Coin Fugazi Podcast 7: Ava Labs Avalanche Mainnet Launch

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3 years ago

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Coin Fugazi Podcast 7 is an extended discussion with distributed systems expert Emin Gün Sirer on leave from Cornell University to head Ava Labs as CEO. Sirer has made the too rare transition from theorist to man of action, from academic to entrepreneur. Less talk, more rock. And 2020 is Ava Labs and Sirer's year to show their work, to prove they have what it takes to compete. Sirer embraces the tension and struggle, and is candid about pitfalls and trials. More importantly, his team recovered quickly from a very public stumble and is now ready to launch Avalanche on mainnet ... and it has the crypto world talking.


00:00 Emin Gün Sirer CEO of Ava Labs hot takes on Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin, Ethereum, and DeFi

10:05 From academic to entrepreneur

13:25 Academics are entrepreneurial in spirit

15:00 Avalanche

19:00 AVAX token and lessons from the botched first sale

30:40 Jihan Wu and Ethereum players are dabbling in Ava

33:30 Avalanche mainnet launch September 21, 2020

37:55 Crypto will eat the world


He's just a flat-out great interview. That's really all I need. CEO of Ava Labs Emin Gün Sirer can talk about most anything and make it compelling. I can joke with him, force him to give hot takes on giant subjects, tease him about a very public token sale that almost collapsed, and he remains good-humored and unflappable.

That's the mark of a confident person, a man in charge of his thoughts and vision -- a man who knows where he wants to go. For years Sirer warned about the vulnerabilities inherent in proof of work (PoW) consensus arrangements, arguing that they're not in fact new and could stand an update on many levels.

I am not entirely sold on his all of his reasoning, but, more importantly, debate is for salons, for universities. Show me how to solve the problems you're pointing out, or shut up. Sirer isn't shutting up and he's doing more than talking. He and his team are launching an entire platform that basically embodies his arguments.

Avalanche is making a lot of promises. It looks to subsume cryptocurrency projects rather than compete with them. That's a tall order, and while everyone in the space can entertain theory, it's quite another demonstration of confidence to ask folks to put skin in the game, to invest.

AVAX token was an early sign of the hive mind and what it thought of Sirer and Ava, essentially asking the market to fund Avalanche and in part the work of Ava Labs ... to show confidence in Sirer's team. The market did, and to the tune of about $60 million. That's not an outrageous, frothy sum. That's about right, a goldilocks amount for a sober team looking to move at a sensible pace, build its community, and gather talent.

Now Avalanche switches on to mainnet, putting theories to the test -- theories about consensus, confirmation times, fees, know-your-customer regulations, staking arrangements, and more. It's an exciting time to be in crypto, and Sirer's passion for it and Ava Labs is contagious.

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  • C. Edward Kelso is CEO of Coin Fugazi


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