Aaron Evans, Head of Operations at Moonbeam Foundation, on Blockchain Scalability, Scalable L1s, and Polkadot 2.0 | Ep. 298

In an exclusive interview with cryptonews.com, Aaron Evans, Head of Operations at Moonbeam Foundation, talks about blockchain scalability, emerging markets for blockchain, and the case for diverse models of scalability.

About Aaron Evans

Aaron Evans is Head of Operations at Moonbeam Foundation. Aaron is an experienced software engineer, executive, and technical leader. He has been working with Moonbeam and ecosystem projects since 2021. He is skilled in crypto, people management, and startups.Aaron Evans gave a wide-ranging exclusive interview, which you can see below, and we are happy for you to use it for publication, provided there is a credit to www.cryptonews.com.

Highlights Of The Interview

  • Blockchain scalability: The naivete of the conclusion that Ethereum + L2s are the only way forward (with considerations including rising fees, lack of connectivity, centralization, etc).
  • The case for diverse models of scalability, including scalable L1s (Solana, Sui, Aptos, etc.) and parachain-type solutions.
  • Decentralization / Governance: Projects that have neglected decentralization during the bear market will be revealed as just more centrally controlled tech companies during the bull.
  • Apart from philosophy, there is a real business case to make for projects with decentralized control and ownership.
  • Emerging markets for blockchain: In key areas, including Latin America, there is pent-up demand for better economic solutions than have been made available by TradFi and governments. Blockchain creates major opportunities for people in these areas to leapfrog into cutting-edge tech.

Full Transcript Of The Interview

Matt Zahab
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome back to the Cryptonews Podcast. It’s your host, Matt Zahab. We are buzzing, as always. Still coming in hot from Toronto, still freezing my tush off. And I’m super pumped to have today’s guest on the show coming in hot, 5 hours away from me in the capital of Canada. And I bet most of you guys, if I asked you what is the capital of Canada? I would say 80% of you would probably say Toronto. But the capital is actually Ottawa, a beautiful city 5 hours away from Toronto. And this is where our guest is coming in hot from today. We have Aaron Evans, Head of Operations at Moonbeam Foundation. Aaron is an experienced software engineer, executive, and technical leader who has been working with Moonbeam and ecosystem projects since 2021. This guy is a jack of all trades and is especially skilled in crypto people, management, and startups. He’s done it all. Super pumped to have a fellow Canadian on the show. Aaron, welcome to the show, my friend. How are you doing?Aaron Evans
I’m great. Thank you very much for having me, Matt. Really appreciate it. I’m super excited to be on the show.Matt Zahab
Pumped to have you on. Always nice to have a Canadian on board, and it’s always cool when I have someone a little close by. My last guest was in Singapore, and I was recording at night. She was in the morning, and it’s like, wow, it’s crazy how the world works. But glad to have you close by. Today, folks, we are recording on Wednesday, January 3. When you listen to this episode, it will be on Monday, January 8. We just had a multibillion dollar liquidation. The Bitcoin wick went from 45 straight down to 41, and this was on the news of I forget who the firm was, someone I’ve never even heard of before throwing out a tweet.Aaron Evans
Matrix Port.Matt Zahab
Yeah, Matrix Port. I’m like, how do these guys have so much pull? I’ve never even heard of them. Have you?Aaron Evans
No, I hadn’t heard of them. And it’s like one guy’s opinion, I think, or something I don’t know. Matt Zahab
Exactly. It’s like the Cointelegraph intern who threw out the Bitcoin ETF approved Tweet and gave us the $4,000 wick. Now we have the bad color red, $4,000 wick. Aaron, what’s going on here? When is crypto finally going to have a little bit more legitimacy? And when are these crazy wicks going to stop? Will they ever stop? What’s your two cent on this whole massive liquidation?Aaron Evans
I don’t know. Crypto is just crazy, right? And just wild swings, and I think that things will level out the more mainstream it becomes. And I think it’s just so still, so early in its history and so forth that and there’s so much sort of speculation around it. But over time, as the technology matures, becomes firmly embedded in enterprise applications and so forth under the hood, then people pay less attention to the individual technology stacks and this kind of thing. And maybe some of the wild speculation will go away. But on the other hand, you have DeFi. I think that’s just runs 24/7 unlike traditional markets. So who knows? Maybe we’ll be in for a wild ride forever. I don’t know. But I don’t know what’s going on with this latest ETF news. Who knows if this guy has the inside track? It beats me. Last I heard, it was pretty much a lock. For just like mid January or so forth. So who knows?Matt Zahab
