Tamara Frankel: Deep Dive into the Polkadot and Kusama Ecosystem, the Power of Memes, and DeFi 3.0
Jan 20 2022 · 27 min read
Hosted by Jeremy Ong, VP of Business Operations
In this episode, we sit down with Tamara Frankel, Founding Partner of D1 Ventures, a crypto asset focused investment and advisory firm that is powering the future of the open economy. We dive into how the Polkadot ecosystem stacks up against Cosmos, the next generation of DeFi (DeFi 3.0), the state of DAOs, and much more!
Jeremy: Hey everyone. I’m Jeremy from Delphi. This is my first podcast for Delphi and I’m really excited to be hosting Tamsra from D1 Ventures. Really nice for you to join me on the show today. Happy New Year. Let’s start by saying hello to our listeners and maybe a quick introduction of yourself.
Tamara: Hi everyone. My name is Tamara. I am a founding partner of D1 Ventures. I’m an all around Degen / Ape and an aficionado of this technology.
Jeremy: For our listeners who are not familiar with D1 Ventures and yourself, can elaborate more on how you got into crypto and also how did you guys start D1 Ventures?
Tamara: I’ve been in this space for a while. I think I bought my first Bitcoin in 2013 and really didn’t find my path in this space really until Ethereum which opened up a whole new world to me. I’ve had failed projects in the space in the past; crazy creative things I’ve tried to do that didn’t work out. Every one of them taught me a lesson. Meeting my partners now at D1 Ventures, we actually began by starting a trading business in the last bear market. I was super inspired by some of Arthur Hayes’s writing, from the “ETH is a double digit shitcoin,” and, Polly Pocket era. We formed D1 Ventures to invest in DeFi because we were so early into DeFi via being everyday crypto users and seeing the lack of infrastructure for crypto natives. Just simple things.
Tamara: I mean, this is pre-Curve, right? You’re like, “Why isn’t there a DEX that I can trade stablecoins on?” This is pretty simple. Seeing the way in the last bull run the narrative had been so blown out of reality where we were doing crazy stuff like supply chain on the blockchain, etc. Suddenly, there was a range of products for crypto natives that absolutely made sense. There were products that we were waiting for, essentially. We are not a traditional fund. We don’t have outside capital which definitely gives us a lot more freedom to do what we want, to be able to completely change our thesis and mindset on the fly when something happens so fast in this space as it does, and also to be a different kind of investor. Everyone these days talks about value add investors and what you can do.
Tamara: We’re investors as users and collaborators. We invest in things that we want to use, that we want to see in the world. I’d say we’re most known for our investments in the Polkadot ecosystem, also DeFi, dWeb, NEAR ecosystem as well. We are definitely pretty wide ranging. That’s my spiel about D1.
How Polkadot stacks up against Cosmos
Jeremy: Nice. That’s very helpful to know. You mentioned that D1 Ventures were early investors in DeFi as well as the Polkadot ecosystem. You’re known for being a vocal supporter of Polkadot. In 2022, we’re starting to see a lot of CT as an echo chamber. Everybody’s talking about the Cosmos ecosystem right now. Just curious on what’s your take on how Polkadot would stack up against Cosmos, etc.
Tamara: It’s hard to just say, “It’s better in this way than that way.” I haven’t really been following in terms of where Cosmos is at with shared security which they’re adopting like Polkadot, which was a main difference. There’s a few things. First of all, I think there’s not as many vocal shills from the Polkadot community because it’s such a tech-centric community. I think there’s a few things that are really interesting. There’s this Vitalik tweet that everyone’s talking about, about multi-chain and security issues of bridges, right? When you really think about it, we have multi-chain DeFi right now but we do not have cross-chain DeFi. That actually does not exist. I cannot take my LP position on one chain and move it to another – my interest bearing assets.
Tamara: I have to unwind these positions and move them to each chain, right? There is no solution for this. You see projects like Composable which is a Polkadot and Kusama project is doing this with Mosaic because of some of the capabilities like off-chain workers of the Substrate SDK. Also, Comp is using Substrate in this way. There’s a possibility to have these vaults, that are essentially like a bridge with its own consensus, to be able to swap these positions and assets; truly for cross-chain DeFi. All of this stuff is really complicated and it takes a long time to build. What we’re seeing right now everywhere is: what is crushing DeFi right now? It’s basically EVM DeFi. Before we see this real innovation, I do believe that Polkadot ecosystem is where we will see this true cross-chain innovation, but until then, Moonbeam is about to launch.
Tamara: The Polkadot ecosystem will, hopefully with Moonbeam, have its day as an EVM chain for this current multi-chain, EVM, DeFi reality that we’re in right now.
Jeremy: That’s very helpful. I like how you mentioned shared security. As far as I understand, the downside for change building on top of Cosmos is that they all need to recruit their own set of validators, while Polkadot / Kusama / each parachain inherits the security of the Layer 0.
Tamara: Exactly. You also have built into that the metagame of parachains, which is also really interesting and adds another element. The last time we talked was at the height of Polkadot parachains beginning. It’s kind of a meta-game on top of this shared security reality that also accrues value back to the DOT token. I like to think of Polkadot as almost like a reserve currency ecosystem. There’s such a low float. You have so much DOT and Kusama (because they’re mirrors of each other) locked up either in staking or in parachains, etc. When you think in this way, you have to reevaluate what is a currency.
Tamara: There’s inflation; why are you printing this? What is it actually producing or buying? Innovation, essentially, needs new parachains and securing these new parachains.
Jeremy: We’ve seen projects raising money through crowd loans instead of selling tokens outright. I think that’s very interesting. Parachains with crowd loans is a very interesting mechanism because parachains, as far as I understand, are not permanent. Anybody could come in and unseat you if they’re doing something better. I think that actually stops projects from getting too powerful or getting complacent and they have to constantly innovate. Otherwise, new projects would come and supplant you, for example. Not sure if you share this view.
Tamara: Totally. I do share this view, especially coming from being an active DeFi participant through the entire cycle and going through all the fork wars. We just went through the OHM fork wars, the YFI mega-forking. In the beginning, this was a really uncomfortable truth for people. It’s like, “This is open source technology. You can just fork it and maybe innovate it a little bit and do better and supplant the incumbent.” I believe that’s actually very healthy because it keeps people on their toes. It keeps innovation constantly going. I’m really excited about DeFi 3.0 right now. Something so beautiful about it is this software development cycle with the forks, with the innovation, where it’s more about the conversation and the iteration that happens through this conversation than it is about any one project or final solution.
Tamara: It’s pretty cool. I can imagine that as well. The Polkadot cycle is much longer because of the length of parachains, etc.. It’s not the insane velocity of DeFi, but you can see the makings of something similar which is very exciting.
The next generation of DeFi (DeFi 3.0)
Jeremy: It’s interesting that you touched on DeFi 3.0. Are you able to share more about what you like or what you’re excited about in terms of DeFi 3.0?
Tamara: I know the market’s tanking right now and everyone’s like max fear, but I’ve never been more bullish just because we go through these periods of innovation and lulls in DeFi. First of all, we’re seeing these different models. If you think about DeFi 1.0, let’s think about rebase coins: we have something like Ample or Based. It basically rebases evenly distributed to everyone. OHM upended this by now it’s distributed to the stakers, and now you have Andre who just published the ve(3,3) paper. Now there’s like the new version of OHM of basically this flowing back to the protocol itself which is actually, in my mind, the real solution, or at least we’re getting closer to the real solution because these protocols have to be self-sustaining. Look at all of this struggle in the YFI community.
Tamara: After having this scarce asset they thought, “How do we keep it going? How do we pay developers? How do we pay for public goods and they keep this going?” Now there have been multiple solutions to this. There might be a new solution in the future, but, at the end of the day, I think we’re working more towards at least having the conversation about how to really make these things viable in the world beyond just that initial pump and that initial big APY or even something as feudal as these wars for liquidity, right? Who can give out the most rewards and bootstrap the most rewards? At the end of the day, that’s a zero sum game, and it’s not an incredibly fun game to play.
Jeremy: Yeah that makes sense. I like that you touched on ve(3,3) / the paper that Andre worked on. I think that’s really interesting because, as you mentioned, Curve is probably one of the earliest DeFi projects that launched on Ethereum and everybody was shitting on the veCurve model previously because it’s meant for farm and dumping, etc. Now, we suddenly see a whole wave of new projects taking on that model because the Pool2 farming wasn’t sustainable and doesn’t really align interests that well. It’s very interesting to see how the DeFi shifted from, “veCurve sucks,” until right now where the veCurve escrow model is the holy grail. I do agree with you in thinking that this is not the final iteration and I’m excited to see projects that will take on something like ve(3,3).
Jeremy: It’s interesting though because in (3,3) models like Olympus DAO, stakers still can get diluted by bond sale, if I’m understanding it correctly. While, with ve(3,3), once you stake you will always maintain your percentage of the network. I’m really excited to see how that plays out.
Tamara: Me too. I also have this fun project with my partner in Degen Citadel, Dicc DAO. In some ways, we really started for fun to experiment with some of these new ideas in DeFi in NFTs. We’re working on a revamp with a ve token model as well, just to play around with it. It’s interesting to see how that’s going to iterate and all the experiments… because honestly a lot of these experiments – I actually think that the most interesting thing is when they fail because that’s when you learn a lot of lessons so you can iterate to the next idea or system. I’m going to try that out.
Overview of Dicc DAO
Jeremy: Do you want to go deeper into Dicc DAO, this project that you’re working on? It sounds interesting.
Tamara: Okay…so no shill or anything. I don’t want that pressure. Basically, it’s something we started for fun. I’m sure you know Degen Square Citadel which is, in my opinion, the best community out there. It’s a lot of early YFI people, degens, etc., super collaborative and amazing. A friend of mine in there was looking at Pepe Casa Pepe Dicks and aped into one. I FOMO’d so hard and I aped into one as well. They were 10 ETH at the time. It seemed kind of crazy. I was just like, “No, this is art.” There was a lot of DMCA FUD around Pepe because of Matthew Furie at that time. I was like, “Matthew Fury definitely didn’t draw these dicks, so that’s not going to be a problem.”
Tamara: At the time, I was deeply into (and still am) the art critic Brad Troemel. He was a really early crypto artist working with things like Casascius coins and actually made some of the very first interactive crypto art. This is pre-NFT. Things like Casascius coins with Bitcoins in them, sealed into vacuum seal bags. You had to toy with the idea of what’s more valuable: this is a unified piece of art or the Bitcoins held within it. He has a lot of ideas about how essentially memes are co-opting the traditional art world. A lot of these ideas drove my NFT collection. We also have a D1 NFT collection. We recently had an exhibit of it in New York City. A lot of Rare Pepes and Pepe Dicks…
Tamara: That was kind of the impetus behind it. At the time, we were the second DAO to fractionalize ownership of an NFT. This was a really new idea and we jumped into it because we wanted to do it because the goal of all of this is experimentation and fun. We like to have fun playing with DeFi and NFTs. Basically just seeing how this goes: can we share this with the world? People that want to be in our meme troll DAO, etc. We didn’t have a really clear direction. Because of doing this for fun and not motivated by a token pumping or having to make money from this, we sat on it for a while and thought, “We all have other projects and things that we do in this space.”
Tamara: It makes me think because DAO’s are going to be huge. In a year or two, we’re going to see DAOs acquiring traditional companies. I’m sure of that. DAOs are already acquiring property. We did this before Constitution DAO, and, Constitution DAO, though being an epic failure in many ways, really changes your perspective of the fact of, “Here we are in this Web3 reality. We’re trying to fundamentally change the financial system and what ownership means in the world today.” In this new reality, do museums even make sense? If we’re disintermediating from the government, why should we have a government institution or even one that’s held by some private foundation controlled by billionaires essentially own and control the things that are the most meaningful to us in this world?
Tamara: It would seem to be a much better idea to have these things owned by DAOs that people can opt in to and opt out of. Maybe I see a Pepe Dick as a really high form of art, and maybe you don’t, and that’s fine because there might be other people that see a Pepe Dick as a piece of high value art. Another person can be part of a DAO that owns something else. Why is this important? No, I don’t think that Pepe Dicks themselves are really going to change the world. This is again back to the theme of iteration and conditioning. It’s like reconditioning people to think differently about ownership and what that means and what it means to create your own communities around the ownership of assets.
Issues that DAOs face
Jeremy: That was very insightful. I agree for the most part DAOs are probably going to take over a lot of stuff over the next 2-3 years. It’s probably going to be a huge movement and shift in power and a way to coordinate social behavior, essentially. One thing that I notice with DAOs is that most people are in multiple DAOs. People in DAOs are generally more distracted and less focused. Especially for venture DAOs, people keep talking about how venture DAOs are going to compete with VCs, with angel investors, etc., because these projects can now tap into a collective of people rather than a specific angel or one fund, for example. I personally disagree with that. I think DAOs currently still suffer from a distraction problem, so to speak.
Tamara: I totally get it. I have the same problem. I see the same problems in venture DAOs as well. First of all, we need better DAO management tools. I don’t know the answer to this. Honestly, I think about this all the time because I have a DAO and I’m a member of other DAOs. In a lot of them I’m not as active. Even with Polkadot and Kusama, I’m not as active as I could be in a lot of these votes on-chain. There’s this crazy Polkadot ecosystem shitcoin from almost two years ago, Kulupu, that I was on the council for, just going through this experiment to just to see…and it was so much work.
Tamara: I’m always getting pinged to vote. “You’re the last one. Why aren’t you voting?” I’m like, “Now this is a job.” Through all this, I’ve realized at this point I can’t even join any more DAOs because I don’t have the bandwidth. It’s not just about sitting there voting. It’s about reading all of the background, keeping up with the conversation of everyone else in the DAO as well, to know what’s going on and what’s the dialogue, so that when I do vote or make a decision here, I’m actually informed and I have a positive impact. I don’t really know the solution. I am looking at projects that are working in the DAO management space.
Tamara: It’s also really hard for me to imagine a way in which, let’s say via an interface, you can make it easier to participate in multiple DAOs. Venture DAOs have their own unique struggles too. First of all, it’s the dilution of how big can they really get. Your stake in them is never really as big as you want, etc. I also realize the incredible value of being able to tap into this collective of people who are truly value add and who can jump in and give you suggestions and advice that could totally make or break your project, bootstrap community, etc. I don’t know what the solution is to tell you the truth.
Jeremy: Personally, one of the things that I’m more excited about in terms of governance: I do think that DAOs try to take a very idealistic approach whereby everything is bottoms up. Everything is very grassroots. Everybody must vote type-of-thing. The fact of the matter is, for example, Tamara, I’m pretty sure you’re not a specialist in terms of everything. So, it wouldn’t make sense for you to vote on everything even though it’s not part of your forte or your strengths. Right? One thing that I’m excited about is something committees how Y-teams in Orca Protocol are doing it. I think it’s going to move towards more of a company structure where there are specialized teams, but instead of these teams being built out top down, could the community vote in specialists in certain areas to manage certain functions within the DAO?
Tamara: Oh totally. I have to check out Orca. I don’t know anything about it. A couple of years ago, with a friend of mine, we were discussing governance structures. He kind of pilled me on a multi-body sortition which is actually a way to scale Athenian democracy. It works in this same way with these committees who are specialists at certain things. Maybe you have a technical committee that everyone votes in. At the end of the day, it’s not like you’re passing these votes on technical issues before the general audience; it just sticks to that committee. It is run more like a company. I absolutely believe that this totally open, top down governance structure might work for a really simple DAO. Once you’re getting into these much more complicated visions and institutions, it absolutely doesn’t make sense.
The differences between Polkadot and Kusama
Jeremy: 100%. I don’t think it’s the final form yet but it’s nice to see the DAOs moving towards this direction. As it is, I think it’s tough for DAOs to compete with corporations or top down institutions at the moment. I wanted to go back on the conversation a little bit. D1 Ventures and yourself are very much in the weeds when it comes to the Polkadot ecosystem. On Twitter, this is not very often talked about. I’m curious how that ecosystem differs. It sounds very confusing for a new investor. When I first saw Polkadot and Kusama, I couldn’t actually bring in Kusama because at first I thought it was just like a testnet for Polkadot, which is why I didn’t pay much attention to it. I wouldn’t pay attention to a Testnet Ethereum, for example. Just wanted to get your take there.
Tamara: This is something my viewpoint on iterates between because I hold both and I’m constantly trying to rebalance and think which one is going to have more long-term value. This has been a debate in the DotSama community since 2019. I made some of the original “Kusama is not a Testnet” memes. Yet, I’m someone also who dumped all of their Kusama $2 and bought back in on the way up. It’s interesting to think about how will the ecosystem shape up. There are different communities and different ethos in both. At first, we should start with looking at it in terms of distribution. Everyone complains that Polkadot has too much VC distribution, but I would disagree with it. I think it’s a lot better than a lot of other chains.
Tamara: There’s some really interesting large holders in there, but the thing is a lot of VCs that did the private sale, the 2017 sale, in that sale you got airdropped Kusama one-to-one for your DOT, and a lot of them dumped. You could watch it happening in real time. That definitely changed the distribution. Also the fact that here’s DOT, this incredibly high value, exotic asset that had really no liquidity for years, that a lot of people wanted, and there was no way to access it until the launch day for most people, but they could buy Kusama. That created a more grassroots and community token distribution. Kusama’s faster; the cycles move faster. The parachain leases are shorter. The governance cycles are shorter. That’s kind of like the test-in-prod space (to take an Andre-ism) which makes things more exciting.
Tamara: In the beginning, I don’t think the early DOT projects really thought about dual deployment. All of a sudden, they’re faced with the reality of, “Do we have to do dual deployments? How do we differentiate a dual deployment? How does this actually make sense?” I think very few projects are going to have dual deployments that last. Moonbeam / Moonriver: I see those dual deployments lasting, just because of the fact that it’s needed infrastructure, general purpose EVM chain. Moonriver is special because of the community ownership. There’s no VCs. Moonbeam investors did not get pro-rata Moonriver, which I think always gives something a really special vibe and community that you can’t recreate. I think a lot of the other projects will probably downgrade for one of their deployments. Or, let’s say if they were really focusing on being a Polkadot parachain, kind of using the Kusama parachain as a trial run.
Tamara: We’ve been seeing this really since RMRK, Subsocial, and Zeitgeist, these “Kusama first” projects where they’re not even interested in being a Polkadot parachain or being in the Polkadot ecosystem. I think that’s really what’s going to make the difference is the fact that there are projects carving out a niche on Kusama. We’ll see the same thing with DOT, too. We’re seeing that with Efinity, for example. Right now, they’re not on Kusama – they’re only Polkadot. That’s how I think the differentiation will happen. In terms of advice for people, I don’t really know. For me, it’s still a coin flip where I really don’t know which one in the end is going to end up being the most valuable, which ecosystem. Owning the relay chain tokens, I really believe it’s like essentially having a stake in this ecosystem…
Tamara: …and having network power in this ecosystem. Then you have to ask yourself, “Which ecosystem is going to be the most valuable?” I truly don’t know. I tend to look at things on a really long time horizon. On a really long time horizon, I have no idea which one will win out. I believe that it’s probably going to be a back and forth type thing. It’s all going to be dependent on the projects and these ecosystems. I’m sure there’s going to be times in the life cycle of DotSama that Kusama has stronger projects and is a more exciting place to be. There’s going to be times when DOT does. I kind of always view them together and just having a piece of this larger thing.
Getting involved with the DotSama ecosystem
Jeremy: That makes a lot of sense. Another thing that I wanted to ask you, and we actually talked about this previously but I wanted to get our listeners onboard as well, on CT people are talking a lot about stuff Solana, NEAR, ATOM, and Ethereum at a moment, but there seems to be very little activity or chatter around the DotSama ecosystem. I’m curious how the community organizes itself. Where do they mostly hang out? If I wanted to jump in head first into the ecosystem, where’s the first place you would recommend I start looking?
Tamara: I’ve made a list that you can have pinned onto this, but I would say the DotSama ecosystem is pretty isolated in terms of: we have our own influencers, our own Crowdcast, our own DotSama CT community. We’re not super integrated with the rest of the crypto space. In that way, I’m unusual in the DotSama ecosystem because I’m so integrated into DeFi. It actually really helps you bring new ideas to DotSama when you’re out playing around on every chain, coming back with lessons learned, and seeing these innovations, etc…even though there is an OHM Fork right now on Moonriver. I think that part of the reason why is because there is a metagame going on with this EVM DeFi that we’re not part of yet.
Tamara: I think that even though on Moonriver, Solarbeam farm was good for a while but still so small compared to a lot of these other chains when you see Trader Joe blow up on Avalanche or some of these NEAR farms. I’m farming on NEAR right now. In some ways, DotSama has been left out of this EVM multi-chain DeFi metagame. In some ways, it’s not a terrible thing. DotSama has its own metagame of parachain crowd loans which was amazingly fun and something a lot of people didn’t get it didn’t get to participate in. I think the Kusama crowd loans were so much more fun than the DOT ones because they’re shorter, so it’s less commitment and people are more willing to ape and the game is funner.
Tamara: I aped into 10x as many Kusama parachains as I did on DOT because it’s a bigger decision, etc. There’s another issue: that this parachain game is pretty obtuse to outsiders. First of all, it makes more sense to be locking into parachains if your cost basis is in Kusama and DOT. You know what I mean? Same thing as if your cost basis is in Ethereum and you’ve been in ETH forever. It’s a different game when you’re denominating in ETH and locking ETH in places. That’s one thing. Also, just the fact that it’s complicated and a couple of degrees removed so that people actually have to learn a new way to look at things versus, once you’ve done cross-chain DeFi on one chain via Metamask, it’s basically the same story everywhere else.
Tamara: If you’ve used one bridge, you’ve used them all. If you’ve used one farm, you’ve used them all. It’s not like you have to completely reframe the game in your mind. That is something that has hindered adoption. I think though, is this really important? Is being part of this current EVM metagame important for the long-term success of DotSama, or does that not really matter? Is the most important use case of Polkadot and Kusama this type of DeFi? I’m not completely convinced it is. I was mentioning before about using Substrate SDK and creating these cross-chain vaults. Maybe that is going to be the key innovation in cross-chain DeFi and we’ll look back and be like, “I can’t believe we even thought of the world today as being cross-chain.” You know what I mean?
Tamara: I do think there are a few blockers for a total newbie to DotSama to be able to figure out where to jump in. It’s easy to get onto Moonriver right now. All of that said all, I am still really excited about Moonbeam launching because I think there’s going to be all the big DeFi projects from Ethereum and every other chain are going to be on Moonbeam. Right now, on Moonriver, it’s niche. I love it because it’s its own thing. I think there’s some Sushi stuff. I don’t farm it right now, I also love the fact that Moonriver has its own farms, its own OHM fork, its own Ponzis, its own games that are totally native and nowhere else…
Tamara: …but I think when Moonbeam launches and when people can hook into these DeFi primitives that are on Ethereum, that’s going to be the game changer. I think we’re going to have great farming in the beginning on Moonbeam as well. That will kind of be the entry of DotSama into the EVM metagame.
Is it too late to get into crowd loans?
Jeremy: I agree with that. In terms of product market fit, EVM and that whole experience with Metamask and WalletConnect, that already has a lot of distribution in terms of people’s browsers and everything. Crypto natives are probably most familiar with that UX. I remember first using Polkadot.js and I was like, “Holy shit, what is this?” I share the same excitement in terms of Moonbeam. I think that’s going to usher in an age of at least some DeFi activity from people who are familiar with EVM. I wanted to touch on your point: you mentioned that a lot of these crowd loans make a lot more sense if you denominate in the native token like Kusama and DOT. Would you say that for an absolute newbie or somebody who’s fresh in the ecosystem, would you still recommend aping into these crowd loans?
Tamara: You’d really have to think about it. I think we’re getting close to running out of great projects on Kusama. You know what I mean? There have been a lot of crowd loans. I still think Kusama is a great buy. I’ve been buying it this whole time, to tell you the truth. That being said, we are getting to the point of saturation on Kusama. Of course, there’s going to be a whole new wave of projects like there always is. That’s the amazing thing about crypto is this constant innovation. I think for a newb, Kusama crowd loans are the easier entry point because they’re less commitment. It’s a shorter time period. A lot of times the rewards are a lot better than on DOT. Just do the math…
Tamara: …it’s like half the amount of time, and a lot of times you don’t have VC distribution and you can give more tokens over a shorter period. They’re more degen. So, I think that’s a better entry point. Honestly, you really have to break it down. I think that we’ve made a spreadsheet for every single crowd loan on both Kusama and DOT, breaking down the math and understanding. I have friends that get so complicated with it where, for a DOT crowd loan, they go and hedge their essentially long position of DOT on an exchange, etc. I don’t go that deep; I’m more of an ape. I’ll just do it and see. DOT is a bigger commitment, but at the same time it really depends where your head’s at in terms of… I think everyone (not investment advice) but I don’t think it’s necessarily bad to buy DOT to do a crowd loan now, but I think your expectations should be that you’re going to be holding this asset for years.
Tamara: For myself, I have a much different perspective because I’ve already decided to hold these assets for years. I am more thinking about the difference between staking, yields, the risk of the parachain, the fact that it’s a much longer commitment period than staking, etc. Every crowd loan has been really good for me. I think that it’s definitely not a bad thing, but you should be educated before you do it.
Primitives D1 Ventures is looking at right now
Jeremy: That was very insightful. We’re approaching the hour mark right now. I just wanted to pick your brain on a few more things. You say you’re an ape, but you’re obviously very in the weeds alongside your partners at D1 Ventures. You’re very early in DeFi as well. What are some of the primitives that D1 Ventures is looking at that hasn’t really taken off?
Tamara: Honestly, we don’t do a ton of DeFi investing anymore. All of us missed OHM even though we were watching it. I missed it in the early days; I’m actually staking right now. I got dumped on by Grimes. That’s true. You know? I missed being on the forefront of that. One of my partners is really excited about Composable on Polkadot, essentially because of this concept I was describing before: their product is called Mosaic which essentially allows you to move your LP tokens cross-chain to any L1 or L2, etc. She really thinks this is absolutely game changing. The things that have been interesting that have been the most interesting to us recently have been a lot of dWeb stuff. Arweave ecosystem… also I’m personally pretty into Urbit. It still hasn’t really penetrated the larger crypto consciousness.
Tamara: What else? Some privacy stuff. It’s very difficult because a lot of this real DeFi innovation that’s so exciting, it’s really hard to invest in some ways, at least the things that I really like. I’d rather participate via something Dicc DAO where I can actually experiment in the milieu via trial and error and be part of the conversation in moving it forward, rather than trying to predict which particular narrative is going to take hold before anyone figures it out. Even though, historically, I’ve been pretty good at that. That’s where I think we’re at. The Curve Wars are gonna keep raging on. We’re going to have a whole wave of ve token models. Through that, someone, somewhere, is going to get inspired to innovate in a way that we haven’t even thought of yet.
Tamara: That’s what’s so exciting about participating in this space.
Jeremy: A little recap: Composable Finance, Mosaic, the Arweave ecosystem, and all the new forms of DAO and new forms of token models that try to align interests…I like that you mentioned Olympus DAO and (3,3) as well. I found that was one of the most interesting things that happened in 2021. I’m not vouching for the token model and saying that it’s the future or anything because it’s definitely arguable. But, you have to appreciate the memes. It’s so interesting to see how that whole thing got memed into existing. It’s like a cult already.
Tamara: Exactly. That is so important because at the end of the day money is a meme. We’re literally trying to create new money. That is the algo stablecoin vision. right? Can we create this reserve currency that is not backed by slave money fiat? How do we meme this into reality? The meme of (3,3) penetrated so deeply. When Grimes retweeted that I was like, “It’s on.” Of course, this token model is really arguable about sustainability and I don’t think this should replace the normal financial system at all. When you see the meme going so far, that lets you know that you can take it even further, and that there is a possibility in the future, maybe not tomorrow but maybe in a matter of years, when we actually can create a better system and meme it into reality so that this becomes “money” to people.
