a16z Podcast: Voting, Security, and Governance in Blockchains and Cryptonetworks

with Phil Daian (@phildaian) and Ali Yahya (@ali01) Whether in corporations, boardrooms, or political elections, voting is something we see in all kinds of social systems... including blockchains. It's the natural human tendency for how to organize decisions, and in distributed systems without centralized middlemen, it's the only clear Schelling point we can come up with. But too many people design voting mechanisms in distributed systems in isolation -- sometimes naively "porting over" assumptions from the real world or from simple cryptoeconomic models without thinking through the economic adversaries present in a larger, more rational (vs. "honest") game-theoretic system. So how are blockchain systems different from real-world paper and electronic voting systems? How can such systems be gamed, and what are the implications for cryptoeconomic security... as well as the governance of distributed organizations? This hallway-style episode of the a16z Podcast covers all this and more. Recorded as part of our NYC roadtrip, it features Cornell Tech PhD student and software engineer Phil Daian, who researches applied cryptography and smart contracts -- and who also wrote about "On-chain Vote Buying and the Rise of Dark DAOs" in 2018 (with Tyler Kell, Ian Miers, and his advisor Ari Juels). Daian is joined by a16z crypto partner Ali Yahya (previously a software engineer and machine learning researcher at GoogleX and Google Brain), who also recently presented on crypto as the evolution -- and future -- of trust. --- The views expressed here are those of the individual AH Capital Management, L.L.C. (“a16z”) personnel quoted and are not the views of a16z or its affiliates. Certain information contained in here has been obtained from third-party sources, including from portfolio companies of funds managed by a16z. While taken from sources believed to be reliable, a16z has not independently verified such information and makes no representations about the enduring accuracy of the information or its appropriateness for a given situation. This content is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be relied upon as legal, business, investment, or tax advice. You should consult your own advisers as to those matters. References to any securities or digital assets are for illustrative purposes only, and do not constitute an investment recommendation or offer to provide investment advisory services. Furthermore, this content is not directed at nor intended for use by any investors or prospective investors, and may not under any circumstances be relied upon when making a decision to invest in any fund managed by a16z. (An offering to invest in an a16z fund will be made only by the private placement memorandum, subscription agreement, and other relevant documentation of any such fund and should be read in their entirety.) Any investments or portfolio companies mentioned, referred to, or described are not representative of all investments in vehicles managed by a16z, and there can be no assurance that the investments will be profitable or that other investments made in the future will have similar characteristics or results. A list of investments made by funds managed by Andreessen Horowitz (excluding investments and certain publicly traded cryptocurrencies/ digital assets for which the issuer has not provided permission for a16z to disclose publicly) is available at https://a16z.com/investments/. Charts and graphs provided within are for informational purposes solely and should not be relied upon when making any investment decision. Past performance is not indicative of future results. The content speaks only as of the date indicated. Any projections, estimates, forecasts, targets, prospects, and/or opinions expressed in these materials are subject to change without notice and may differ or be contrary to opinions expressed by others. Please see https://a16z.com/disclosures for additional important information.

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