Part of me also thinks this is like, again, if I’m BlackRock and I’m the biggest asset manager in the world, in the whole wide world, part of me is like, okay, if I’m going to launch this thing and I’m going to have to buy, and mind you, if it goes down, they’ve definitely already bought tens of thousands of Bitcoin. They’re definitely already accumulating. They could very well be the catalyst behind this sort of October to present day, early January rip that we’ve had. But if I’m BlackRock, I definitely want to tank the price a little bit more before we launch this thing. You know what mean, like, and if I have that much power and I know that Blackrock does have this much like, that’s what I’m doing personally.Aaron Evans
I suppose I kind of got to be a little bit careful to raise the IR of the SEC by doing some market manipulation. But who knows? Maybe you’re right. I think the thing with this sort of cash versus in kind contributions, this plays a little bit of trickiness as well, because they can’t just take the Bitcoin that they have and load it into the ETF. They’ll have to do some kind of cash transaction. You kind of wonder where that runs through, who does those transactions and how that impacts the market as well.Matt Zahab
100%. Let’s get into the bread and butter of the show here. Two parts, first is you, second is Moonbeam. We’ll start with Moonbeam. Walk me through Moonbeam 101. Give me the TLDR, give me the elevator pitch, a little bit of the history, a little bit of the vision. You guys have your two year anniversary coming up in Jan. 2024. That’s right, present day. Love to see that you guys have quickly turned yourselves into a behemoth in the space. Just sort of connectivity 101, anything app and smart contract related with a multitude of various blockchains. You guys are just connectivity gurus, and everyone always talks about interoperability, how important it is you guys are doing that. So give us the elevator pitch, give us the intro on Moonbeam, bit of the history, bit of the vision, and then we’ll get into the fun stuff here.Aaron Evans
Sure. Yeah, no, happy to. So, Moonbeam launched in January 2022, and as you mentioned, we have our one year anniversary coming up very shortly on the 11th, so we’re super excited about that. But the story really began way before that with the initial founding of the project and the vision. In short, I would say that Moonbeam is a smart contract platform for building decentralized applications that can access users and assets on any chain. It’s a developer oriented protocol. We’re sort of targeting builders, developers and so on. So that’s sort of the very short elevator pitch, the original vision. And this original vision continues to kind of influence what we’re working on today, I’ll add. So I think the theory was way back in 2020, 2019, the theory was that in a future world, there will be many blockchains and they’re going to specialize for specific use cases or functions. They’ll excel in certain areas and have all these things will have pluses and minuses, and some of them make it. I think some people think they’ll get very app focused or function focused. Right? So some excel at storage, some excel at transactions and smart contracts and so forth. And so the thinking was that connectivity between them will be a critical capability. And I think we’ve seen that happen. I think just look at the major GMP protocols like Axelar, Wormhole, LayerZero. Those are super important. We see Chain Lake also coming into the space. So I think that part definitely seems to have come true. I think back when the project was founded, we’re taking a look at what frameworks were available for building specialized chains. And then where’s a good home for such a chain if we’re going to launch such a chain? And so I think we’re attracted to Substrate as a modular development toolkit for building blockchains, and I think we’re seeing a lot of adoption. I think I heard even Cardano is moving to Substrate as well. So that just seemed to be a really good choice for building blockchains just because of its modularity. It’s written in rust. It’s one of the more modern then, you know, we came across Polkadot, and Polkadot was obviously an environment designed to connect Substrate chains together. So that seemed like a natural place and a natural tech stack to use. And I think one of the things that sort of became evident, and I think now it seems very obvious in hindsight, but back in 2019, 2020, that EVM, despite some of its challenges, would continue to be the preferred tech stack for application developers. And we see that obviously that’s still true today. There’s many EVM chains. There’s a lot of L2s using it. I’m going to sort of date myself here, but I see it kind of like VCRs, super old school tech. Beta was better, but like VHS had licensing with, and it became the standard. It became the standard. You could get the JVC VHS player for cheap, like beta thinks Sony tried to stay. So EVM seemed to be the natural choice. So we thought, hey, you know what we’ll do is we’ll make an Ethereum like environment in Substrate, and that would be very useful in this multi chain ecosystem of Polkadot and beyond for connecting chains together.Matt Zahab
Very well said there.Aaron Evans
That’s sort of the history, and as I said, that sort of continue on that vision even today, just sort of.Matt Zahab
A half on, half off topic question. How do you guys choose what chains to work with? Because I feel like everyone’s knocking on your guys door being like, hey, help us connect with other chains. How do you vet which applications, protocols, companies to work with? Because there’s so many of them, and it takes a lot of back end, front end work to really work on all the pieces of the pie, to make each blockchain connect and work with each other and to make it fully interoperable. How do you guys say yes and no to people who come in and teams that come in and companies that come in and want to work with you guys? What’s that workflow look like?Aaron Evans
Yeah, I mean, I think that’s a great question. There’s a number of different angles from which people are coming to us, or sometimes we’re going to them. I think when it comes to the Polkadot ecosystem, it’s fairly straightforward and in fact, we let our community decide. So in order to connect chains in the Polkadot ecosystem XCM channel, so that’s the cross chain messaging consensus format that allows the chains to interoperate under a shared security umbrella. So other chains in Polkadot, they can just put forth a governance motion on Moonbeam. And if it’s voted through by the community, then the connection is established. Now there’s more sometimes to get their assets listed.Matt Zahab
You give that much power to the community.Aaron Evans
Yeah, last year we’ve done a tremendous amount to empower the community and further decentralization Substrate allows us to have four close upgrades. We’ve done six major upgrades over the past year, so probably 15 or more since inception, but so just getting back to. So through the Polkadot ecosystem, they can connect to us. Now if they want to get their assets listed in our official dApp, there is more of an approval process there. There’s forms they got to fill out and kind of provide links back to things like security audits, because there’s certain disclaimers we want to highlight for people if they still have Sudo enabled or something like this. So that’s sort of the Polkadot side, I would say, for teams that want to deploy and seeking grants, we have a little grants program for people that want to work with us in that way. And then for connecting to chains outside of Polkadot, our angle there has just been to work with the major GMP protocols, as I mentioned. So we have Axelar, LayerZero, Wormhole, Hyperlane all deployed to Moonbeam. And that’s our strategy for interoperability with chains outside of Polkadot ecosystem. And I think what we found is a lot of parachains are leveraging Moonbeam. The chains in Polkadot are leveraging Moonbeam as a conduit to reach other ecosystems, which is quite interesting how that’s developed.Matt Zahab
You keep mentioning Polkadot. I’d love, and this is totally on me here. I need to do my research, but I’d love if you could give a quick little TLDR on the difference between Polkadot and Polkadot 2.0. The DOT unlock. And again, this is more my curiosity than anything else. I’m sure the listeners would like to learn about this as well. But what’s been going on in the Polkadot ecosystem? A lot of things have been happening. I’d love if you could just give me a quick little sort of TLDR on the difference between 1.0 and 2.0 and then segue into the DOT unlock.Aaron Evans
Sure. Yeah, no, happy to. Gavin Wood came up with the idea of Polkadot and it really is a tremendous tech stack. Moonbeam in itself is just useful without Polkadot. I mean, it’s deployed on Polkadot but when application developers deploying to it, they may or may not be super interested in the Polkadot aspects, but it’s an amazing framework and base for us to deploy upon. Polkadot 1.0 is such that where there’s the relay chain, which is providing the Polkadot relay chain, which is providing shared security across all the quote unquote Parachains. So that’s more of sort of the LayerZero, not to be confused with the LayerZero GMP protocol. And then there are all these L-1 Parachains which deploy on Polkadot. Now, you don’t want to have a bazillion of these things. There are limits to the scale. So there are slots that you have to