Mike Brock, general manager of TBD at Block, discusses how TBD’s yet-to-be-released DEX is structured, explains why he thinks decentralized solutions do not necessarily need blockchains, and tells the humorous story about how Jack Dorsey convinced him to start working on a Bitcoin project. Show highlights:
- what TBD is and what its relation to Block (formerly Square) is
- how TBD differs from Spiral, another Block-based Bitcoin firm
- how tbDEX works and why building on-ramps and off-ramps to crypto is so important
- who will be supplying the liquidity for tbDEX
- why Mike is passionate about creating digital identity infrastructure
- how tbDEX will incorporate digital identity tooling into its protocol
- what Mike thinks about Vitalik Buterin’s misgivings concerning tbDEX’s design
- why Mike fell down the rabbit hole (thanks Jack Dorsey)
- what lessons Mike learned at CashApp that he is using at TBD
- which stablecoin TBD will be working with
- why Mike is not a believer in DeFi
- why tbDEX (or, seemingly, other TBD products) will not utilize tokens
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- Twitter; https://twitter.com/brockm
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mike-brock-9030813/
- Introduction to TBD: https://twitter.com/brockm/status/1415795490914856961
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/tbd54566975?lang=en
- GitHub: https://github.com/TBD54566975/tbdex-whitepaper
- Careers: https://block.xyz/careers?search=tbd
- Spiral (lightning development). Brock helped set up Spiral.
- Impressive BTC revenue: https://decrypt.co/93793/block-bitcoin-earnings-cash-app-hit-nearly-2-billion-q4
- Lightning network: https://blockworks.co/cash-app-integrates-lightning-network-for-bitcoin-payments/
- Aaron Levie
Hi, all. In recent press interviews, or at book signings and speaking engagements, people have been asking what’s next for me, now that my book is out. Well, I’m happy that I’m finally able to announce what I’ll be working on. Today, Law & Crime, the leading live trial and true crime network, and I announced that we will be collaborating on an investigative podcast series that explores the case of Ilya Lichtenstein and Heather Morgan, the couple who have been accused of attempting to launder 4.5 billion dollars’ worth of Bitcoin.
The series will be a deep dive into the story to understand the married couple at the center of it, how they allegedly attempted to launder the Bitcoin stolen from Bitfinex, and then to look more closely at the clues that led to their arrest. I’m thrilled to be partnering with Law & Crime to tell this tale about stolen Bitcoin with the depth and level of detail it deserves. It will be a fascinating journey, not only into the lives of this couple that has already captivated the internet, but into how blockchain sleuthing enabled the government to track them down.
We have a press release out about it today, which you can read on Law & Crime. So, if you’re interested in learning more, check out the Unchained daily newsletter today and tomorrow, and/or my Twitter feed. Also, as usual, I have upcoming book events for my book tour. So, you can also find these at LauraShin.com, on the book page, which is LauraShin.com/book/#tour-dates. And I’m just going to give a quick rundown through all the events, so, if you live in any of these cities, you might want to come check them out, and a few of these are also virtual events.
Tuesday, April 5, if you’re going to be in Miami, I will be doing a reading and signing hosted by the city of Miami Beach and Future Perfect Ventures. It will be at Sky Yard, from 6 to 8 p.m. Jalak Jobanputra, CEO of Future Perfect Ventures, will be interviewing me. You need to RSVP by this Friday, April 1, to Diana Fontani at MiamiBeachFL.gov. And then, on Saturday, April 9, I will be interviewed at the Annapolis Book Festival at 11 a.m. On Tuesday, April 12, I will be at Startup Grind’s Global Event in Redwood City, which is focused this year on Web3.
The time is TBD, and May 4, I will be in conversation with author Jimmy Soni at the PBS Seattle Crosscut Festival, which takes place from May 4 to 7, again, details TBD. Finally, last but not least, I will be at the Oslo Freedom Forum from May 23 to 25, again, details TBD. And now, on to the show.
Hi, everyone. Welcome to Unchained, your no-hype resource for all things crypto. I’m your host, Laura Shin, author of The Cryptopians. I started covering crypto six years ago, and as a senior editor at Forbes, was the first mainstream media reporter to cover cryptocurrency full-time. This is the April 5, 2022 episode of Unchained.
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Today’s guest is Mike Brock, general manager of TBD at Block, formerly known as Square. Welcome, Mike.
Thanks for having me. Super-happy to be here.
Let’s start with some basics. Obviously, Square/Block has undergone some big changes in the last year, but many of them are more just announced, as opposed to fully realized. So, can you give us the full context of what TBD is and why it is that Square decided to launch this new initiative?
Yeah. TBD is our newest business unit at the company, which sits alongside our, I guess you could say, I don’t want to say legacy business, it’s probably too strong a word, but Cash App, Square, and our second-most-newest business unit title. So, one of the things that, you know, as a company we’ve been really striving towards, is building towards mentality that we talk about internally is our ecosystem of startups, and as part of a coherent ecosystem that works together and reinforces the other.
So, TBD adds to that, I think, very apropos to what we’ll be talking about today, by focusing on our efforts around decentralized finance, cryptocurrency, particularly Bitcoin, and our efforts around decentralized identity, which I hope to talk a little bit more about today as well, and which we see as, like, really the big unlock that needs to happen to allow us to gateway into this decentralized future. And the other part of your question around, like, you know, TBD and what it is, we are very focused on solving what I call the onboarding or the onramping problem into the crypto world.
The reality that we live in today is that the average person goes about their day, and they pay for things. They pay taxes, they receive their salary, their hourly wage. They deal with money in many different ways, and the truth of the matter is, is that most people today don’t really have, like, a practical use case for Bitcoin or other crypto technologies. I think we should just admit this. Like, we do need to admit this is an emerging technology.
I think we also need to admit that when we look outside the United States and developed economies, that actually is less true. There are, in fact, places in the world where cryptocurrency is playing a very important role. I would like to invoke now the situation in Ukraine. I think Bitcoin and crypto has had a very large impact, in terms of humanitarian fundraising. I couldn’t help but notice that the International Red Cross has actually started accepting crypto donations for help in Ukraine. These are obviously very, very real things that are, I’m very pleased to see.
But in terms of what we’re trying to do is, you know, we look at the potential of this technology, and we see that potential, and especially in that very powerful example, of unlocking a future where access to the financial system is not contingent upon credit-worthiness, or whether or not, I mean, I guess you would say whether a government wants you to have access to the financial system or not, and I say that not so much directed at democratic governments, but like, in situations like we are now seeing in parts of the world where people’s financial access is used as a weapon of political disenfranchisement.
