact itself. So a canonical example of the utility of this is, I need to prove that I am old enough to vote. But I don't necessarily need to reveal my date of birth to the verifier. And when we have created a whole infrastructure, a culture of you need to provide the fact to verify the assertion, what you end up where you end up with are these large silos of very valuable, personally identifiable information that are incredibly attractive to attacker. So in the glorious future, I envision is using zero knowledge assertions to prove that I'm old enough to vote, I'm old enough to drink, my credit is adequate to get this loan for this house without providing four years of tax returns and my social security number and all this other stuff. So that's, that's the dream behind z k. We're seeing right now zero knowledge used very effectively on the Z cache cryptocurrency to have confidential transactions, which I think it's going to be very important as if and when digital currency starts to become part of mainstream finance. And we're starting to see that happen now. And then we've also seen zero knowledge cryptography pop up as a solution to scaling blockchain ecosystems, most notably the Aetherium ecosystem. So I don't want to go too far down the rabbit hole and all this technical gibberish around particular protocols, because I think, setting the stage for how did we get from web one to web two? What is web three? Is it just a marketing term? Is there any real substance there? Why are people excited? Why are people critical? There's some really interesting, influential people, and a lot of them come from cybersecurity, that are like crypto is a hoax. It's a scam. It's just snake oil terrorism stay far away. Why did they think that? And why are they so outspoken about it? So we can we can dip our fingers in the in that pool if you if you want.
Nick Lozano 7:33
I think we definitely want to dip our fingers up? Well, I know for me, I've been on social media for a few years. But it seems like recently, like probably in the past six months, I haven't seen all the rage about web three, right? D decentralized everything from like social media, to currency to all kinds of stuff. And I remember a number of years ago seems about web three. And it was supposed to be like augmented reality in VR. So how do we kind of make that shift from there? And what is what is web 302? You?
DC (David Campbell) 8:02
Sure? So I'll answer that by starting with the description of web one, which was literally this evolution from dial up. The thing that created web one was really the slip connection. So I think net zero or a few other dial up providers allowed a normal person that wasn't a university hacker to be able to get on the internet. Tim Berners, Lee created these early protocols HTTP that we use to this day, to exchange information on the net, and the web one was born. And this really started, I think, SSL or what we now called TLS. The Secure Socket Layer is encryption, that took web one from hey, let's exchange research papers from universities to I would like to buy dog food on the on the internet. So that that was web one. And it was beautiful. And I think, to talk to like 12 year old me back in 1986, and say, This is what's coming, even web one would have blown my mind. So then fast forward a few years and we think about web two, what was the essential difference there? And a couple things defined web two, one was the advent of mobile, and I think that we had mobile internet long before the iPhone, but it was using this protocol called whap. And it was pretty awful. Like if you wanted to pull a sports score or snow report, it was adequate. But forget about like the things we do today on your your mobile phone would have been unthinkable with the early web to mobile protocols. The iPhone really started to change that, in particular, the iPhone 3g touchscreen UI is creating this mobile centric web experience with adequate bandwidth and low enough latency to be useful for for interacting online. And a key differentiator between web one and web two is that web one was largely read only. So unless you were an Uber nerd, you are consuming content on the internet. If you could create a homepage, geo cities and a few other places allowed, it allowed people to do that without a whole lot of coding skill. But for the most part in web one, if you wanted to put plant a flag on the internet, you needed to know, Unix, and you need to know HTML and later CSS, web to change that, because it created this rise of platforms in which user created content became very popular. And so MySpace and Friendster were early examples of this. Link. Yeah, people people forget about that. But that was actually one of the most popular early social
Brian Comerford 10:35
networks, it really was, was had sexy logo too.
