Album art for Unchained: Your No-Hype Resource for All Things Crypto
   62 episodes



Unchained: Your No-Hype Resource for All Things Crypto

Laura Shin - Business Journalist Covering Bitcoin, Ethereum, Cryptocurrency, Blockchain, ; Forbes Contributor

62 episodes

Oct 20, 2020

How This DOJ Strike Force Hunts Down Cryptocurrency Criminals - Ep.195 

Magistrate judge Zia Faruqui, and Jessi Brooks, assistant U.S. attorney in the national security section at the United States Attorney’s Office, have prosecuted several cryptocurrency-related cases, many of them amongst the most well-known. In this episode, they talk about:

  • how they came to be involved in the prosecution of so many cases involving cryptocurrency
  • the nature of civil forfeiture cases
  • the Al-Qassam Brigades case, which led to the largest ever seizure of a terrorist organization’s cryptocurrency accounts, and the terrorist organization’s use of dynamic addresses in an attempt to elude detection by authorities.
  • how Al Qaeda used Telegram to pursue cryptocurrency donations
  • the case involving ISIS and counterfeit PPE for COVID
  • the process of seizing funds from unhosted wallets
  • the North Korean affiliated Lazarus Group, and how they were able to amass $2580 million worth of cryptocurrency
  • the methods hackers will use to cash out stolen crypto funds to fiat
  • how different government agencies in the U.S., as well as in other countries, are coordinated when tackling these cases
  • the Welcome to Video case and how they went about prosecuting a person in a foreign country
  • how they’ve seen the use of cryptocurrencies by criminals evolve over time
  • and whether or not they think decentralized exchanges will make it easier for criminals and hackers to cash out


Thank you to our sponsor!


Episode links: 

Jessi Brooks:

Zia’s Faruqui:


Three terror-finance cybercrime cases:


The Al-Qassam Brigades case:


Scam PPE site:


Civil forfeiture complaint against North Korea-affiliated hackers, Lazarus Group:


Welcome to Video indictment:


Dark Scandals:

Jonathan Levin from Chainalysis on Unchained:

Oct 13, 2020

SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce on BitMEX, DeFi and a Token Safe Harbor - Ep.194 

Hester Peirce, AKA “Crypto Mom,” was just confirmed to a second term as SEC Commissioner of the Securities Exchange Commission in August. In this episode, she talks about:

  • the reasons for her dissent in the Unikrn Settlement and what she believes would have been a proper penalty
  • the current status of her token safe harbor proposal
  • her thoughts on fair launch projects as opposed to traditional VC-backed tokens
  • her view on how the SEC should view airdrops
  • her thoughts on whether existing securities laws could be tweaked as opposed to implementing a safe harbor
  • whether she thinks DeFi governance tokens should be considered securities
  • her thoughts on DeFi playing its own regulatory role
  • her thoughts on the Securities Clarity Act introduced in Congress
  • the chances of a Bitcoin ETF being approved by the SEC in the future
  • the charges against BitMEX and the effect it may have on the industry in general
  • stablecoins, and how they might raise securities issues
  • and whether she thinks that all securities could one day be tokenized

Thank you to our sponsor!


Episode links: 

Hester Peirce:



Her dissent on the Unikrn settelement:


Unconfirmed interview on her safe harbor proposal:

Her token safe harbor proposal:


Unchained interview with Cmr. Peirce:


Proposal in The Block on ways to amend existing securities law instead of issuing a token safe harbor:


Is UNI a security:


FCA banning crypto derivatives and ETNs:


Securities Clarity Act:


Statement on ATS’s:


SEC chairman Jay Clayton says all stocks could be tokenized:

Oct 6, 2020

Can Solana Seize Marketshare From Ethereum With Serum? - Ep.193 

Sam Bankman-Fried, the CEO of FTX and Alameda Research,  and Anatoly Yakovenko,  the co-founder and CEO of Solana Labs, discuss the Project Serum ecosystem that they are building on the Solana blockchain, and the unique approach to scaling the Solana blockchain is taking.

In this episode, they talk about:

  • their backgrounds, and how they became involved in crypto
  • why Solana takes a different approach to scaling and how it is implemented
  • why they think a relatively lower number of nodes is sufficient to protect from attacks or collusion
  • what the vision for Solana is, who they see using it, and how Serum fits into that vision
  • why they think there haven’t been more crypto projects migrating to Solana yet
  • Solana’s proof-of-history algorithm and how it works
  • how Solana plans to attract DeFi developers
  • why Serum was made interoperable with Ethereum
  • the types of traders they are hoping to attract with Serum, and what their experience will be like on the platform
  • why Project Serum is an ecosystem and not just an order book exchange
  • how high-frequency trading firm Jump Trading came to adopt Serum
  • how Serum will manage trading tokens from different chains
  • the purpose of Serum’s two tokens, SRM and MSRM
  • and what’s in store for Project Serum in the future


Thank you to our sponsors! 


Gods Unchained:


Episode links: 

Anatoly Yakovenko:


Sam Bankman-Fried:

Project Serum:

Project Serum on Twitter:


Solana CoinList auction in March:


Solana network stats:


The Block Research on Solana:


Proof of history:





Jump Capital:

Sep 29, 2020

Why Bitcoin Now: Andreas Antonopoulos and Dan Held on Bitcoin’s Monetary Policy - Ep.192 

Andreas M. Antonopoulos, speaker, educator, and the author of Mastering Bitcoin, Mastering Ethereum, and The Internet of Money, Volumes 1, 2, and 3, and Dan Held,  growth lead at Kraken Digital Asset Exchange, discuss the core features of Bitcoin's monetary policy, including how it differs from traditional central bank monetary policy, what gives it value and yet how it seems to have derived value from thin air. Plus, we talk about how the coronavirus pandemic will affect Bitcoin. In this episode, we cover:

  • how monetary policy in general is defined
  • the core feature of Bitcoin’s monetary policy, and how it differs from previous forms of money
  • the similarities and differences between Bitcoin and gold
  • why the hard cap on Bitcoin is unique and so important
  • the difficulties in analyzing and classifying Bitcoin
  • whether or not transaction fees alone can sustain the network once all 21 million Bitcoin have been minted
  • if Bitcoin will be able to fulfill its original vision of democratizing finance and serving as an everyday medium of exchange
  • why they think Bitcoin has recently been more correlated with the stock market
  • their thoughts on the stock to flow model and whether it works for Bitcoin
  • how they think the coronavirus, unprecedented quantitative easing, and increasing inflation will impact Bitcoin’s adoption and price
  • how crypto banks that don’t conduct fractional reserve banking or lending might change the economy


Thank you to our sponsors!

Gods Unchained:


Episode links: 

Andreas Antonopoulos:

On Twitter:


Dan Held:

On Twitter:


Dan Held on Bitcoin's monetary policy:


Dan Held on Bitcoin's security model:


Unchained interview with Saifedeam Ammous:


Mises’ Regression Theorem:


Stock to flow model:


Why the stock-to-flow model is wrong:


Federal Reserve announcement about letting inflation run higher than normal to achieve a 2% target rate of inflation:

Kraken launching the first crypto bank:

Sep 22, 2020

How Matthew Leising Confronted His Suspects in the DAO Attacks - Ep.191 

Matthew Leising, a reporter at Bloomberg who began covering crypto in 2015, is out with a new book Out of the Ether: The Amazing Story of Ethereum and the $55 Million Heist that Almost Destroyed It All. In this episode, he discusses:

  • the catalyst that led to him writing his new book, which covers the early history of Ethereum and the DAO attack of 2016
  • why he thought the story of the DAO hack was compelling enough to make a book, and how he went about reporting it
  • the surprising things he learned about Ethereum’s early days and Vitalik
  • the twists and turns during his quest to discover the identity of the DAO attacker
  • why he thinks separate people were responsible for the two biggest DAO attacks
  • his meeting in Tokyo with one of the prime suspects of a copycat DAO attack
  • why he decided to end his story at the Ethereum hard fork and chose not to write about Ethereum Classic 
  • what he feels the long-term significance of the DAO and the hard fork has been for Ethereum
  • why he thinks the lessons of the DAO are not being heeded today
  • what he thinks the next chapter of Ethereum will be and how it will unfold
  • the differences he’s found as a journalist covering crypto as opposed to covering more traditional finance
  • and how the book is about more than just the DAO


Thank you to our sponsors!

Gods Unchained:


Episode links: 

Matthew Leising:

Out of the Ether: The Amazing Story of Ethereum and the $55 Million Heist that Almost Destroyed It All:


Matt's original Bloomberg article on the DAO attack, "The Ether Thief":


Excerpt in Bloomberg:


Excerpt in CoinDesk:

Decrypt's interview with Matt about the book:

Sep 15, 2020

Andre Cronje of Yearn Finance on YFI and the Fair Launch: 'I'm Lazy' - Ep.190 

Andre Cronje, the developer of, talks about all things DeFi and the past, present, and future of yEarn. In this episode, he discusses:  

