We ask the buidlers in the blockchain and cryptocurrency sectors for their thoughts on the industry … and we throw in some random zingers to keep them busy!
This week, our 6 questions go to Eden Dhaliwal, Global Director of Conflux Network.
With 14 years of experience in emerging technologies, Dhaliwal specializes in identifying Web 3.0 opportunities and assessing the feasibility of decentralized business models and crypto assets. He is currently leading global expansion at Conflux Network, a high-performance PoW-based project, the first government-recognized public blockchain project in China.
He also supports blockchain startups as a mentor on programs such as Basecamp, Creative Destruction Lab and Gitcoin Kernel. In addition, he serves as LP and Executive Advisor (previously partner) of Outlier Ventures, where he built the company’s crypto-economics practice. In 2019, Dhaliwal received the Blockchain Research Institute Award for New Frontier in Enterprise Blockchain Research. Prior to his career in blockchain, he received an MBA from the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto.
1 – What’s the most innovative blockchain use case you’ve ever seen? It may not be the most likely thing that will succeed!
Although self-sovereign identity is a difficult and complex goal, it is still an area with incredible potential for business and human impact. Using a self-sovereign identity as a means of facilitating social accountability on the internet would be a landmark breakthrough. I’ve seen SSI projects go through the mechanisms of attaching an online reputation system to DIDs that can be ported into and across many applications. This would allow communities and networks to identify bad actors in advance and determine if they are actual people or bots. Such SSI advancement would help create a better internet and better address online social issues like cyberbullying and fake news.
2 – From smart contracts to DApps, NFTs and DeFi, we’ve seen so many of the next “killer apps” for crypto, but none have really caught on. What will stay
When it comes to general adoption of crypto we need either a bridged introduction and / or a magical user experience. Things like CBDCs and Libra can introduce digital currencies to large numbers of people to help them get one step closer and more comfortable with cryptocurrency. However, we also need a compelling user experience that creates a level of irrationality that leads to some kind of online behavior where users don’t care what they have to do to sign up and use the product. Similar to how users today seamlessly sign up for apps without thinking too much about data protection, security or compensation of their data. I’m just sensing something special is happening with NFTs. NFTs have the ability to use our emotional connections to music and art. I also think that the digital scarcity offered by NFTs can enable unique marketplaces, new gaming experiences, and “exclusive” opportunities for digital brands. Despite the hype with DeFi right now, I think NFTs offer the kind of groundbreaking human experiences that can capture the hearts of mainstream users.
3 – In which alternative film universe would you most like to live and why?
For me, Interstellar was a fascinating journey through time and space. I would have loved to have been one of the astronauts who explored new worlds. For now, I have to commit myself to crypto as my brave new world to explore.
4 – List your favorite sports teams and pick the most memorable moment. If you’re not a sports fanatic, pick some movies and take a moment!
My favorite sports teams are the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Giants. As exciting as it was to watch Kobe compete (RIP Mamba), my most memorable sporting moment was Eli’s TD pass to Plaxico to take down Brady and the Patriots in SB 42.
5 – What has been the biggest challenge in our industry so far?
When I look back on my time in the crypto blockchain space, I think back to my time at Outlier Ventures. We have had a number of portfolio companies looking into token models but struggling with how to proceed. The development of a decentralized network economy is a very complex and still relatively new process. So it wasn’t a big surprise.
Traditional product development takes a very bottom-up approach, typically in the form of a lean startup. At the time, this wasn’t working well, largely because this process couldn’t take into account the complexity of creating token systems. These systems need to integrate game theory, monetary policy, market design, governance, cryptography, etc. into a functioning crypto network. With the advent of cryptoeconomics, another challenge is figuring out how to validate the design principles and optimize network economics to provide a secure and secure work network.
Over the course of many months, together with great minds from Imperial College London and BlockScience, we were able to develop an approach that combines crypto-economics and token engineering and provides a sequence of operations, tools and methods for creating token ecosystems. This framework serves outlier ventures projects well to this day.
6 – What do your parents / significant other / friends / children betray you for?
Well, right now it’s my bad bunny obsession – and playing reggaeton way too loud. Some types of music are meant to be enjoyed with the volume turned down, and I respect the new sound, fashion and branding that Bad Bunny is bringing to the table. I may have been a rapper in another life, but that’s a much longer conversation.