obtain in order to have your chain deployed in the Polkadot ecosystem. And in Polkadot 1.0, the way you would get a slot is by winning an auction. And so you would have to bid with some amount of dots. And there are so many auctions and so much time, and you have to win your slot, and then you have basically a lease for some period of time to operate. Now, each slot is then you can think of as gets a dedicated core, is what they call it. So you have a dedicated amount of transaction processing that each slot is allocated. And so I’ll come back to that in a minute. But this auction framework is one of the things that, it’s kind of a pain because we’ve renewed ours somewhat recently and we’ve done it a bunch of times with our incentivized test network, moon river, but it is a pain. It requires a lot of preparation. And if, for whatever reason, if you screw it up, your chains could be offline. So it’s not amazing. So with Polkadot 2.0, there’s a couple of major changes. So one, they would do away, and they’re kind of related. They’re going to do away with the auctions, and there’ll be a marketplace for buying core time. And in addition, the core time is more agile in the sense that instead of each parachain getting a dedicated core, it’s more adaptable where you may or may not be using. Like, they can slice and dice the cores that are available to all the chains. And so this way, because what you have right now, there are some pairachains, when they initially launch, there’s not a lot of activity. They’re just producing empty blocks, but you still need a dedicated core processing those empty blocks. So this way that wouldn’t be required. You would only use the core time that you need with actual transactions that need to be validated. So there’s sort of that marketplace for paying for core time. And so because they have that marketplace, they can also do away with the auctions and they’ll get a lot more throughput and scalability with Polkadot 2.0 across the ecosystem.Matt Zahab
Very interesting. Another topic Aaron, I’d love to get into is DeFi on Moonbeam. DeFi has sort of had a massive resurgence. It’s almost like DeFi Winter. It was like DeFi Autumn over the last couple of months, and now we’re still sort of buzzing on DeFi Winter, you have airdrops. It is literally just airdrop city population us. If you have contributed to almost any new and more specifically Solana based DeFi platform, you have a lot of Atom and Cosmos DeFi platforms as well. Over the last little bit, you’re just getting free money, which is pretty bananas. Also on that topic, little off topic here, the IRS, I don’t know if you saw that news that came out yesterday where if you get an airdrop over $10,000, you have 15 days to report it or you’re hooped. Now, again, thankfully that doesn’t apply to us, but then again, anything that happens in the states, we usually copy. So I’m sure that will be coming our way as well. What new opportunities are you excited about for DeFi on Moonbeam as a whole?Aaron Evans
Yeah, so I think we have a great DeFi ecosystem. I think that macro forces what they are. DeFi, as you said, it’s gone through a bit of a winter period. There seems to be a resurgence. Definitely signs in the market. So great to see that moving again. Moonbeam being an EVM smart contract environment is just going to naturally, DeFi projects are naturally going to be attracted to something like that. And I think that was one of the first use cases to come to Moonbeam. And we have several decks and AMM solutions. We have BeamSwap and StellaSwap. We have a lending protocol, Moonwell. There’s a lot of liquid staking of DOT going on and so forth. So a lot going on there. I think what I’m really excited about, though, is to see that combined with the cross chain use cases and technology that we’ve developed. So, for example, prime protocol is a cross chain prime brokerage. They have connected to eight EVM chains, including Moonbeam, and it’s designed to function across multiple chains. And it uses Moonbeam as the central point for integrating functionalities across those chains. So it’s sort of a hub and spoke model. And so instead of the initial approach, when Moonbeam first launched all these DeFi projects would be like, oh, okay, here’s more users. There’s a venue over here, I better deploy an instance over there. But now you have these two instances. So you have fragmented liquidity, you have fragmented user bases, you have to manage them separately. So it’s kind of like going back to the old web days where before there were these major multitenanted applications, you’ve got these different standalone islands to manage and that comes with its host of problems. And so in a model like this, you actually have more of a single instance of an application that operates across multiple chains. And I think we’re just going to see a lot more of that now. It has its own complexities and security concerns and technical challenges, but in the end, it’s going to give a superior user experience, it’s going to be more manageable and it’s really going to allow teams to scale their applications to reach the most number of users and manage their liquidity in the most efficient way. So I think taking DeFi and combining that with the cross chain connected capabilities of Moonbeam is really exciting and I think we’re going to see a lot more of that.Matt Zahab
I love that. It’s crazy, this resurgence of DeFi. And I personally, I love to see it. I mean, the word itself, decentralized finance, it is a powerful one and I think that’s going to be one of the applications that really gets the masses on board. But right now, still, the UX is just absolutely horrendous. Setting up wallets, writing down seed phrases, it’s still nightmare fuel. And I don’t think anyone’s really moving the needle too far in that regard. Account abstraction needs to be much better. And man, oh man, it’s got to happen sooner rather than later because I feel like we’re getting. I don’t want to say close, but I just feel like we need more mass adoption use cases sooner rather than later, or else we as a whole, speaking on behalf of the whole crypto community, will never get the chance to go mainstream. That’s just my take. But who knows? Aaron, we have to take a quick break and give a huge shout out to our sponsor of the show that is PrimeXBT. And when we get back, we are going to keep buzzing on blockchain scalability, some governance, decentralization, emerging markets for blockchain and a super cool use case. And I can’t wait to get into this. You guys loaded Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu certificates that are on Moonbeam network. That is so friggin cool. And we’ll get into that in 1 second. But until then, huge shout out to PrimexBT, longtime friends of cryptonews.com and longtime sponsors of the Cryptonews Podcast. PrimeXBT offers a robust trading system for both beginners and professional traders. It doesn’t matter if you’re a rookie or a vet, you can easily design and customize your layouts and widgets to best fit your trading style. PrimeXBT is running an exclusive promo for listeners of the pod. Use the promo code CRYPTONEWS50 to receive 50% of your deposit credited to your trading account. Again, that is CRYPTONEWS50 to receive 50% of your deposit credited to your trading account. And now back to the show with Aaron. Let’s get right into the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu because that is so cool, you guys. This was on your twitter on December 15. Official Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu certifications coming out of Brazil. This is the kreme de la kreme of MMA. And any type of combat like, these guys are the GOATs. All the best UFC fighters all have experience in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. It separates the best from the mids. And you guys put this on chain. Walk me through the whole story. This is so frigging cool. How did you make this happen? Give us some of the goods here.Aaron Evans
Yeah, I mean, I think it’s a super cool use case. I remember telling my kids, because they’re always kind of like, what do you do with this blockchain stuff? But it’s like, this is the coolest thing. My nieces and nephews, they’re into Jiu-Jitsu and everything, so I was super proud to show them that use case. So we’ve been making a lot of inroads in Brazil. In particular, you mentioned emergency markets and so forth, and Brazil is one of those areas of focus for us, and one of our members of the Moonbeam foundation team is from Brazil. And so we’re really working to develop relationships there. We have multiple partners. We’re working with other companies to blockchain enable their applications. And so in this case, I believe it was WeBlock who was the partner down there who connected us with the folks at the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. And yeah, I mean, I think the BD function is kind of handled by other folks in the foundation. So I wasn’t super close to the deal, but yeah, it came together relatively quickly and I think it’s just a really cool use case to say, hey, look, these are, certifications are the kind of thing that you want to be able to prove this is the kind of thing that belongs on blockchain, right? You want to be able to prove that this certification is real. And I think we’re starting to see other applications, especially in Brazil, like, for example, to concert tickets. They have a big problem with fraudulent concert tickets because you could take a picture of the barcode, even if they’re digital and so forth. So I think longer term, you’re just going to see a lot more things where people can prove that they’ve achieved or that they own something. And this is amazing because it’s just such easy to understand use case, real world use case that’s solved using blockchain. And we couldn’t be more excited to have them select Moonbeam to track those certifications.Matt Zahab
So cool. This is the kind of stuff we need. And again, especially in a place like Brazil, which neighbors countries like Argentina and has their own currency issues as well, these are the opportunities that I feel like, really move the needle. The Brazilian population hears about this, they go, oh, this is really cool. What else can crypto do? They get to be a little more curious. Then, you know, the trickle effect happens and the rest takes care of itself. So absolutely love this. Another thing that you guys are doing is you’re really moving the needle in emerging markets, more specifically Latin America. Is there another reason that you guys have penetrated that market, besides the obvious Venezuela and Argentina with currencies that are just an absolute joke? And my apologies to the Argentinians and Venezuelans that are listening, but your currency is horrendous to say the least. And I feel terrible for them. I spend time in Mexico and there’s a bunch of. I have Argentinian friends and they tell me about doctors making $500 a month in Argentina. Like a doctor. You come to Canada, you make a couple of hundred grand. You go to the States, you make 500 grand. They’re making 500 us a month to be a doctor. It is insane. Feel terrible for them. Hopefully this new Malay or whatever his name is, I’m sure you’ve seen this guy, the new Libertarian Leader of Argentina. He’s a nutcase, but he’s sort of a beauty.Aaron Evans
He’s kind of wild.Matt Zahab
He’s wild, produces great content. But a little off topic here. Back on topic. Why crypto in Latin America? Why blockchain in Latin America in particular?Aaron Evans
You know, emerging markets? I mean, I think this is probably kind of well known, but we in Canada, North America, Western Europe, we take things like banking for granted we take, you know, the fact that we can get a bank account that we can transact and we can send you know for granted, I think, you know, a real eye opener for me was over the you know, last year and a half when there were all these issues with some of these banks that were serving crypto companies. And it just was like, okay, well, there was a period of time when we didn’t have a bank account, the Moonbeam foundation. We’re just kind of like running know, trying to find a banking partner. And so you really start to feel it then. But these emerging markets, it goes beyond that. As we said, they’re currency that can’t be relied upon and so forth. And so they really get it. And I think this is an analogy I would look at is like, in Canada and North America, United States back in, I don’t know, the early two thousands, we had excellent telecommunication infrastructure deployed everywhere with all these wires. And we were way ahead of Europe and definitely ahead of Africa and other areas like that. And then out of necessity, Europe deployed much better mobile technology very quickly, and they just sort of jumped over and they leapfrogged, having to deploy all these lines everywhere to people’s houses. They just went straight to wireless. And so I think in that sense, you’re going to see the same with these emerging markets. They’re going to be quick to adopt blockchain technology and crypto because their current financial rails are terrible. And so instead of spending all this time, money with probably in some cases, not the most on the level governments, and instead of spending the time doing all that and trying to fix all that, just jump straight you know, crypto and blockchain. And so emerging markets are where there is a tremendous amount of interest in solving real world problems that goes beyond just sort of speculation on tokens and so forth. And Brazil is one of those. And as I mentioned, we have a key member of the team that’s from Brazil. So that certainly helped. But it just seemed like there was a lot of teams coming to us for grants and interested in working with Moonbeam. I think they had heard of us. We have an ambassador program as well that’s very active in various communities, and there was just a lot of inbound interest. And we said, well, let’s pull on this thread. And it’s been going very well, and I think hasn’t sort of been dominated already by one of the other players in the space. But we’re looking at others, too. We’re spending a bunch of time exploring Vietnam right now, and we’ll probably look at some other markets as well. But right know, we’re having a lot of success in Brazil, and we want to keep building on that moment.Matt Zahab
