unstoppable podcast, episode 19, camila russo

Intro to Decentralized Finance with Camila Russo from The Defiant

Mar 15, 2021

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Host:  Hey everybody, and welcome back to the Unstoppable Podcast.  I'm your host, Diana Chen.  I'm joined today by my co-host, Matthew Gould, co-founder and CEO of Unstoppable Domains and our guest, Camila Russo.  She is the founder and editor of the Defiant, as well as the host of the Defiant Podcast, author of the Infinite Machine and previously was a Bloomberg News reporter covering markets in New York, Madrid and Buenos Aires.  Camila, I'm so happy to have you here.  Welcome.

Camila Russo:  Thanks for listening, I'm really happy to be here.

Host:  So to kick us off, I'm just curious, how did you originally get interested in crypto?

Camila Russo:  Yeah, so first time I heard of barely about crypto was in 2013, in Argentina.  I was working there with Bloomberg News at the time and covering Argentine markets.  So a big part of coverage was the inflation story, currency controls and just, you know, how badly - - that the like country's financial system was.  And so I heard from a colleague that there was this kind of like internet money that was becoming more popular in Argentina for people to protect against inflation.

So I thought that was interesting and, and fixed the story to my editors at Bloomberg at the time and like, half of them hadn't heard of a Bitcoin, the other half thought it was a scam that we should like shouldn't be writing about it.  But, yeah, I ended up writing the story and I just thought, you know, it was like really fascinating to have this independent like money that didn't rely on central banks and like couldn't be messed around with like in Argentina, everything were so—I was like, always interested in crypto after that.

Host:  Got it.  And so just to give people a little bit of context, take us back timeline-wise, around what year was this—all of this happening?

Camila Russo:  I'm—I guess, like a, a bit of background.  I'm originally from Chile, from Santiago.  I started my career in journalism at a newspaper in Chile.  But then, after a year, there, I got kind of bored of being in a small country and wanted to work in a big media company, in the US.  So, I applied for a Masters, I did different journalism schools and got accepted into Northwestern University and which has a really good journalism school.

So from there, I got, got interested in financial journalism for the first time, which I never thought I would.  Like, I got into, like, journalism because I like writing and kind of history and telling stories, but not because I like numbers.  But then I found admin dean that like covering more days and like financial journalism gives you like a more concrete way of—and like a more objective way of telling a story.  So I thought that was really interesting.

And so I applied for an internship at Bloomberg News and got it in New York and then was hired at Bloomberg then this was like 2010, I think was the internship.  So like I started there at Bloomberg News in New York, in the emerging markets team and then was sent to Buenos Aires like, yeah, 2012, I think.  And so yeah, I was there in Argentina, for like the next four and a half years.  

Then I asked to go to Madrid to cover European stocks.  But that was like—that was really boring after covering like volatile, crazy Argentine markets.  So yeah, I was a little bit tired of, of doing that.  And so I had the chance to go back to New York in 2017 for—to join a new team that Bloomberg had created, the markets life team, which was a small group of like, longtime reporters and asset managers and writing about what was going on in micro markets kind of real time, like blogging about it.

So I joined that team and being 2017 obviously, like everything was like everyone wanted to know about Bitcoin and crypto.  So I took the chance of—to the opportunity to, like write about Bitcoin, again, after kind of about one time in 2013.  And just like started blogging about it, for markets life and then like, whenever Bitcoin was not in the headline I like, it immediately went to demonstrate it on, on Bloomberg.  So the editors wanted more crypto content and so I started just like covering crypto on a day to day basis and it became kind of my second job.  So yeah, and then never left.

Host:  Got it.  Very interesting.  I, I always thought—I always thought you came from a finance background for some reason, but you actually came from a journalism background.  So when you first started learning about crypto, you know, this or writing more about crypto in 2017, how did you go about learning about it?  Or what were some of your best resources as you were doing research to write all of these pieces about crypto?

Camila Russo:  I think like same thing as with like traditional finance doing lots of interviews with like, firsthand sources, I, I think my first story was on the ICO Boom.  And I remember kind of not really understanding what these new coins were, like, were they like Bitcoin?  What's Ethereum?  Like, I had no idea.  So I, I just like did a bunch of interviews with a lot of the—like different projects, founders and developers, and, and they explained this thing to me.  And so, you know, at Bloomberg you are like writing three different stories a day.  