So, we look at that, and we think that that’s, like, a future that we want to see, and to do that, we need to build tools to let people onboard and onramp into that ecosystem. And so, TBD’s focus is building those onramps, building a massively-distributed and decentralized system of liquidity for linking the existing financial system, fiat rails, into the decentralized system, through a series of open-source, open-protocol nodes that we call tbDEX.
We put out a white paper on this protocol last November, right before Thanksgiving weekend here in the United States, really detailing what it is and how it’s going to work. We can get into the details of that, but broadly speaking, this is the theme of TBD, which is building infrastructure to enable individuals, businesses, institutions, and yes, like, even governments, to interact with this ecosystem in a way that will ultimately allow these technologies to become daily parts of people’s lives.
And so, you know, we are a far more sort of, I guess you could say, platform-focused business, as opposed to, like, a consumer-facing business, like Cash App. And you know, I guess you could say we’re more like a Stripe than, like, a traditional, like, consumer-facing brand in that sense, but I think that’s actually exactly, like, where we need to focus.
And so, my next question for you was going to be about how Square Crypto became Spiral, and then for you to differentiate it from TBD, but it sounds like that’s kind of the more consumer-facing business, and then, yours is the one that’s more B2B?
I wouldn’t characterize our business as B2B, or B2C. Like, I think what you should expect to see is more, like, a developer focus, like a developer-focused platform ecosystem. There are certainly ways in which that could have, like, consumer-facing elements, and institutional-facing elements. I think it’s really more about building, you know, fit-to-purpose tooling, to build decentralized solutions, many of which may have, like, very direct consumer applications.
Okay, but Spiral is more consumer-facing?
Spiral is not a business. You know, let me, I explicitly did not mention them as I talked about our business. They are not one of our business units. They are an internal, purely open-source, I would say, like, almost, like, quasi-Block-funded initiative to just invest in the Bitcoin ecosystem. There is no revenue model that’s going to ever be contemplated for Spiral. They are a pure open-source arm. They receive a budget from the business every year that, you know, that we set, and they go out, and they invest in what’s best for Bitcoin.
Whether or not Spiral, you know, we have no influence on them. Like, Steve Lee and the team are, their only mandate is do what’s good for Bitcoin, and they have done a great job with, you know, the development of the Lightning development kit, and they’re working on the Bitcoin development kit. There’ll be lots of awesome future developer goodies that they’re going to continue to work on, but they’re working for Bitcoin, and we’re sponsoring them, essentially.
So, they are not a traditional business unit like TBD, where we do actually have a mandate to generate revenue, products and services, and contribute to the overall business. So, that’s, like, an important distinction that I’m happy to clarify.
Okay. However, I guess one thing that’s interesting to me is that both of them do seem developer-focused, and so, it does sound like their efforts could be complementary.
Yeah, I think that’s true.
And you know, how do you see that happening?
Yeah, I mean, it’s a very common question I get, like, what’s the difference between TBD and Spiral, because TBD also has this really strong open-source focus. I guess the way I would try to, if I were to try to draw on analogies to make it easier for, I guess, people to understand how we think about it differently, is, I think TBD is trying to be a open-source company inside Block that’s a lot more like a Red Hat or a Cloudera, where yes, we are investing in open-source protocols and tools, and we are, yes, looking for monetization opportunities.
And Spiral is more like the Linux Foundation, in the sense that, like, they are, like, a purely sort of, like, you know, quasi-charitable organization, and it’s like, not actually, they’re not actually a charitable organization, but like, we kind of treat them that way, that they’re sort of entrusted to just kind of, like, do what’s good for Bitcoin, in the same way that Linux Foundation is trying to do what’s good for Linux, which is, like, different than, like, say, Red Hat.
Red Hat is also contributing to Linux, but they’re also a for-profit company, and I think that’s kind of the same way, if you’re trying to, like, find, like, some sort of pattern recognition to kind of see, understand the difference between TBD and Spiral. That’s, like, the analogy I would come up with.
And so, as you mentioned, Spiral is focused only on Bitcoin, and will TBD, I mean, you phrased it a little differently, I think you said that it was primarily focused on Bitcoin, will you look at other chains or explore other chains, or do you think for now we’ll pretty much only be Bitcoin?
We will be investing in stablecoins. You know, this is not new. I mean, we’ve said this publicly, like, we think that stablecoins are, like, a very powerful tool for improving the payment ecosystem. Going back to what I said before about the reality of where people currently exist in their lives, is that, you know, fiat currency is still a thing. People still rely on it. They get paid in it. They have to pay in it to obtain products and services. In the future, we believe that Bitcoin will become a more viable currency for day-to-day use, but today it’s not.
So, we believe that, like, creating onramps into the decentralized economy via stablecoins is one of the things that TBD is investing very heavily in. As it pertains to our disposition on Bitcoin, we definitely, like, see TBD as being, like, a very important onramp to providing decentralized Bitcoin liquidity in the world, because we do believe in Bitcoin. Jack says that he, you know, that we think of Bitcoin as the native currency of the internet, and from that perspective, like, we see ourselves uplifting that vision through the liquidity that the tbDEX network will ultimately provide.
And part of that will be supporting stablecoins, so, I would say that we’re not purely, like, strictly speaking, a Bitcoin-focused entity, although it is a very important part of our mission, to advance the cause of Bitcoin.
So, before we get into more on that, I actually also want to talk about your background. How did you get into Bitcoin, and why did you decide to go all in on it?
I’ve told this story so many times, but I love telling it. The truth is, I was pretty disinterested in Bitcoin at the time that I was kind of pulled into it. Long and the short of it is, in the period starting, like, right after the election in 2016, and kind of coming back and decompressing from, you know, the sort of, the shock of the political dynamics in the United States having shifted so drastically, we kind of came back, and were starting off the year, and like, we started with a hack week, where everyone in the company basically gets to work on anything they want to work on for a week.
The whole company, you know, just basically picks a, they bring teams together, they decide, like, hey, I’m going to build a feature in Cash App that will do this, or I’m going to…people actually, sometimes people don’t even work on products. Sometimes people, like, decide that they’re going to, you know, try and improve little things in the office, or sometimes there’ll be initiatives, like improving, like, you know, people programs inside the company.
