This is a conversation with Tracheopteryx about the evolution of Yearn, Coordinape, and pseudonymity.
This is a conversation with Tracheopteryx about the evolution of Yearn, Coordinape, and pseudonymity.
Tracheopteryx has been a key leader in the Yearn Finance community since its legendary genesis event. In this conversation, we talk about key moments in Yearn's evolution with an eye towards takeaways that might be useful for other projects. We talk about the introduction of the multisig; the mint — a complex governance proposal where the community eventually chose to dilute themselves in order to reward core contributors; and constrained delegation - the governance framework that Trach helped design and which is operating in Yearn today.
The other big area we get into is Coordinape. Coordinape is a protocol for decentralizing compensation. It was designed and incubated inside of Yearn, and is now being built as an independent project.
Towards the end of the conversation, Trach tells the story behind his name and shares a perspective on becoming pseudonymous that has stayed with me since.
I hope you enjoy the conversation.
Check out our newsletter for other episodes and writing: bytecode.substack.com
Sina [00:00:19]: Hello, everyone. Welcome to another episode of Into the Bytecode today, I sat down with Tracheopteryx. Trach is a uniquely thoughtful and interesting person as you realize through this conversation. He's one of the key leaders in the Yearn finance community after its legendary Genesis event and he was also responsible for designing and driving the adoption of the governance system at Yearn. In this conversation, we talked about Yearn's evolution and a key moment in its history with an eye toward takeaways that might be useful for other projects. We talked about the introduction of the multi-sig, then the mint, a very complex governance proposal where the community eventually chose to reward core contributors. And then we also talk about constraint delegation, the governance model that Trach helped design, and which is operating in yearn today, which I think could be used by many more teams in this space. The other big area that we got into was Coordinape, Coordinape is a protocol for decentralizing compensation it was designed and incubated inside of yearn and is now being built as an independent project. And towards the end of the conversation, we got into something I was curious to talk about, which is pseudonymity. We hear the story behind Trach's name, and he also shares a perspective that has stayed with me since this was a fun conversation and I hope you enjoy it.
Sina [00:01:51]: Can you think of a particular moment in time where you had to touch into why it is that you're doing what you're doing? We're getting real here.
Tracheopteryx [00:02:01]: Yes. I love it. Just dive, right in.
Sina [00:02:04]: Just dive right in.
Tracheopteryx [00:02:04]: Get to the good. There's so much money at stake and I think for so many of us money is one of those things that trigger our base survival fear, and that's challenging stuff for all of us, and you see this in like enlightened masters and gurus and whatever, and they can still get fucked up by this. This happens all the time, dramas, controversies, whatever some teacher is sleeping with a student or stealing money or something like that because it's hard and deep stuff. So yes, very recently just thinking about how do I want to show up in the world? How do I want to be using my efforts and my gifts? And I'd been making a lot of money and that money I noticed was a force on me, and money is great I have no a problem with money, but I realized I had to let go of a lot of that, this kind of decision I had to step back and think, okay, what is integrity for me?
And what does that mean? Regardless of anything else, throwing away, all outcomes, everything like what is that most resonant with the core of who I am and that change? That just happened to me just last week. So I was just listening to this talk by Bruce Lyon I sent you one of his talks. A talk he was giving on money and he said it so beautifully it's like, are you acting from fear or are you acting from love? And is the economy one of fear or is it an economy of love? And money can be used for both of those things?
Sina [00:03:37]: Yes, I also like one model that comes to mind that I liked was how Bankless approached their Dao, where they were like, this all belongs to the community. And as the first proposal, we're going to say that Bankless the company, I don't know what the right terminology is, gets X percent of the tokens, and then the community volunteers into giving them that gift. And I thought that was just a beautiful way to approach it.
Tracheopteryx [00:04:10]: It's So Interesting. How, In Defi, We Have The Opportunity To Do These Beautiful Uses Of Money, The Mint That Yearn Was Kind of like that we had this 30,000 token hard cap, hard money idea meme out there, and there was this fair launch, but who was it fair for? It wasn't fair for the contributors; I came around after the farming was done. And so I didn't get to earn any wifey, but I was working all the time, but the community came together and they minted a bunch more wifey to give to the contributors. And it was a gift it was another gift, in the series of gifts at Yearn.
Sina [00:04:47]: This other document that I enjoyed going through Yearn's Blue Pill, one of the pages in there you're like, it's dangerous what we're doing here, we're putting Yearn's vision into words, and that could limit what it can become and that's what it made. It made me think of, but then the vision that you were ultimately put on paper was that it's to evolve. How did that document come together? I mean, to me, it's just a work of art it's so beautiful looking through it.
Tracheopteryx [00:05:23]: Thanks. Thanks a lot I was grateful to be part of that process with a lot of people that helped make that come to life. I guess it started, I think I put together a small group of people to think about vision at Yearn and which is a tricky thing to do in a pure Dao like Yearn because generally, well, not tricky, I guess it's more like uncertain. How do you do it in a Dao? Generally, vision comes from the leader, it comes from the CEO or something or the executive team, and we don't have anything like that at Yearn. So how do you make a vision? And so, we did it and I was thinking about this a while, last year and started doing some interviews with some people to think about, well, what's your vision for Yearn?
Maybe our vision should be like a collage of all these different independent visions and Redphone did some interviews. And he's a Redphone crypto, he's a contributor at Yearn and Weaver, Alex Weaver another contributor did some interviews. He interviewed like 14 people or something and then we were just kind of talking and kind of just started emerging from that. And so we hired Redphone, kind of on a contract to do some tweetstorm for us and some longer-form content. And he, I don't want to say too much about exactly who did what, because I love the mystery of it being a...
Sina [00:06:42]: Totally, that's a part of it.
Tracheopteryx [00:06:45]: Yes, that's a part of it. So these were some of the players and then there were a lot of other people at Yearn that helped a lot of other people, but through that kind of mix, we started working on this long-form piece and different people wrote long pieces of it and then we edited it and other people rewrote it and rewrote it and a lot. And the idea was to have it illustrated and we shared the text out within Yearn and with some people and got feedback we're like, does this represent us? So, from all of those interviews that we did, we kind of had a starting point which we just took our shot at it, this is what we think the vision is. And then we're like, does this sound right guys? So, instead of being like, here's the vision goes march, it was reflecting the organism. What do we think we're seeing here getting feedback, going through lots of iterations? It was very slow until we got to text that we loved and then we had that illustrated by this amazing agency including some of our contributors like Zem did some illustrations.
Sina [00:07:50]: Illustrations are amazing that's almost the first thing that is like, whoa, this is different.
Tracheopteryx [00:07:57]: Yes, it was great. And then we rewrote it like after we had a lot of the illustrations done, we're like, wait, no, some of this isn't hitting. So went back and rewrote some of it. Yes, and then...
Sina [00:08:10]: Wow. Labor of love. I mean, that does sound like one of the most challenging tasks to go through with a Dao, as large and diverse, as Yearn to define a vision for it and do it in a way that's involving the community in that process.
Tracheopteryx [00:08:27]: It was, I think the main thing is it's slow and that's okay. One of the things that Zach Anderson my co-founder Coordinape often says is to go slow to go fast. And there's so much wisdom in that and it's true, this document has provided so much value for Yearn and it needed to happen. It had to be authentic I had to be sincere, not something you could rush out the door it took its own slow meandering time.
[00:08:55] Sina: Well, maybe lets the transition to Coordinape and there are some of these questions about Dao's just as a form of coordination as a new life form, as you like to say on the blockchain that I want to get into, but maybe as helpful context, if you could just talk about what Coordinape is.
Tracheopteryx [00:09:16]: Yes. So coordinape is a tool to decentralize compensation. So, with Dao's, most people think about Dao's you think about coin voting. That's kind of the first thing that started a lot of Dao’s and unblocks channels allowing for that type of decision-making to happen. But there are so many other types of decisions that need to happen within any organization but don't happen through that one structure. And in most Dao's today, compensation decisions happen in the old style where there are some people, they negotiate, they hire somebody, and then maybe they put that plan together and they get that voted on through the forum. But the decisions in the work happened in an old top-down way. So coordinape does it, it's defined native a way to do compensation it's down native, where all you need is a budget, and amount of money that you're spending every month, a group of people that are going to receive that money and a reason to give them the money, for creating value for a Yearn and then the allocations all happen through a decentralized process.
Sina [00:10:19]: And how does a process work?
Tracheopteryx [00:10:22]: So, the process works using these tokens called give tokens, which are kind of like poker chips, it's called a gift circle. So the coordinape is kind of the brand and the product is the gift circle. And so the way it works at Yearn, where it was designed within Yearn for Yearn and is spun off as its entity. But the way it works and we've run it for eight months at Yearn, we give away now like $75,000 a month through it. And so every month at the end of the month, the last week of the month, there's an epoch and everybody gets 100 gift tokens, which are like poker chips. They're non-transferable outside of the system and the ask is you say, who did you see creating direct value for Yearn this month? Give them a gift, that's it.
You can give them a bigger or smaller gift in terms of how many gift tokens you can give. So, like last month, there were only four or five people in the circle that I saw create direct value there were a lot more, but those people opted out. So, people that are paid through a normal system, which we also have at Yearn opt-out of getting gifts through the community grant so the community grants only go to people that they should. And so from that group, there are only four or five people that I directly saw last month provide value and so I gave one of the 30 gifts, I gave one of the 20 gifts, one of the five gifts etcetera. Everybody does this at the end of the epoch, you count up all the received gifts, and you just take the budget and you divide that by the amount of the total number of gifts and then each person gets that percentage the, of the budget for that month.
Sina [00:11:59]: What does this look like in practice? What has emerged from the last eight months of running this at Yearn and other doubts?
Tracheopteryx [00:12:08]: I mean so much. One of the things is just how much more work there is to do, there's so much more to make in this space it feels like we opened a whole kind of Pandora's box of opportunity because it shifts compensation from fear to love it's bringing it into the gift rather than based in scarcity and having to scratch out some amount of money because, with coordinape, you get paid retroactively. But the amazing thing is, and like, the future that I see is one where every protocol has a coordinape gift, circle attached to it. And ideally, in the next version of coordinape, you should be able to use it for all types of compensation. You can use this version for that too it's just a little harder. But every community has one of these circles, then as a person that wants to contribute to this space, all you need to do is just join a disc, join a telegram group and start making stuff. And you will be invited into a coordinape circle and you'll start receiving money just based on whatever value you've created. You don't have to negotiate with anybody, you don't have to sign a contract, and you don't have to sign an NDA. Do you have something to offer? Make what you are drawn to make and then money will flow to you and that's a much better economy for me to live in.
Sina [00:13:26]: Yes. You're like increasing the surface area for each group and empowering each person on the edges to bring in other people.
Tracheopteryx [00:13:36]: Yes. And in coordinape V2, which we've been we're in the design phase for right now, I think has made it clear. It's like one of the big insights is that we did a lot of reading and research around compensation, and incentive structure, there's so much to go into here. It's common knowledge that if you want to have people provide good work, then you need to incentivize them ahead of time with a good financial package. But the science said that that's not true, the science going back to the sixties shows that that's not true. There's a book by Daniel Pink called Drive, which has a lot of great studies around compensation and where you can look at like Charles Eisenstein, sacred economics or reinventing organization, a lot of different looks at this topic, but direct financial rewards, if-then rewards work for algorithmic work, work is like, can be reduced to practice like, sweeping a floor or doing some type of chore.
But it's counterproductive for open-ended heuristic work that requires creative thinking.
If you give people a riddle and you say, if you solve this faster than other people then you'll get a hundred bucks it'll increase the time it takes for them to solve the riddle. And if you just don't say anything because money tends to Fuck up our inherent motivation system and we've all felt this, the soul-sucking nature of work, sometimes it's like you get stuck. And my belief on this, what happens is that money just narrows your vision. It brings it down to that old fear center in your sacrum, it makes it about survival. Like I have to get this money to survive when the work that we're doing is so far from that we're creating a new world here, and it's creative and open and new and we need to have all those energies available and we don't want money to limit it.
So yes, coordinape is emerging from that and so in coordinape V2, you realize that trust, contribution, effort, and compensation are three separate things and they always get lumped together, right? It's like, oh, I'm going to hire you, and now all of a sudden you're trusted, and now all of a sudden we expect you to give all of your efforts to this group and you're going to get this much money for it. But the value you create for a network isn't directly tied to labor hours or sweat, we've known that for a long time, but we don't have a good way to deal with that with compensation. And also that doesn't mean that you're trustworthy if you're getting paid by a group, trust is earned in relationships with other people, that's how you define trust and compensation should be in direct proportion to the value provided to a protocol. And it doesn't have anything to do with time. Time should be free we should spend our time however we want it shouldn't be metered.
Sina [00:16:22]: Got it. So you're decoupling it from there's no talk of how much did this person work? How many hours did they put in it's like how much value did they create in your eyes?
Tracheopteryx [00:16:32]: That's how I would see it and I think of it as a very protocol-centric view. Right now we think about compensation it's a hierarchical, centered view. Most compensation systems are developed out of the fires of these rigid hierarchical bodies that go back to nations and militaries and whatever else, the compensations are tiered, and these rigid hierarchies, nothing wrong with hierarchies, just rigid ones aren't great. Do you want to make that more flexible? You want to like the protocol Yearn doesn't care if you've been working there for a year or if you got a degree or even if you're a software object, it doesn't care. The value to Yearn should be rewarded.
Sina [00:17:17]: Yes. It's also a potential solution to the new way of working that Dao’s represent, which is you're not necessarily going to go and join that Dao for three years and work full time. If you try to force it into the model of compensation, which is equity, vesting, Willa Cliff with claw back, or whatever, you're forcing an old-world model onto Dao’s when instead they should allow more permeable, come in help on a project where you can then phase out, go do something else and it should be able to work in those types of situations.
Tracheopteryx [00:18:02]: Absolutely. Yes, that's what we all want; we work for multiple Dao’s the whole nature of work needs to change. It's not about this kind of servant master relationship anymore, or contracts or golden handcuffs or any of that. I can create value for curve, I can create value for Badger, I can create value for sushi, for Yearn, forget coin for own, whatever. Maybe I want to just be a free person creating value in this space and why not. It's also this open-source kind of idea too, if I do one thing, that's good for one group, it could be good for another, so why not get compensated by both of them for the same piece of work? There's nothing wrong with that. We haven't had decision-making systems before coin voting, to enable this new type of kind of organizational entity that we now call a Dao. That small change created such an incredible explosion. The ability to do coin voting on the blockchain and another type of consensus, the limited amount of consensus mechanisms we have has created this entirely new kind of Cambrian explosion, but compensation's an even bigger decision space. Imagine when we blow that one open, the types of possibility, the freedom, the creative energy, that release is going to be wild that's what coordinape is doing.
Sina [00:19:25]: There is something huge here. One thing that came to mind while you were talking was conflicts of interest, and in the old world model, if I'm working at this organization and getting compensated traditionally, and then I go and get someone else to come and partner here and then they pay me for making that partnership happen, that's a conflict of interest. Like I've done something wrong there, but maybe the core problem there is the lack of transparency, the lack of giving full disclosure to everyone that I'm involved in both of these organizations and I believe this is a win-win collaboration. And if I help make it happen, then I should get compensated on both sides. Maybe the problem comes from the fact that these things are done, not out in the open.
Tracheopteryx [00:20:19]: Yes. I think that's right. But does that mean that there'll be no people, no bad actors in this future transference space? No, there will be, they'll probably just take a different shape and we'll need to develop the systems and tools to address that as there are in the old models too, but I think, a lot of people worry about collusion when they start thinking about these types of systems. And I think, the more transparent, the better tools there are for seeing this stuff, the incentives for colluding reduced drastically just from a game theory perspective, because with slashing and other types of things that we can add-in, it just won't make any sense, it'll be a much higher EV to be a good actor and to be contributing value.
[00:21:03] Sina: You put people into iterated games rather than one-off games.
[00:21:08] Tracheopteryx: Yes, exactly. And because it's all transparent and with opportunities for reputation building.
Sina [00:21:16]: Totally. So, when thinking about compensation, one other thing that comes to mind is especially if you're anchoring compensation to value created, there's just going to be a big range there between what value people are creating. I sometimes think it follows a power law, like many other things. And if you are running an open process where people are allocating this to each other, will this system allow for one engineer to make 10 times more than someone else, and do you want that to happen? Is that a property of a good functional system that someone can make 10 X more than someone else who on paper like has the same qualifications and how do you think about that?
Tracheopteryx [00:22:07]: That's super interesting territory and whenever we start thinking about this stuff, it's very easy to start extrapolating into the whole world and be like, okay, well, we need to create a system that's gonna solve this problem globally and we don't want to like reinforce power dynamics and wealth inequality, all that. Yes, and let's take a breath and we've got a product that's starting it with it like let's solve the problems right in front of us not worry too much about that. Not saying that that's what you were suggesting at all, but I know people can often get there.
Sina [00:22:39]: I mean, when you're going after something so complex, there's almost an art about being like, we're going to solve these problems first and we know there are more levels to this that we need to figure out over time.
Tracheopteryx [00:22:51]: Yes. So, I think we can talk about it both ways. So, as a global civilization, what should be the ratio between least paid to most paid? I have no idea, but I don't have a problem with there being asymmetry. I think that people also worry about scarcity and there were some discussions recently about like, oh, should we have scarcity in the metaverse? I thought we were like over scarcity I was like, no, I don't know what you, but I like that there's like 20% nitrogen in the atmosphere and it's 7% oxygen I've probably got these numbers wrong that's useful it's good that oxygen is scarce.
Sina [00:23:26: The scarcity is like a fundamental property of the universe.
Tracheopteryx [00:23:30]: It is. And it's going to be in the metaverse too and one way to think about it and a nice way to think about it is it's about stories in the metaverse it's like these little properties, these nuances, these scarcities in each other that I like science fiction, comic books. And so do you, and not everybody loves those that's a nice story that binds us together, we need methods to hold that type of relationship in the digital world too. Scarcity is important however, you want access is different people confuse scarcity and access. No, people should have access to all these different things and equal opportunity but scarcity is okay. I think what we want is a system where, if we're talking globally big picture stuff, a system where the people at the bottom of the spectrum can still have wonderful lives and have equal opportunity and access to move along in that spectrum.
So on the small scale with creating a compensation system right now, the things I think about more, I think like popularity, contests, and one of the concerns with Coordinape, is it be it devolves into a popularity contest. It's not about rewarding the direct value, but who's the coolest kid in the room. We haven't seen a lot of that so far with like the 30 to 40 different protocols that have run over the past six months and dozens of epochs, I'm sure it will emerge in some way or another. So, for the first idea is that well, is there something wrong with that? I'm not sure that there is something wrong with that, but I do know that what's wrong with me is that the person that's maybe not so popular, is a brilliant genius. I call that kind of silent genius project problem that they're getting compensated properly. So, one of the things we're going to add to coordinating the future is the ability to create you could even do this now with Coordinape a group or some people that have more power in making compensation decisions. So a kind of expert group to balance the wisdom of the crowd and their job, instead of saying just rewarding, direct value, their job is to talk to people, see who's being under-compensated and fill in the gaps.
Sina [00:25:38]: Yes. Well, there are certain roles that by their nature are they're not going to have a lot of touch points with the community or that the nature of their work is that they need to do it kind of under wraps a bit. If you're the person building out the regulatory or legal strategy, you can't just be talking about what you're doing. So, I think it makes sense to have other systems complement this. Another question that comes to mind is if this process is happening in the open, you may want to do what's defensible. What helps you build relationships with people rather than doing what you absolutely think is the correct way? And this is another one of these future problems of, that there's good stuff here let's start with this, but I wonder if there could be versions of Coordinape that say user and knowledge proofs to make sure that all of the math checked up properly, that everyone allocated there a hundred gift tokens, but you can't see who they allocated to towards.
Tracheopteryx [00:26:42]: Yes. I'm interested in this like a commit reveals scheme or something. So, I've heard people advocate for this and we tested it over one epoch at Yearn, it was a small sample size, just one test, but people like the transparent version more. And so we've kind of held off on trying to promote that, but a lot of people do want it and I haven't thought through it deeply enough to know if it's going to be an important feature or not. What do you think? Do you think that'll help?
Sina [00:27:10]: Well, maybe there is something about just where we are today because the system is new and there's this cool social component to it and you're helping. I guess one thing you talked about is helping the Dao discover new people on the edges, but a zero-knowledge version of it also makes sense. Maybe at a later point and zero-knowledge is different than commit reveal there just wouldn't ever be a reveal of how each person voted. There would just be the total tally that comes out, knowing that the math was done correctly.
Tracheopteryx [00:27:46]: Right. Okay. That's interesting too. I think the way I see it happening is being options, the kind of design theory for coordinape is that there are a lot of modules it's very customizable and people can do whatever they want. So, we're adding in quadratic voting as a strategic option for vote counting and we'll add options like this too. I think, my feeling is it'll be useful to have this data publicly though, to be able to see like, oh wow, this person got a bunch of giving from Stanny and Kane and Andre and all these different and vitality gave this person gives. And it's like, wow, that's an interesting kind of chain of reputation that you want to preserve this system.
Sina [00:28:26]: Totally. It also makes me think, that just changing the nature of who the gift is coming from is somehow being taken into account in the system. Maybe there's some sort of a page rank that comes in overtime.
Tracheopteryx [00:28:44]: Well, that's one of the things we're most excited about in the future is we need a better example, but it becomes a kind of decentralized LinkedIn. LinkedIn sucks, but I think, you know what I'm pointing at, but yes they have all that reputation, all those relationships all available.
Sina [00:29:01]: Okay. So another topic I'm curious to talk about is so Yearn started in a very unique way, with Andre giving away all of the wifeys and this decentralized doubt emerging. And then you are one of the people who were there to help bring structure out of this crucible of chaos and potential energy. And now that you're working on something new with coordinape, how are you thinking about the strategy with which you're bootstrapping the community around the project, the Dao like the governance? How are you thinking about that?
Tracheopteryx [00:29:44]: Yes. It's great because we get to learn, you frame this beautifully. It's all the stuff that we learned through the 16 months or whatever on Yearn, we don't have to reinvent that all from scratch. So, one of the things that for me is one of the most valuable things that we made from Yearn was the new governance model that we have, which we called constrained delegation or governance too. And I mean, it took us a long time, batting our heads against the wall and making a lot of mistakes to get to that model. And so we don't have to do that again, that the plan for a coordinape is that it will be governance to from the start. And there have been a lot of Daos that have, fought this same path and done this progressive decentralized.
So, Yearn was instantaneously decentralized, whereas protocols like synthetics had gone on this kind of progressive decentralization path to the point where they have no entity now and they have their kind of constrained allegation model. And so coordinape will be able to progressively decentralize because I think also, well there are different ways to do it. And I'm not sure if there is the best way, but I know at coordinape like me Zem, and Zach, we have this very strong vision together and we don't want to give the vision away. And that's okay because you don't have to do everything decentralized. We're the vision holders so we have most of the power right now, but we don't want to have the power forever that's not in any of our interests. But we want to start the thing, get it on, get it out there, get the first product fully out, get the team, the culture established. And as we do that, then we will use the mechanics of governance to start delegating powers from us to the community and giving them away. And most people don't ever give away power but we did that at Yearn and I've seen that done I'm not worried about that happening with us, we don't want to hold the power. It's better because we've learned directly, that a centralized group shouldn't have all the power.
Sina [00:31:50]: Right. And we'll get into gov too but I like this, that you've developed this governance model in a project that's much further along and you know that you can design things in a way that they just fit into that. And without having to make any foundational fundamental changes, you can just kind of change the power dynamics in the future.
[00:32:13] Tracheopteryx: Yes. And not just from Yearn too, we get to learn from, so we've been collaborating a lot with synthetics and they've developed their kind of parallel version of our governance. Well, they've developed their governance, but it has so many similarities, structural similarities to ours and a lot of the same concepts that they've developed other cool tools like the election modules that they're building. And so we'll probably want to add those to coordinape, but I hope you will add them at Yearn, in the future too. But there's so much work that's been done, not just at Yearn over the past years, a couple of years that we get to benefit from.
Sina [00:32:45] Yes. And that process of decentralizing gradually, how are you thinking about that? Is it grants to folks who do work on the protocol? Is it I guess using coordinape probably, to bring people in through the edges. How are you thinking about that process?
Tracheopteryx [00:33:07]: Well, we want to use coordinape in a lot of different ways, everywhere from like as a way to allocate advisor token shares to core team salary and also for incentivizing the community and gov two. So, I think about an organization as like a circle and what that circle contains is all the different types of decisions. I think decision-making is the most interesting lens to look at these organizations through. And there are all different types of decisions that need to be made from one contributor's decision to send a gift and one telegram group all the way to like, am I going to min another chunk of this governance token, there are so many decisions what logo to use, who to hire? Only some of those are well suited for on-chain coin voting or whatever type of coin voting. We don't have consensus mechanisms that work well for a lot of the other ones. There are a lot of decisions like around who gets acts merge control for a GitHub repo? Who gets to decide what logo we use? How do you make those decisions? We need governance to...
Sina [00:34:07]: Do you think, doing a governance vote around the color of a button on a website? Seems like the Dilbert comic for crypto that we don't have yet.
Tracheopteryx [00:34:16]: Exactly. Democracy man, every voice must be heard.
Sina [00:34:21]: Centralization, who does this designer think they are?
Tracheopteryx [00:34:24]: Yes. And you got to be decentralized we're all gonna vote on the color palette of this meme. Yes. It's a great way to make shitty artwork and to just suck the life out of everything. So, people have been gradually decentralizing for a long time we've learned a lot about that. So, now there's another idea you say, well, why don't you just be fully decentralized from the start you can I think that that makes sense in a lot of cases, but it also, you don't need to. And I think in our case with coordinape where we have strong leadership and strong vision, let's not pretend that it's all the community it's like, no, for right now, it is just a few people that's okay. And we don't want to do it forever, but we're trying not to Gaslight anybody, look, it is centralized right now.
Sina [00:35:07]: Let's all be adults about this, this is how we're going to make this thing work.
Tracheopteryx [00:35:14]: Yes. I don't want to give up my power right now and that's okay. But I definitely will give it up because I know I don't want it for that long.
Sina [00:35:23]: I think giving away tokens by using coordinape is also, it's potentially an alternative that many more people will move to because it seems better than retroactive airdrops that can be gamed. And it's literally like, you know you will get tokens if you do useful work so go and do that useful work.
Tracheopteryx [00:35:48]: Yes. I've been calling this contribution mining and I think it's like the most interesting way of a new form of tokens that we've been thinking about it at Yearn to do and further at coordinape certainly. But how do you distribute your tokens? What are tokens? I think of governance tokens, like, people get caught up by the financial component and there's a lot of tricks around the financial versus the governance power. But in a protocol, they represent the voice of that protocol and to me you want them to go to the people that are leading within that protocol who are setting the standard for how the community's going to work, how the culture's going to work what is being made, where it's growing, what it's becoming, give those people governance tokens. And these should not be armchair people that are, I mean, there's a place for that too. But I don't think it's nearly as valuable as the people that are in the trenches doing the work, give those people tokens and Coordinape the perfect way to do that. So you do distribution through contributor mining.
Sina [00:36:48]: Yes. I mean, I think the shadow side of a lot of this Dao stuff is that it is armchair critics who aren't involved, just commenting on these public forums, and or there is no way, to weigh people's opinions to kind of choose whose voice are you going to take seriously versus less seriously. And just having things in these forums, just comments one after another puts you into this mindset of seeking consensus, doing something that everyone is behind and that is just not the best way to make decisions I don't think.
Tracheopteryx [00:37:30]: It's not. And so I have a lot of experience with this at Yearn and having authored many governance proposals and spent a lot of time in the forum there. and we've had a lot of strong critics and look, criticism's great. And also, you know what? Sharing your opinion on a forum is great, but the way that it goes wrong and I've seen this happen many times when people expect you to do what they say. They expect either they're like; look I have raised this point many times. Why aren't you doing it? And it's like, well, it might even be a good point, but that's just not how we work. We're not a top-down group where like, you're going to scare the out of some middle manager who thinks that like our marketing is gonna go down the tubes if he doesn't like forcing some engineers to like go and build this for you, that's not how we work. Everybody that works at Yearn gets to decide what they do and so nobody has decided to do what you've suggested. It might even be a good idea, but that's just not, we're not going to do it or nobody's done it yet. Maybe, in the future or the other way it goes wrong is where it's like, look, everybody agrees this why aren't you doing it? It's like, well, the same thing. If you want to do it, do it.
Sina [00:38:37] Okay. So maybe let's talk about Governance two. What is that? How did it come about and what is it?
Tracheopteryx [00:38:45] : So, governance two is a new kind of decentralized governance theory and implementation that Gabriel Shapira and I wrote for Yearn, it was yip 61, which got approved maybe six months ago or something four months ago. And it goes back to the beginning of Yearn's. So when Yearn started, it was like, how did you make decisions? Andre gave away all the wifey tokens and he said, you guys are in charge and that was mostly it. So, people came onto the forum and they were making proposals from everything to like what podcast and Andre go on to, what should the token emission be, and everything else. And I call this the kind of what's the surface area that the governance token controls and there was no definition of that.
There was no scoping of the governance powers everything was up for grabs it was great, it was beautiful, chaotic madness. And as time went on, what we ended up seeing was a lot of these just organic groups of people started forming to do things, some developers were working on the code base and some people were moderating the forum and people were thinking about governance and whatever else. And they were making a lot of decisions, there was a question as to what is that allowed? Can you make decisions? And instead of trying to go the route of, trying to push everything through this one coin voting, coin voting is like the thinnest possible straw to suck all of the human expression through, that's it. That's a quote from, I think Joy Mountford, who was an HCI researcher years ago.
Now I might have misattributed that, but it's a great quote. And instead of trying to do that or trying to pretend that that's how we're going to do it, we did substrate and I, and a few other Franklin and a few other people, Vand Spencer did a proposal Yip-41, which was to temporarily empower the multi-sig to make operational decisions. And we said is like, look what's happening is people are forming these autonomous teams and they're doing the work. Let's empower them to do it we don't need to be overly democratic about everything and that passed. And what it did is it gave the multi-sig six months to do some limited things like hire people and make a certain set of decisions and this was the kind of the beginning of constrained delegation.
Sina [00:40:59]: And what I'd add is, all of the discussion is fully public on the forum and it's interesting to go back and read through these conversations. So, the transfer of power to the multi-sig was Yip. What? 41.
Tracheopteryx [00:41:15]: Yes. Yip-41. What were some of the insights like, did you read the Yip-41 discussion? What do you recall?
Sina [00:41:23]: I did. I just think it's so beautiful and unique and elegant how this project started, it's with full decentralization and then watching how people organically take leadership of certain things and then come and propose this model, from the soup where there was no structure. And then the larger community bought enough to pass this decision and I thought that was interesting and then I thought, what comes after the mint, which was the big one. And it was also interesting, I think in the multi-sig vote, it was like, we're going to do this for six months temporarily. And then the mint post is six months after that so it was right?
Tracheopteryx [00:42:14]: I think you're right yes. Yip-41 was August and the mint was February and we got an extension on Yip-41 because we didn't figure out Governance two in time. So we needed, we needed a few more months and we did it in a couple of months after that. So it was like the mint and then I think Governance two was like right after that, March or something.
Sina [00:42:33]: Yes. And the mint is just a gargantuan complex thing to traverse, which you can talk about, but just observing this whole process and reading the forum posts, it's like, these are freaking competent, like smart people. The mint is probably up there with the most complex strategic things that you'd have to navigate when running a company, you're getting buy-in from this public community to dilute them because it's for the long-term benefit of this project and you all managed to do that.
Tracheopteryx [00:43:15]: It was crazy, yes. That was so wild. Let's talk about that and we can come back to Governance two, but because it's all governance and it's all crazy. The mint happened so strangely, the interesting thing is that from the beginning, talking to Andre about this, and forgive me if I misrepresent this at all, it's all my mistakes. But as I recall talking to Andre about this, he always assumed that there would be an ongoing wifey emission from the beginning it wasn't meant to be 30,000 and done. And there were like 10 attempts in the Governance two mint more wifey in the first month or something and they all failed.
Sina [00:43:51: It's like how Bitcoin's block size, there was this comment that this should be changed this ain't equivalent.
Tracheopteryx [00:43:57]: Yes. Right. Then all of a sudden people started conflating their memes they started thinking about Bitcoin and hard money and stuff and they're like, yes, that's what wifey is. No, that is not what wifey is, it's not meant to be hard money it's a governance token. The purpose of it is to Coordinape the community and so it needs to be flexible it also has a financial component we want to honor that. But so, everyone got stuck in this mindset and I realized how powerful memes are this 30 K meme, like, everybody, all of us thought that it was like this amazing thing never meant anymore we're going to do it the hard way. But then like...
Sina [00:44:37]: Just to draw the point, I think memes are so powerful and it's one of the things that many of us realize by spending time in the space, but it's almost its craft alongside engineering design, how to craft idea packets that people can get behind is so powerful.
Tracheopteryx [45:01]: It’s super powerful and it's just as important as everything else, and it has such a huge impact. I think a lot of people can sometimes have this naive view that they think that technology is this pure meritocratic, linearly improving system, but it's not. One of my favorite philosophers of technology, Andrew Feinberg talks about this. Well, he was like technology is part of the social matrix, if you look back to the evolution of the bicycle, for instance, they used to have that big one-wheel bicycle, and that was the highest tech bicycle and so then that should just keep going, right.
But then somebody invented the safety bicycle, which had two little wheels and that wasn't considered a better technological bicycle but because of people's concerns around safety or whatever, they started to use that more. And technology always develops in this way as part of the social majors embedded and we decide, as a community, that memes are a huge part of that how these decisions get made. There isn't one; technology doesn't exist outside of human consciousness.
Sina [46:06]: Humans are a big part of it and it's very path-dependent. It also makes me think of without going too much down this tangent, but it may, I think it's called plank rule or the idea that science progresses with generations of new scientists that come to the fore. And that people, even Einstein struggled with the ideas around quantum mechanics and it requires someone who's young and hasn't fully deepened those grooves in their minds to buy into the old way of doing things to come in and do something new. So, if you look back in time, that's how these ideas progress.
Tracheopteryx [00:46:49]: So, it was the incredible Overton Window shift, like what happened was all these incredible people like Bantag, Milky, Clem, and Daniel Lindberg and dark ghosty and Facho and all these incredible contributors and Doug Luciano were all getting paid like peanuts. We were getting paid so little, it was like, well, there was no Wi-Fi to pay us with or like what [47:15 inaudible] just didn't make sense. [47:16 inaudible] was so poor, we were making so much money and our fundamentals were so much better than everybody else. So, it was like, well, we should reward the contributors too and what happened was we just been poor for a long time.
Sina [00:47:32]: So, it was like 500K, how much was available to pay the contributors at this point.
Tracheopteryx [00:47:38]: 500K was our budget, but it could get topped up.
Sina [00:47:42]: Per year.
Tracheopteryx [00:47:44]: It wasn't super clear, it wasn't 500K per year, it was that the multi-sig would have an operational budget of 500K.
Sina [00:47:52]: Got it.
Tracheopteryx [00:47:52]: So, theoretically you could continuously refill it and it's an infinite budget, but I don't know if we specified, I think it was maybe, but I think the way it happens...
Sina [00:48:02]: You may be had an easier way out of this situation.
Tracheopteryx [00:48:03]: We probably did, but that didn't feel right to just drain all the money. I think it was more monthly, I think it was 500, no sorry, it was 500K a month that was specified. And we rarely used all of it but even if we did tap it all out, it still wasn't enough...
Sina [00:48:24]: Sign off.
Tracheopteryx [00:48:24]: To contributors. So, that's what sparked the mint and then it was this incredible Overton shift where I went on a campaign basic because when it clicked for me, I forget what it was. After all, I had been anti-mint previously, and then it was like, somebody did a bunch of research of other projects, like treasuries and stuff and what they're compensated for. I was like, this is just not fair, this team is so good and I see them contributing and they're so fucking talented, they need to be properly compensated. And so I went on a campaign to break this 30K meme thing and changed a lot of hearts and minds and then the mint went through, but we also put a team together of a super heavy hitter, big brains to put that proposal together. It's one of the best-written proposals I've ever been a part of.
Sina [00:49:10]: And then it has the complexity of this is the group of people potentially setting their compensation and all of these things that are incredibly complicated to navigate even in a traditional company and you're doing it out in the open. What did that campaigning process look like? What did you win about winning the hearts and minds of a large community?
Tracheopteryx [00:49:33]: It was just a lot of discussions, a lot of talking to people, a lot of sharing perspectives because what had happened for me was this illusion had gotten broken in my mind and then I saw that same illusion, a bunch of my friends' minds and it wasn't about me enforcing my view on them, it was about questioning it with them together. And I just took it upon myself to go and have all those conversations and to get this thing, it was like politics. But it did take a tremendous amount of my energy and I don't think I would do it again in that same way, but I can't say, I don't regret it and I don't think it was a bad thing.
It was an intense period and there were a lot of discussions, a lot of debate, and a lot of campaigning for this idea. One of the weirdest things was some people on the team, I was campaigning to make them rich, they were like, no, don't do the myth, that's not who we are and I am like, no, we need to do this, you need to be rewarded, so that's interesting. And going back to that multiple, I don't know what the multiple is but having some people in society or a protocol make 10 times or 20 times the amount of somebody else, as long as that other person that's making a bit low end of it has the opportunity for advancement is making a salary that allows them to be healthy and safe and to take care of themselves.
Then I have no problem with that. I think that's good because the value is asymmetric and there are natural hierarchies and some people do know things better than other people and that should be rewarded and celebrated. But we're also used to the unhealthy power dynamics of exploitation and enslavement and taking advantage of others that we react to that and that's why you see a lot of people fight against any form of hierarchy, but it's like, look, hierarchy is a natural part of the universe and we can't pretend that the sun's not bigger than the moon. So, it's more about how you hold it, you know all that stuff can be done in a beautiful, true way too.
Sina [00:51:39]: Okay, and then moving on to Gov two.
Tracheopteryx [00:51:42]: Yes, Gov two, that's right. So, we talked about Yip-41 where we gave the multi-sig power and the multi-sig is a six of nine gnosis multi-sig, but Yip-41 gave them the power to make decisions. But the people that were making decisions were these organically forming groups of contributors that would form around a shared interest, they would start doing work and they would say, you know what, we should farm, we should put some of the treasury into this farm because that's going to earn us a lot of yields and then they would pass that decision to the multi-sig. The multi-sig would review it and then they would execute it or they would veto it if they thought it was not a good idea or they'd ask questions and that was just the natural way that it developed.
The multi-sig wasn't making any decisions at all other than was this legitimate action or not. And the purpose of the multi-sig where these were nine high reputations, public figures that provided a trusted machine for making on-chain decisions so that the treasure not going to just get wasted and so Gov two came out of that. When we did Yip-41, it was for six months and we put a line in there saying that this is temporary and we will move into a multi-dow future, which we saw places like synthetics doing this multi-dow system. We thought that makes more sense, so we want to move to that, but it ended up changing because we didn't do a multi-dow, we kept one dow, but instead, we created these autonomous teams we call Y-teams and that's the foundation of Governance two.
So, Governance two's specific perspective on Dao’s is, comes from this lens of decision making and we started with just on-chain decisions. We enumerated 19 decision-making powers that [53:22 inaudible] was doing and each of these became discrete powers that could be traded and moved around within the system. And then we created this concept of Y-teams, these are small teams that can form and be ratified through a process to hold these powers on behalf of Y-Fielders and Y-Fielders have the ultimate power of delegating or re-delegating these powers. So, if Y-Fielders believe that a Y-team is not functioning well, they can take the power back, so it always does go back to them. But then there are also checks and balances, there's also the main multi-sig, which is a type of Y-team and they have veto power.They could veto even a Y-Fielder's motion. So, it is not pretending to be some perfect logical system that can all be put on-chain and all work flawlessly, it admits that there is space for human discretion in these systems and that there is space for some forms of trust because I believe that whatever you're doing if it's at the edge of what's been done before, it can't be reduced to practice, there always has to be some piece of it that is left for human beings to decide on.
Sina [00:54:31]: It feels like taking corporate governance and learning’s that have been there and bringing it on chain with a much higher level of configuration and reconfiguration, importantly, like all of this can change and that's baked into the system.
Tracheopteryx [00:54:52]: There are a few key differences and this is super interesting. So people often say like, well, what's the difference between a Dao and an LLC, and because they can look the same, like token votes, shareholder votes, multi SIGs boards, executive teams, I think to understand the difference you have to look at the substrate on which they emerge. And the corporate model which goes back 300 years is built on top of a platform of government nation, state governance, democracies with legal apparatus and rule of law and militaries and monopolies and physical violence and that's where these systems come from. Those systems have also been super vulnerable to entrenched power and collusion and the Bilderberg conferences of the world and all these conspiracies and whatever. When you change that substrate to the blockchain, which are this new physics and the interpersonal space where everything can be transparent and everything can be changed, but it's trustless.
And the same people you can trust, that it's the same for you, it's the same for me, it is fundamentally different and that doesn't mean that every structure within it needs to be different. People make decisions in small groups that are not going to change, people work together and the intimacy grows in small groups that are not going to change. So, we're not going to get away from that hierarchy exists, that's not going to change, and hierarchy is useful. The differences are these subtle differences like it goes from opaque by nature and Baroque by nature, hidden by these corporate veils and legal jargon veils, and expertise veils. But a lot of it is mostly just obfuscation on purpose in order to control power, moving from that to transparently on purpose like that change a lot, moving from rigid hierarchical systems to fluid, natural leadership, natural hierarchical patterns. So, with Governance two, it looks structurally similar but it's fundamentally different.
Sina [00:56:54]: When you think about this space for potential models, for coordination and governance that is made possible by blockchain as a substrate and you've designed this model for Gov two, which is at the cutting edge of what we have in this space at this point, do you have open questions in your mind of pieces of the design space that you haven't explored enough or trade-offs that are inherent in the decisions that you've made with this model?
Tracheopteryx [00:57:30]: Yes, good question. And, so this has been thinking about a lot lately with Gabe Shapiro and some other people, more stuff. So, I thought metallic’s' recent article on coin voting was great and so we have this problem of the ability to separate governance power from the financial power of tokens, and there are a lot of ways you can imagine that happening. And a lot of the stuff that we're doing, it's based in coin voting and at [57:57 inaudible], we have taken this delegated model in other places too, where we use snapshots for signaling and then we trust a group to take that output and put it on-chain. I would like to see that stuff on-chain, but if we do put all that on-chain, then you do open yourself up to governance attacks through the type that vitalic explained it and I thought that paper was on point. A lot of the reason that things work this well is because it's early, there's a lot of goodwill, a lot of these systems haven't been figured out how to exploit them yet, a lot of bigger money, corporate interests haven't gotten into the space yet. They will exploit all of these systems we put them in.
Sina [00:58:36]: We have this grace period before we're really on the map.
Tracheopteryx [00:58:40]: Right! So, I wanted to be on-chain, but I'm not willing to open, like look what happened at the compound just recently, or there's been another governance attack are like steam, right? So, sure, you can fully fork the community, but I don't want to have to get it that far like maybe we can avoid going that far. So, one thing that governance two does is it creates these two bodies in a way there's like the Y-Fielders and then these Y-teams, which you can think of as being kind of legislative group and then an executive group from a governance perspective and that maybe there does need to be some type of a judicial branch. And, people have looked at this like argon court or Claro corridor, escalation games.
But I think there's another form for that too, which is an inter-dow body, an elected delegated body of ambassadors that have a very limited scope of what they can decide on. But the one thing that I'm thinking about is the self-sovereignty of protocols, so the problem with governance attacks, if you even think it is a problem, but what I think it's taking the sovereignty of the community away to another community. And I think that we might like that's one thing that we could create a UN of Dows to protect against.
Sina [00:59:54]: Interesting! So, pull out a group of people who have a reputation, who have the confidence of the larger community that they're aligned with what we're truly trying to do here and they stand as the last check-in, in case these systems get co-opted.
Tracheopteryx [1:00:13]: Yes, I was thinking of it as a six of nine multi-sig from nine different protocols. So, you take some of the most trusted protocols and each one of them elects an ambassador and it serves on this multi-sig. This multi-sig has one key role across all different on-chain protocols that want to be part of the system, which protects them against governance attacks.
Sina [1:00:34]: That does seem like using humans in a limited way to protect against what could go wrong and we need humans. I think approaches of moving off of coin voting in fundamental ways are too early, it's just you can't build a web of trust that is going to work and is sybil resistant. These problems are difficult to solve and so this seems a good solution that could work today.
Tracheopteryx [1:01:04]: Hopefully one of them is because the alternative is that you have a multi-sig that's within one community and that we're doing that and it's working, but it's not ideal. You want to have as much transparent on-chain as you can and so how do we keep pushing that further? This is one way to do that.
Sina [1:01:21]: Going back to constrained delegation, if you're talking with a team that's going down this process of progressive decentralization, would you advise them to use this system? What are the options in front of them and how do you think about making that decision?
Tracheopteryx [1:01:40]: This is also a great area, so we went to Em-con, I'm using the …I went to Em-con. it was you and I went together that's what it was. And there are all these great people in the Dow community talking and well, this emerged for me when I was helping the loot community trying to think about governance is like there isn't a clear template for people to do governance when you're just starting up. The options are like, snapshot, multi-sig discord, that's one option or it's compound governor Bravo if you're more software minded or you want to be more on-chain delegation and then website and then discord, and what else is there, or it's rolled your own. And a lot of people are rolling your own, but what a lot of these systems miss is why you're doing what you're governing and what's the point.
Sina [1:02:41]: Like first principal is thinking about the problem they're trying to solve.
Tracheopteryx [1:02:44]: Exactly, that's left out. So, talking to people, like the Bitcoin public library about writing some of this stuff, or some of these Dao groups, like let's write up a bunch of this. What we need is more legitimacy as a community and to write it together, so it doesn't seem like one person pushing their agenda. Can we come together and put together this toolkit for new protocols to do governance and understand it better and create better options. Gnosis Zodiac is a super interesting one that's coming online too.
Sina [1:03:15]: And that legitimacy is a key piece of it. It's why a lot of people are using compound Bravo, it's because you can say that we're using the same governance model that everyone else is doing rather than rolling our own. So, governance two, the model is, to think about what key decisions you have to make as a project and how you want decision-making around those to work and the framework is a flexible one where the token holder delegates this decision-making to particular, multi-SIGs that are empowered to make these decisions. And then have the power to change that around or, you could have this other group that has veto power, it's more a framework for what governance uniquely means for your project.
