Since co-founding Lisk, Max has become increasingly involved in the global crypto community, speaking at some of the top blockchain conferences in the world. Today, Max is working relentlessly to help the industry gain traction with Lisk's easy-to-use Software Development Kit.
Mike Townsend: In this conversation,I interview Max Kordek, the co-founder and CEO of Lisk.
Mike Townsend: So effectivelydiscussing how cryptocurrency and. Established governments are going to come tohead. We discussed interplanetary life and the influence that that may have onour global society. Overall, I very much deeply appreciate max and enjoyed thisconversation and I hope you do as well.
Mike Townsend: So here is Max Kordek,Co-founder CEO of Lisk.
Mike Townsend: Well, I'm excited tochat max. You are running a really exciting organization at Lisk maybe we'lljust kick it off there to keep things simple. How did you get into this andwhat are you spending your day to days? On exactly at Lisk?
Max Kordek: Yeah. Yeah, sure. So,Hey Mike pleasure to be here at, Around The Coin.
Max Kordek: I spend my day to dayoperations with Lisk I'm the CEO co-founder of the project. So I'm kind of likethe guy for everything. I take care of like all aspects you could imagineinside the company, but how got to it was in 2016 when I joined previouslyanother crypto startup, which failed at that time.
Max Kordek: And since then justdeveloping the product forward, which led me to where I am today, being the manfor everything inside the company of over 70 people now.
Mike Townsend: And when did you raisethe 14,000 Bitcoin?
Max Kordek: So this was inFebruary to March, 2016. The ICO ran for about one month.
Mike Townsend: Okay. So Bitcoinprobably was around few hundred. How much did that? 14, 14,000 did you holdonto?
Max Kordek: So we held on toessentially everything all the time, while also maintaining a certain amount infear. So we have a runway of a certain. Amount of mums always secured withouthaving the risk of the volatility of Bitcoin. Nowadays, we still have around1,400 Bitcoin left because, well, we had operations now up and running sinceseven years, which cost quite a bit of money, but thanks to the very goodBitcoin price nowadays.
Max Kordek: We still have severalyears of run runaway left.
Mike Townsend: Yeah. So, so to put itin perspective, 14,000 Bitcoin at 20,000 each would be 280 million by today'sequivalent. Right?
Max Kordek: Exactly. Back in theday, it was around 5.8 million
Mike Townsend: 5.8, which is, whichis pretty insane to think about the, the volatility of Bitcoin, but what what'sthe the basic pitch, you know, if you're, if you're speaking to the investorsthat put in those early dollars or Bitcoin, what do people get most excitedabout back then?
Mike Townsend: And then how has ittranspired into today?
Max Kordek: And on the other sidethe aspect of sidechains which allows us to scale like a lot, lot more thanother, like let's say smart contract platform like Ethereum because everyblockchain application being developed is being developed on its ownblockchain. So it's not fighting for block space with other blockchainapplications, the user.
Max Kordek: Basically exclusive onits one chain. And these two aspects, I think really made a big difference backin the day leading to people, investing into our project and supporting us fromthen on. It took a very long time to get where we are today. But looking back,I think we really brought something new to the industry, cuz also at that time,ICOs were not really a thing.
Max Kordek: We were like thethird, fourth ICO really. And people saw that, well, a 23, 24 year old guy,like me and her partner a bit older, but not much were able to raise so muchmoney that they can do that too. And this essentially kick started the whole ICmania. So we not only started that back in the day and introduced like schemes,like bonus system and having like real pictures on the website of, of the team,which was at that time, like.
Mike Townsend: What's your broadtakeaways from, from that time period?
Max Kordek: Hmm. I think likehaving our pictures or photos on the website is just introduced a certainamount of trust. Which other people in projects replicated in, in order to earntrust, but capital wasn't so much readily available at that time, but it wascoming.
Max Kordek: And while it's kind ofchicken neck situation, was it coming because more ICOs came up or was italready there waiting on the sidelines to be invested into something and thenICOs were the perfect vehicle? That of course, I don't know, but I think peoplewanted to support the cost blockchain, crypto web three, and they were ready topay for that.
Max Kordek: They were ready toinvest into new projects, trying out new things in order to bring this industryto the next level. And on top of that, well, in our case at ICO time, we soldone, LSK talking for 8 cents. We launched at 40 cents. So it directly had likethe five X UN. in imaginable in the stock market.
Max Kordek: And probably thistriggered also some kind of greed within the investors causing like the big2018 ICO hype and downfall afterwards. So I guess it's all these differentfactors together. Hmm.
Mike Townsend: And did you use anytools or was it, was it necessary to use, like now it's a different, you know,landscape of course the, the infrastructure is more developed back then.
Mike Townsend: Mm-hmm did you have tocustom build anything? Or I guess how, how did the actual mechanics of the ICOinvestment work for people.
Max Kordek: Mm-hmm Please rememberit's seven years ago. So it was like a different world crypto, you know? Soback in the day, yeah, we built everything custom. Like we built everythingfrom scratch the whole platform where you could like create an account sign in,participate in the ICO, get an address where you have to send yourcryptocurrencies to.
Max Kordek: And then like at thevery end have like a page with an overview of how much you invested and howmuch NCA tokens you would get. We implemented like a kind of psychological gameaspect into it because we had a maximum amount of coins, but that also meansthe more people invested, the less tokens they get with time.
Max Kordek: So they saw maybetoday $10,000 K, but then more people invested. So the next day they maybe sawonly $8,000. So they also continuously put in more and more money again, inorder to probably maintain that that amount of a tokens they wished or wantedinitially. And yeah, everything was built from scratch.
Max Kordek: At that time weaccepted Bitcoin, we accepted the cryptocurrency it's with the ticket symbol,XCR from the company I worked at before, just because it failed and we didn'twant to let the community die. And we accepted a large number of differentcryptocurrencies, but through shapeshift, which was at that time, like a kindof big player to convert one currency into another anonymously.
Max Kordek: So we implementedtheir API and converted that always automatically into Bitcoin. So we accepteda large number of cryptocurrencies this way. But got only Bitcoin as a result.And yeah, it was kind of funny because all the Bitcoin were then going to acoin based wallet. Which then like, after one year of creating the entity,because everything was new, nothing was established.
Max Kordek: We could finally touchat the end of 2016. So it was a lot of work, but my partner, Oliver, Oliverbattles co-founder of Lisk he did it all, like in one month, one and a halfmonths built it all out and it worked flawlessly. So it was quite anachievement, but we also worked like manias back in the day.
Mike Townsend: Yeah. Yeah. I mean,you're effectively building a crowdfunding platform because you're so early,you have to do that yourself. So the, the, the crypto would come in and thenyou, you wrote code to be able to allocate tokens automatically based on thosedeposits. So yeah. What was the general infrastructure of the investment?
Max Kordek: Right. Yeah. So we arein layer one, so like a new blockchain. So during the ICO, there was noblockchain running because we are going be a new one. Right. We had the testnet up and running so people could see how it looks like and works, but the in productionchain was not running. Why? Because also the distribution of tokens didn'texist yet.
Max Kordek: It only existed afterthe ICO. So, well, it sounds ridiculous nowadays, but back in the day, at theend of the ICO, we had an Excel file with, I think like 12 or 14,000participants and how much they invested and how many LSK tokens they will getin. And out of this Excel file, we created a Genesis block. So the first blockof our new blockchain containing every single participant, their address, becausethey received like a long pass phrase or password, which gives them access totheir account later on.
Max Kordek: And the balance thenof LSK tokens and, well, this is how it worked out. We validated it against thenumbers multiple times. No one had a problem. Everything seems to be 100%correct, but it's still a very, like, let's say rough effort. But it was necessary.It was very early on. Was the wild west.
Mike Townsend: Did you take any stepsto consider a security, like were you guys in the same room in the office andjust looked at the cell file and then programmed the initial coins andaddresses and just press go, or what sort of security precautions did you takeback then to issue tokens?
Max Kordek: Mm-hmm mm-hmm again,sounds ridiculous. Very early time. It was my partner and myself, that's it. Ihave not met my partner six until six months after in real life. We never metbefore we hardly even talked via phone calls. We always just wrote at that timeshattered, you know at that time, even we were shutting on Skype.
Max Kordek: So seven years, if Italk about it, it sounds like it was 20 years ago, but that was the situation.At that time we triple checked everything, made sure everything is correct.Later on we did or performed several other tests also to make sure everythingwas like processed correctly. But at the end of the day, there were no securitymeasures.
Max Kordek: Like mm-hmm, likethere had to be trust into my partner and myself. And obviously after the fact,everyone saw on the blockchain values. And they could verify it themselves bychecking. Okay. How many Bitcoin did we receive? How many Bitcoin were in ourwallet? How many LSK did we give out in total? A hundred million?
Max Kordek: How many Bitcoin theysent to us and then how many lists they received? So with all that, it'stransparent after the launch and they could verify it. And yeah, like I said,no one ever mentioned anything. So it seems like it was a hundred percent spoton in terms of the Bitcoin. So we raised the money and thanks God, we did onething.
Max Kordek: We did amultisignature wallet for the Bitcoin. So they were held in custody by the CEOof a kind of big crypto company a German lawyer and shared Oliver and myself,the founders. And with that legally, we didn't have access to the money. Andwith that, we also didn't have to pay taxes on it.
Max Kordek: Privately. But werealized, oh God, we like raised so much money. We thought we were gonna raise50 K or so we raised 5.8 million.
Mike Townsend: Is that what youreally thought your, your, your estimate were right?
Max Kordek: Wow. I, I wasstudying, you know, I did, because I wanted like, I, it was my hobby. I reallyliked the industry or back in the day, the space, but I didn't like expect itto be so successful, but because of that, we didn't have to pay taxes.
Max Kordek: And then it took usone year because we realized, okay, this is big. We need a legal entity. Ittook us one year to create that legal entity, which at the end is a Swiss basednon-profit foundation. Working together with co-founders of Ethereum and withtheir original law firm to make this happen. Like nearly a year three quartersor so to make it happen.
Max Kordek: And then we were ableto transfer the money to the foundation and then start hiring in the beginningof 2017.
Mike Townsend: And were you the firstto, to do this aside from Ethereum, like had the lawyers or the Swiss bankersworked with anyone else?
Max Kordek: I think we were thethird. Wow. Third or fourth, like Swiss based foundation for crypto.
Mike Townsend: Yeah. Wow. That'swild. And so , it's significant I'm sure. Go down the record books. And, andtoday as of 2022, what's the market for ICOs and, and generally what's thestory there between when you guys raised via ICO and today.
Max Kordek: So I think nowadaysthe market for ICOs is relatively dead. Mm-hmm there's still constantly ICOshappening, but there's no hype anymore.
Max Kordek: That means like theamount of money these ICOs are raising is not very high after the bubblebursted in 2019, what happened was that venture capitalists entered theindustry and they participated into these ICOs then afterwards. And like withthat, like the naming got changed, some called them like TGE or IDO or whateveryou wanna call them.
Max Kordek: Well it was just acrowd sale. But the difference was from that point on a significant percentageof the, of the tokens were then owned by VCs. And that, in my opinion, didn'treally make. the whole thing then decentralized looking at, for example,Solana, they had like, I don't know, even if they had a public sale, if thenthis was like, so minimal, like a few percent of the total tokens.
Max Kordek: Only the rest was justa private sale to their friends, families, VCs whatsoever. You know, so this isa very unfortunate thing in my opinion which well can't be changed anymore, butI think that's a very strong aspect of Lisk that while back in the day, therewere no VCs on board. It was all crowdfunded by real normal people.
Max Kordek: And since then, obviouslythe distribution mixed like crazy and more and more normal people, but probablyalso professional investors jump on board.
Mike Townsend: And what do you thinkabout the future of the ICOs? Are they, for some reason dead in the water orare they just, you know, sleeping as a mechanism for raising capital fordecentralized projects?
Max Kordek: Yeah, I think they'renot that but they're just not hyped anymore. They're like kind of, yeah, not sosuccessful anymore, but they happen, especially with the new layer oneecosystems, for example, the Lisk ecosystem well existence quite a while, butthe li platform is going live next year. That means blockchain applications canbe developed and connected to our blockchain, creating this platform like idealthought.
Max Kordek: And for that, well,you need ICOs in order to be able to distribute new tokens, to as many peopleas possible who can then stake them and secure this blockchain. So I thinkthey're not dying. They just become less, big, less hyped less significantmaybe. What we've seen in the cost most ecosystem is that what projects also dois.
Max Kordek: To raise funds viaBCS. As I mentioned before, that this became a thing do maybe a public crowdsale as well, but then also just air drop many tokens to the well owners oflet's call it the mother token. So in customers, for example, the cost, theatom token, or in LIS the AK token I've seen that many, many times as well,just to make sure that the distribution is quite nice, quite decentralized inorder to be able to secure the blockchain, be staking as much as possible.
Max Kordek: If we are looking, ifwe're looking more like towards let's say like shares in a company or so Ithink that's where tokens besides utility tokens still have a relatively biglike use case, but we just see that wherever you combine crypto and the realworld regulation comes into play and makes it that.
Max Kordek: So I think in thatregard, we are pretty far off anything substantial where like tokens can beuseful. So yeah, to this point they remain a funding vehicle and then like asecurity mechanism for a blockchain, but like on a, on a lesser level thanbefore.
Mike Townsend: And how do you viewthe, your just general perception of structuring fundraising for?
Mike Townsend: Decentralized projectsI've seen, I've talked to founders that will build their project where they'llestablish a private LLC. That's registered with the state. And then that's thedevelopment team that is building the decentralized protocol. And then theprotocol will have a foundation similar to like what you guys had.
Mike Townsend: And the foundationmanages the capital like a treasury, and the foundation has board members thateither have keys, or they just have like state recognized board members. Andthen there's the kind of this ambitious goal either to dissolve the LLC thatstarted the foundation and the monetary incentive is that people early on wouldown tokens in the project.
Mike Townsend: And so the LLC becomesirrelevant over time. Some people I talk to, they say the LLC will remainforever a, a, a significant, you know, contributor in the ecosystem. Have youseen other mechanisms for getting these projects started and. Ha, do you have asense for what seems to work better?
Max Kordek: Mm-hmm so we are doingit exactly like you described.
Max Kordek: And I think it's avery good structure because like a centralized company, like an LLC can stillpush the hardest can make still the most significant change happen. Right. Ifthere's a founder team, if there's a real team meeting every day, working everyday, eight to 10 hours, just making it happen, it will just inevitably lead toresult.
Max Kordek: So I am a big fan ofthat structure because it just. We're here since six, seven years, we didn'trun away. We didn't scam anyone. We are still pushing hard every day, you know?But we see of course, alternatives popping up most notably being the Dows, thedecentralized autonomous organizations where essentially you don't have acentralized LLC.
Max Kordek: You just say you havewhat a do. That means the collective of token owners, which can put upproposals. And in this proposal they also nominate the person, either anindividual or a company to implement that change. But it is completelydecentralized if the token distribution is decentralized itself and that, in myopinion, make things, makes things very slow.
Max Kordek: For example, this, ifyou couldn't build that way, you could maybe. yeah, like fulfill like small usecases with it. For example, you could have a decentralized exchange and withinthat Dow you don't define, who's developing what on the core infrastructurelevel, but you could make some certain protocol decisions.
Max Kordek: So if you have acertain incentivization mechanism, you could maybe vote on which pools in thedecks will be part of that incentivization mechanism as one example. But yeah,I, I do think they have a lot of potential, but I also think that for big,heavy projects, They're not the way to go.
Mike Townsend: Yeah. It seems likethere's some fundamental structure to human organizations and maybe it's noteven just humans where you, you, you both risk.
Mike Townsend: You have, you havekind of a spectrum between centralization and decentralization. And this could,you could also be this in the political sense, right? You have all the powercentralized in the king queen or completely decentralized, like in a, you know,flat democracy with no representative government. I do think the United states'innovation on the constitution was significant because they paved the middleway where they said it's a democracy in the sense that everyone has an equalvote, but we also have professional full-time representatives that carry out.