I love the phone connectivity analogy. That is just straight gold. Just a little antidote here. Again, as I spend a decent amount of time every year in Mexico, don’t meet too many Brazilians, but meet tons of Argentinians. Again, they just come up so they can participate in an economy that’s doing decent. The Mexican peso isn’t too bad, and that’s what they do. And then they send it back to their own bank accounts or their families. Every single one of the Argentinians I meet, girls and guys, they all have a Binance or another crypto account. My friends in Toronto, I would say maybe 20%, 30% of my network outside of crypto has a crypto account. And it’s strictly for usually aping into shitcoins or HODLing a bit of Bitcoin or ETH or Solana, right? Otherwise it’s strictly like, I get texts, Matt, when’s the next bonk? When’s the next Doge? When’s the next Shiba Inu? That’s all it is. It’s just like, how can I throw a couple hundred bucks and hit a Moon kind of thing. And then you have the Argentinians who are actually using crypto for real world use cases. They don’t ape into shitcoins. They take money from Mexico, they transact it into their account, and they send it back to Argentina. And it’s just like, I love seeing that. It warms my heart, and that’s what we need more of. So love the work you guys are doing in Latin. Another thing I’d love to get into is blockchain scalability. We have seen Solana really sort of take the cake on this one. SUI as well. We had SUI on the podcast as well. That was a treat. Aptos. A lot of parachain type solutions, literally even earlier this year or last year excuse me. Jan, Feb, March, even April. I would say all the way up until late summer of 2023, the narrative was simply Ethereum and L-2s are the only way forward connectivity. You have the fees, which are a shit show. And now all of the other parachain type solutions are running the show. We love to see this. What are you guys doing to work on these? And I’d love your personal take as well. Is this the way forward? Is Solana going to turn into the next ETH? Does ETH have a chance for resurgence? The volumes haven’t dropped off a cliff per se, but all other pair chains are literally going like this. They’re going up into the right, and ETH is very slow, even on NFTs. Solana passed ETH for NFT volume last month as well. What’s your two cent on that? Are we going to see parachain type solutions keep buzzing, or is ETH going to have a resurgence?Aaron Evans
Look, I think Ethereum is like a mainstay for sure. And I think what’s interesting to me is that it looks as though Ethereum will become a bit like the Polkadot relay chain in the sense that it’s about the consensus. And I think the Layer 2s will continue to proliferate and show success. But I think at the end of the day, to get Web2, like scalability, there’s not, no one chain can do that, right? That’s just not possible. The number of users in the world, even if they’re not transacting very much just to handle that kind of load and that number of accounts, there’s no one chain that’s going to be able to do it. And so you have to have these stacks that work together in these sort of networks. I think Polkadot and Cosmos were early examples of those. And then Ethereum had this idea about sharding, and then it turned into the L-2 thing, and now you’ve got all these other chains doing similar strategies. Avalanche has got their subnets and so forth. So I think what we’re going to see over the next little while is some tech stack consolidation. And I think it’s likely that EVM will continue to play a major part there. I think a lot of the L2s continue to be EVM based and so forth. But what’s going to emerge is going to have kind of these islands of interoperability. And so people running the op stack, they’ll sort of have some level of interoperability with each other. ZKSync, they have their strategy, and as I mentioned, Avalanche and things like that. So that’s what we’re going to see in the next two to three years. But then there’ll probably be some kind of shakeout where certain ones will become winners. And I think one of the things that I like about Polkadot, for example, is that it’s a little top down where gabs kind of said, okay, this is kind of how it works, like the shared security model, but everyone understands it and has adopted it. Whereas these other say, take for example, the op stack for Optimism. People are launching all these chains with the op stack, but then they got to figure out how to glue them together, and they’re only figuring that out now. And it is a bottoms up approach, which I like. It’s kind of like grassroots, and they’re going to figure it out together. But I think that that’s going to cost valuable time. I think that over the next few years, getting that right and secure could prove difficult because it’s not only just having secure messaging between them and so forth, but just the security of those assets and consensus among those chains will be difficult. So I do think some form of Ethereum L-2 will exist for the foreseeable future and probably play a major part in the world, but there’s a lot of room for a lot of different stacks. I mean, if you look at the Web2 world, you have a lot of different industry players beyond just the Amazon, Google and Microsoft cloud. You have a lot of other key pieces of infrastructure that have emerged as pillars of that. And I think we’re going to see the same thing play out over the next five to ten years in blockchain. And I think there’s a lot of room, but I think tech will matter in the coming five to ten years. And I think that’s when Polkadot and Substrate based chains will have their time in the sun because people will realize the capabilities that are there and that they’re built for long term scalability.Matt Zahab