So, hack week is this thing that we do, and I was, at the time, working on our Cash App banking and Cash Card product, which I had been shepherding for almost two years at that point. And Jack Dorsey, our CEO and founder, came up to me in, like, you know, right in that early January, and said, I want to do a hack week project with you. I was like, oh? And he said, I want to do Bitcoin. I think I looked at him, and I was kind of not really, like, sure whether to take it seriously, and he was like, yeah, I want to build Bitcoin.
And I said to him, you know, I’m not going to participate in hack week this year, because, you know, I really need to get this stuff done for the banking and Cash Card launch in a few months. And he was like, I really think we should do Bitcoin together, and I was like, Jack, I can’t. I’m like, I don’t know anything about Bitcoin. I don’t really believe in it, and I was just like, I can’t. And so, Jack, you know, was like, well, I’m not really going to take no for an answer, and so, I’m just going to, like, set up camp beside your desk until you agree to do it, which literally happened.
Jack literally, basically, like, we had these, like, trading-floor type desks at our headquarters, in Cash App, and it just so happened that the seat to the left of me was not actually taken. So, it was just kind of open, so Jack just was very easily able to just camp there. And so, he sat beside me that entire day, sat there on his phone. I would look over at him, he’d be, like, texting and emailing with people, and he’d look up, and he would be like, still here.
And that went on for a day and a half, and it was actually on day two of the hack week that I just broke down and agreed to do it, and I basically started writing code for the first time in a while, and just trying to figure out. Like, I didn’t know anything about Bitcoin, had no idea how it worked. Like, I started writing code not even knowing, like, what am I even doing, like, went and found some open-source Bitcoin libraries and just started looking at the API documentation and trying to make sense of it.
And so, that was how it happened, and it was just sort of, just, like, kind of like, all right, fine, whatever, just, I’ll do it. I did another podcast recently where I told this same story, but yeah, I didn’t come to Bitcoin through, like, any sort of, like, spark that went on in my own head. It was really Jack kind of, really, like, was the one who was really inspired by Bitcoin and its potential, and he just saw something in it, and he really wanted me to work on it for the hack week.
And then, after the hack week, he wanted me to continue to work on it. In fact, he wanted to ship it as a product, which I did not immediately want to do as well, and he also had to continue to lobby me.
And what was that product?
It was the product that we shipped in Cash App, which was the ability to buy and sell Bitcoin inside of Cash App, which was a, literally the craziest thing I’d ever done in my career, not because, like, I mean, it doesn’t sound crazy now, but in 2017, we were a publicly-traded company, and there was no publicly-traded company in the United States that was buying and selling Bitcoin, like, a publicly-traded, regulated, like, doing consumer financial services.
And the biggest problem wasn’t, honestly, at the time to doing it, wasn’t necessarily government regulation, like a lot of people kind of think. I mean, that was, like, a major concern. There was concerns at the time on whether or not the SEC was going to consider something like Bitcoin as security, and you know, we had all this sort of, like, risk analysis going on, like, from a legal perspective. But it was actually our partnership ecosystem.
You know, we have all these, like, we’re interconnected into the financial system, bank partners, like, payment network partners, and it was actually that ecosystem, when they kind of found out that we were doing Bitcoin, they were like, whoa, whoa, what are you guys talking about? We want nothing to do with this. And so, it became, like, a really tough slog to figure out how we were going to launch it. So, that was the craziest year of my life, and here I am now, like, you know, a few years later, weirdly enough, one of, I think, the biggest champions for this at the company. Who would’ve thought?
Well, so, you make it sound like you were sort of forced into this, but it sounds like along the way, you must’ve had some kind of light-bulb moment, or something that made you fall in love with it, or at least begin to like it. So, do you remember what that was?
I don’t think it was, like, a single moment, per se. If I’m being honest, I think the first two or three months of working on it, I was kind of in search, in my own head, of, like, a raison d’etre for the effort. I think what really clicked for me, like, at a certain point, was actually just kind of going back to what I had been passionate about before discovering Bitcoin.
So, I talked about how I was working on our Cash App banking and Cash Card strategy, and at the center of that strategy that I was, you know, one of the principal architects of, was a really obsessive focus on trying to maximize financial access to individuals in the United States who were underserved or unserved by the banking system. It’s a crazy, like, statistic, but there’s about 11 million adults in the United States who have significant trouble accessing a conventional checking account.
And this was really at the sort of center of what we were trying to do with Cash App at the time, and one of the things that I eventually realized, actually while working on Bitcoin, I think, just kind of really, like, really dawned on me at one point, was that the incentive structures of the financial system that we were a part of, whether we liked it or not, made it very, very difficult to provide financial access to everybody unconditionally. And the reason for that is, like, varied.
It’s a mishmash of, you know, like, regulations, well-intentioned regulations in some cases, that have negative consequences. It’s the fact that the payment system is, like, old and antiquated in other cases. You know, the thing that I now realize today, like, very, like, viscerally is that fiat payment is almost completely, at least the United States, I won’t speak to other, more modern systems in other countries that I’m not as familiar with, but at least in the United States, like the ACH system, forces most payments to essentially be systems of credit.
Like, a payment is a…even a debit card payment is a, requires the provision of credit at some level, because settlement is not instantaneous. It takes several days in the back end for final settlement to occur. So, there’s always counter-party risk in the system, and if there’s risk in the system, markets will price it in, and that turns into, that gets priced in in several different ways. It can get priced in through fees, or it can be priced in through access itself, right?
If there is a fear by a financial intermediary that certain people below a certain line of credit-worthiness will create situations where the intermediaries get left holding the bag, and the way that that happens is through, you know, payment reversals and charge-backs, there’s, like, always a way in the system of, like, credit, and credit-based payments in the system that, like, accounts can go negative. It can be, like, even, there’s no flag, like, people don’t realize this, but there’s, like, no flag that a bank can really tick in their software that says, do not let account go into overdraft.
You might think that that would be possible, but it’s not really possible, because the system, the payment system’s asynchronous. So, there’s always a possibility that the asynchronicity of the system will leave an account negative. And so, banks have to take that into account when they consider offering a checking account to someone, and that’s why you have to do a credit check to get a checking account. And when I realized that, and I was like, wow, there’s, like, really no way to solve that problem without rebuilding the payment system from scratch, and then I realized one day, wait. We have rebuilt the payment system from scratch, and it’s called Bitcoin.