Tamara: With the OHM model, what’s so interesting is that looking at these epochs of DeFi. It comes full circle where you have Andre / YFI that in a lot of ways, made the game. This gets supplanted by all of this other stuff. Then you have OHM which is really DeFi 2.0, the most important project; paradigm shifting. You see this with ve(3,3), it’s coming full circle, and now Andre is bringing these concepts into his mindshare and his project. The influence of (3,3) can’t be dismissed. That’s really interesting. I can’t wait for the next meme.
Closing thoughts / DotSama communities
Jeremy: We’re almost at the hour mark, so I just wanted to say that you made it very easy for me as a host, first and foremost. I’m sure that some of our listeners would want to get in touch with you after this call because I found this conversation very interesting. I hope that people would be able to benefit from this as well. What’s the best way to reach out to you? On top of that, you mentioned that you had a list for all the resources to dive into the DotSama ecosystem. I’ll put that in the show notes after this.
Tamara: I wanted to touch on one other DotSama thing. There’s this community group that I co-founded called PolkaHaus. We began as a Clubhouse club and now we have a Telegram group. We have IRL events. We actually run collators and have a treasury. We have these events where we bring on founders in the Polkadot ecosystem. I’d say it’s like the highest quality DotSama community because of all of the founders and really smart people in the group. That’s definitely something to check out. There’s also Chaos DAO which I guess I’m technically in but I’m still in the Discord waiting room because I have PTSD still from Discord from DeFi summer, so I don’t check it, but that’s another venue. I’m going to send you a list of resources for people to check out to get more involved in the DotSama community.
Tamara: The easiest way to get a hold of me is to DM me on Twitter @tamara_frankel. I’m the Marie Antoinette Aletheia AI Revenant surrounded by Pepe Dicks. That’s my avatar.
Jeremy: Cool. That was an awesome interview, and now you know where to find Tamara after this. She’s a very good friend of mine. She’s amazing. Just one last thing. I know I mentioned one last question previously. Is there anything else that you’d like to close out this session with? You obviously have a lot of interesting things to say.
Tamara: I know there’s a lot of bearish sentiment out there with the market and just a message to everyone to keep having fun and remember why we’re all here.
Jeremy: Yeah. I want to echo that and say that Apple is at three trillion market cap and crypto is not even at three trillion yet. We’re still so early. We’re literally changing the world here. Stay convicted. Stay strong.
Tamara: We’re all gonna make it.
Jeremy: Thank you so much for taking the time to jump on this call.
Tamara: You’re so welcome. It’s a pleasure.
Links to DotSama resources from Tamara
👨💻 Element (Matrix)
- Join my space Polkadot: https://matrix.to/#/#polkadot:web3.foundation
- Join my space Kusama: https://matrix.to/#/#kusama:web3.foundation
- Polkadot direction: https://matrix.to/#/!OwgojQyBzTlUQGGLhq:matrix.parity.io?via=matrix.org&via=corepaper.org&via=matrix.parity.io
- Polkadot Water-cooler: https://matrix.to/#/!FdCojkeGzZLSEoiecf:web3.foundation?via=matrix.org&via=corepaper.org&via=matrix.parity.io
- Polka world: https://youtube.com/c/PolkaWorld
- Alice und Bob: https://youtube.com/channel/UC0alQ35JKnMo_ctzYITthbw
🟣 PolkaHaus Club: https://www.polkahaus.club/
- Donnie Big Bags (#1 DotSama influencer): https://twitter.com/DonnieBigBags?t=Ta8jha67451k77IV7uxNdg&s=09
- Bill Laboon (W3F updates, education and community): https://twitter.com/BillLaboon?t=mD7dcuojIWfptshjXfuoBQ&s=09
- Peter Mauric (Parity): https://twitter.com/PAMauric?t=DZUpPusYGk_cWIEOlD4bfg&s=09
- Dan Reecer: https://twitter.com/danreecer_?t=dXz907JsLL6L3-ao3mFmJg&s=09
- Bruno: https://twitter.com/bitfalls?t=AlkOltdS_PVU0Ed49X35VA&s=09
- Robert (Polkadot/Kusama co founder): https://twitter.com/rphmeier?t=P-EW30QJF9EnmVGVwyydTQ&s=09