  • what Yearn Finance is, and what led him to develop it and eventually open it to the public
  • his history and background, leading up to the development of Yearn
  • the processes and mechanisms involved in yEarn v1 and yEarn v2
  • why he decided to do a "fair launch" of the YFI token, despite being in debt as a result of building Yearn
  • why he felt that a Decrypt article about him in August was a "horrible hatchet job"
  • why he disagrees with what he sees as the current anti-VC narrative
  • his thoughts on the phenomenal rise in YFI's price and why the price of a YFI token still doesn't matter
  • how and why he decided governance participation would be a requirement for earning tokens in the Balancer/yCurve/YFI pool
  • the governance processes in Yearn and his thoughts on whether or not a Compound-style form of governance would be better
  • how he might mitigate whales dominating the vote
  • what he means by "I test in prod" and how people have misinterpreted his meaning
  • why he briefly walked away from DeFi
  • whether he agrees that YFI could be a new structure to replace existing traditional business structures
  • his response to the allegations by XAR Network
  • whether he would consider moving Yearn to another blockchain
  • his vision for what Yearn can become
  • and how much YFI he currently owns personally


Thank you to our sponsors!

Gods Unchained:


Episode links: 

Andre Cronje:

Yearn Finance:


CoinDesk on Yearn:


The Block report on yEarn Finance:


Post introducing $YFI:


Delegated vaults:



Delphi Digital report on yETH yVault:


yETH collateralization ratio:


Tony Sheng newsletter:


Yearn Governance:


yInsure Finance:


Delegated funding DAO vaults: 


Siege Rhino question about governance:


Andre’s “Building in DeFi Sucks” post:

Andre quits in February:

Andre close to quitting in August:


What Andre wishes he had known before building Ethereum dapps: 


Sep 8, 2020

Olaf Carlson-Wee: 'If There Is a Money-Losing Exploit, the Money Is Gone' - Ep.189 

Olaf Carlson-Wee, the founder and CEO of Polychain Capital, goes deep into yield farming, fair launches and how decentralization will upend the traditional notion of the corporation. In this episode, he talks about:

  • when it makes sense for a team to introduce a liquidity mining scheme, and when it doesn't
  • the difference between yield farming and ICOs when it comes to investing
  • his thoughts on YFI, as well as YAM, and the pace at which unaudited DeFi projects are
  • moving forward
  • the three advantages he sees in automated market makers as opposed to centralizedexchanges
  • his thoughts on Uniswap and SushiSwap and why he's not sure Uniswap will make a token
  • his thoughts on fair launches and whether he thinks they will threaten traditional crypto VCs
  • whether the CRV token launch really was instigated by someone unrelated to the team
  • his thoughts on the yEarn yETH vault and what it says about where the DeFi space is going
  • what he sees as the pros and cons of rebasing
  • why he sees projects like YFI as a new kind of corporation
  • whether he thinks Ethereum will scale fast enough to meet the demand already being put on it
  • why he thinks systems like Polkadot are going to expand what is possible in the same way that Ethereum expanded beyond what was possible with Bitcoin
  • whether he thinks the yields from yield farming will pull investors away from staking on Ethereum 2.0
  • what he thinks DeFi teams should do to improve security
  • Bitcoin on Ethereum and what he believes it could mean for DeFi in the future
  • the chatter around a potential public offering from Coinbase, and what's in store for Polychain in the future


Thank you to our sponsor!


Episode links: 

Olaf Carlson-Wee:

Polychain Capital:


Previous interviews with Olaf on Unchained and Unconfirmed:


Why trading on automated market makers has risen so quickly: 


Launch of yEarn/YFI:


Dex volume over time:


YAM recap:


YAM team’s plans going forward: YAM Post-Rescue Attempt Update. At approximately 6PM UTC, on Wed August… | by Yam Finance | Aug, 2020 | Medium


SushiSwap vs. Uniswap:


Ian Lee of IDEO CoLab Ventures on fair launches vs. VC coins:


And on fast-follower forks:


CRV token launch:


yEarn's yETH vault:


Ethereum's transition to 2.0:


Security in DeFi:

Whether Coinbase will do a token offering when it goes public:

Sep 1, 2020

Why Decentralized Trading Has 10Xed in a Few Months - Ep.188 

Haseeb Qureshi, managing partner at Dragonfly Capital, and Dan Robinson, research partner at Paradigm, discuss the explosion in decentralized exchange activity on automated market makers from $1 billion earlier this year to more than $10 billion in August. 

