Video Of The Week: Silvio Micali on Algorand

Silvio Micali is the founder of USV portfolio company Algorand, which is building a foundational blockchain of the same name.

In this video, Silvio explains what is different and important about Algorand.


Comments (Archived):

  1. Pointsandfigures

    One interesting phenomena about “democracy” is it always devolves into chaos and then dictatorship-which is why in America we have a “republic”. I wonder how that translates to blockchains? Kind of riffing off Plato here.

    1. JLM

      .We have a “representative” republic in which we own our individual reps. That is the genius of our system.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

      1. Michael Elling

        As I see it there are two forms of entitlements in our society. Those who receive social benefits and those governing who believe they are entitled to abuse the power given them by those individuals. The latter is much more insidious than the former. So the genius you posit never appears. The former is necessary because of network effects but more often than not poorly executed; resulting in entrapment. Hence it too can be viewed as insidious.

        1. JLM

          .Don’t get the “entitlement” angle as it relates to our style of government. We have a representative republic rather than a democracy.A representative republic elects individual reps to represent our District and State, empowers them, and sends them to the seat of government to govern on our behalf.Thereafter, we have no direct control of the democracy as we have empowered our reps to make the decisions.In this manner, we do not have a single country wide body or a direct democracy.We get to vote the House every other year and the Senate, 1/3 every other year.The genius is that I may be unhappy with my rep and vote to replace him, while you may be perfectly happy with yours, thereby creating more accountability and granularity.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          1. Michael Elling

            “as we have empowered our reps to make the decisions.” Yes, they feel entitled and are no longer beholden to those who elected them. That’s the corruption in our system.

          2. JLM

            .I always think your guy is corrupt, but my guy (Mike McCaul) is a prince.That’s one of the reasons there is not that much turnover in the House. We all like our guy.Approval rate of the US Congress – 8%. My guy? 70%.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          3. Michael Elling

            What’s he doing to lower the deficit?

          4. JLM

            .Nothing. Nobody is. It’s like when everybody gets to Washington, they lose the ability to balance a checkbook.The fuck of it is if they would just temper the rate of growth – no cuts, just reduce the rate of growth – they would cut the deficit to ZERO in a couple of years.The few people who understand the budget don’t have the power.The people with the power don’t understand the budget.We can run a deficit as long as GDP is growing, but that doesn’t mean we should be.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    2. Adam Sher

      This one seems to lean towards representative instead of tyranny of the majority. In addition, money talks. I like both of those features. I didn’t fully understand how the block chain avoids being controlled by a bad actor with a lot of money.

    3. JamesHRH

      Deep seated sense of individual rights and responsibilities. The urban / rural divide is undermining this core pillar of American culture, as fewer and fewer people are living rurally.Government that is quite dominance secure, with strong branches at war with other (when nothing gets done) or temporarily aligned (things get done) but mostly doing the check and balances work.Founding Fathers no dopes, for a bunch of old white dudes.

      1. Michael Elling

        Which is more important, the network or the individual actor? Both.

        1. JamesHRH

          Agreed.But the actors Chan change the network, which is Uber scary these days… the have nots may decide to chuck the network that keeps the USA from being Venezuela.

          1. Michael Elling

            My equilibrism article touches on the unsustainability of purely centralized and decentralized networks/ecosystems and it concludes with a warning that 4 forces are at work to equilibrate (wo)mankind’s stupidity that leads to extreme imbalance. And yes it is shared, even if we men own more of it.

    4. Michael Elling

      Plato didn’t know about network effects and understand Network Theory. Even today, most don’t understand it. But everything in the universe is governed by network effects, and nowhere in nature do we find fully distributed or fully centralized systems. To be sustainable and generative all networks, organisms, socio-economic and political institutions and all ecosystems have to account for both. None of our socio-economic and political institutions reflect how nature does it. As we move rapidly towards AI we need to find the answer. It may lie in equilibrism: Equilibrism is a very simple concept, similar to gravitational forces between two masses.

  2. Leon Johnson

    Very interesting. I’m looking forward to seeing more from the team.

  3. Richard

    USV investing in someone over 45, I’m impressed !

    1. fredwilson

      Happens frequently. Not sure why people think we only back young people

      1. PhilipSugar

        You are young at heart and it’s an easy meme.

    1. Michael Elling

      “In the blockchain space, Algorand is quite well known as the one “without incentives”.” That, in a nutshell, is the failure of the current internet, which I liken to a cocktail party without invitations, RSVPs, polite and civil and engaging discourse, proper comportment, no or very restrained violence, etc…. Contrast that to the PSTN with all the conventional “protocols”, layers and boundaries. But at least the latter tried (and ultimately failed) to provide for universal service. The former never had a chance.

      1. William Thornton

        The current Internet (the TCPIP) works well without incentives. PSTN vs Internet. Ah! the Intelligent vs the Stupid Network!!

        1. Michael Elling

          You mean the internet fraught with insecurity, resulting in (balkanized) monopolies, a growing digital divide (greater than the one in 1984) and incapable of upgrading to a new version after 25 years? That internet?Rather than debate which one is better, why not try to fuse the best of both and come up with an optimal outcome. Then let’s begin with solving for universal service, because that’s how we find a way to generating an ROI on technology that obsoletes in days and weeks across demand that is infinitely divisible.Clearly a new model is necessary; and it ain’t trustless, distributed crypto-based approaches. Read comment I just left on Rajesh’ post.

          1. William Thornton

            A new Internet is certainly required. Folks are betting on Blockchain to do that.

          2. Michael Elling

            See elsewhere. I question the initial premise of, and need for, fully distributed systems.

  4. jason wright

    when is the ICO?

  5. jason wright

    is it a coincidence that Silvio, being an Italian, believes he has now perfected a system of good governance?

    1. William Thornton

      Algorand is mostly a failed idea. Not surprised people don’t see it because of the money and people behind it.

      1. jason wright

        is that it?

        1. William Thornton

          Nah. Read that link below on Medium

          1. jason wright

            who is Rajesh Bhaskar?

          2. William Thornton

            Someone who got it right.

          3. jason wright


      2. Michael Elling

        I am beginning to wonder if any trustless, decentralized system will ever scale and be sustainable. It runs counter to everything we see around us.Went down the rabbit hole of Algorand, DAG (IOTA, HashGraph/etc…), EOS.IO reviews and it looked like a feeding frenzy of sharks when all the fish are gone and they turn on each other.I’m not a developer, coding or crypto expert; but I do understand the economics of networks very well.

        1. William Thornton

          Something like cellular automata or fractal structures, self regulatory structures may be required to make decentralization work, if at all. Algorand looks a bit too primitive, from that pov.

          1. Michael Elling

            Not sure if you fully appreciate the complexity of layers 1-2 across the WAN/MAN/LAN/PAN; wired and wireless. Certainly there is a need for signals (incentives and disincentives) that run north-south between apps and infrastructures for better coordination and supply/demand clearing. At the same time there is a requirement for east-west signals between core and edge, or actor to actor, network to network or ecosystem to ecosystem (or any combination of the above) to clear marginal supply and demand efficiently.Note that supply cost is lowering at a rate faster than Moore’s law while demand is infinite and infinitely diverse.Complex enough? Don’t know of any DLT/crypto based distributed models that gets even 0.005% of the way there. Nor if they can ever scale. I think people are proposing solutions for problems they haven’t correctly or fully thought through.The answer lies in centralized-decentralized hierarchical networks; something that is anathema to the distro crowd.

    2. jason wright

      nice review. lots of open questions. patented algorithm? i thought USV disapproved this approach to capturing value.