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Deep Dive with Robert Leshner, Founder & CEO at Compound Protocol

Founder of the Compound protocol, bringing money markets to Ethereum assets. Product person and finance geek.

posted 1 year ago

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Neil Deramchi
Where/How did you meet your team?
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Robert Leshner
@NeilDeramchi The Compound team has been working together for years. My co-founder and CTO Geoff and I have worked together consistently since 2007, and have founded two venture-backed companies together. Each member of our engineering team we've worked with previously, and invited to join us at Compound. Our team's familiarity and depth of experience working together has allowed us to hit the ground running.
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Val Klump
When you describe Compound to someone who knows nothing about crypto, how do you describe it?
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Robert Leshner
Compound lets you earn interest on your crypto, in a safe and transparent way.

The more nuanced answer is that Compound is a protocol that establishes ‘Money Markets’ for Ethereum assets, where users can supply capital or borrow from a money market, and interest rates are established algorithmically (instead of users having to negotiate terms, or create orders).
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Soona
Something you're skeptical about in this space:
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Robert Leshner
@soonaorlater As a product-minded founder, I'm extremely skeptical about "app coins", or tokens that are required to use a service; they add an additional layer of friction which is completely unnecessary. It's a matter of personal opinion, but most seem like bolted-on excuses to launch a token-sale and take advantage of the public's readiness to invest and embrace crypto projects. Long-term, I think that most of these will fail.
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Kayvan Farzaneh
What part do you see Compound playing in the crypto ecosystem down the line, say in 5, 10, 20 years?
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Robert Leshner
@okayvanagon We envision a rich ecosystem of applications being built on top of Compound. At its heart, Compound creates a floating interest rate for every Ethereum asset, which allows applications to monetize token balances (and unlock new business models). Exchanges, wallets, and funds will automatically deploy assets to Compound when they aren't being used, benefiting users and developers. And borrowers (applications and traders) will be able to borrow tokens seamlessly, to use, spend, or short-sell. All of this is made possible by making 'supply' and 'borrow' instant, predictable functions, with algorithmic floating interest rates.

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Neil Deramchi
What was your greatest thought/conceptual challenge when developing compound protocol?
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Ben Tossell
How did you get into crypto?
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Robert Leshner
@bentossell I dabbled in Bitcoin mining back in 2013, when hobbyists could buy ASIC mining equipment and attempt to compete with the largest players -- it was an exciting time. But it wasn't until Ethereum's Homestead release that I became seriously interested in crypto. The idea that a blockchain can be the foundation of an infinite universe of programmable assets was what tipped the scales for me.
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Ben Tossell
What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced and obstacles you’ve overcome? If you had to start over, what would you do differently?
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Ben Tossell
How did you build an early community?
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Robert Leshner
@bentossell For the first 6 months of Compound, we've been focused on research, development, and building the first implementation of our protocol, and unlike most crypto projects, not focused on building an early community -- there was so much risk early on that we didn't want to let down our community by saying "sorry, this just isn't technically feasible", which is likely to occur with a lot of projects launching in the space right now. So far, it's been all organic so far, with the help of a lot of other entrepreneurs, investors, and enthusiasts in the space.

But now we're extremely excited to begin building our community. Join us in Discord and chat with the team anytime: https://discord.gg/874ntdw
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Soona
What are some ideas you're excited about in the crypto / blockchain space? Why do you think these ideas are exciting or transformative?
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sourcex
The idea sounds like ETHlend or giving away loans or is it something else? I fail to understand the money markers on eth platform if all they do is transfer from one token to other.
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Robert Leshner
@sourcex44 The biggest difference between Compound and peer-to-peer lending protocols is that Compound allows users to supply capital to an entire market, and not another user directly. This morning, I published an article which lays out some of the challenges in the space: https://www.ibtimes.co.uk/cryptos-missing-pieces-building-sustainable-financial-ecosystem-1665284
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Ahmed Baqer
what software would you use to mine ether, if u have 100 PC with free electricity and internet working 24/7 ? thnx
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Ahmed Baqer
@bobaqer @Robert-Leshner Great, thank you SIRR
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Robert Leshner
@bobaqer Ethminer is a lightweight, popular, easy-to-setup solution: https://github.com/ethereum-mining/ethminer/releases/tag/v0.13.0
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big pep
Will you require a token to use the protocol?
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Robert Leshner
@bigpeperoni Absolutely not -- there is no reason to impose frictions and burdens on users. It's like McDonalds telling you that you need McBucks to buy a hamburger, when local currency works just fine. Compound is designed for the community.
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big pep
@bigpeperoni @Robert-Leshner That was the answer I was hoping for. Thanks!
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Val Klump
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