  • Why trading in automated market makers has 8xed in a few months
  • how automated market makers work, and how specific dexes can specialize for the assets being traded on them
  • why traders would prefer to trade on a dex vs. a centralized exchange
  • how incentivized pools have drawn traders and liquidity 
  • why trading on a dex seems can be more appealing than on a centralized exchange
  • why trading on dexes now mirrors trading on Binance in 2017
  • how "DeFi is the hottest coolest place where people are making a lot of money"
  • the difference between the metrics of liquidity, trading volume and total value locked for a dex
  • why AMMs are capital inefficient
  • what it means that fees paid on Uniswap are about half of those paid on Bitcoin 
  • what the purpose of liquidity mining is
  • why Haseeb doesn't think that dexes have network effects and that once professional market makers come in the space, Uniswap will lose market share
  • whether users will use DeFi directly through the dexes or through another interface
  • why Dan thinks that DeFi is now comparable to financial investment in the 1970s 
  • whether or not yield aggregators like yEarn make it harder for AMMs to compete
  • what happened with the CRV token launch
  • initial dex offerings or initial DeFi offerings, like the UMA token launch
  • whether, because of the high fees on Ethereum and the how long its transition to Ethereum 2.0 will take, DeFi activity could move to another blockchain such as Solana
  • where DeFi will go over the next few years


Thank you to our sponsor!


Episode links: 

Haseeb Qureshi:

Dan Robinson:


Haseeb’s post on the rise of AMMs:


Haseeb's post on how Uniswap could be un-bundled:


Dex volume:


Trading volume on centralized exchanges:


Incentivized pools:


Top dexes by trading volume:


Ethereum transaction fees: 


Uniswap website visits 15x in July:


Website traffic to DeFi platforms explodes in July:


Fees paid to various crypto projects:


Curve reaches $1 billion in TVL:


The Block on dex aggregators:


Delphi Digital on aggregators and why dexes will be like airlines:




Yield aggregators:


How DeFi is affecting OTC desks:


Serum on Solana:


CRV launch:


UMA token launch:


Serum on Solana:


Aug 25, 2020

Why Bitcoin Now: Saifedean Ammous on Why Bitcoin is the Most Advanced Form of Money - Ep.187 

Saifedean Ammous is an economist and the author of The Bitcoin Standard: The Decentralized Alternative to Central Banking, which has been translated into 20 languages. In this episode, he discusses:

  • the basic tenets of Austrian economics and why it is the only school where Bitcoin is possible
  • historical examples of currencies and how they lost their monetary value
  • the stock-to-flow model and how Bitcoin fits into that model
  • the three functions, or descriptive properties, of money and why Bitcoin fulfills these functions
  • the concept of sound money
  • the idea of time preference in economics and why he believes it is so important
  • the distinction between debt and money, and why they are not the same
  • the significance of difficulty adjustment and why he believes it is the crowning achievement of Bitcoin
  • why he views Bitcoin as the best store of value humanity has ever invented
  • the metrics he watches when assessing Bitcoin
  • what he thinks is in store for Bitcoin in the future, and whether he still thinks central banks will buy Bitcoin as a reserve currency
  • his thoughts on Ethereum and other digital currencies
  • and his predictions for Bitcoin in the next year


Thank you to our sponsor!


Episode links: 

Saifedean Ammous:

Saifedean’s website:


The Bitcoin Standard:


Invest Like the Best episode with Saifedean:


What Bitcoin Did episode with Saifedean:


Plan B’s stock-to-flow model applied to Bitcoin:

Essay on why the stock-to-flow model is wrong:

Aug 18, 2020

Why Bitcoin Now: David Chaum and Adam Back Reflect on the Crypto Wars - Ep.186 

David Chaum, the inventor of eCash and the cofounder and CEO of Elixxir, and Adam Back, the inventor of Hashcash and the cofounder and CEO of Blockstream, discuss their involvement in digital currency well before Bitcoin existed. In this episode, they discuss:

  • how they each became enamored with the idea of digital currency years before such an idea was widely discussed
  • the crypto wars of the 1990s and the U.S. government’s attempts to control access to advanced cryptography
  • Digicash, the creation of eCash, and the difficulties of implementing the system with the technology available at the time
  • the innovation of blind signatures used in eCash
  • what caused the demise of Digicash, and David's role in that
  • the development of Hashcash and the problems Adam was trying to solve by creating it
  • their initial reactions to learning about Bitcoin for the first time
  • how they think Bitcoin might improve in the future
  • the stock-to-flow Model, and where they believe the Bitcoin price might go next
  • why the Hashcash proof-of-work mechanism because so widely used


Thank you to our sponsor!


Episode links: 

Adam Back:


Adam's website:


David Chaum:


XX Network:


Previous Unchained episode on the history of digital currency:


Wired article on “e-money”:  


Translated Dutch article on why DigiCash failed:


Aaron Van Wirdum's Bitcoin Magazine series on the history of digital currency: 


David Chaum's e-Cash: