We are witnessing the early days of the emergence of a global, open financial system, the impact of which will rival that of the internet itself. Its growth will redistribute existing assets, create new ones, and change the nature of how money is created and flows. Permissionless access to non-sovereign stores of value (such as bitcoin) and composable financial protocols, paired with powerful coordination and incentive mechanisms, are becoming the new norm. …


Prize Linked Savings for the World

IDEO CoLab Ventures is thrilled to be backing and collaborating with the team behind PoolTogether, a Prize Linked Savings protocol built on Ethereum and popular Open Finance (or DeFi) protocols.

PoolTogether allows users to deposit a USD-pegged asset (currently DAI; soon, others) into a smart contract. That contract in turn places funds into another smart contract, Compound, a money market protocol. Every week, one depositor wins all the interest, but anyone can withdraw their full deposit at any time. …


How DeFi Will Centralize Staking and the Ethereum Network

Credit: Shuya Gong

Imagine you own an asset. It’s called ETH and it’s something of a digital commodity (some even say ETH is money). You plan to own it for a long time, because you both expect it to become more useful and expect that more people will hear about and also find it useful.

In the meantime, it would be nice if you could put your ETH to work. …


IDEO CoLab’s Startup Studio for Blockchain Entrepreneurs has largely been focused on in-person events and workshops in San Francisco. This hackathon with CoinList and our partners from Ethereum, NEAR, Oasis, Stellar, and Tezos, is our first foray into programming for early stage builders and entrepreneurs on a global basis. We are thrilled to have received 30 submissions expanding the usability and accessibility of crypto and blockchain applications from teams from all over the world.

The projects below each demonstrate a deep focus on expanding the users of crypto and blockchain applications by easing onboarding, reaching out to un-tapped markets, and…


A multi-protocol online hackathon focused on growing the global crypto ecosystem. Get started building by signing up here.

Earlier this month, IDEO CoLab announced the launch of its new Startup Studio program to help accelerate the world’s best blockchain entrepreneurs and startups, in partnership with over 20 leading organizations and protocols and 50+ world-class mentors.

Today, we’re excited to announce a global online hackathon in partnership with CoinList and the foundations and development teams of five leading blockchain protocols: Ethereum, NEAR, Oasis, Stellar, and Tezos.


We are thrilled to announce IDEO CoLab Ventures’ participation in the latest venture funding round for Near, creators of NEAR Protocol, a developer-friendly blockchain for building decentralized applications.

What? Another smart contract platform? Yes. While there are dozens of other teams seeking to build more scalable blockchains capable of supporting use by billions of people, we’re excited about the amazing team at Near, and their relentless focus on usability for both developers and the end users of applications built on NEAR. …


What happens when collateral becomes liquid?

Superfluid ETH

While the past year was a tough one for the public crypto markets, talented and dedicated teams spent it heads down, shipping what appear to be some of the building blocks of a truly open financial system. As a result, while 2017 was the year of the ICO and 2018 was the year of continued massive private token sales, 2019 is shaping up to be the year of Open Finance.

Most significantly, Maker, which launched at the tail end of 2017, has created a system for minting a USD-denominated stablecoin (DAI) using Collateralized Debt Positions (CDPs). The system has performed…


A Tool for Network Adoption and Governance

If you’ve ever opened your crypto wallet and found tokens that you didn’t knowingly purchase or accept, you’ve probably been the recipient of an airdrop — an event where free tokens or crypto assets are distributed to a group of prospective users.

Why would the leaders of a project choose to distribute tokens for free? The thinking is generally that it is a tool for seeding network adoption — by giving people tokens for your protocol, it’s more likely that they will both learn about your protocol and participate in the network. …


Why designing for security requires thinking about platforms beyond your own

(Source: Guardians of the Galaxy Disney Wiki)

Last week, I met with the founding team of a group building a project in the cryptocurrency space. They walked my IDEO CoLab colleagues and me through their web app, showing how people could buy and store BTC or ETH in a custodial wallet, then use those funds in a variety of ways. I noticed that they also had an option to enter a private key directly to make a transaction.

RED ALERT!

First rule of crypto: never, ever, EVER share your private key.


At IDEO CoLab, we believe that cryptocurrency and blockchains are among the most transformational technologies of our time. Yet despite this year’s massive run-up in price of many cryptocurrencies and the popularization of Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), they still are far from seeing mainstream adoption. Luckily, there is a lot we can do to fix that.

One of the main barriers to more mainstream adoption is the current user experience associated with learning about, acquiring, and using cryptocurrencies. It’s awful, unfriendly, and often utterly confusing. …

Dan Elitzer

Co-Founder @nascentxyz, backing early-stage teams in crypto & DeFi; got the ball rolling @IDEOVC, @MITBitcoinClub, @YamFinance

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