Tracheopteryx [1:04:09]: Absolutely! And, so if there's anybody out there that wants to work on this, like reach out to me because we have governance two, but we haven't implemented all the features. So, governance two is running in telegram groups right now, there are some of the Y-teams are multi-SIGs, but some of them don't need to be like the Y-budget team, that's just a telegram group and they do polls for three or five voting of the signers within the group, and that's okay, but that's not so easy to spin up. So, what I'd like to do is take Zodiac and build telegram bots and discord bots that allow direct integration with gnosis multi-sig or with another module, so you can roll out a Governance two implementation quickly, or work with Orca protocol. There are a lot of people building our colony, but we need the integration and we need the stuff, these tools.
Sina [1:04:59]: Can you explain what Zodiac is quickly?
Tracheopteryx [1:05:02]: So, Zodiac is a library for doing modular governance, it was partially inspired by governance two, from what I've been told. And it allows you to interact with gnosis safes or a mullock Dao or a colony instance or whatever you want. And you can have modules, you can have modifiers and you can have guards’ kind of governs Legos to do things, like a modifier can be a time lock and a guard can be like, it's only certain types of transactions can be scoped to this group and not others, it would work perfectly for Gov two.
Sina [1:05:37]: Got it. So, governance two, or another name for it is Constrained Delegation is maybe more the framework for how to think about governance and Zodiac is more like the programmable primitives that you used to put together your concrete instantiation of this.
Tracheopteryx [1:05:55]: I think Zodiac is an implementation option, so is Orca protocol, so is colony, so is Aragon or whatever. Zodiac is the closest one that governance two that I've seen and I think it's a wonderful one, we need better implementation so that you can spin these things up quickly and make them configurable and customizable and you can choose what you want.
Sina [1:06:15]: So, I have one last topic and then we can call it granite. It's around pseudonymity and being called [1:00:06:22 inaudible], which is my favorite pseudonym by far. Thank you.
Tracheopteryx [1:06:27]: So, I had been following crypto for 10 years but I had only started working in it defy-summer and during that period, I was like, well, do I do this as my real name or do I do it as an Anon animate character?
Sina [1:06:44]: The choice was clear.
Tracheopteryx [1:06:46]: It wasn't, I was not sure because I'm not like a super nerd in that way, it seemed like a lot of friction for me, and under my real name, I have a pretty good reputation, I was like, well, I'm not going to be using any of that in like good credentials and stuff like that. But what I decided was I wanted to become part of the culture in that way and I also was unsure about the security and worried about people finding me out and who knows like, it's a little scary [1:07:21 inaudible] space. So, it felt like a nice layer of security, but also just the cultural part of being anonymous and getting to be trachea optics, getting to be a dinosaur was cool to me. And, it's been rewarding like coming into this space with nobody knowing who I am, nobody knowing my age, where I'm from, what I've done in my life, and be able to create this entire career in a year from scratch when I'm old and I've had multiple careers before was pretty cool.
Sina [1:07:52]: That is cool. So, how does it work in practice for you? Because if a real pseudonym, like Satoshi, let's say, where I imagine that person would have that group of people. Satoshi may be a bad example because there's a lot of lore around it. But if you are a truly pseudonymous person, that means that you're probably not sharing this big part of your life with the people that you're surrounded within your day-to-day life and that seems like a pretty big life decision to make that could potentially create just a division in who you are, like can you be authentic with your family, with your partner, with your close friends? And I haven't heard people talk about these questions, so I'm curious what you think about them.
Tracheopteryx [1:08:47]: I'm glad you're bringing this up because I haven't heard people talk about this either and it's a big one and it turned out that friction was too much for me. So, early on I was trache optrix and I still am, but I was like, no, I didn't share a video with anybody, I didn't tell anybody personal things about my life and I didn't like it. And, I just decided that that wasn't worth it to me and that I wanted to see people's faces, and then I was like, we'll go to Em-Con I'm going to like put makeup on or something? It was like, no, I like being in my body and around other people and so I started thinking of it as a bike lock.It's like, if somebody wants to steal your bike, they're going to do it but I'm not going to bring a two-ton chain or a complete vault with me whenever I ride my bike, I'm going to bring a lock and I'm going to bring a good lock and I'm going to be smart about security, but I'm not going to stop myself from going where I want to go. And so, I ended up appearing on video at Em-Con and at the time I didn't expect that I was going to be on video, but then I was like, screw it, it's important to me, I want people to see my face.
Sina [1:10:00]: And I feel like even the one degree of separation helps a lot, even if people have to like Slate Star Codex had his name out there on the internet, but 99% of people didn't know who he was, so I think that can still be pretty effective. So, the biggest trade-offs or positives or negatives of this path have been well, one that is just freaking cool, you get to be at the forefront of weirdness in this community.
Tracheopteryx [1:10:34]: That's awesome.
Sina [1:10:35]: You get more security, you still get to open up to people that whom you built more of a relationship and if you're talking with someone who's thinking about seriously taking on a pseudonym, how would you give them a heads-up of what's in store?
Tracheopteryx [1:10:54]: Well, figuring out what you are like; are you an animate person, are you like comic books or where is that pseudonym? How are you sourcing it? And having that be authentic for you, I think is important what your name is. Trache optrix resonates with me in a lot of ways, I love it as a name, so it's been fun to have it. It suits me.
Sina [1:11:14]: What is the story behind Tracheopteryx?
Tracheopteryx [1:11:18]: It's a combination of a trachea, which is like the human organ of speech and song, and the arche optics, which is the first feathered dinosaur. So, that's a creative and powerful combination to me because the transition between dinosaur and bird is just a profound evolutionary moment and also just song, artistry, speech, and creativity. So, that speaks to me and I get to wear that every day, which is like, [1:11:44 inaudible], it's got magical power, so find out where your magic's going to come from and give it a name. This is a kind of shape shifting, spiritual quest like look at it that way, why not? That's more fun even if you don't believe in the spiritual stuff, it's more fun to think of it that way, I think so do with that, so find something that's going to bring you the power and bring you what your goals are and embody that. And then learn OPSEC, you don't have to be like the super dev, super shadowy, super coder but we should all know OPSEC, everybody in this space, but when you're on, you need it differently too. Just around what types of communications and engagements are going to cause different types of risks to your security and decide how important it is to you, how secure you want to keep it, and what kind of bike lock do you want to ride around with?
Sina [1:12:37]: Alright, man, I think we can call it here.
Tracheopteryx [1:12:40]: Thanks, man.
Sina [1:12:41]: This was fun.
Tracheopteryx [1:12:43]: Thanks for having me on, could talk to you about this all day, so appreciate it.