  So, it's like, you need to be constantly talking to people, and from, you know, that was a good way to, to just learn what this new system was.  And, of course like tons of Googling and, you know, reading blogs and Wikis and all of that.

Host:  Oh sure.  So now, if you were to explain crypto and decentralized finance to a beginner in this space, how would you explain that concept to them?

Camila Russo:  So I think like the, the first thing, I, I say, to people trying to understand Blockchain and, and DeFi is that, not to be intimidated by, like this word, like cryptocurrency, like Blockchain tech, which sounds like really intimidating.  And I think it just like immediately goes over people's heads.  I think, you know, the, the way to think about it is, this—like Blockchains are just networks of nodes and nodes are really just computers running a piece of software.  And these, these nodes are spread out globally and they don't have any hierarchy.

So each node is same as every other node and there's no one like entity or centralized party controlling this group of network participants.  And then the way that these nodes are incentivized to form part of this network is this asset that's being used as a reward to stay in this network and confirm transactions.  And this, this reward is cryptocurrency, like that—the nodes are rewarded with cryptocurrency.

And so why it's revolutionary is that this new system allowed it with the—allowed people to transfer value for the first time without the need of a financial firm or a central bank or an intermediary of any kind.  And that was never possible before.  So what that means is that for the first time individuals can really control their assets and their value and kind of like be their own bank in a way.  And so the very kind of first system of using this kind of distributed ledger network was Bitcoin.  

And it's kind of the most like the simplest form of like Blockchain tech, like it allows a transfer of value and storing of, of this value, but it doesn't allow for much else.  So building more sophisticated financial applications is really hard on top of this Bitcoin network.  But there are other networks that allow for more complex software to learn on top of them, and the largest one is Ethereum.  So what's happening now is that while Bitcoin allowed for peer to peer transfer of value, Ethereum allows for more diverse financial applications being built on top of this network and this is what decentralized finance is.

Host:  All right.  So I always like to bring it back to like real life use cases that everybody can relate to today.  So you started off by talking about how you had worked at Argentina in the past and sort of got interested in crypto because you saw the issues with the volatility in the Argentina markets.  Maybe use that as a real life use case for what the problems are in Argentina with finance right now and then how decentralized finance can maybe solve some of those problems?

Camila Russo:  Yeah, absolutely.  So for Argentina—the reason why Argentines were buying Bitcoin since 2013 is because their own currency is being devalued at like 25% to like 50% every year.  And you count to buy other currencies like dollars to protect your savings.  So that means everyone is getting a salary and they know for a fact that if they hold that salary in the bank, it will be worth less by the end of the year and a lot less.  Like, it's not like, you know, there's some inflation in the US like, maybe it's like, I don't know, 1% or less like annual inflation.

But for, for Argentina unlike Venezuela and other countries, it's significantly worth more like 25%.  And because everyone is dumping their local currency and going to dollars, dollar purchases are fat and it's not like a theoretical thing, like I lived in firsthand (Sic).  I was earning my salary in Pesos and immediately before the currency controls was exchanging my Pesos to dollars as soon as I got them.  And then when the currency controls were implemented, that option was just like not there anymore in, in my like—in my bank.  

So it's like, I don't know that it's like really dramatic to see how governments and banks can like really control what—like your assets.  So that's why people buy Bitcoin.  But Bitcoin obviously is very volatile.  And, you know, well, you can expect that it, it will be like a hedge against the devaluation of your currency.  It's, it's also risky, like maybe one year Bitcoin can go, go up 10 times, but on other years, it can also go down many times, like, you know, 2018 2019.

So this is where something like DeFi really makes a difference, because DeFi allows anyone anywhere in the world to have dollar based savings accounts.  I mean, this is just one of the many use cases.  But I think it's probably the, the most important use cases for just of a wider audience.  And the, the fact is that before DeFi this just wasn't possible to be able to have a cryptocurrency that's pegged to the US dollar.  So that means that it's stable like the US dollar and earning interest.

So I think that's kind of a key difference because before maybe you would be able to buy like Tether or USDT or other stable coins in a centralized exchange.  But with DeFi, you're able to also deposit them in a smart contract, like, you're not—you're not depositing these coins in a bank, you're like sending them to a piece of like computer program.  And because of how the system works—systems work, but on the other side there's people borrowing and, and paying interest.

You as a lender are earning that interest, but it's all kind of based on smart contracts and you don't have to trust any, any bank in between taking a card or handling your, your money.  You're always in control of your private keys and still kind of earning interest on a dollar based asset.  So I think that's kind of like one of the most powerful use cases for, for DeFi for kind of like everyday, everyday people.

Matt:  Well, I think that's even more important now because are they talking about doing asset tax down there in Argentina, where they just take one or three --

Camila Russo:  Or 10.

Matt:  -- percent of your money—yeah.  So and then we also had asset taxes being talked about here in the US for a few—for a few politicians as well.  And like, could you imagine having the currency go down 20% every year and then on top of that they come into your bank account and take another 3% at the end of the year.  You know, just to, to—because they've been very bad at running the government.  I think essentially is maybe that's my opinion, but that's, that's --

Camila Russo:  Yeah.

Matt:  -- kind of how I read into that.  So well—so I think you've actually been underselling yourself a little bit.  So for those who don't know about Camila Russo on here, she actually wrote a book on the subject called, The Infinite Machine, which we have at Unstoppable Domains, we actually—every employee can get a free copy of this book, if they would like to read it, and it went through the history of smart contracts. 

So, it's almost like, and you will correct me if you're wrong, but you're like, you're writing articles for Bloomberg and then—and then you're like, I want to know more about—I want to know about more about smart contracts and then eventually you ended up writing a book on this subject.  So I'm actually kind of curious, you know.  And then after you wrote a book you went on to found what a lot of people would say is probably one of the best places to go for news in the space right now, which is Defiant which we'll get to in a second.

But on the book first, what, what inspired you to get started to write a book about the first smart contract Blockchain?  And you know, how do you—how do you get that started?  That's quite a task to be like, oh, I'm going to put 100,000 words on paper.  It's like, take me through that thought process because that sounds like torture to a lot of people out there?

Camila Russo:  Yeah.  Well, it kind of was torture.  No, not really, but it was really hard.  Anyways, yeah, I, I had always wanted to write a book, not mean, I, I never thought it would do it on something that is kind of complex and like—just like technical as Blockchain network.  But, you know, like I said, like, I got into journalism because I like writing so just like, a book was always kind of one of my goals that I—that I wanted to do.  I also had kind of my idea of what I wanted this book to be like.  

I, I think after reading 'In Cold Blood by Truman Capote' I was like, oh, wow, like, you can have non-fiction read like fiction, like read like a story and have it be as, as compelling as a novel.  So that like instantly became my, my goal together with having a book, it would have to be kind of a non-fiction book that read like a novel.  And then when I started reading Michael Lewis's books, I was like, okay, yes, like this is—this is what, like a non-fiction book is supposed to read like.

So I was like, always thinking about what Michael Lewis worthy topic would be to write about.  And so as I was, you know, covering news at Bloomberg I was always like, this was always in the back of my mind like, where's my book.  And with cryptos, it was the first time that I, I felt that it was like it's something that's interesting enough to write a book about and, and be it's, it's something that kind of where I could make a contribution.  Because for, for Argentina, I, I, I felt like it wasn't great to be writing a book, so, so --

Matt:  We'll stop.

Camila Russo:  -- it was just like.

Matt:  We'll, we'll edit all this, yeah take your time.

Camila Russo:  Yeah, okay.

Matt:  And if you need to go—if you need to go say hey to the dog, that will—we'll wait through.

Camila Russo:  I thought work with Argentina, like it wasn't my place to write a book on because like I don't know, I had been just like covering this like long and complicated history for like, just a couple of years.  While at the same time there were like, so many like in—like, incredible veteran journalists who were Argentines themselves and who had, you know, they, they had spent their whole careers covering this.  So, it's just like they didn't feel like it was like my story to tell.  But with crypto, everyone is new and it just felt like, you know, like, I'm, I'm as, as capable as anyone else to write up a book on this.

And so—and, and just like once I realized that I could write a book about crypto, at the end of 2017 I started thinking about what specifically the book should be about.  And I just realized that nobody had written the story of Ethereum.  And this was pretty incredible to me, seeing that, you know, Ethereum is the second biggest Blockchain, it has fueled a lot of the craziness of 2017.  It was the first smart contracts chain.  Like to me, it had already made history, it had like already made an impact in, in Tech and finance.

So even if—because like a lot of people told me, are you sure you want to write about Ethereum?  Like, what if it fails?  Like, maybe it won't be kind of relevant.

Matt:  Ethereum, Ethereum is—yeah.  Ethereum is the future of finance like, we needed somebody to write the Liar's Poker for cryptocurrency, which is essentially what you did.  And I think that like, it's been a huge help for a lot of people because if you're in this space for a long time, everyone comes to you with like, a million questions about how, how everything works.  And you literally wrote a book on the subject, which I just point people to do now.

And like so I would highly advise checking out the Infinite Machine, if you haven't already at home, it's a great book to kind of get into the space and get the history.  And I'm one of those people who likes the history of the space because that helps me understand it better.  So I really do appreciate the work that you've put into it.

Host:  And thank you.

Matt:  And then—and then after you wrote the book, you went on to found The Defiant, which is on Substack.  And it's actually kind of—it's interesting, because you, you're building basically a new direct consumer media platform, right?  Like you, you go—you're, you're, you're going direct to consumers, consumers can subscribe to you on Substack and they can—they can incentivize you, they can pay you through that way instead of, you know, having to write articles for some other company that then posts them for you.  

So I actually like that, what is like building a new direct consumer media platform at the Defiant, you know, what kind of growth have you guys seen?  And, you know, where are you trying to take the Defiant over the next, you know, decade as you guys are basically—you are covering the new finance?

Camila Russo:  So okay, what's it like?  It was—I mean, it's, it's been like, really mind blowing to, to start this like, essentially Media Company out of a newsletter.  I, I didn't really expect it to go this way.  Like when I, I saw—I left Bloomberg in early 2019 to finish the Infinite Machine and then realized the decentralized finance was like booming.  And that I agree like to me, it's a 100% the future of finance and so I felt there, there needs to be quality journalism in this space and I felt I, I could be the one to, to do that.

So I started the Defiant Newsletter on Substack June 2019 thinking it would be like a part time thing.  That I would be like a freelance journalist covering tech and finance and then having this kind of newsletter on the side just, you know, covering the main things that, that happened in DeFi.  But it quickly became my full time job to be running the Defiant because just so much was happening in DeFi.  Like it, it was taking longer and longer to put everything in this like daily newsletter, and it was super complicated.

So it took time to kind of research and talk to different people and like, really understand what was happening.  And also like I just—I just was fascinated by the space, like I saw a huge opportunity there.  Like I, I kind of very quickly realized there's, there's more to the—there's, there's a lot more potential here.  And, you know, it's, it's kind of worth my time to, to just like build this out.

So I decided to focus a 100% on, on the Defiant and meaning, I was like, yeah, doing writing the book and, and, running the newsletter.  And then when I, I finally finished the book, I decided to focus on the Defiant full time.  And the Defiant just like kept growing and growing, I kept getting great feedback, like people were really appreciating the, the content.  And it was a really nice change from writing at Bloomberg where it's, it's harder to get that sort of like gratitude from her readers.

It's like, you know, you're behind, it's like huge corporate brand.  Like I guess like people just expect you to like churn out like article after article, everything.  But it's something like a newsletter on DeFi and the next one is like—it has like really few content creators.  At least at that time there's more now, but in 2019, there were very few of us and I think that was actually the first DeFi focused newsletter.  People were really kind of grateful and appreciative and so I, I realized it was like product market fit, like people wanted this thing.

So yeah, it just kept growing.  I, I took on contributors.  I, I launched a podcast early last year.  I partnered up with Robin Schmidt, who used to be at Harmony, but is now full time at, at the Defiant to, to create a YouTube channel and he started producing incredible video content.  And then late last year, I made the Defiant website to kind of host all of this content in one place.  And I think the Defiant is looking more and more like an actual information company that newsletter.

There's, there's the newsletter, which is like driving still most of the traffic to all of the different other content, like it drives people to the Podcast to the—to the video content and to the website.  But I think—I think the—in—I think in the future, the kind of the website will be kind of the main home of the Defiant and hopefully a place that elevates the standards of reporting in the space.

This is what I want to bring to the Defiant, just high quality, unbiased objective reporting, which is sorely missing.  I think, right now you either have crypto media, which isn't really financial media, so they don't like go as in depth into DeFi as I think is necessary.  I mean, they're great places like the blog and, and the coin desk do a great job and decrypt.  But they're just like, they're journalists, so they cover everything not specifically DeFi.  And then it's DeFi, a new set of factors which by and large - - investors.

So you can't even trust to be unbiased and do actually journalism.  They are just like it is their investment so they are going to be polish this or they're going to be polish something else.  They are not going to be reporting on this - - or when something bad happens.  If there're super kind of pro-Ethereum DeFi they're not going to be covering when DeFi is going on in another chain.  So, you know, I, I think it's, it's a very like—the Defiant is very needed in this Space one because it is 100% DeFi focus.  And that's it because we are to do the all kind of quality journalism.

Matt:  Yeah, I think it's a natural response to have all of these new—more research newsletters coming out because people need real information about this space.  And then if you go on a lot of research it is all about who can get the most clips.  And so like I almost feel like—and when you see a lot of these talking then again I think Defiant is the better one was for the, the DeFi Space, it's not the best.  It's because a lot of these are coming up for Crypto.  

And I think this is actually just kind of part of the creative economy.  Like people inside the crypto they want to create and so off course they're going to find ways better news for people to learn about it.  But it's really hard to find, you can't just type in the google, you know, you have to look for result but I think we would get there.

And then another thing new that is super interesting for you guys particularly is they've been huge acquisitions and valuations in the—in, in the space for consumers news and all of these types of apps in the regular, you know, like Robin Hood obviously very huge puzzles words or puzzles.  I think they just had a huge investment in coin making cap was acquired by Binance four million etcetera.

So like all these—like information providing services for in consumers about crypto are actually getting, you know, a lot of investment interest in your term.  I think Defiant is receiving, you know, a really good spot to build on the brand especially since you've invested so much deeply space.  So on that note, what's new for the Defiant in 2021, like it was a crypto summary for that and then I'm going to actually divert I get a bunch of like questions on, on some of the things that I've seen you post recently.  

Camila Russo:  Yeah.  So, so like I said for, for the Defiant, the, the goals revealed a financial information company focusing on the intersection of tech and finance.  So I'm not going to dive into that.  Financial information means not just content and also data.  So with that, I'm obviously doubling down on high quality DeFi content, but I am also building a DeFi data platform that, that would work similar to a Bloomberg terminal.  

So I'm still as a dashboard where you can get all the, the data you couldn’t ever possibly need and to stratify and that is also 100% customizable so that you can create your own charts with any access, any metrics across any time frame that you want.  Creative market views to, to track their market and so, yeah.  That's what I'm doing now.  So the ideas to, to continue being the—to continue being the leader in high quality high content and news, but also in DeFi focus data.  Yeah, I, I think that's becoming the, the Bloomberg of DeFi it's kind of what's the—what's next of the DeFi.

Host:  Yeah, one thing that you actually don’t bring up at us that you actually a Podcast host as well.  You have a Podcast called the Defiant Podcast.  And one thing that I want us to bring up real quickly, we're talking about this talking recording is you end up with Mark Zuckerberg recently which you super exciting?

Camila Russo:  Yeah, it's. 

Host:  What, what, what was that, like why did you—obviously Mark Zuckerberg has been tweeting about this, like what was it about Mark Zuckerberg that—like you really wanted to talk to him about and how, how is that conversation? 

Fr:  So well, I obviously saw him tweeting about AVI and like buying NFTs and, and just like he seems to be very knowledgeable about just NFTs and, and DeFi, I surprisingly saw.  So I, I want to kind of just dig into that and get his impression and like what, what he found out with the space and, and like how much he actually knew.  So I had e-mailed with him and before for like all stories and then, you know, he was like pretty receptive to e-mail.

He also read a copy of, of my book that, that I sent to him so like we corresponded one before.  So he just like said, okay.  I'll just try—I'll just try and see if he buy—he like, instantly he responding yeah, like I'm a subscriber to the Defiant - - with Podcast, we recorded it like a few base.   After that e-mail and, and we, we talked about kind of what he was seeing DeFi and I'm, I'm—I just like I've started the conversation by clearing up this, this kind of like, I guess like a misconception that there words of him that he was—like a bitcoin or crypto sceptic.

Because he's made a lot of comments like criticizing bitcoin and or, or like questioning its value.  So I need to clear that up.  And it, it turns out that he is 100% that crypto - - he just didn’t see bitcoin as means of payment which I think, you know, it's totally valid assessment.  But which is really kind of really polish about is actually Ethereum and the ability of smart contracts and how is smart contracts can lead to different financial applications and then what's he's really crazy about these actually NFTs.

You know, he obviously knows that I'm the owner of the Dallas Mavericks he collected baseball cards.  And so to him like having these, these some parts that actually linked to tokens and are digital and permutable and that there's a potential for earning revenue from future sales.  Like all of these is just like mind blowing to him and he just—he's like sure about this will take over kind of the physical collectable world because it's just so much better.

Host:  I'm kind of curios to hear your thoughts on NFTs.  Obviously, it's, you know, NFTs started trending on twitter, everywhere is talking about NFTs.  Do you see that as a bubble that can burst out at some point or do you really see NFTs in being in future?  Like I would love to get your personal facts on NFTs?

Camila Russo:  I think there's like element of, of a bubble in, in like how people are pricing NFTs.  I think—yeah, maybe some of these tokens are, are, are being over values because they, they are like part of this hype cycle, but that doesn’t mean that there is—there is no kind of real value there.  I, I absolutely believe that NFTs are here to stay and they have actual lasting, lasting value.

I think that's, you know, the, the, the ability to own something unique and to proof that you own it and to have it be traceable.  To have like the provenance of, of it be traceable and those are all huge improvements from like physical and digital collectables from kind of arts to baseball cards to, you know, even songs.  So that's kind of one, one part and then the other side that hasn’t been explored very much, but is just—I, I think is coming is, is just the ability of the communities and fans to invest in, in their—in their idols and to kind of earn form, from that as well.

So I, I interviewed with—on the Podcast too with Lau [phonetic], the, the DJ.  And he is a producer and he is super excited about this, this idea of like selling—selling a song to, to, to, to his audience and, and then that audience kind of earning the royalties from that song via this this token.  So I think this is just a tip of the iceberg and like the, the fact of having these tokens on networks that are, are made to carry value and that are a kind of immutable and, and traceable, will own up so many possibilities going forward for this kind of unique and like digital assets.

Host:  That's so funny because that you just kind of blurb because you really just talking about him if he's dropping his Debut album or what's called ultraviolet.  Treyor [phonetic] is organizing his Debut album and he's got Shopify store and stuff like that too.  So it's really cool to see how NFTs can help content creators whether it's musicians or, you know, any type—writers, any type of content creator in the future.  I, I think the possibility is there unless that I'm personally really excited about.

Camila Russo:  Yeah - - .

Matt:  So, I'm --

Camila Russo:  Yeah, I, I think—yeah, I'm sorry ahead.

Matt:  -- all right.  Yeah.  I was just going to switch gears a little bit.  And I was actually going to ask about scaling 'cause I know that this is something people are bringing up a lot now especially on Ethereum 'cause of the congestion of the network.  And I actually just wanted to get you thoughts 'cause I know you've done some research on this on layer two scaling solutions and what you think the timelines will be for impact for people in the Blockchains space.  I know a lot of people will be interested in that.

And then what do you see happening on some of the other chains, you know, that, that maybe some of the - - chains and do you think there is anything news worthy there and just, yeah, your general thought on scaling for Blockchains in general?

Camila Russo:  So I think the first thing to, to note is that Ethereum is having scaling problems because of just the amount of crazy demands that the rate to use Ethereum as he use of DeFi applications, so it, it is kind of a great problems will have, but it like it really sucks because is making Ethereum unusable unless you have to pay and like can beat the - - in transactions.  So I think—and we wrote this in a story, "The faith of Ethereum and the success of Ethereum DeFi really does depend on scaling solutions and each tool supposed to be answer to the, but that's many years away."

So layer tools are kind of a bridge to get there and so they are—I mean, it's you kind of - - me how important they are to Ethereum right now.  So, yeah - - to bring some these congestion on Ethereum off chain and making and make you seeing this DeFi Dapps and some other Dapps and cheaper and, and faster.  The relevant of these solution and optimistic relapse, CK relapse, plasmatic channels.  We did a whole kind of state of layer tools and the DeFi, you can go check it out.

But the timelines for, for these solutions there all live, although it's live since very recently.  So they're not kind of mature systems and networks.  And that means that they, they don't have many applications that are being built on top of them yet.  And only a, a couple of Ethereum based applications are actually moving to layer two.  The most recent one was YDX [phonetic] and analyst.  It's going to a CK roll up space solution yesterday. So that's encouraging. 

Synthetics also has part of its operations, like staking of the synthetic token is on, on optimistic roll up, but that's pretty much it for, for like the larger Ethereum gaps.  And, and so this is really kind of concerning because it's, it's so needed, like people aren't using Ethereum and are going to other places because it's, it's really expensive.  And the solution is really right there like these, these networks are live today.

So I think what what's, what's happening is that it's just becoming so pressing and, and the fact that users are going to other, other teams is hopefully going to encourage different applications to move to layer two quicker, but we'll see.  Otherwise, many people will just use DeFi, in, in other chains.

Matt:  Well, I will, I'll put a plug in here so Unstoppable is working on a layer two and we're targeting August for our migration.  So we'll be—we're moving, right?  So one of the apps are moving because we think it's, it's pressing to get over there.  The, the issue is the UX is actually much more difficult for users for a lot of reasons that we won't get into, but, you know, we need to work through those and I think people will become used to it.  And I agree that it is kind of a bridge to what we need to make the next steps.

So I'm, I'm sure the next question is one that most people are most interested in, which is what do you see happening in DeFi in, in this, in this next year?  'Cause you cover it so much.  Are there any parts that you think are particularly interesting and outside of scaling or maybe it is scaling that you think is worth mentioning for listeners that you see really happening in 2021 in full force?

Camila Russo:  So I think kind of the main major pieces that have been missing and DeFi have been a decentralized identity and with that, the ability to do under or uncollateralized loans.  Because right now the, the fact that you need capital to transact in DeFi and you need to put up collateral to make—to, to borrow or to do almost anything is putting a major barrier for smaller users or people who, who don't have the, the resources.

So I think it's key to have decentralized identity.  So people don't need to rely on collateral to, to borrow and seeing how quick and I don't know, just exponential.  Innovation has been in the space.  It wouldn't surprise me that those probably are solved this year. So that's kind of what I'm looking forward to seeing the most.

Host:  That's awesome.  Well, so for our next segment, Camila, we have what we call explain your tweet, which is where I go through your Twitter and pull out some interesting or cryptic or funny tweets and give you a chance to talk about it.  Your Twitter is just such a good resource for people that are wanting to learn about DeFi and crypto.  A lot of it is tweets from the Defiant and so people listening who want to learn more about this space definitely go follow Camila.

But one—I just want to pull out one tweet real quick.  This is sort of a funny one that people have been talking about a lot.  So DOGE coin is something that has been trending lately and you tweeted, this was, let's see, back on February 17th. So about a week ago you tweeted dissecting DOGE meme economics in today's Defiant news, every single price spike corresponds to a Twitter trend.

Camila Russo:  Correct.

Host:  Talk more about that and what you were talking about there?

Camila Russo:  Yeah, so—yeah.  This is story from one of my reporters, Dan Kahan, and he, he—we were talking about kind of how funny DOGE was on this whole kind of - - movement and how much—just like the market seemed to be moved by, by memes and like the difference between memes and, and fundamentals and if there was a difference.  And so this story was kind of exploring that like we looked at the DOGE fundamentals and what kind of actually what's going on, on a, like on chain level, like number of addresses, number of transactions and everything was pretty stable.  Like there was like nothing there to really explain the huge pump in the, in DOGE coin this year. 

So like, like because of fundamentals like DOGE student have done—shouldn't be doing any anything.  But then it's really kind of Elon Musk tweets and just like Twitter trends, what's driving price.  And so then kind of charted the, the DOGE price chart and, and went to see when DOGE was trending on Twitter and like the peaks corresponded exactly with that Twitter trends.  So that was interesting to see.

Host:  For sure, yeah.  So basically if you want your coin to succeed, just get Elon Musk to tweet, tweet about it and then design some sort of funny meme around it and there you go like you even you don’t care.

Matt:  Cute, cute animal picture.

Host:  Yeah, cute dog pics that gets everybody.  Hi, well, Camila, I really appreciate your time, thank you so much for joining us.  Before you go, just tell people where they can find you if they want to connect with you personally and also where they can learn more about the Defiant and get just your book, all, all the good things?

Camila Russo:  Yeah, sure.  So you can follow me on Twitter at @Camiarusso, C-A-M-I-R-U-S-S-O and go to the Defiant.io.  And there you'll, you'll be able to see where to subscribe to the newsletter and where to follow the YouTube channel and listen to the podcast as well.  And then the Infinite Machine is yeah, available on, on Amazon to deliver anywhere in the world, so hopefully you can read it.

Host:  Awesome.  Well, thank you—thank you so much, Cami for being here.  Thanks Matt for co-hosting with me as usual, thank you listeners for tuning in and we'll be back again soon with another episode of The Unstoppable Podcast.

Camila Russo:  Thanks a lot.