Today we discuss taking control of your digital life using cryptography and cryptocurrency with special guest Emre Tekisalp at (O1) Labs.
Emre is the Director of Business Development at (O1) Labs, the team building Coda Protocol. Emre’s career has focused on bringing new economic opportunities to societies using the power of technology. Before O(1) Labs, he spent two years at Coinbase’s Business Development team where he led a number of strategic programs during a period when the company grew 10x. Before Coinbase, Emre was a Product Manager at Intel’s wearable devices group. Originally from Istanbul, Turkey, Emre has an MBA degree from Columbia University.
Coda launched its Genesis program: a one-of-a-kind opportunity for community members to prepare to become the first block producers upon mainnet launch. Unlike other third-generation protocols offering 1% or less in token distributions to their communities, Coda is setting aside up to 6.6% of tokens for Genesis founding members. During their 3.1 testnet release in January, they saw 10X growth from Phases 1 and 2.
Emre published an article proposing ScaDe (Scalability-per-unit-of-Decentralization) as a new mental model to help our industry design better blockchains and solve the scalability trilemma: https://codaprotocol.com/blog/solving-the-scalability-trilemma
Twitter (Company): https://twitter.com/CodaProtocol
Twitter (Personal): https://twitter.com/etekis
If you are interested in joining the Genesis Token Program please visit https://codaprotocol.com/genesis
*Disclaimer. None of this information is financial advice.
00:00:32:05 – 00:00:34:19
Richard Carthon: Hello everyone. Welcome to the episode of The Current. Your
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Richard Carthon: Your host here Richard Carthorn today I’ve got a special guest all the way out in San Francisco. Emre Tekisalp with coda. How are you doing today.
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Emre Tekisalp: I’m doing great Richard. Thanks for having me.
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Richard Carthon: Of course. Happy to have you here. So before we get too heavy into this how much you give us a little background on yourself.
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Emre Tekisalp: Absolutely. So as you introduce me i am a part of the Coda Protocol. I head up there’s this development over here. And I’ve been in crypto for quite a number of years now I guess about five years or so. My first forte was a quick gig at repo which most would probably be familiar with. And then I spent after that two and two years and some months at Coinbase which is one of the larger exchanges here in the US and globally.
00:01:21:05 – 00:01:25:29
Emre Tekisalp: And then for the past 10 months or so I’ve been I’ve been at the Kyoto Protocol Wow.
00:01:26:01 – 00:01:35:17
Richard Carthon: So you mean it sounds like you have been working in the crypto space for quite a bit and a lot of different really cool projects. What was your first intro into the crypto in black space with peaks your interest.
00:01:35:26 – 00:02:06:07
Emre Tekisalp: Yeah I’d say had two different perspectives perhaps one of them more personal and then the other more professional on the personal side. So I originally from Turkey and have moved to the US. What is it now like seven or eight years ago and you know as anyone that’s moved around across borders and countries will know the minute you cross borders the financial infrastructure that we rely on every single day ceases to work as efficiently.
00:02:06:09 – 00:02:17:02
Emre Tekisalp: So the you know banks are not as smooth as they should be. Your money is stuck into some transfer or some other country your credit card doesn’t work yet.
00:02:17:26 – 00:02:21:20
Emre Tekisalp: So that personal experience kind of made me realize. All right.
00:02:21:23 – 00:02:42:12
Emre Tekisalp: You know it is a global world and it’s one of the most basic infrastructures and utilities doesn’t work as efficiently as a chip. So that’s like when I started looking into a bitcoin and like oh wow this is actually a completely different way of how things can work on the professional side.
00:02:42:14 – 00:03:15:19
Emre Tekisalp: In a prior life I was working at Intel the chip company and one of the projects I was in charge of was putting together a like NFC or touch type payment system. So I think Apple Pay. Right. And you know when you start being in charge of a project like that you start learning how antiquated and complex the entire backend of a simple payment transaction is. There’s all sorts of you know banks and issuers and took on different type of token issuers which are immoral like credit card tokens.