DC (David Campbell) 10:41
And then I think today, we think about peak web two, it's Facebook, its Instagram, its Twitter. And these things have incredible potential, they have connected the world. I think, when you hear Zuckerberg talk about his mission with Facebook, he literally wanted to connect, you know, the people in the world. And I will say he was far I connected with the world through IRC in a terminal window, which worked for like my 20, nerd friends that could figure that out. Not, to his credit, connected my 70 year old aunt who wants to share pictures of her cat with her, you know, six other brothers and sisters. And it's phenomenal that that works. And I think web two has also shown us that it can have a dark side. And we've seen this in the nation state interference in our presidential election in 2016. Where we saw very powerful actors pushing targeted misinformation campaigns, through our social networks, very intentionally to make our people think and vote a certain way. And we've seen this more recently, with the mental health epidemic that is plaguing a lot of our teenagers in particular, teenage girls who have problems with their body image because of their quest for Likes on platforms like Instagram. And then we've also seen this, the extent to which wed two platforms have tremendous power, come into sharp relief with D platforming. So we saw this, notably, during the talent of Donald Trump's presidency, getting D platformed. from Twitter, he was literally running the country from Twitter, which sort of terrifying in and of itself, but the fact that a for profit, venture backed public company CEO can say, you know, and shut him off. That's a meaningful inflection point. And I think we have now in just the past couple of weeks, we have seen the entire, like web two financial system D platform, a nation state, in in Russia, in response to the incursion or the invasion of Ukraine. So there is no question that web two is amazing at connecting people, but there is also no question that the the question of censorship and who should be allowed to speak and what should they be allowed to say, in web two? It needs tuning. And I'm not going to sit here and tell you that I have all the answers, nor am I gonna say that if everyone just use Bitcoin for everything, that web three would solve all these problems we have with censorship and trolls and misinformation in web two. That's not it's not that simple. But web three, really takes where we got to with web two and tries to reimagine it. So if web one was read only, and web two was Read Write, web three is Read Write own. So what do we mean by that? And I think that I stole that from Chris Dixon, who's a managing partner of the crypto fund at Andreessen Horowitz. And Chris does a really great, great talk, explaining the potential of web three to non technical, non crypto native people. He does this in a series that's on YouTube called the a16z at startup School, which was a couple of years ago. So some of the contents a little long in the tooth, but it's still a fantastic overview to web three. And what, what Chris hangs his hat on in that that inaugural talk of that series, as he says, the big thing that web three depends on is the ability for computers to make commitments. And that's a big, that's a big concept that we got to take a minute to unpack here. When when we talk about a computer what is a computer? Well, I grew up, you know, literally a computer in the basement and then later building data centers all over the world to power centralized infrastructure. And centralization brings a lot of benefit. It brings performance and make Is it easier to do security? There are a ton of reasons why we want centralization. But what Bitcoin brought to the world was a single purpose computer that made a commitment about a couple of things made a commitment that there would be these tokens called Bitcoins, or Satoshis are fractions of Bitcoins. And that I could send one to you, Brian, and that I couldn't simultaneously send that same token to Nick. And furthermore, the Bitcoin computer makes the commitment that there shall never be more than 21 million bitcoins in existence now.
