Deep Dive on Decentralization

Jesse WaldenRobert Leshner

Jesse Walden, a former a16z investment partner and Mediachain cofounder, and Robert Leshner, founder and CEO of Compound, do a “Deep Dive on Decentralization.” Walden starts with a playbook for progressive decentralization — the process by which crypto project creators build a useful product, create a community around that product, and then gradually hand over control of the maturing network to the community. This process is in keeping with the cooperative model of crypto networks, which drives rapid, compounding innovation through better alignment of incentives and open participation. Leshner follows with a case study of his experiences at Compound, an automated money market for crypto assets in which lenders and borrowers can come together to transact without the involvement of third parties. Compound, one of the first crypto projects to move through the full progressive decentralization model, built a thriving community of third-party application developers, who have set up shop on top of Compound’s smart-contract protocol. The Compound team has gradually brought this community further into the protocol’s inner workings; in the final stages before handoff to the community, the founding team made changes transparently, with greater reliance on the community’s input, and created a sandbox for experimentation to test governance mechanisms. Decentralizing “allows the protocol to live forever,” Leshner says, which fosters innovation because developers can trust the protocol with their businesses and livelihood.

Andreessen Horowitz’s Crypto Startup School brought together 45 participants from around the U.S. and overseas in a seven-week course to learn how to build crypto companies. Andreessen Horowitz is partnering with TechCrunch to release the online version of the course over the next few weeks.

Find more Crypto Startup School videos plus additional reading and info: