An update on Crypto Club and notes from last meeting

Posted on October 2, 2017. Filed under: Uncategorized |

For the better part of the past year, i’ve been getting together with engineers, product managers, venture capitalists and wall st folks to explore new blockchain protocols. It used to be called the Crypto Investment Club, and it’s since shortened to just be Crypto Club. We experimented with the format initially, and then settled into a cadence that orients around a deep reading of one or two whitepapers per meeting. Everybody comes with questions and thoughts that range from the very high level (i.e. is this going to work?) to very granular examinations of specific economic design elements or technical mechanics. We usually meet at this fountain in Washington Square Park and find a quiet corner of the park to eat lunch and discuss. The only requirement for attendance is a commitment to make it completely through the papers we are discussing. Beyond that no questions is dumb and we welcome people from all backgrounds.

This forum attracts substantive and genuinely interested participants and tends to weed out speculative traders, volatility addicts, and the like. We do discuss the value of the coins that govern these protocols, and particularly the drivers of that value. We look to flush out demand side drivers for the coin, and usually we get to a pretty clear picture of what behaviors will influence it’s price and the likelihood that the incentives built into the protocol will induce such behaviors. But that discussion is largely rooted in the success of the design and it’s long term viability, as opposed to, for example, what a specific token issuance schedule is going to do to the price of a coin during it’s initial coin offering.

A few months ago, it became apparent that this format, while really valuable to me in my explorations through cryptoland, didn’t scale to the many folks around the country and even the world who were looking for a similar forum. I considered various online tools to extend the Crypto Club beyond geographic borders, but the intimacy of the discussion didn’t seem achievable in say a live video forum with hundreds of participants. In the absence of an online solution, I got on a plane to San Francisco and brought the Crypto Club out there with the help of a friend, Sarah Tavel, at Benchmark Capital. I think this was a good solution, and now Sarah is a shepherd for the group out west. I’d like to do the same thing in LA, and a few other geographies, but still there’s some good learning happening each meeting that should be accessible to all.

Recently, I started sending discussion notes from our meetings to the creators of the protocols that we discuss. At some point, technical projects need to communicate very clearly with a wider audience than the active blockchain developer community, and I figured the Crypto Club’s analysis, questions, and thoughts would serve as a good proxy for what this next concentric circle of “interested parties” could absorb via a paper. As I sent my most recent notes on the ZeppelinOS whitepaper to it’s founders, I realized that even in an abbreviated form, outside investors, developers considering working to earn the ZEP coin, and crypto projects considering building their platforms on top of Zeppelin’s secure smart contract kernel, would all appreciate a few bullet points on how to think about the project. So, without a lot of prep or editing, and without the benefit of a narrative overlay available to early creators who might want more details, I’m just gonna start publishing notes from the sessions. Here are the notes on ZeppelinOS. The discussion ran long so although we also read Aragon’s paper focussed on “decentralized governence as service,” these notes only cover Zeppelin. Enjoy, and keep an eye on this blog for future project notes.

Oh, and if you are working on a protocol and paper that is either published or still in private draft, we are always looking for interesting candidates for the group and happy to provide feedback to you:

Zeppelin Notes

15 people, mix of engineers, data scientists, venture capitalists

1) there was a narrative around the value of zep behaving like a basket of other coins. basic logic: if price of coins governeing underlying portocols in zep users dapps goes up/down, demand for ZEP will follow those aggregate moves as developers have to maintain a balance large enough to fund their dapp running

2) there was a lot of push back around whether zep gets to hold metacoin position vs say 0x and other similar functions. some talk of developer tools being a wedge to this position.

3) some of the engineers pushed on the difficulty to build out all of the off chain compents articulated in the paper. didn’t seem realistic to do so much

4) fair amount of discussion around reason to hold ZEP…either people bought into it’s value from a governence and development community participation standpoint, or they didn’t.

5) some interesting discussion around whether ZEP and your developer compensation structure couldn’t capture budgets from the balance sheets of other big projects looking to fund development of collectively needed solutions…

6) overall, people were more positive on owning ZEP relative to the average paper we read

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    I’m a NYC based investor and entrepreneur. I think there is one metric that can be used to measure the value of a human life and that’s impact. How did you change things? How many people did you touch? How different is the world because you lived in it and how positive was the change that you affected? (p.s. i don’t use spell check…deal with it) You can email me at


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