When Kyle Samani first arrived on the crypto scene many were sceptical of this entrepreneur-turned-hedge-fund-manager. Kyle’s unique Crypto Twitter style made him hard to ignore. He would often throw out difficult to answer questions or make provocative statements of “fact”, which seemed designed to trigger the crypto idealists. In the process the community would fight out the ideas, and everyone gained more insight into the issues. Twitter became his crowd-sourced research tool. Later Multicoin built out a great research team to augment the crowd-sourced research, which lead to great insights we can see in their published research.
Since then, Kyle and Tushar have proved to be two of the hardest working fund managers in crypto. Their research has been excellent. Their focus on real business value and on identifying genuine customer needs has been a welcome relief in a sea of idealistic visions. Their deep strategic analysis of how this plays out has been second to none. So it was with great pleasure that we sat down with Kyle to explore the Multicoin mega theses on our podcast. Below are my five key takeaways.
1. Binance Is The One To Beat
While it’s early days in crypto, it will be hard for new players to get traction in DeFi. Binance is moving quickly in many different areas. They are leveraging their customer base to launch new products. So only new players who can build highly effective customer acquisition funnels will have a chance of competing. The best strategy for new entrants is a novel go-to-market focused on a narrowly defined customer segment, e.g. Bakkt super high-end institutional, FTX in derivatives.
2. To Beat Binance, Bring Your Own Customer Base
A different approach is to leverage an existing distribution advantage. There are many products that already have millions of users that could leverage this to launch new crypto services. Social networks like Reddit or fintech upstarts can pivot into crypto in this way. Facebook / Libra is the obvious example here. What’s interesting here is that this option is open to any major corporation who is brave enough to take on the regulatory risk and who can overcome the innovator’s dilemma.
3. Network Effects & Aggregators
It’s hard to see how DeFi aggregators can create network effects. As a thin layer on top of other protocols (Compound, Maker etc.) it seems clear that the protocols have network effects but the UI layer does not. It will be interesting to see if any aggregation service can find a way to build in their own network effects. But maybe this feeds in (2) above: potentially the best strategy is to build a network effect elsewhere and then leverage that to resell DeFi services to a captive audience.
4. The Case Against The Interchain
Samani argues (pretty convincingly) that the Cosmos vision of thousands of self-sovereign blockchains may be too complex to achieve. Do developers really want to build their own blockchains or would they prefer to focus on building services? Can the complexities of cross-chain messaging ever we abstracted away? Can all of these chains be secured? It seems like a concerted effort to build out shared security on Cosmos would be a meaningful first step to address this, followed by great libraries for building cross-chain dapps.
5. Solana: One Chain To Rule Them All
So maybe the future isn’t thousands of inter-operating chains. And if we haven’t solved the interchain complexity, then we probably haven’t solved the complexity of sharded chains either (as it’s pretty much the same problem).
One outcome is that Ethereum 2.0 wins out and retains its dominance. A second potential answer: Solana takes over from Ethereum as the platform of choice.
If it delivers on it’s promise, then we will get tens of thousands of transactions per second, with sub-second block times and very cheap fees. It could feasibly meet the needs of almost all use cases. And it can get faster — GPU cores are doubling every 18 months and so is bandwidth, so Solana validators could add more capacity at any time.
With the Ethereum 2.0 release looking so far away, will Solana have an opportunity to take over? Instead of an interchain world, could we see a return to a single chain dominating the space?
While we may not agree with all of what Kyle has to say, there is no doubt that he has thought deeply about all of these issues and his arguments are well reasoned.
We hope you enjoy the podcast: https://chorusone.libsyn.com/episode-25