Yes. This is why, when I first learned about Bitcoin in depth in May 2015, and really, really understood it, and I was vetting the Forbes Fintech 50 list, so all the fintech companies were telling me what problems in the banking system they were solving, I immediately knew, this technology is superior, and there is no way it’s not going to win out. Like, it was just clear to me, because, you know, everything in the banking system is decades old. So, yeah, it sounds like a similar epiphany to mine.
So, let’s talk about what you’re working on. As you mentioned earlier, one of your announced projects is tbDEX, or the tbDEX protocol, and the way you’ve described it, or TBD has described it, is that it aims to create ubiquitous and accessible onramps and offramps that allow the average individual to benefit from crypto innovation. So, tell us a little bit about kind of the problems that tbDEX aims to solve, and how it works.
Yeah. So, the main problem it aims to solve is the one that I described at the opening of the interview, which is to, you know, to create ubiquitous access to the crypto ecosystem, and the way that we hope that that will look is, going back to the discussion we just wrapped up, around how I had that epiphany around Bitcoin, is ultimately allowing people to self-onboard into this system to the maximum extent possible.
I envision a day where you can set up a self-custody wallet to hold Bitcoin, or stablecoins, and with that self-custody wallet supporting the tbDEX protocol, you can ultimately reach out into the network and say, I have this payment instrument that’s linked to, you know, a bank account, or some, like, fiat-payable account, like, somewhere in the world, and I want to find somebody who is willing to accept this form of payment, and like, also using the tbDEX protocol, negotiate the necessary identity exchange, which is, yes, regulatorily necessary in most countries, to establish, like, a transaction of value for value, fiat for tokenized value.
And to do that using an open-standard messaging system defined by the tbDEX protocol, and then, and buffeted by the decentralized identity protocols that we’re working on, that will allow the creation of a, like, decentralized sets of liquidity nodes across the world that anyone can operate, in theory, regulated exchanges can operate if they so choose, we will operate. That is one of the things that TBD will do, we will stand up our own nodes for this network.
We are also working with other companies that are also interested in operating these nodes, and the idea is that, like, yeah, like, you can directly, like, set out asks for many different exchanges, not just, like, centralized exchanges, to bid on the exchange of that liquidity, in a very decentralized way. So, it is a take on the decentralized exchange. It’s a little bit different than the decentralized exchanges we’ve seen up until now, which are really, really focused on creating, you know, atomic swap networks, and creating, and doing automated market-making.
This is different in the sense that what we’re really focused on here is finding a way to connect the decentralized crypto ecosystem back to the fiat system, in the way that is at least as decentralized as possible. The truth is, is that fiat is not truly decentralizable. Everyone in this space understands that, right? At the end of the day, it’s a government-issued currency, it’s controlled by the government. The supply of it is controlled by the central bank. It’s a very centralized thing.
But to the extent that, like, money services businesses that are in the business of exchanging fiat money for tokenized assets such as Bitcoin and stablecoins, that, we think that can be decentralized. We think the provisioning of that liquidity is at least decentralizable and commoditizable using open-source, open-standard protocols, and that’s what tbDEX is.
So, in a moment, we’re going to dive a bit more into tbDEX and some of the decentralized identifiers that Mike has been talking about, but first, a quick word from the sponsors who make this show possible.
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Back to my conversation with Mike. So, earlier, when you were talking about tbDEX and how it worked, you know, obviously there would need to be liquidity in the system. So, who are you imagining would provide that liquidity, or how do you plan to incentivize people providing liquidity?
We will provide it on day one. You know, we made that decision, that if you want to catalyze a network, you need to show, don’t tell, which is one of the things that Jack used to say back in the early days. So, you know, we are going to show a fully working network, and we’re going to be in more than one country when we launch the network, to really show the power of something like this to enable not just that system, the crypto ecosystem, but you know, and like, the potential to use this technology for disrupting traditional remittance payments is something that we think is, like, a worthwhile initiative.
And actually, I think, one of the really…I think remittance, quite honestly, is one of the first obvious, you know, areas for product market fit for Bitcoin and crypto more generally. And so, you know, we’re making a really big push into the international arena.
Right, but if TBD is the sole provider of the liquidity, then how does that affect kind of the decentralized aspect of the exchange?
Yeah, I mean, it’s a good question. We are working with other companies that are planning on also launching nodes on the tbDEX network, at least in the United States, and potentially around the world. We don’t have…like, I mean, this is the, right, is the biggest risk, right, to something like this, that, like, you know, that it doesn’t get widely adopted. Our belief is, though, that the incentives to adoption are actually quite strong, and I’ll tell you why, and the reason why I believe more players will come in and provide liquidity in the medium term.
While it is true that this technology is, like, very disruptive to an incumbency out there, like, in, like, the traditional, like, payment space, it is also true that there is an entire ecosystem of even traditional businesses that seek access to a more accessible, cheap, and reliable payment system. And so, one of the things that really surprised me when we released the white paper was, I totally expected that I was going to hear from the crypto industry at large when I put that out there, and I did.
I got, my LinkedIn inbox was filled with, you know, the CEOs and biz-dev people from crypto companies, but what actually really surprised me was how many, like, sort of legacy companies reached out and said, wait, like, could we be a part of this? Like, could this be, like, a way that, like, we could, like, actually build a better payment scheme, where we’re not, like, beholden to these old, crappy payment systems which suck, and it’s really hard to manage, like, risk loss, and the transaction costs are high.
So, that was actually, like, one of the biggest validations for me, and we do continue to have, I mean, I can’t, unfortunately, like, those conversations are not something that I can talk about publicly. I would like to, I would encourage people to…we do try, like, one of the things is, we do try to be radically transparent. Unfortunately, some of the people we’re working with are a little bit more skittish about working in public than we are, so I do have to respect their desire for privacy.
But I will say that I do believe that there will be more people than us providing liquidity, and I’m very confident of that.
So, you keep alluding to how these peer-to-peer transactions could be based on decentralized identifiers, or what you call DIDs. What are some examples of these decentralized identifiers?
So, this is a very new, old idea. The idea for decentralized identifiers has been around, actually, for quite some time, and there has been movements afoot on the internet since, like, actually as far away as the 1990s to come up with, you know, universal decentralized identifiers for identity on the internet. In fact, a lot of the technologies that we’re now trying to adopt and push forward do have their roots, in some cases, going back that far.
So, I think that there’s a few things that need to be said, right? Like, one, decentralized identity has not entered its heyday. It is a new technology, but I think that it is the technology that needs to exist if this future of decentralized finance that everybody in this space believes in is ever going to exist. And I think a lot of people hear that, and they think it’s because I’m talking about, like, compliance with KYC and IDV, and all of these, like, regulatory regimes.
That’s not really the reason. The reason why decentralized identity is necessary for decentralized finance to exist and be a viable lynchpin of the economy is, identity is necessary even between two private parties to establish trust, to establish, like, provenance of, like, of ownership for that trust to be something that can be represented to third parties, that other people can vouch for other people, can create what we call webs of trust, and allow people to ultimately engage in low-risk, low-cost transactions.
The example I like to use…and I don’t also want to minimize the fact that, yes, we do have to comply with regulatory obligations around KYC, but I really like to push this point, though, because I think that people focus on that a little bit too much, and I like to use the example of, you know, imagine, like, imagine if Amazon was a completely anonymous online company. You had no idea where they were based, you had, like, no, there was no number to call, there was no email address.
There was, like, really, there was no way to, like, prove that the product you just bought and sent Bitcoin or some other cryptocurrency to pay for actually exists in a warehouse, and they actually have the intention to send you that product. Now, like, no, but this is, like, a really important point. I think people take this concept of social trust for granted. Like, we take for granted that we can trust Amazon because we know it, and we know that, like, we’ve bought from them time and time again, and like, our Amazon Prime deliveries just keep showing up.
Sometimes they don’t, and Amazon has good customer service, and they refund us. But we take for granted that that’s, like, a thing, and I think there’s this element in this industry, there’s this assumption that exists that I think is, like, actually just, like, really, really wrong, that, like, we’re heading towards this utopia in the future where we’ll be having these, like, pseudo-anonymous or completely anonymous, like, financial transactions, where we just don’t have to know anything about the counter-party, and that we’ll all sort of be, like, hiding in, like, this digital darkness, hiding from the government and anyone, like, monitoring us.
And my question is, is, like, well, if that’s true, like, are we going to, like, if you want that to be true, too, then I guess we’re going to have to set up, like, anonymous drop-boxes for, you know, the products to be sent to, and hope that, like, it actually shows up, and hope that, like, with no recourse to trust to these, like, anonymous entities that we’re transacting with. I just don’t think that that’s, like, a viable future. The truth is, is that we need identity.
Like, if I’m doing business with you, Laura, I want to know that you are who you say you are. I want to know that that QR code you just presented me actually belongs to you, and it’s not just some hacker that’s, like, created a deep fake of your face, and is, like, pretending to be you, and is actually providing me a QR code that points to a Bitcoin wallet that is, like, actually in some far-flung part of the world, and I’ll never see my Bitcoin again, and then when I call the real Laura Shin, she’s like, I don’t know what you’re talking about, Mike, like, I didn’t offer to sell you that. So…
And then I’m like, by the way, I’m sorry, but you just got rug-pulled.
Yeah, no, so, I think this is, like, really why, like, decentralized identity’s really important, and I think that, like, people haven’t woken up to the fact that if someone doesn’t solve this problem and operationalize it, these are, like, the real, like, very tangible problems that the decentralized financial world are dealing with.
Yeah, but the only thing that I would add is I feel like people are already learning this right now, and it’s not with, necessarily, even buying physical objects, but even with buying digital objects. Like, the whole NFT space right now is just full of very similar rug-pulls, and I feel like all those people, they would probably say amen to what you’re saying.
Yeah, no, totally. And so, this is why decentralized identity is, like, one of our biggest lifts. We are choosing to try and standardize on the existing W3C, you know, DID specification, which is currently in draft. It is also the technology that Microsoft’s ION is built on top of, which, like, surprise, surprise, like, we are also, like, working with. So, through that, you know, like, through that lens, we think that this, the time for the technology is now, and the desire, the great amount of desire for building decentralized financial systems, and operationalizing things like Bitcoin and self-custody wallets is now the killer app for decentralized identity.
It’s not that decentralized identity is a particularly new technology, in the sense that, like, a lot of the things that we’re now working on have been around for years, but we think now is the time. Now is, like, now is where, like, the great sort of, like, product market fit, use case now exists, which is, people want to be able to self-custody, you know, tokenized assets, like Bitcoin. You know, you mentioned NFTs. You know, we’ve been critical of them, and I don’t know if we can talk about that as well.
But like, you know, I’m not, like, you know, people are free to do what they choose, but insofar as these technologies exist, and that we truly want to have a decentralized experience, we have to change the account model of the internet on its head, and we have to put the account model back in the individual’s control. The account model of the internet today is highly centralized. It’s the thing that I think not enough people are thinking about in this space, which is that, like, we log in with Google, we log in with Facebook, we log in with Amazon.
We, like, literally have given our identity to these big centralized companies, and we now use them as, like, the way in which we authenticate and represent our identity to the internet. We don’t control our own identity, and we don’t have the tools to, honestly, like, other than, like, taking pictures of our driver’s license and uploading it to, like, web sites.
And so, yeah, so, the decentralized identity technologies that we’re working on today, which, like, uses cryptography, and like, you know, the public key infrastructure in the same way that cryptocurrency wallets do, to be able to, like, actually have a piece of identity that you own, that you control, and yes, that other third parties can attest, like, credentials to. I can have a decentralized identity that has, like, a linkage to, like, a company like Block, like TBD, that has KYCed the customer, that has, like, basically confirmed that, you know, you are who you say you are.
This is your legal name, this is your birthdate, this is your social security number, that this is, you know, we’ve done a credit check, this is your FICO score, and you can have, like, a company like us vouch for your DID and issue you a verifiable credential that you can then potentially reuse, where other companies or other players can say, well, if, like, Block, or even our competitors, like Coinbase or PayPal did it, that we can say, look, like, we see that, and we recognize that that, like, that reaches a certain, like, threshold of, like, of provenance for that person’s identity.
And we can, like, essentially use that to establish a greater degree of trust for that identity without compromising privacy, where the individual remains in complete control of the ability to distribute that information as they see fit. They don’t have to, like, whereas today, you have no control of that, you have no ability to know, like, who has your information and why.
You have no ability to revoke access to that information, and even beyond that, the technology provides for the use of even greater privacy-preserving technologies that allow us to establish trust, like zero-knowledge proofs. Like, we imagine a world where in the future, you can have a DID, and rather than having credentials that are filled with, like, privacy-compromising information or information that could, like, enhance your risk of identity theft, could actually be, like, provided in an opaque, but still provable way, using zero-knowledge proofs.
