Decentralized finance can add value to the network and to people’s lives… as long as our excitement doesn’t result in us dancing right off a cliff.

This was originally a talk I gave at Dystopia Labs’ DeFi Discussions event.

At the time of this talk (early May 2020), the dForce and Hegic exploits had both happened in the previous 14 days. It was also before the advent of governance tokens, IDO’s, and yield farming. But this is less about specific events and more building a system that will benefit people, not harm them.

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Sam Sun injecting some black humor after yet another DeFi incident.

DeFi has grown remarkably fast and, as always, growth brings hacks, attacks, exploits, incidents, non-incidents, and generally unintended consequences. Between January 2020 and May 2020, it seemed like all the Bad Things™ were with DeFi products. Or was I just hyper-focused on the events in the DeFi space? …


We need to get better. There are a great number of things that need to be improved in order to avoid a catastrophic loss around DeFi.

We need to get better at holding people accountable. Everyone. Those who build and those who comment and those who use.

I don’t think that making an example of individual products or people in the way I’ve been doing is ultimately going to prevent all further fuckery. I don’t think hurting people is the best way or a good way or the only way to improve the wider issues in this space surrounding responsibility and accountability.


This essay was originally a talk I gave at ETHDenver in February 2020.

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If you haven’t seen Risky Business, it’s a coming-of-age story starring Tom Cruise. In the movie, his parents go out of town, shit goes down, he has to find his way out of trouble, which only creates more trouble. The journey only remains adorable because the baby-faced Tom Cruise is so naive and just can’t catch a break. If he was any older or any less naive, his choices would be too irresponsible for anyone to overlook.

The crypto industry is like this in a lot of ways. We get away with things that we probably shouldn’t. We refuse to learn from our past mistakes. We refuse to admit that smart contracts shouldn’t be trusted yet. We use our idealism and naivety to defend each other when things go wrong. …


If you missed Part 1 or Part 2, go back now and read them first!

In Part 1, we identified a potential problem with our current path.

In Part 2, we explored success, failure, and how to avoid measuring the wrong things in an attempt to identify and ultimately reach our north star: ensuring power naturally accrues to individuals, not single entities.

This is Part 3. How do we go from where we are today to where we need to be tomorrow?

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How do we go from where we are today to where we need to be tomorrow?

So, it’s a very simple process when you put it on a slide like this. It turns out, it’s much harder to execute successfully. But, essentially, you are going to need to find a problem, solve that problem, get your solution into the hands of the people who have that problem, and then you’ve changed the world. …


Hint: It’s not decentralization.

If you missed Part 1, go back now and read it first!

In Part 1, we left off with the realization that we don’t want the foundation of our future to be made of the shits we take today. That’s a great entry-level goal to have!

This is Part 2, where we will explore, perhaps, a more optimistic end goal? Do we have a north star?

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What are we trying to achieve? Why are we here? Why were we first inspired to get into this space? What caused us to dive down the crypto rabbit-hole?

Decentralization is NOT the end goal.

Decentralization is not a value proposition. It’s just… decentralization. …


History doesn’t repeat… it rhymes.

Preface

This series originates from my talk at Devcon V in Osaka on October 10, 2019. While this written format dives much deeper and has additional resources and links to further reading, you can watch the video of said talk here.

Originally this was going to be one long article, but there are a handful of different concepts that are covered and it made more sense to split this up into three parts.

I want to make something clear: I very much love crypto and this space. However, I think we should be having this conversation publicly, especially if we want to achieve the goals we set out to achieve. …


This was a talk I gave at ETH Denver 2019. It has been modified a bit for this written, rather than spoken, format. If you would prefer to watch the talk, you can watch it by clicking here and then skipping to 5:31.💖

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Today we are going to talk about balancing usability with security. Especially in this space — it is so hard and it is so important that we get this right.

Cryptocurrency is just simply different. We focus a lot on the user experience and design, but as we do so we must be careful. The most usable product is rarely the most secure product. We have to keep in mind that it is our job as product creators to keep our users safe and secure, even if we aren’t taking custody of their assets. …


We need to start removing fear from the cryptocurrency equation.

This is a talk I recently gave at Mainframe’s Decentralized Summit. It has been modified a bit for this written, rather than spoken, format. 💖

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Today I am going to explore building confidence, not dapps. Because, right now, dapps are simply visual interfaces for a smart contract or system of smart contracts. We need to be building a positive experience that people want to—and can—partake in.

So, whether you are developing, building, designing, or otherwise working on these user interfaces… these dapps… these things that allow users to interact with the blockchain in some way, we need ensure we are building confidence in our users. …


Welcome Ambo to the MyCrypto Team!

I’m proud to announce that MyCrypto has acquired Ambo and the fantastic team behind these products.

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I originally learned about Ambo from our awesome GC, Ryon. Ambo was a small team who was working around the clock on a mobile app that included wallet functionality, DEX integrations, and simple interfaces for some of the most popular #DeFi protocols like Augur and Compound.

Most impressive was the emphasis they placed on an easy, seamless user experience. When first talking with the team, I immediately noticed how aligned our visions were. I found it interesting that even though long-term vision was nearly identical, how we were getting there were slightly different. It was incredibly refreshing. …


This is a talk I recently gave at Devcon IV on October 31, 2018. It has been modified slightly for a wider online audience since you’ll be reading it instead of listening to it. 💖

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Hi, I’m Taylor and I am the founder and CEO of MyCrypto. Previously I founded MyEtherWallet.

In case you aren’t familiar, MyCrypto is an interface that allows you to interact with the Ethereum blockchain. You can store your Ether and tokens via MyCrypto, send them around, swap between different coins, interact with smart contracts, and more.

We are a remote team of about 20 people and our amazing team is distributed around the world. …

About

Taylor Monahan

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