Home Cryptocurrency Is this the most annoying — or valuable — man in DeFi? – Cointelegraph Magazine

Is this the most annoying — or valuable — man in DeFi? – Cointelegraph Magazine

by Gordon James

One of the most fascinating aspects of the cryptocurrency community is the seemingly endless supply of characters who are willing to engage in ideological bickering. The result of this wackiness is that we have some of the most interesting discussions happening in our industry — and it’s something that we have to actively seek out.

As a kid, I would still be playing with my toys instead of reading a book. My friends would be in a classroom, getting ready for a test, while I was still at home, playing with my toys. I would be reading the box to find out more about my toys, and the box would have a series of questions and answers. I would be asking if it was “new”, and the answers would confirm it. That is how I started out on my crypto journey.

Even Chris Black’s biggest supporters admit he can be as subtle as a sledgehammer when he insists on transparency about the DeFi’s Twitter plans.

The founder of DeFi Watch makes things difficult for the entire industry, whether it’s criticizing Polygon for putting billions in the hands of two developers with admin keys, or accusing Rari Capital of being run by teenagers.

He is exactly the kind of provocateur who asks the tough questions that those in power would like to silence. But with cryptocurrencies, that’s not possible – and that’s why he likes them.

In the decentralized community, I feel like I’ve found my rhythm, especially since I can’t be turned off, he laughs. That’s the reason I’m attracted to crypto-currencies. Because I think the day will come when banks will censor people if they violate or fail to meet society’s standards. And I’m first in line for that.

I promise you that if the current DeFi projects had a way to censor people based on their political beliefs, at least one would do it.

If you mess with the king….

Coincidentally, Uniswap recently offered to raise $50 million to bribe a 45-year-old employee to leave DeFi. It stemmed from a Twitter discussion in which industry leaders like Scott Lewis, co-founder of DeFi Pulse, Taylor Monahan of MyCrypto, and ChainLinkGod accused him of being dead wrong and acting in bad faith.

Popular opinion: Chris Black sucks.

He’s right, but he has a bad way of showing his opinion.

I’m tired of this constant whining.

You’d think he’d shut up and think of something.

– ✨ ᕙ༼ຈل͜ຈ༽ᕗ ✨ (@androolloyd) May 29, 2021

The application did not pass the consensus test. It failed, Black said. I even encouraged him. If they paid me $50 million, I’d walk away. I’ll say.

Bitcoiner, who has worked with the Ultimate Fighting Championship, conservative commentator Glenn Beck and Mad Money’s Jim Cramer, among others, has a combative approach that sets him apart from the soft-spoken Ethereum developers who create most DeFi projects. Uniswap creator Hayden Adams, for example, seems to treat them with contempt.

He openly expressed contempt for me in general, Black said. I don’t think he likes the way I express myself. I think it’s a bit of a technotopia. You know, with these really controlled conditions and safe spaces. I’m the opposite. So it’s a bit like oil and vinegar.

None of the blows he’s taking are stopping him. Black believes that disclosing the shortcomings of DeFi projects is the only way to ensure that users’ money is protected and that the sector remains in the hands of banks and institutions.

I think there are valuable contributions that I make and want to continue to make, but there are a lot of people who don’t want me to make them.

Control theatre

It’s unlikely that Bleck’s recent campaign drove Adams into his arms. He was the most outspoken critic of Uniswap’s recent proposal to create a $1 million UNI fund to support lobbying efforts to improve tax-exempt laws and regulations.

He is a principled opponent of obnoxious lobbying in Washington and believes the fund proposed by Harvard University’s Blockchain and Fintech Initiative shows that Uniswap’s governance is not decentralized: 18 percent of the tokens are controlled by early-stage venture capitalists, and 21.2 percent of the votes are held by the team.

Venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, also known as A16z, independently holds enough tokens to cross the UNI 40 million threshold needed to respond to the bid. While the company has delegated its voice to several academic blockchain associations at Harvard, UCLA, Berkeley and Stanford, as well as projects like Gauntlet, Blec suspects it has launched a lobbying fund proposal that will benefit its DeFi investment portfolio.

If Andreessen Horowitz wants to take $40 million from the state treasury to fund this commission because it furthers his business interests, that should be known. It shouldn’t be a secret, you know, and that’s what I’m really trying to get across in this piece.

Voting for the $UNI DeFi Education Fund is now closed.

One million. UNI will be placed under the responsibility of the new committee.

Directors of venture capital (e.g. @a16z) and members of the @Uniswap team participated in the voting.

This #DeFiWatch transparency request was received but ignored.https://t.co/7if3lAaYdt

– Chris Black (@ChrisBlec) 29. June 2021

Of course, there is no solid evidence that A16z was behind the proposal or that he instructed his delegates on how to vote. Interestingly, however, the final tally of votes shows that Harvard, Berkeley, Stanford, Gauntlet and former Andreessen Horowitz partner Jesse Walden received 40.5 million votes. A further 10.5 million votes came from other organisations associated with the University, although it has not been confirmed whether these were A16z delegated votes.

Although the education foundation has received broad support from other organizations, including community members and Consensys, Black raises serious governance issues:

I want people to see that it’s not as easy as they would like, because there will be big guys in Florida like me who are looking for transparency. You can’t hide everything and expect people to ask questions.

Blake’s Journey

Born in New Jersey in 1975, Mr. Black has had a passion for radio since childhood. I loved listening to the radio, calling radio stations in the ’80s and stuff, he says, explaining that one of his first jobs was as a DJ for Smooth FM in New York in the ’90s. With his rudimentary knowledge of HTML, he created the website of the station next door.

He left New York after 9/11 for obvious reasons and has been involved in founding Total Nonstop Action Impact Wrestling in Nashville since 2003. That led me to a cool job in Las Vegas doing marketing for the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

I joke that he must have learned his combative approach on Twitter from dealing with wrestlers and martial artists for five years. Surprisingly, he agrees. That’s true, because part of the reason I worked there was to promote some pretty intense battles. And before that, I worked with professional wrestlers. And, you know, working in radio was like a cage fight every day too. He adds:

After that, I stayed in television. I worked with Glenn Beck, a conservative talk show host, to help him run his digital television network. His name was TheBlaze. And that’s why he’s a pretty great personality. Then I also worked with Jim Cramer for a while.

For money

Black first bought bitcoins in 2015 for a long trip to Southeast Asia with his wife, as it seemed like a convenient way to pay while traveling, but it wasn’t until early 2017 that he fell down the rabbit hole. He explains that he was taking an online course on the history of money – because I’m a nerd – when he had an epiphany about why bitcoin was such a leap forward.

I remember the exact moment I was in my living room: I jumped up and said: I need to find the Bitcoin. I need to know. Because I associated it with everything I ever believed about freedom and politics and stuff. And after that, I just ran around trying to learn everything I could.

He left his job at The Street to work full-time as a cryptocurrency consultant, and during the ICO boom he was involved in a project that unsuccessfully tried to launch a gold-linked token, giving him his first look behind the curtain.

I learned all the mistakes you can make with security, and I swear I had a moment where I realized that smart contracts aren’t really immutable and parts of them can be changed. It began to open my mind.

In 2018, he began posting tutorial videos about cryptocurrencies on YouTube and launched his own DeFi channel the following year, explaining how to use protocols like Maker and Compound.

I truly believe I’ve brought thousands of people to DeFi through the videos, he says. But my point is that YouTube is now deleting videos just because they say something…..

Black is referring to reports that YouTube censored a video featuring the inventor of mRNA technology, Dr. Robert Malone, and others because they expressed concerns about the COVID-19 vaccine. In protest, Black recently removed all of his videos from the platform.

It was a case where I just collapsed and thought: If we are supposed to create censorship-proof technology in cryptocurrencies, how can I support a company that is completely opposed to any kind of rational dialogue? I have accepted him and am now looking for another home for him.

Mr. Black is also deeply unhappy with warrants and face masks, skeptical of vaccines, and this year moved from stuffy New Jersey to Miami Beach for a more relaxed approach.

Florida is just crazy right now. They’re breaking records in real estate. And everyone is eager to come here because there are fewer rules.

The fact that Miami Mayor Francis Suarez is a bitcoiner is an added bonus. The tech scene is growing very fast, and I know a lot of people have moved here in the last year. It’s just an exciting place to be right now, he says.

Bitcoiners in the house ETH

Blec approaches DeFi with a Bitcoiners mentality rather than an Etherium mentality and focuses on decentralization. DeFi Watch was born when Blec discovered that Compound and other projects have an admin key that allows developers to control funds and God Mode contracts.

That’s when I first realized that things in DeFi are not always what they seem, he says of the gap between rhetoric and reality.

Suddenly, I understood: So, wait a minute – did they retain some sort of central control? Who has these checks? Why are they keeping control? How do they use it? And I started asking all these questions.

He began researching other projects to see if they had similar problems (many did) and added the results to a popular spreadsheet that got so many hits that he launched the DeFi Watch website to publish all the information he had gathered.

Eventually it became impossible to keep up with all the new projects, so he now focuses on representative examples, while the self-taught Black scours GitHub looking for signs of centralized control that might put user fees at risk.

He says his goal is to teach deFi users to be constantly skeptical, so they constantly struggle with these issues. The endless number of exploits of the DeFi protocol shows that shoddy security and poorly designed smart contracts are ubiquitous. Black says the Vizier Finance works on the 20th. June, which resulted in a loss of $500,000, is another administrative fiasco.

They accidentally stored their private key in a GitHub repository. I mean, it’s like aerobatics to me. And when you witness such negligence or incompetence from the developer, they can be the nicest guys around. But if they’re that bad, you should just run away.

Key management

Projects often use administrator keys while the protocol is still under construction, to quickly fix security problems or stop exploits, with the goal of getting rid of them when the project is stable and ready for full decentralization. To mitigate these risks, many projects have opted for a multi-sigma administrator key, where a number of people must independently approve the use of a particular action.

This is not without its drawbacks either. Black criticized Polygon, Ethereum’s second-order scaling solution, for using a multisig to reach a total blockchain value of $8.32 billion. When he started asking questions, it turned out that they were using a two-by-three multisigma, meaning that only two people could have conspired to get rid of the funds, or their access had been stolen.

Billions of dollars ran on this blockchain, largely thanks to the fact that the three developers did not lose their Ledger Nano S devices. When you think about it like that, it’s just crazy.

Although it has since been replaced by a five-by-eight multisigma, it remains problematic, according to Bleck. According to him, Polygon users should believe that signers have only one copy of their key and that the multisigma is securely installed. Equally alarming is the fact that the project is based in India, which is considering a ban on cryptocurrencies. Five people being able to make changes unilaterally means that the regulators have a purpose.

What happens if a regulator comes along and says you have to use this key to comply with these rules, or you have to shut down this network immediately until you find a way to comply?

@ChrisBlec The Defi Cop pic.twitter.com/UY4rUN04aV

– Hexologist ⬣ Ask Me About PulseChain Airdrop (@Hexologist31) July 6, 2021.

Children in the kitchen

For Blec, the only thing worse than an administrator key in the hands of developers is an administrator key in the hands of teenagers. In March, Black referred to Rari Capital’s team as a team of teenage developers, including a 15-year-old named Jet. The oldest was only 20 years old. Although the criticism of the protocol was controversial at the time, the protocol itself was used for $11 million about a month later.

I felt a little uncomfortable when they got hacked after I criticized them, he says. I immediately sent the guy a message because I felt sorry for him. I didn’t want him to take it personally, even though it was a loss and they really screwed up. Black says he is sensitive to any situation where someone might be depressed.

I had family members who committed suicide and things like that, and it really affected me. And, you know, I’ve always been prone to things like depression and things like that.

But he thinks it’s too important to ask difficult questions to stop asking them so as not to hurt people’s feelings.

Millions and sometimes billions of dollars are at stake. So it’s an attempt to balance the feelings of a developer who got too involved with the finances of thousands of people who put their money on the line.

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