So, you can imagine a future where I have a DID, I’m in California, so, like, if the state of California wanted to support DIDs, say, at the DMV, the DMV could choose to issue a verifiable credential to my self-sovereign identity, and say, like, in the same way that we send a crypto payment to your, you know, your public key, they can send to my public key that, like, I know you are who you say you are, and you’re licensed to drive in the state of California.
And that can be something that any other person in the world could verify. If I chose to say, here’s my identity, I’m providing you the verifiable credential that California issued me. You can go and take that verifiable credential, and you can ping the DMV directly, and they will verify that that, yes, he is licensed, without actually even having to, like, disclose my name, or my address, or any of that other information which typically goes through it, but still have a hundred percent confidence that it is true, that I am who I am, and I am a licensed driver.
What you’ve really done is you’ve accomplished the best of both worlds, right? You now have an identity that you control, that it’s yours, that no one can take away from you, that other people can attest elements of credentials to, like driver’s licenses, like KYC, like, even just like, I don’t know, like, your eBay score as, like, a seller or a buyer, whatever it is, and that could be reused to create, like, new ways of thinking about risk and trust that doesn’t require us to, like, do the thing that we currently do, which is, like, give all of this, like, privacy-compromising information to everybody, but instead create this, like, buildable social trust scheme that’s sharable, and viewable, and in full control of, like, the individual, that will ultimately, I think, allow us to achieve what I think we all want, which is, like, a decentralized financial system, and one that is far more privacy-preserving, and actually far safer for everybody, safer for me, and actually safer for institutions.
Now, you have this, like, privacy-protecting and preserving system that also gives people high confidence that people are trustworthy. And so, this is the true potential of decentralized identity, and why I think it’s the great unlock for this whole “decentralized” financial system and web that people are talking about.
Yeah, no question that, I mean, resolving this issue is going to be huge, because, just, I feel like anything that tries to connect the blockchain to something in the real world is a really, really, really difficult problem to solve. And there’s a reason right now that, you know, kind of all the things that have taken off in the blockchain world tend to have been things that are inherently digital, and not things that are, you know, exist in the physical world.
But I did want to ask you a few more questions about tbDEX. You may have seen that Vitalik Buterin told Bloomberg’s Emily Chang that he was skeptical of DeFi and Bitcoin. He said, “The difference between Bitcoin and Ethereum is that on Ethereum, there is native functionality that allows you to essentially directly put either ETH or Ethereum-based assets into these smart contracts, into these lockboxes where there is then arbitrary conditions of any kind that can then govern how these assets get released. Bitcoin does not have that functionality to the same extent.
“Jack is basically going to have to essentially create his own system that enforces those rules, and then on the Bitcoin layer, the Bitcoins will just have to be owned by probably a multi-sig wallet controlled by Jack, or just the participants in the system. It looks similar, but it will end up being something with a much weaker trust model.” What’s your response to those comments?
So, my response to this, I’ve debated some of these issues publicly already on my Twitter timeline and in other places, and I’m sure I will here, and in other forums. But what I would say is, I think there’s, like, I actually just kind of reject a lot of the premises of these arguments. And so, I feel like there’s a lot of, like, talking past the other side of the argument here, because I feel like, when someone says, like, well, you know, the Bitcoin blockchain doesn’t have these capabilities or these technologies, so how are you going to do these things, there’s this, like, unstated premise that in order to have decentralized systems, there has to be a blockchain.
And this is, like, the premise that I think, that, like, doesn’t get heard enough. Like, I think people think of me as, like, a Bitcoin maximalist. I don’t think I am, at all. I mean, I’m a big supporter of Bitcoin, like, obviously. Like, I want to see it succeed, but I don’t have some sort of, like, partisan, like, affinity for it, where, like, you know, like, my identity is tied to it, and I want Bitcoin to, like, win, like, come hell or high water, and like, I honestly, I like the folks at Solana, like, and I’m friends with, like, some of the major investors and those things, and we’ve had, like, very heated debates about that.
And I wish them well, and honestly, like, if I am, like, proven wrong, and like, these ecosystems flourish, and they, like, grow into what they’re hoping they are, I’ll be super-happy to admit that I was wrong, and you know, maybe TBD will be building, like, solutions on top of those systems in a few years. I’m always open to being wrong, is something, like, I try to pride myself on. What I will say is, like, the nature of my doubt, and the reason why I haven’t jumped on that bandwagon, is because I don’t think blockchain is needed for decentralization in all cases.
In fact, I would argue that blockchain is a terrible way to decentralize a lot of things. I like to think about this from a very first-principles basis. What is blockchain good at? I think it’s very good at money. I think that’s what, like, it does on Bitcoin. I think, that’s what it does on a lot of these blockchains, and I think that that has consistently been the thing that it has proven itself good at. You see it, that’s what people are doing on crypto exchanges.
They’re treating it like money, they’re treating it like a cash-like asset, like, case proven, product market fit established. Where I’m really skeptical is, yes, like, in the argument for smart, like, generalized smart contract chains, and like, what that means, and the reason why I’m so skeptical, I generally, like, I generally think that the unit economic story of smart contract chains just doesn’t make sense to me, from the perspective of a, from, like, somebody who has built, like, product at scale for consumers. I have a lot of real questions about the assumptions that are made in that space.
The first is that the reason why, that we will see adoption of platforms and ecosystems built on top of these smart contract chains that are powered by, like, Solana or Ethereum, is that there’s seemingly a pent-up demand for, like, newly-envisioned services built from the ground up, that individuals have a stake in, that they have some sort of control in, that they can have ownership in, that they can, like, use cryptocurrency as micro-payments in lieu of, like, ad-supported models, in order to, like, you know, establish, like, greater freedom, and buy-in, and this really, very, like, quite honestly utopian vision for the internet.
And actually, I think that would be great, if that was true. I just don’t think that human nature works that way. My counter-argument, actually, to that story isn’t even, like, inside the crypto ecosystem itself. It’s, like, it’s platforms like TikTok, right? Like, everybody understands that, like, that a platform like that, having, you know, like, the high-profile, like, censorship at the behest of a government that doesn’t want certain political messages to be present on that platform led to a huge political blow-up.
The last administration of this country tried to force the sale of its US assets to Microsoft, you know, and ultimately that was killed in federal court in the United States, and so, you know, ByteDance still has full control over that platform. Now, the reason why I bring this up is that, like, despite the fact that everyone knows this, like, my daughter knows this, my daughter’s 13 years old, she understands this, she understands that the Chinese government probably has undue influence over the platform, but she doesn’t care.
Like, this is the thing. Like, individual customers do not, like, do not react to, like, to these very, like, political and ethical and moral incentives, like, I mean, I do, actually. I don’t use the platform for that reason. I am very principled about the products and services I use, but my daughter isn’t, and neither are most of the people around us.
Wait, so, I don’t know why you’re bringing this up. Are you saying that DeFi and Bitcoin will be more centralized, and people won’t care, or, I don’t know where you’re going with this.
No, what I’m saying is, I am skeptical of DeFi as a smart contract-based system at all. So, when I talk about DeFi, what I’m saying is, the ecosystem of decentralized finance is not going to be, like, this thing that’s completely been built on top of blockchains. It’s going to be a set of decentralized systems, decentralized identity, you know, commodified and decentralized services on the internet. But I don’t believe it’s going to be built as, like, Turing-complete applications running as decentralized apps on Solana or Ethereum. Like, I think this is, like, why we’re talking, like, past each other.
The reason I’m talking about TikTok is because I’m talking about consumer incentives around why would somebody adopt, say, I don’t know, like, why would you use a social network that’s built on top of Solana, or on top of Ethereum. Well, like, do we really think that consumers are going to get Solana or Ethereum wallets and engage in micro-payments to interact with these new decentralized services that I hear, you know, I hear people in that system, I hear the people at Andreessen Horowitz and stuff talking about how consumers are going to want to use this, because they want to escape big-tech censorship, and stuff like that.
And I just don’t believe that, like, the incentive structures that people think would lead to consumers, like, jumping through all these additional hoops to achieve decentralization of everything, this Web3 narrative, is real. I don’t think it’s real.
Yeah. So, you’re saying that Bitcoin, DeFi will be more centralized in different ways, but people won’t care? Somehow, that’s, it just feels like that’s what you keep saying, but…
No, I don’t think that the only way to create decentralized financial services is purely through finding ways to, like, put the entire instrumentation of services on the chain itself. I think decentralization is not purely a function…I think what has happened is that people are using blockchain and decentralization as, like, interchangeable words, and I don’t think that they are.
Right. Well, but I mean, typically, when you have a blockchain, you have, you know, this distributed set of nodes that are running things, and so, it isn’t like there is just one entity that’s controlling the network. So, I think that’s why people tend to view them as the same, but your…so, people sometimes make the point that they feel that a lot of these blockchains really are controlled by, you know, one or some small number of entities. So, is that what you’re trying to say?
That’s one of the criticisms that I have, and I would, in many cases, lob at them. But I’m saying something completely different. I’m making an argument that very few people make. I mean, other people have actually made this, like Aaron Levie from, you know, he’s also made the, I think, a very similar argument to the one that I’m making, which is that I don’t believe the incentive structures support the thesis that a lot of people in DeFi are making.
So, when I talk about decentralized finance, I’m not talking about, like, rebuilding the New York Stock Exchange on top of Ethereum or Solana. I don’t think that that’s going to work, right? Like, I think that it is very obvious to me that the marginal economic costs of doing that are not something that the rest of the economy is willing to pay in exchange for just, like, knowing that, like, that they’re safe from censorship. I’m saying, you really have to think about, like, I think it is a good thing, and it’s why I believe in Bitcoin, that it is censorship-resistant, and that it’s decentralized.
But the way that it works is it works through, it works so well because of, the adversarial dynamics in the network actually make it more secure. Those things are not obviously true in a lot of these other smart contract chains. And so, when I’m talking about decentralized finance, I’m talking about the full gamut of technological tools that we can use for decentralization. That includes things like decentralized identity that we’re talking about, which, by the way, is not just about, like, identity.
Like, it also creates new avenues for decentralized service discovery and things like that, but there’s also other avenues for decentralization. There’s technologies like IPFS, which is also not based on a blockchain, and I think that this is, like, kind of the message that myself and others have been trying to, like, really, like, push the conversation, and is saying that, like, blockchain is not the best decentralization tool in all cases.
I think we all agree that decentralization is good, that we want to see decentralization of services, decentralization of finance, decentralization of governance. These are all good things, but I think that a lot of this industry is lost in the wilderness, trying to basically shove everything into these layer 1 smart-contract chains, and I don’t think that it’s the technology that’s the best fit for the job in many of these cases. And I think that’s the conversation that I’ve been trying to have, and I feel like people talk past each other here, and…
No, yeah, I get it.
…they keep saying, well, how are you going to do all these things in the Bitcoin blockchain? Well, I’m not. I’m not going to do those things on the Bitcoin blockchain. I’m going to do them in different ways using tools that are better fit for purpose.
Right. No, that makes sense. I mean, even people who work on things in Ethereum, they definitely also say not everything needs to go on chain. But so, since you’re actually discussing on this, I definitely wanted to ask you about how Terra recently decided to back its decentralized stablecoin UST partially with Bitcoin, and the cofounder of Terraform Labs, Do Kwon, was recently on my podcast.
And he was talking about how this will create a layer 2 on Bitcoin, or a DeFi ecosystem on Bitcoin, and I was wondering what you thought about that.
I don’t have many developed thoughts on Terra. I might take a mental note to dig in a little bit deeper. I’ve been very heads-down on what I’m working on. What I will say…
But did you hear about how they’re buying 3 billion dollars’ worth of Bitcoin for now, and want to raise that up to 10 billion dollars eventually, to back their stablecoin?
I have not been able to help but notice, in my Twitter timeline, the people celebrating Terra’s regular purchases of Bitcoin. Look, I believe that, yes, I believe in layer 2 solutions. Like, I’m a big supporter of Lightning. I don’t think it is the only layer 2 solution. I mean, the reality is, is that, like, exchanges themselves are arguably layer 2 solutions. I don’t think they’re good ones. I think we’re trying to disrupt that centralized model with tbDEX.
But yeah, like, yeah, of course. I mean, I think, yes, like, in order for the decentralized financial economy to emerge, we’re going to have to create, like, higher levels of abstraction to deal with a whole modicum of problems that moving to a new system of money presents.
But would you view what Terra’s doing as competitive or complementary to what you’re doing?
I think that what we’re doing with tbDEX is pretty universally complementary to the entire ecosystem right now. I mean, I view our strategy as, like, a rising tide lifts all boats. You know, I’ve said this before, like, if our biggest competitors in the world, and we’ve talked to some of them, by the way, want to come and work with us on this, and they want to use it, and they want to provision liquidity, and they want to build competitive products and services on it, I have said very consistently that we will work with them, that, like, we’re working in the open.
And right now, our model is to basically uplift the ecosystem, and increase the viability of that ecosystem. And so, I don’t seek to, like, stake out sort of, like, some sort of, like, unfair competitive edge. So, I view us as, like, working purely in the interests of the entire ecosystem, which, yes, we believe we’ll benefit from, that we’ll be able to, you know, to build products or services that people will pay for to support these systems, and our competitors may very well do the same.
They may try to compete with those services. Maybe they’ll be better than us. So, I welcome all competition. I also, if somebody thinks that they have a better idea for accomplishing this, the problem that we’re trying to solve, I certainly welcome their feedback, or their efforts. Competition is good.
And then, earlier, when we were talking about how you don’t feel that a blockchain is necessary for decentralizing things. In general, I think the reason that a lot of these other chains are using blockchain technology in their networks is because, as I’m sure you’re very well aware, they will launch their own token, and then, the users of that protocol kind of feel this sense of ownership or alignment with that protocol, and frankly, oftentimes then, some share in the governance for that reason.
But that ends up becoming an incentive to those users, and kind of brings those users into that ecosystem. So, you don’t feel that that would be a method that tbDEX would use to attract users or liquidity? I mean, you know, famous, or, I don’t know if this is famously, but I did notice in some of the writing about tbDEX, you said that you would not be releasing a governance token, which is, again, another way that these protocols will often decentralize. So, you know, what are your thoughts on kind of the usage of tokens to incentivize and attract users?
Well, I mean, we will not create a governance token. It’s also important to note that our protocol is a decentralized messaging framework that is ultimately doing, like, service discovery through the DID mechanism. So, like, I would, going back to my attempt to disentangle the conversation between decentralization and blockchain, I mean, tbDEX is a decentralized technology that is not based on blockchain, and that is a very deliberate decision that we’ve made, because we think a blockchain would make our technology more expensive.
We think that, needlessly so, actually. We don’t see any need to, like, burn, you know, these transactions that we’re mediating or the information that informs the settlement of those transactions into a blockchain for eternity, and to pay for block space and storage on that network to do it. We think that’s a really, really bad unit economic model, and you know, and we think, actually, like, undermines the ability of a network like this to ultimately become even cheaper than the existing mainstream options for international remittance and settlement.
So, we very deliberately have sought to build a decentralized protocol that does not rely on a tokenized, like, a governance token on a smart-contract chain. I mean, like, not as, like, some sort of flippant rejection of it, but like, we don’t think that those technologies would fit the purpose here. So, we’ve designed this in…I mean, a governance token wouldn’t make any sense, right? Like, it wouldn’t provide any security to our network. It would only make it more expensive to use it.
I mean, as currently designed, our network, our protocol should be as free to use as the web protocols we’re using to have this conversation today.
And so, earlier in the conversation, you also mentioned that stablecoins will also be a major focus. Are there any particular stablecoins that you feel you would be more likely to use, or are you thinking about launching one?
We have publicly announced, in conjunction with Coinbase and Circle, a few weeks ago that we will be working with them on USDC. And so, USDC will be one of the first stablecoins that we invest in supporting. So, that is public information, so I can repeat that here. We are, since we do want to be very internationally focused, we are evaluating stablecoin options for other non-US currencies around the world, but I have nothing that I can speak to on that firmly right now.
Okay. The last question is that the home page of Spiral says, “Bitcoin is the best money. It should be used like it,” and I get this question from normies all the time. They don’t believe Bitcoin can be a currency, or, you know, I would even say that in the Bitcoin world itself, a lot of people will talk about it being digital gold, which, obviously, nobody uses gold really as currency. So, what do you say to people who think that Bitcoin cannot be a good currency, or that it will not be used as a currency?
I got this one. I mean, look, I mean, I think it’s going to be about, like, showing and not telling, and I would say, like, check back in ten years. And I have a strong belief that the incentive structures that underline this technology and the emergence of technologies like Lightning, and I’m not trying to avoid the, you know, Vitalik’s criticisms of the peg-in and peg-out structure of Lightning earlier. I don’t think I have much time to dissect that, but like, I believe in layer 2 as sort of the main way to do payment.
I believe that, like, I believe long-term, the incentives towards adoption are well in Bitcoin’s favor, particularly, even more so…I think a lot of us can be very US-centric, but I look at countries around the world. Like, I look at, like, Argentina, and Venezuela, I look at Africa, where, like, El Salvador, obviously, where Bitcoin and Lightning payments are actually seeing real mainstream use case, as, like, a bulwark against, you know, runaway inflation, like, oppressive control, you know, over money and banking, and commerce.
And I believe that the proving grounds of this technology are not even here in the United States, right? Like, I think these technologies will be proven out, like, in real time, in many developing countries around the world, and I think it’s inevitable that Bitcoin is…I actually am not going to make the argument that, like, Bitcoin will be the only currency in the future. I know a lot of people believe that. I kind of am willing to withhold judgment on that future, but what I will say is, I’m super-confident that Bitcoin is going to be an important part of people’s daily life in five to ten years, one way or the other.
All right. Well, this has been super-fun chatting. Where can people learn more about you and TBD?
You can follow us at our TBD Twitter account, where we are always, like, giving updates on what we’re doing. Sometimes we are a little bit lighthearted there, and we joke around a little bit, and also, we don’t have our official web site launched yet, but what I will say is that we are racing to get that set up. We have a team that’s working really, really hard to get our web site put together, where we’re going to actually be able to bring together all these things that we’re currently working on.
So, look out for that, and we will definitely be announcing that on our Twitter feed. So, I would say our Twitter account’s probably the best place to follow us right now.
Perfect. All right. Well, thank you so much for coming on Unchained.
Thank you, Laura, this was fun.
Thanks so much for joining us today. To learn more about Mike, Block, and TBD, check out the show notes for this episode. Unchained is produced by me, Laura Shin, with help from Anthony Yoon, Daniel Nuss, Mark Murdoch, Shashank, and CLK Transcription. Thanks for listening.