Well said. Last question here Aaron. 2024 trends, predictions. We don’t have to get into any price prediction nonsense, but trends as a whole. Everyone’s still saying DeFi, everyone’s saying Deepn is going to blow up. Everyone’s still saying Solana ecosystem is going to blow up. What’s on your sort of hot take board? What is on the Aaron Evans hot take board for 2024?Aaron Evans
Yeah, I do think DeFi is great and I think there’s going to be a resurgence of that. But at the same time, I think the number of people in the world that will directly participate in DeFi, I think is so small, somewhat limited. It’s not as broad as social applications and this kind of thing. I think in this next cycle what we’re going to see is some meaningful enterprise adoption. And so where there are Web2 companies or traditional companies that have realized that this blockchain thing is real, there will be real use cases like the Jiu-Jitsu kind of thing, where there are certain things where users are going to start to expect more ownership and sovereignty over their data and they’re going to want it on the blockchain and these companies will start to enter and that’s really going to drive a lot of growth and I think they’re going to want to go to places where it’s easy for their developers to get going. So ecosystems with strong SDKs and really top notch developer relations teams and support and documentation, which Moonbeam has excellent. That’s, I think what we excel at. We’re well known for providing great support to developers. Our documentation is really good. So I think that’ll be a key driver. And I think a lot of these real world assets, whether those are financial instruments or actually just real world things like Jiu-Jitsu certifications, I think loyalty programs will continue to be a big thing where you have platforms where there’s more utility to those loyalty points. And that kind of thing flourishes in a blockchain kind of environment. So that’s kind of how I see. I mean, for Moonbeam ourselves, we have a lot going on. And on the scalability side, I think we’ll probably reduce block times by a half to help with speed and so forth. So that’s sort of more on our radar. We’re going to continue with real world assets and gaming and emergency markets as part of our tenets of our strategy. But yeah, in the space in general, I really think it’s going to be some form of meaningful enterprise entry into the space.Matt Zahab
I love that. Aaron, what an episode. Really appreciate you coming on. I had an absolute blast here and learned a ton. And you have an open invite anytime you and Moonbeam want to come on for round two. Hit me up. Because we barely scratched the surface here and we didn’t even get into all the cool shit that you do. Especially for the YouTube viewers. Aaron has an absolutely electric background of Star Wars Legos. These things are so legit. The spaceships, the monsters. So freaking cool. I’m a big Star wars guy myself. So on round two, we’ll have to get into all that. But until then, wishing you and the team all the best. Before you go, please let our listeners know where they can find you personally and Moonbeam online and on socials.Aaron Evans
Yeah. So on Twitter @DoubleARon2048 if you’ve seen the key and peel. So @DoubleARon2048 and Moonbeam, the best place to go is moonbeam.network. The website has all the documentation and links to all our socials and so forth.Matt Zahab
Love it. Aaron, thank you so much for coming on. Really appreciate it and can’t wait for round two.Aaron Evans
My pleasure. Thank you very much.Matt Zahab
Folks what an episode with Aaron Evans, Head of Ops at Moonbeam Foundation. He was on fire all episode. We talked everything. Blockchain, scalability, scalable L-1s, Polkadot, you name it, we discussed it. Huge shout out to Aaron and the Moonbeam team for making this happen. If you guys enjoyed this one, and I hope you did, please do subscribe. It would mean the world to my team and I. Speaking to the team love you guys so much. Thank you for everything. Justas my amazing sound editor, you are the GOAT. Appreciate you, and back the listeners. Love you guys. Keep on growing those bags and keep on staying healthy, wealthy and happy. Bye for now and we’ll talk soon.