Real Vision

Elrond: Building a Transparent Financial System for the Global Economy
Beniamin Mincu, founder and CEO of Elrond, joins Santiago Velez, co-founder and R&D division lead for Block Digital, to discuss the Elrond Network and how it’s built as well as scalability, interoperability, and future applications. When he founded Elrond, Mincu’s goals were to move away from what he calls the “dial up” version of the blockchain space and simplify the UX in order to lower the barrier to entry. To that end, Elrond aimed to build a system that could bring a 1000x improvement in throughput, execution speed, and transaction cost . This is implemented through adaptive state sharding and a secure proof of stake. Filmed April 26th, 2021. Key Learnings: Elrond tries to solve the central problem of layer 1 blockchains where there is traditionally a trade-off between security, decentralization, and scalability by looking to build a transparent financial system that can extend access to anyone anywhere. Mincu believes this is fundamentally important as the current state of the economy is low-bandwidth and high latency—any user would still have to wait for overnight transfers. Mincu views this inefficiency as a broken piece of the traditional system that cannot be simply fixed from inside. A better solution, he feels, is instead opting to create a system that can act as a complimentary asset. According to Mincu, there are still 1.7 billion people that are not connected to the current financial system and don’t have any kind of basic financial infrastructure. Giving these people a chance to participate would increase the entire effectiveness of the system significantly for the world.
The Power of Randomness: Algorand and the Future of Blockchains
Real Vision senior editor Ash Bennington hosts Silvio Micali, founder of Algorand, to discuss Micali's journey into crypto, the founding of Algorand, the power of randomness, zero knowledge proofs, and future of evolvability of blockchain protocols. When Micali discovered Bitcoin and Buterin's blockchain dilemma—that no blockchain can all at once be decentralized, secure, and scalable—he knew there had to be way to solve this problem. He explains that in cryptographic systems, it's easy to spread communication and messaging, but verifying if a message has been received or achieving common knowledge is difficult, which can prevent the achievement of security and trust in the system. For Bitcoin, Micali states that the blockchain has an ad hoc mechanism to reach agreement on a common block; on the other hand, Algorand uses a Byzantine Agreement on the block, utilizing the strongest form of consensus and mitigating the risk of "bad actors". It also prevents the block from ever forking and, thereby, ensures that a block appearing on the chain will remain there forever, and this provides users the confidence to transact without worry of loss. Filmed April 16th, 2021. Key Learnings: Contrary to Bitcoin where miners represent the decision makers in achieving a secure blockchain, Algorand utilizes what Micali calls pure proof of stake where members of the network are randomly elected, who then vote and represent the direction of the system. At the basis of Algorand is a cryptographic lottery that prevents the ability to change probability, ensuring fair selection and randomness to the system. Micali believes that a blockchain that functions well is built on the foundation of transparency, security, decentralization, and ultimately, trust, and a blockchain that can achieve that can truly transform finance. With randomness at the core of Algorand—from driving consensus on the block to password protection and true decentralization—Micali believes a system that diminishes the probability of bad actors and builds trust is the best way to achieve that ideology.


Featured Videos

Tezos: Self-Amendable Ledgers and On-Chain Governance
Thomas Walton-Pocock, co-founder and former CEO of Aztez, sits down with Arthur Breitman, co-founder of Tezos, to discuss Tezos’ on-chain governance approach, smart contract platform, and scalability potential as well as his thoughts on the direction of decentralized finance (DeFi). Breitman breaks down the weaknesses of the forking model as a form of governance and argues that on-chain governance is the way to achieve innovation on protocols without centralization. Tezos implements this through a self-amending crypto ledger, and Breitman shares how the protocol accomplishes this through its scripting language, Michelson, for its smart contract platform, highlighting some of its benefits such as formal verification. He also shares his thoughts on scalability via a “portfolio of scaling” approach, the principles of a well-designed stablecoin, and decentralized exchanges (DEXs). Key Learnings: Breitman points out that when forks occur on a blockchain, it’s not free choice by all stakeholders on the network—on the other hand, Tezos seeks open participation when amending the protocol so that all stakeholders can help secure its network. Tezos also distinguishes itself through its use of formal verification via Michelson. Historically, formal verification has been applied in the aerospace and nuclear energy sectors, where the costs of mistakes are drastic, and Breitman states that its use in Tezos’ protocol allows for developers to rule out and avoid whole classes of bugs.
Real VisionMay 07, 2021
Raoul Pal: Is Macro "Dead"?
Managing editor Ed Harrison welcomes Raoul Pal, Real Vision CEO and co-founder, to introduce Real Vision’s latest campaign, “Welcome to the Exponential Age.” Raoul will be going in-depth on his new macro framework, the Exponential Age, and he and Ed tease their interview that’s being released on Monday. They also contextualize today’s U.S. jobs report, which fell far from economists’ expectations, and Raoul explains what the Exponential Age means for employment going forward.
Lawrence Lewitinn: The Skeptical Insider
Real Vision senior editor Ash Bennington sits down with Lawrence Lewitinn, managing editor and host of First Mover at Coin Desk, to discuss the crypto markets, ETFs, use cases, value propositions, and long-term viability. Lewitinn views the crypto markets as incredibly thin, fueled by hope and greed, and he discusses the power of surpassing psychological barriers like round numbers. This has been prevalent in the recent increase of Ethereum's value as it crossed the $3000 threshold. With its value quadrupling, the trajectory of hope and trust in the system grows with it, leading to a positive change in the global ecosystem. However, Lewitinn also points to the issues whales such as Elon Musk can cause—if they were to throw all their holdings into the market at all once, that would pose a huge problem for blockchains such as Bitcoin because there would not be enough buyers in the space, triggering a huge wave of liquidations. Lewitinn states that while Bitcoin and crypto have huge potential, we do not know yet if there will be a better version as Bitcoin has yet to achieve one of its original goals. Lewitinn asks, "Would Bitcoin be at $50,000 if not for the pandemic? Would the space be as we know it today if Trump had won re-election?" Ultimately, the future is unknown. Filmed May 3rd, 2021. Key learnings: According to Lewitinn, when one reads the Bitcoin paper, it is elegant and solves the problem of transactions in trustless spaces. However, it requires a lot of work and energy. Further, it is more successful than it should have been when it started. In relation to the crypto industrial complex, Lewitinn believes that Bitcoin will not be the end-all, be-all solution as different specializations emerge. He views the explosion in the space as still being in the early innings. Even as there are a lot of unknowns that still exist in this market, what we do know is that Ethereum is becoming increasingly more viable in today’s society. Lewitinn believes that many of the things attributed to blockchain technology will live as an Ethereum specialty rather than Bitcoin fantasy.
Real VisionMay 07, 2021
Are Interest Rate Traders Calling the Fed's Bluff?
What does the wild world of interest rate derivatives say about the Federal Reserve's credibility? Nancy Davis, chief investment officer of Quadratic Capital, takes viewers deep into the esoteric world of constant maturity swaps, forward swap curves, and options on interest rate swaps ("swaptions") to illustrate this. In this conversation with Real Vision editor Jack Farley, Davis notes several key indicators that cause interest rate traders to believe the Federal Reserve will tighten policy far sooner than it claims. Davis, the founder of the Quadratic Interest Rate Volatility and Inflation Hedge ETF ($IVOL), argues that her ETF, which consists largely of Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) as well as over-the-counter fixed income options, will perform favorably in risk-on, risk-off, as well as stagflationary environments (Davis notes that $IVOL has posted positive returns every quarter since its inception in 2019). Farley and Davis look at insightful charts such as the backwardation of the forward swap curve, the spread between swap rates of different tenors, real interest rates, as well as the correlations between equities and interest rate volatility. Filmed on May 5, 2021. Key learnings: Davis argues that the forward curve for dollar swaps is pricing in rate hikes far sooner than the Federal Reserve maintains. She makes the case that interest rate volatility is an effective way to hedge duration risk and argues that it is more preferable than taking on credit risk.

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