Anybody could make that commitment. So Google famously made a commitment years ago with their mission statement said, Don't be evil. And then famously, years later, they change that statement. And I don't remember what they changed it to. But what's what's important is that they revoked that commitment to not be evil. And what Chris Dixon says is that the the power of a computer like the Bitcoin computer, is to make a commitment, such as can't be evil. And so the, the decentralized nature of the Bitcoin protocol means that the participants of that network are financially incentivized to behave honestly, without requiring any centralized third party to arbitrate trust between the participants. So everybody gravitates toward everybody that is interested in using the protocol has a financial incentive to behave honestly. And this is something that is new. In computer science. It's new in economic theory, it's new and game theory, like nobody before. The Satoshi Nakamoto was Bitcoin white paper, which I think was 2008 articulated a capability for participants in a decentralized system in a distributed computing system, to coordinate their activities without centralized authority governing it. So we end up with this Bitcoin computer that has made these commitments. And in the early days of Bitcoin, I remember looking at it and thinking this is just never in a million years going to work. And why not? Why can't Bitcoin work. And I remind you, I spent the vast majority of my career working in software security, cybersecurity, and so I would be hired to audit code and to try to break it, and to try and try to find vulnerabilities in it. And Bitcoin, basically broke all the rules of software development. So my friend Dan Kaminsky, a famous hacker who just had an incredible heart and mind incredible soul, he actually passed away last year, which is, was incredibly sad for me and everyone who knew him. But years ago, he famously took a crack at Bitcoin, he said, I am going to tear this thing apart, and I'm going to hack it, and I'm going to find where the problems are. And he wrote up his experience there, and he said, Look, as a software security guy, Bitcoin breaks every single rule in the book. It is written in an insecure language, which is C++. So there's no type safety, there's no memory safety, like you couldn't pick a more insecure language to write your global decentralized currency, and then C++, but arguably, at the time, it was the best tool for the job. The Bitcoin Core software also listens on the network on a TCP port, that is by design exposed to the world. So it accepts connections from anybody that wants to talk to it, which is again, an anti pattern in software security. And then the entire thing is itself an extraordinary bug bounty where the entire market cap of Bitcoin is, you know, billions of dollars, trillions of dollars, I think, at this point, and anybody that can hack Bitcoin can steal all that money. And yet, here we are more than 10 years later, and nobody's done it. So it's, it's, I think, incredibly interesting one that Bitcoin exists to that it represents this, this paradigm shift, that we now have computers that can make commitments, and three, that it's existed for as long as it has, without anyone discovering a tragic security flaw that has brought the thing to its knees, I think there's there's something called the Lindy effect, which refers to I think, a sub shop in New York where the longer something exists, the longer it is likely to continue to exist. And I think for Bitcoin, we're definitely there. So, Bitcoin is one example of a computer that can make commitments but it's far from the most interesting example. And I think the real potential of web three is going to be manifest not in Bitcoin I think of and let me be clear, I like Bitcoin a lot. I've been involved with Bitcoin since 2011 I mentored a TechStars company in 2016, called Bridge 21. That used Bitcoin as the payment rail to facilitate cheap, fast cross border remittances. Literally helping people send money home to Mexico for way less money and way more quickly than what Western Union would charge. And so I think Bitcoin is great, I think it is digital gold. And I think compared to gold, it's far more portable, it's far more divisible. And it's far easier to protect, given a certain set of assumptions, so I really like Bitcoin as a
store of value, and particularly as we look through through the lens of current central bank fiscal policy in response to the pandemic, the inherently deflationary nature of Bitcoin is incredibly appealing. Because Bitcoin has a fixed supply, there will never be more than 21 million Bitcoins. The community could assert that there should be more than 21 million Bitcoins. And, you know, we all all all, as Bitcoiners, could agree that this would be the case, we should have more than that. But I think it's extraordinarily unlikely one that anyone would propose such a thing, or two that such a proposal would be accepted by the community. And when I say accepted by the community, what does that mean? Like? What would it How does Bitcoin change? And the answer is slowly and not very much. And it changes when the people that are running the software, decide to update, and they need to decide to update the software in a coherent way. Otherwise, it ends up in Forks. And these forks essentially are, they can fragment the network and we've seen a few of these in the history of Bitcoin, the most famous argument or contested change had to do with whether or not the block size should be increased to make Bitcoin more usable for everyday payments. And the consensus. Well, consensus was not really achieved, but the majority of the participants in network went went along with the change that did not dramatically increase the block size. And so that's why we have bitcoin cash and Bitcoin Satoshi vision which most people outside of, you know, the crypto world have never even heard of. So zooming back out, we've got Bitcoin as this, this deflationary decentralized store of value that, for the most part is reasonably censorship resistant and permissionless. What do we mean by that? Well, permissionless means that anybody that wants to transact with the Bitcoin network can do so now there's I'm going to put an asterix by that assertion, because there are mechanisms and tactics that people can use to try to keep other people from being able to interact with the Bitcoin network. But at the end of the day, the the key is that you don't need Elon Musk to or the CEO of Bank of America or Paypal or whoever, to basically say, Yes, Brian, you can interact with the Bitcoin network, if you can make a TCP connection onto the internet. You can connect to the Bitcoin network and you can announce a transaction. So that that's the permissionless nature of it, the censorship resistance aspect of it has to do with kind of a particular party decide, yes, Brian, you can pay for groceries with Bitcoin, but you can't pay for adult entertainment. That's, you know, technically there, there exists a threat that that kind of thing could happen. But for the most part, Bitcoin is more censorship resistant than things like PayPal or Venmo. Or, or fill in the blank. So bitcoins very interesting to me as a as a store of value. It's not great for paying for stuff. And this is one of the first hurdles where you run into people that get really cynical and jaded and grumpy about web three are like, well, Bitcoin sucks, because that guy, you know, he bought pizza with it 10 years ago, and now those pizzas are worth like, eight Lambos. And that's not bad. So there's a there's concern around how long it takes for payments to be confirmed on the Bitcoin network. There's concern around the fact that Bitcoin itself is volatile relative to the US dollar, which makes people uncomfortable with using it to pay for pizza or anything else. And those are all valid criticisms. But I think, looking at looking down the barrel of 8% inflation. Here in the United States looking at unprecedented loose fiscal policy in response to the pandemic.
It's important to take a moment to realize that Bitcoin was itself created in response to the 2008 economic collapse. For those of us that live through that we remember the tagline the banks are too big to fail. And when wouldn't that mean it meant that under President Obama, who to his credit, I believe inherited this mess from his predecessors, but he and his administration had to choose to essentially bail out the banks and deploy a bunch of capital, it really pull money out of thin air to prop up institutions that were themselves insolvent, they would have failed, were it not for this government intervention? And I think a lot of the Bitcoin, like, if you look at the Genesis block of Bitcoin, it has mentioned in there this event related to the banking system collapsing, and then we fast forward to 2020. And we see the COVID 19 pandemic really rocking the financial system. But very quickly in the United States. The the impetus was let's prop up the system, Let's inject capital into the system. And there really wasn't much discussion about it in oh eight. It was a big question, should we or should we not prop up the system. The President, however, was set by that bailout in a way and this time around, boom, massive injection of capital into the into the system. And what's interesting is we saw, I think a lot of us thought we were injecting that capital in the into the system to help people pay the rent, and to be able to afford groceries and toilet paper and whatever else you need to survive a pandemic. And yet surprisingly, we saw a lot of people depositing the exact amount of their stimulus checks into platforms like Robin Hood and Coinbase. For speculation, which I think maybe wasn't exactly the outcome we were looking for with those investments into our into our people. So I don't want to get too far down a political rabbit hole here except to say that there is a very strong ethos within the Bitcoin community towards sound money. So a key anchor of the Bitcoin community, broadly speaking, is sound money. It's inherently deflationary. And no, it may not be great for paying for pizza. But it's a good place to basically set aside funds that will likely appreciate over the long term.
Brian Comerford 27:00
Well, that's a mouthful. And one of the things you know, that I love about talking with DC is, I mean, with some, some of my my friends and comrades, I say, you know, wind them up and let them go. But with DC, he's like, you know, he's like, you know, his battery power never expires. You don't even have to wind him up. He just goes.
DC (David Campbell) 27:21
You say that, and yet, there's a colleague of mine, Balaji sirven son, who is a he's a serial entrepreneur, he founded a company called earn, he's got a biotech background as well. His own company was acquired by Coinbase. And Balaji is a big ideas guy. He's very much on the frontier of crypto and biotech and finance, and tech, broadly speaking, but he did a podcast with Tim Ferriss recently, where I am not kidding, he must have gone on for like four and a half hours at a blistering pace, and managed to like hold high intensity, like high intellect output for the entire time. And literally the only thing that ended the conversation was that Tim's batteries died on airport. Biology, I think could have gone another another three or four hours. It was it was it was a tour de force? Absolutely.
Brian Comerford 28:11
Well, I guess it's a good thing that you brought along your own bottle of water, because then you know, naturally inserts these these break points for us to be able to jump in ask some questions. Well, well, first of all, let me extend my personal sympathies for the loss of Dan Kaminsky and your personal relationship there. You know, certainly, you know, a significant mention in the entire domain that you're talking about, which is expansive. Secondly, with with everything that you're covering here, you know, I mean, this is, this is a turning point for humanity. And there's their ethical questions, you know, and you've talked a lot about threats. And that, you know, really your, your background, your interest that drove you into technology was, in part a lot about exploring and exposing threats. So So one of the things that comes to mind, for me, is so much of what you described in terms of its its unusable nature by those who would want to have their nefarious ways with it. Right. What is the spell out for the future of thieves and liars? Because that's probably the the biggest threat to wanting to oppose the advent of a turning point like this.
DC (David Campbell) 29:33
Yeah, you know, we hear that a lot. And the idea is, because one of the first areas in which digital currencies and Bitcoin specifically demonstrated product market fit was in the dark markets. So Silk Road was notorious as a online open air drug market. And it raised the ire of policymakers and regulators a long time ago, and What is really interesting is that the current state of most digital currencies is such that as a thief or as a criminal, you are much better off using cash or other legacy traditional finance instruments to perpetrate your illicit activity, then you are using digital currency. So, the Silk Road story is actually quite interesting, and I won't go into it in excruciating detail except to say that the Secret Service members who were on the detail to take down the founder of the Silk Road to gather the name of Ross Ulbricht, they were able to follow money through the public ledger, the Bitcoin network posts each transaction to a ledger that anyone can download. And that public block explores exists for the index every single transaction so that you I or anybody can just search for a transaction ID or a wallet address, and see the entire transaction history of that address and who is transacted with in the amount. So there's an extraordinary amount of information that's public and available. But in the Silk Road case, specifically, Ross was brought down on I think largely through some operational security failures that led law enforcement to his hosting provider and eventually reveal details about his identity that led to his capture in San Francisco. But a woman named Catherine Hahn was a federal prosecutor, who was responsible for truck take bringing a case against two secret service agents that were dirty, and were stealing money from the government as part of this investigation. And it's fascinating to hear her tell the story that's been well documented in the press, because this is when for the first time someone in law enforcement as a federal prosecutor appreciated the potential of fully transparent digital Ledger's to help them catch bad guys. So she brought those bad guys to justice. Then she left her career as a federal prosecutor and joined Andreessen Horowitz as a venture partner leading the crypto fund. And she subsequently about six months or a year ago now split on on her own with her own crypto fund. So it's, I think, really exciting to see that narrative turned on its head of only Terrorist Finance years. And you know, sex traffickers and drug dealers and arms dealers are using cryptocurrency it's absolutely nonsense. It's absolutely nonsense. And law enforcement, I think very much likes having tools at our disposal to use public ledger information to track and to build cases that stick against criminals.
Brian Comerford 32:38
I'd kind of like to explore going the other direction with it, because as much as we'd like to believe that, you know, those who operate in democratic governments, you know, like those the United States that they're perpetrators of good law enforcement themselves. But But Aren't there some some interests that today are getting away with a lot of things that would, would go the way of the dinosaur? If if, you know, everything with web three, were to become the standard, by which, you know, world governments in particular, operated with one another?
DC (David Campbell) 33:16
Yeah, so transparent blockchains provide a degree of transparency and without accountability, that I think you don't have in a lot of traditional organizations. And I think this is why one of the hot buzzwords right now in web three is dial. A dial is a decentralized autonomous organization. And it's essentially a way for folks to coordinate and to organize their coordination, methodically and to specifically manage decision making and financial operations on chain meaning for all the world to see. So I think there's a case to be made that as more and more things move on chain, will it be harder for shady things to occur? Quite possibly, although I do think that in order for business to move on chain in a meaningful way, there will need to be confidentiality, and that confidentiality will need to be at least as capable or as effective as the confidential confidentiality that we experienced today in the traditional financial system. So if I go and I actually I just went to the art supply store on my way here to record this and I paid with a credit card. So at this point, I bought a sketchbook for my daughter I paid with a credit card so I know I bought the sketchbook, the vendor. The art supply store knows I bought the sketchbook and visa knows I bought the sketchbook and at some point my my bank Chase which is the acquiring bank, I think for this card, they'll know about the sketchbook. But everybody that knows my name, doesn't know I bought the sketchbook. That is not the case today with web three. So there's a great example of of The tremendous extent to which everything is public and web three, right now related to the Etherium name system. So we haven't yet talked about a theory of and that's a, that's a whole another thing that we really need to cover. But very briefly, Ens is really quite equivalent to DNS on the internet, which takes human readable names and turns them into IP addresses. The ens system takes a human friendly name and turns it into an Aetherium wallet address. And so what's interesting is a lot of web three people put their DNS names in their Twitter handle, and you can take any one of those DNS names, stick it into a block, explore, like ether scan.io, and immediately see the entire transaction, the balance and the transaction history, all the tokens that this particular address has interacted with for all of time. So the the need for confidentiality, I believe exists, if we're gonna move our lives into this digital continuum in a meaningful way in our financial lives, we need confidentiality. We don't have that today. But I do believe that there are multiple paths that will get us there that will provide an appropriate level of confidentiality without creating this like black hole of anonymity that would fuel sanctions evasion, and all the four horsemen of the apocalypse like sea Sam and you know, arms trafficking and that sort of stuff. It's there are trade offs to be navigated. China, notably is pushing forward, China did some interesting stuff. They were early on, and grokking the importance of web three and blockchain and they said, You know what, we're just gonna ban that. And they've banned Bitcoin. Now, two or three times the last ban, I think, was the most formidable and effective, because you look at the hash power on the Bitcoin network. And it's just moved away from China recently, which is, I think, a gift to the west, from a geopolitical power perspective. But they they still believe in the power of digital ledger, they just don't want it to be decentralized, permissionless and censorship resistant, they want to be the ones issuing the digital currency, they want to be the ones instrumenting it and they want to know everything about how every one of their citizens is using and spending that money and they're, they're well on their way to achieving that goal.
Brian Comerford 37:17
I'm getting ready to pause because I'm hogging the conversation here. On our end, I want to make sure that we're going to have some questions.
Nick Lozano 37:25
Paying fine. I just, I'm soaking this all in. It's pretty, pretty interesting to me. So for the average person who's hearing web like web 13, this talk about crypto and NF T's what's the most important thing for them to understand about this?
DC (David Campbell) 37:41
Sure. I think we're in a, we're in an interesting phase, where, at this point, I think this technology is poised to completely change the way that we coordinate with each other as human beings. But I also believe that as this technology matures and evolves, it will be abstracted away so that the average user won't even know that the plumbing underneath the internet that they're depending on has been completely refactored. So we all drive cars, a lot of them are still powered by internal combustion engines. But you can drive your car down to the grocery store without needing to know how an internal combustion engine works, what a sparkplug is. All you really need to know as the operator of that vehicle is, where's the gas pedal? Where's the brake? And how do I steer? And I think right now, in web three, the amount of technical knowledge that's required to participate in the ecosystem is extraordinary. And so it's the equivalent of needing to basically be able to, you know, overhaul the engine yourself as you're driving the car to the grocery store, that is current state of web three for end users. But the meaningful things that will change is that participants on platforms and in systems will have the ability to have skin in the game. So I'll give an example of something that's transformed society pretty formidable over the past several years. And that's the gig economy. So it started with Uber, and then Lyft, and then Airbnb. And we see it now with GrubHub. And Uber Eats and all these companies that are putting people to work, hustling around taking us places and bringing us food. And the companies that built these systems have almost no assets on their balance sheet. They have almost no employees on the balance sheet. And yet they are a billion dollar companies. How is that? How is it that they're extracting that much value from the ecosystem? And meanwhile, the drivers that you know, however, many years ago and Uber got started, they said, What is this uber thing? Should I go try that those drivers had they're no better off today than they were that day. 10 years ago, when they started driving. Maybe they there They're hand to mouth, right? They don't have benefits. They have, they took a chance on Travis's enterprise, that this thing was going to work and they drove people to the bar in their Prius, or whatever. But they did not receive any equity compensation, they didn't get a W two paycheck. So I believe with strong conviction that the future platforms that define the gig economy and whatever comes after that, through web three, will provide a mechanism by which early adopters, and early contributors to the ecosystem will be able to accrue value, and that ecosystem. So the corollary here is that an Uber driver in a web three world would start earning tokens, the Uber governance token, if you will, for every ride that they delivered, and the people that were earlier into the ecosystem would get more. And then when key decisions needed to be made, like, should we provide health care, and like disability and retirement? So these drivers, people that hold the governance token would be able to opine on that, similar to the way that shareholders and public companies do today. So this is a construct that I think is going to meaningfully change the contours of the game for ordinary people into the future. Now, today, you can participate in a dowel, you can help make these kinds of decisions, but they require you to have specialized knowledge, they require you to know, what is a crypto wallet? How do I generate my keys? What are these tokens? How do I get them. And that's just it's a bar too far. But I think in the glorious future, which is much closer than we think it will be possible for folks that are contributing value to get a share of the long term impact of that value that they're creating over time.
Brian Comerford 41:45
That's so cool. So I heard you mentioned that Ethereum is something that we obviously don't have time to unpack today, but that we need to. So can I just ask right now, can we get you back on so that we can just focus for another hour?
DC (David Campbell) 41:59
Let me give you the let me give you the 32nd elevator pitch for Aetherium. So Bitcoin is the store of value, it's digital gold. And there's actually a fantastic book on Bitcoin called digital gold by a guy named Nathaniel popper that it's, it's probably like 80, some years old at this point, but a really good read if you want to learn about the origin story of bitcoin and how it sort of came into prominence. Aetherium was created several years after Bitcoin and the commitment that Aetherium makes to the world is that anybody can deploy software onto the Ethereum network. Aetherium is essentially a world computer. And the commitment that Aetherium makes is that anybody can write software, deploy it onto the Ethereum network, and then Forever After, for all of eternity, anybody that wants to can interact with that software. And furthermore, every participant on the Ethereum network is validating and verifying that that software is operating correctly, which is just from a security perspective, it's extraordinary. And that architecture creates all sorts of performance and scalability concerns. But the big concept there is just that. Bitcoin is digital gold. Aetherium is a world computer. And we need both.
Brian Comerford 43:21
Way to be succinct, my friend. Well, I know we've got a few minutes left here for today's episode, but I think it would be beneficial to do sort of an equally succinct stab at NF Ts, you know, what is their importance? And what is the relevance beyond sort of the state of novelty that we hear, you know, continually being referred to in the mainstream right now.
Nick Lozano 43:49
So Brian, are you just trying to say it's not the the main words, right? It's not that meme.
Brian Comerford 43:55
Now for the purposes of this conversation now.
DC (David Campbell) 43:58
So NF T's are definitely squarely in the center of the hype cycle right now. And I think they're also the reason why there's so much vitriol and hate in the information security community for like, F crypto, this stuff is all just when people are paying 10 eath for an ape, that you can just right click Save the the ability to articulate the what how web three is going to empower a new generation of Uber drivers to be on the cap table, the next great gig economy company. Those two things just don't connect. So I believe that NF T's represent a an inflection point that will fundamentally refactor how we do intellectual property rights online. We're not there yet, and there's hundreds of years of meatspace disagreement resolution that won't gracefully move on chain, but the primitives cryptographically and technologically exists to basically take anything that we can represent in the physical world. For anything that we have in the physical world and represented in the digital world, uniquely, in a way that that can't be copied. And that's big, and I think the early areas where we'll see traction, there are music, film art, but I think later we'll see as the dispute resolution processes become more mature and more NET Native, we'll see things like property start to be represented as NF t. So I don't own any NF T's other than an alchemy a DC dot eath, Alchemy DC dot crypto, and I think I've got that name on decentraland, which is a Metaverse play. That's going to give the Facebook Metaverse run for its money. I don't have any apes, I don't have any punks. And I'm okay with that. But stay tuned, I think there's going to be quite a lot of interesting innovation happening as we see our approach to intellectual property, things like patents, and copyright really taking shape around these these non fungible representations.
Nick Lozano 46:03
That's great. It's, it's good to hear that that's what my thought was it when I first saw it, you know, I thought, that's crazy. People are paying this form, I stopped to think about it. Okay, well think about the musician who's trying to license their art and prove that it's theirs, said that digital proof, which when I stopped thinking, Oh, my God, that's kind of that's kind of a cool concept. Now they can leave out the BMI and they don't have to be a member of that they can just prove it's their own without having to deal with that big organization and give them a cut.
DC (David Campbell) 46:28
It's exactly right. I think broadly speaking, that's the appeal of web three. Its to Chris Chris Dixon articulates this as the take rate of these marketplaces, it's too high for things like the App Store, it's too high for centralized players like Spotify. And so what web three allows creators to do is to basically benefit more from their creation, and basically pay a smaller take rate in the process.
Brian Comerford 46:56
Beautiful. I think that's great place to wrap it up for today. You've, you've just unpacked a ton of information, DC. But but you do it so elegantly. And it's it's a pleasure to speak with you about these things really appreciate the thought leadership that you bring every time we we have a discussion like this.
DC (David Campbell) 47:15
Yeah, well, thanks for having me. I think about this stuff all the time. I deal with a lot of criticism I mentioned my my own security community is very critical of my own children are pretty critical. They've been involved in the crypto ecosystem here for quite some time. And they, they think it's just number go up number go go down there, it's hard for them to wrap their heads around the long term shift in society that I think web three promises.
Nick Lozano 47:42
So before you go dc, we got to do our 62nd leadership hack. So like or Tony, earlier, before we started recording, it could be some personal anecdote, something you learned, something that you can just think can help benefit our listeners. So I'm going to put a timer up
Brian Comerford 47:57
something that could even challenge your children differently.
Nick Lozano 48:01
True. So this will start playing here in a second once once you start seeing the timer, you are on the clock. So whenever you're ready. What's going on everybody, Nick from lead dot exe. If you want access to David Campbell's 62nd leadership pack, you're going to go and join our leadership hacking crew. To do that, you just head on over to Pages dot lead exe.com forward slash join link is right below and enter your name and email address. From there, you'll get access to all of our other guests leadership hacks, not just his newsletter updates, all kinds of great stuff coming your way. So if that sounds interesting to you, and you want access to this leadership pack, go ahead and join our leadership hacking crew. We look forward to having you aboard. That was awesome. That was awesome. And so with that, so with closing DC if people are looking for you online, or social media, what's the best way to for them to find you get a hold of you and learn more about what you do?
DC (David Campbell) 49:07
Sure. So it's alchemy DC on Twitter. And I'm terrible at search
Nick Lozano 49:13
profitable. Well, it's like the Hub and Spoke thing, right? You just kind of use it as a hub to drive people somewhere else. But yeah, so so we'll be sure to post that in the show notes. And we'll put all your other organizations that you listed in there too. So if anyone's looking for they can find you.
DC (David Campbell) 49:29
Great. Awesome. Thanks, guys. Thank
Brian Comerford 49:31
you so much. Thank you, DC