00:03:17:05 – 00:03:40:19
Emre Tekisalp: So that that also made me think OK like you know on a personal side if I’m interested in this stuff and maybe there’s something to do here. Professionally as well. And that’s when I was also like to grad school so it gave me a chance to kind of you know unplug from the day lead with you know work with it and actually look at this place quite closely and that’s when I got started getting it involved in the company as I mentioned at a professional capacity.
00:03:41:20 – 00:03:44:04
Richard Carthon: Awesome so about what use this roughly.
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Emre Tekisalp: This is 20. 14 15. Wow.
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Richard Carthon: OK so you got into the game pretty pretty early. And so as you start to work through the various companies you know you eventually land on on code. So like tell us about that transition from your previous companies to code which I’m working on.
00:04:00:26 – 00:04:33:05
Emre Tekisalp: Yeah. So I guess when I first started looking at as I said thick line and then eventually ended up at repo I was trying to understand. OK. There is here is this wildly right new and innovative and disruptive way of approaching this problem of payments and global finance. But there is such a big industry here like the entire world and banks and everything so it it didn’t I guess appealed to my back. That naive mind you know how these kind of hackers and cipher punks could an Earth like mega industry.
00:04:33:21 – 00:05:06:16
Emre Tekisalp: So you know I I as I mentioned I did a quick stint that ripple and I saw like how hard it is to convince these people and how hard it is to get them to actually experiment and do products on this day. They call this you know in business jargon like innovation theater what most banks are doing. Right. Like they seem like they’re on the cutting edge but it’s actually a very small department in a large company that’s kind of playing around with this thing. So that’s what I realized. OK right. Like it’s more about these public permission this block chain such as Bitcoin.
00:05:06:18 – 00:06:03:18
Emre Tekisalp: But still I mean I felt like I needed to learn a bit more and see how that users and service providers interact. And I also wanted to be frankly like you know at a exciting fast growing startup. So that’s how I learned about calmness which was was I wrote about this public as well as I was the Coinbase. It’s it’s like what they call a crypto MBA which which sounds funny and cliche but it’s it’s it’s right in that you get to learn a bit of everything that’s going on in the industry so let’s just to give a quick example of the type of projects I was involved in like it was anything from the API platform out of the main Coinbase product to setting up the custody business to a couple emanate to the wallet product which is like that type browser to frightening us you SDC eventually on the business side which is the stable coin that Coinbase and another partner released.
00:06:03:20 – 00:06:45:03
Emre Tekisalp: So that gave me a great overview but it also showed me that we’re actually very very early right. Yeah. And then most people say we’re like in 90s 1990s Internet stage I actually think we’re much safer than that it’s more like mainframe computers like 1970s like guest room computers in a room type stage. So and and there’s so much technical it’s it’s less about I think like the path forward from here. It’s what’s critical is less about institutions bringing money or stuff like that which are gonna happen and obviously are important but more about like some other technological innovations that still need to happen such as. Right
00:06:45:05 – 00:07:16:24
Emre Tekisalp: Right. Like with mainframe computers there’s a decent amount of users but not like what we’re all used to today. Then came a maybe a slight personal bias because I worked at intel collecting then came CPE on personal computers and that changed everything. So in a similar way I started looking at it in a similar way and that’s what I came across. Cota and it’s such a different way of approaching this blocking problem that it felt to me like Oh my God this is like this big shift from like the mainframe stage we’re in right now to a more personal block chain if you will stage.
00:07:17:20 – 00:07:31:21
Richard Carthon: Yeah. So unpack that a little bit more so like I mean that’s a really interesting and important point of view. We look at the infrastructure and in all of this period is built upon block chain. So when you saw code are you like well this could be where the future is headed.
00:07:32:02 – 00:07:54:27
Emre Tekisalp: Yeah yeah absolutely. And the reason for that is so if you look at any like let’s just look at Bitcoin right. That’s what everyone knows what everyone uses and what does an average end user need to do to use bitcoin right now. They can do you want to two things. One of them is sign up for a service provider such as Coinbase right now on which point you’re essentially using a bank
00:07:56:14 – 00:08:36:28
Emre Tekisalp: or you could run what’s called a full node yourself which which includes downloading the entire block chain for which for bitcoin right now it’s 300 gigabytes and having that and having a good desktop computer and like knowing all the software intricacies et cetera. In fact one of the core Bitcoin developers I think is important but like you see that keeps track of an annual track of how long it takes to get syncs to the bitcoin block chain and at full capacity from scratch every he does this every year and last year it was six and a half hours with a two thousand dollar desktop which ended up being a core developer so it’s not a lot of people do that.
00:08:37:00 – 00:09:07:23
Emre Tekisalp: There’s in fact like somewhere around 10000 full boats and the entire bitcoin like. So most people resort to using the coin basis of the world. Right. Which is fine until you start thinking what is a block chain right. A blocking is supposed to be this machine that allows anyone to trust each other without having to trust an intermediary. Right. So I know that I can send the payment to you and that no intermediary can stop it right. But when you use a service like quite Mace you are trusting that intermediary.
00:09:07:25 – 00:09:38:04
Emre Tekisalp: So we’re kind of back to where we started which is a fundamental problem in this whole dynamic with coda and that does is it uses a revolutionary up and coming cryptography technique called Zero proofs to fix the boxing size to a tiny tiny poof. So right now 15 kilobytes and that never grows. Yeah well that never grows. How long however long the box might be around or how much data it processes.
00:09:38:06 – 00:10:17:02
Emre Tekisalp: So what this allows is for any average user to connect to the box chain from their smartphones or from their normal laptops or whatever. So this allows not only for a lot more people to directly connect to this infrastructure but also for developers it becomes much much easier because they don’t then have to create complex middleware and infrastructure and then more importantly it it rivals this whole phenomenon in the industry know called scalability tri level which is what what supposedly prevents boxing from scaling
00:10:19:07 – 00:10:20:01
Richard Carthon: Yeah.
00:10:20:09 – 00:10:38:22
Richard Carthon: And that is really interesting. So like the way that I kind of pictured it in my head as you were walking through it is to try to just do something like bitcoin having that 300 gigabytes worth of block chain data the fact that you’re able to take something as huge as that and be able to compress it down into something that’s kilobytes.
00:10:38:24 – 00:10:51:14
Richard Carthon: So I think of like a computer file and it’s like a gigabyte long and then like you zip it it compresses it down very quickly that you can share that’s very small but then you can uncompressed it and then you have this giant thing again. Is that kind of what’s going on.
00:10:51:16 – 00:11:23:06
Emre Tekisalp: Kind of. So take to give an idea of what the quote of watching looks like right underneath it. It actually looks like a traditional block chain so you don’t like people ask us for example right. Oh wow it’s pretty cool. I start people start thinking about then they’re like OK but do I lose every data that used to be around for me to pick apart like or to uncompressed as you said right. Whatever information I need to get from you know 10 months ago some transaction that happened etc.
00:11:23:08 – 00:12:00:22
Emre Tekisalp: . So it’s not quite like that because that that 15 kilobytes proof is kind of like an artifact of the entire block chain. So the entire box is still stored somewhere. Right. Because people yes do you want to report historical data. So we have these archive nodes which all blocking tab that stores the entire history of the block chain. However with CO that what what it enables users to do is to have the option to rely. To be able to only rely on this proof to have full security which is again that you’re not trusting any other intermediary.
00:12:01:14 – 00:12:31:25
Emre Tekisalp: Bitcoin for example tries to do this with what’s called white nose or SPV nose or they have other technical names for it where ultimately what you’re doing is you’re thinking a part of the block chain and you’re relying on other intermediaries again to pass to the data. So with what coda does again is take this to the extreme to say mathematically we can give you this 15 kilobytes data which allows you to connect to the chain without having to download the entire thing if you still want to go ahead and refer it to some transaction that happened 10 months ago.
00:12:31:27 – 00:12:37:08
Emre Tekisalp: You can still do that like any other object but it gives you just power to not have to do that.
00:12:37:15 – 00:12:39:25
Emre Tekisalp: Whereas other block chain you have to download the entire thing
00:12:40:27 – 00:12:50:08
Richard Carthon: none that’s super powerful so give me some use cases of different companies that are either building on top of it or some some different things that are being built with it right now.
00:12:50:10 – 00:13:26:15
Emre Tekisalp: Yeah. So we’re in what’s called a test stage. So like many of the new projects that are being large box chains where ultimately you’re running like a fake network. Right. To test it with third party. So our latest life test net feature like four hundred users and three hundred people producing block. So you know we we coordinate but still it’s the community that runs it. So we’re using a bunch of people develop interesting things at this point they’re mostly on the infrastructure layer so people think block explorers or different algorithms to optimize certain economic activities in the block chain.
00:13:26:27 – 00:14:13:03
Emre Tekisalp: However the vision we have for a long term use case for when we hit main that is ultimately about what we call open programmable money and if you think of it that’s kind of like the app that point set up set out to what I set out to create. Right. And then ultimately it ended up being digital gold because it doesn’t scale. There’s limited number of bitcoins yada yada yada. So that with coda we ultimately want to the people on the Internet right to be able to use this as a form of money both to have the capacity to be able to use it as money because it scales and it’s very easy and cheap to connect to it but also because people don’t do it like they heard bitcoin so quota for example does not have caps apply.
00:14:13:08 – 00:14:52:19
Emre Tekisalp: It has an inflation policy and all of that that you know again the community controls but it allows people to actually start spending and using this as money. The second use case is a bit more futuristic and it’s what we call verifiable applications without going into too much detail. If you think every theorem for example right. It kind of created this new term called decentralized applications or taps where you know you can run any application on a block chain but again that application is is we have to download for example if you want to connect to a theorem think of it like all the applications that have ever been created and all the history of data.
00:14:52:21 – 00:15:27:04
Emre Tekisalp: Right. Which is again very inefficient. So that’s why you think it doesn’t also scale as efficiently. Whereas if if we kind of try and turn the concept a bit around the head and say what if with this the cryptography that we’re using in our Boston which is zero and also proofs What if we could create applications that don’t require all the data to be on the block chain. But for someone to run their application on their own computer and then again produce a proof which then is on the block chain so that people can easily use and connect to these applications.
00:15:27:06 – 00:15:42:02
Emre Tekisalp: So where this is more of a proof of concept right now which we’re going to be developing SDK for but we’re already seeing quite a lot of interest from various different industries such as direct financial service providers or pharmaceutical manufacturers and others it’s awesome.
00:15:42:04 – 00:16:09:28
Richard Carthon: Yeah. I mean a lot of great things on the rise and so definitely everyone listening go check it out if you’re a developer especially go see how you can build some cool things on it. But thank you for explaining Cota and what’s to come with it. Just transitioning a little bit you know there’s been a lot going on the world right now with everything with corona virus and and everything else. What do you think the future of crypto in block chain will potentially look like. In response to this.
00:16:10:00 – 00:16:52:27
Emre Tekisalp: Yeah big question. So I think this this whole coronavirus thing has obviously tested you know the entire world like all of our systems to all of our economies and unfortunately none of them in my opinion have responded that well. So there is a lot of learnings that everyone needs to take for for for our industry for watches and crypto. I think the interesting thing is that it does present an opportunity right because the more people spend time on the Internet the more people rely on the Internet to connect each other the more there’s an opportunity for a decentralized or digital money later to become a necessity.
00:16:52:29 – 00:17:26:25
Emre Tekisalp: So I think when Bitcoin came out right it was kind of like a opportunity where people like the original creators proposed this as an improvement and some people you know still to this day many people are like What is that we don’t need it. My demo works fine et cetera you know. You do see the problem still. As I mentioned at the beginning if you change countries whatever but if you’re in the same country that was fine for them but now people are saying that OK maybe I cannot entirely rely on my central bank or my politicians or whatever right to do the right response.
00:17:27:10 – 00:17:53:00
Emre Tekisalp: So this gives everyone a chance to kind of take the control and say it’s time for us to you know just be in our own fate be constructively in the control of our own fates. So I think that’s a big opportunity for our for our space. The other thing I’m looking forward to is along with us there is a lot of very impressive and creative projects that are launching this year.
00:17:53:02 – 00:18:06:12
Emre Tekisalp: You know there’s maybe about five to 10 high quality teams that have come up with interesting projects in the past two years specifically box games that are launching and I’m really excited to see what they bring to the space because
00:18:08:04 – 00:18:23:25
Emre Tekisalp: we believe Cota is obviously the right way to approach this. But you know it’s like we’ve all been wrong in this space. So I’m just excited to see the vision of crypto being pushed forward by not just by us but by many different teams in the space for sure.
00:18:23:27 – 00:18:53:24
Richard Carthon: And I really think it’s really strong point of even through all the bad that’s happening right now this is a huge opportunity for the space. We think about what was Bitcoin in the first place it was in response to the last recession. And right now a lot of his core principles are being challenged and if it can show that it can stay consistent and strong then the use case is that much stronger going towards the future and kicking off this next decade. Why more people should be paying attention to this industry.
00:18:53:26 – 00:19:02:03
Richard Carthon: So I really do think that there’s a lot of opportunity in this space right now even with everything that’s going on in the world.
00:19:02:15 – 00:19:13:02
Richard Carthon: But I really appreciate you spending time with us telling us about your background. Kota before you go I always ask my guest what is a final thought that you want to leave with all of our listeners here today.
00:19:14:02 – 00:19:48:17
Emre Tekisalp: I think it’s it’s connected to the last point in that you know we’re all in charge so to the extent especially for your listeners they’re already interested in crypto and launching to be more involved with projects don’t just see this as an investment opportunity which you know these days it’s it’s it’s more challenging to keep looking at it just as an investment opportunity because of the volatility. But I get involved with the projects specifically with us and we just recently announced our Genesis program which is a token grant program for active participants in our test.
00:19:49:04 – 00:20:20:03
Emre Tekisalp: So you know you can go to Kyoto protocol that’s CEO D.A. protocol and dot com and check out the both the project but the Genesis program. We’re giving sizable grants to up to a thousand people that are active on our test net. So there is awesome opportunity not just technical but otherwise in the coming months where people can take part and write you know get some stake literally and pun intended in the project but also.
00:20:20:06 – 00:20:25:16
Emre Tekisalp: Right. Yeah. Take that control. Just be be a part of something that could make everyone’s life easier.
00:20:26:21 – 00:20:33:24
Richard Carthon: Amazing will everyone definitely go check that out. What are some different ways that people can connect with you and also learn a little bit more about Kona.
00:20:33:26 – 00:20:42:14
Emre Tekisalp: Yeah. So our Web site definitely on Twitter I am BTK I guess and also come to our discord.
00:20:42:17 – 00:20:57:29
Emre Tekisalp: There’s a pretty active community there and most of our development actually all of our development happens up and out in the public so you can see what our team is doing what our engineers are up to. Yeah there’s a lot of discord links on our website as well so make sure to check that out perfect.
00:20:58:01 – 00:21:01:23
Richard Carthon: Well again really appreciate your time today. And for everyone listening. Stay crypto current!\
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