Mike Townsend: Desires in, indifferent areas. And I think that that, that kind of middle way is, is probablyalso representative of a successful structure to, you know, crypto projectswhere instead of just everyone having one vote, no one being full or no one havingthe incentive to be, full-time invested in this. You have a, you have, at theend of the day, you have kind of a distillation of low quality particip, lowquality voters.
Mike Townsend: These people areworking full-time jobs somewhere else. You know, they're like sidelinecontributors and it's really hard to make the right decisions to, to solvereally complex problems when you don't have a team of people who are, full-timelike, I think the idea of having full-time representatives either in a state,you know, as like a mayor or a governor or a statesman is, is like part of theimportant part of that.
Mike Townsend: So it's like directdemocracy is akin to a full Dow with no representatives. And then totalcentralization is akin to like a king and queen monarchy. And so the blendingof the, of the two pathways seem to be the most effective way forward. Doesthat resonate?
Max Kordek: Yeah. I totally agree.Maybe a quick explanation for crypto and then going back to your point.
Max Kordek: So if we are doingsmart contracts, for example, in Ethereum, it's mostly just this one entitydeciding to upload a new smart contract and deciding that's that's it, that'sthe new smart contract, for example, with Uniswap when they upload it fromversion two to version three in case of Lisk or customers where you developyour own blockchain on which your blockchain application runs on, it's still dependenton every validator on that blockchain to accept an update.
Max Kordek: So if you're pushingchanges, you just can centrally decide it. That decentralized network still hasto adopt it. Same way as Ethereum or Bitcoin has to accept the networks has toaccept an update. So I think that's a very important aspect. So even thoughthere is a centralized LRC behind to adopt an update, a change in the network,it still has to go through that decentralized committee or however you want tocall it in regards to your point.
Max Kordek: So I think, and it'squite obvious as centralized structures always the most efficient. And that'swhy nearly all structures in the world started kind of centralized. You had onevillage kinda centralized. You had one king centralized, the other churchcentralized. So all kinds of different powers were always centralized.
Max Kordek: And then the morecivilization advanced, the more room became free to open up and. Make it lessefficient, kinder, but then other values play in like being more fair or givingmore voices to the people, to everyone. And yeah, it was kinder in innovationof the United States of America or other, or in the old times of the Greeks tointroduce democracy.
Max Kordek: But then I think at acertain point it shifts because now you having representatives or a bigmajority of bystanders who have not the intellectual knowledge to actually makecertain decisions. So it, it shifts towards becoming more centralized again,probably also because of greed. People want more power.
Max Kordek: So I have actuallyquite dark, like. Future in my head, in that regard where like everything tendsto become more and more centralized. So all the companies they're monopolizingor gonna monopolize certain areas like Facebook, TikTok, apple, Google, they'regonna build out the monopolies, you know same with like certain jurisdictionsor countries they're holding onto their kind of monopoly.
Max Kordek: In states you havebasically only two relevant parties in Germany. It becomes less as well. Youknow? So I foresee a future of being of becoming more and more centralizedagain. And I think that's why I really like crypto because it acts kind of as acounterpart, like a, a grassroot revolution of people which see that and wantto make the world more decentralized again.
Max Kordek: Because also money isso centralized. Few people have control over how much we print about what theinflation's gonna look like. And I don't think that this is well fair anymore,you know? I think people are sick of that and it needs more neutral, moredecentralized money.
Mike Townsend: Yeah. You sparked somany good ideas.
Mike Townsend: Yeah. Where do I wannatake this? So what do you think is the future intersectionality? How does thetraditional establishment like the United States federal government, the, theGerman government, like we have these, you know, large countries that havecentralized power that that power seems to be coming increasingly centralized.
Mike Townsend: Like the federalgovernment in the United States seems to be getting more powerful, not lesspowerful. And then the rise of cryptocurrency prevents presents another.Pathway for organizing human beings and, and voting on issues that matter. Howdo you see these two structures of organization colliding in say, you know, ahundred years when the dust settles, how does this transpire?
Mike Townsend: Is there necessarilyphysical conflict through, you know, wars to figure out which way is better? Imean, that has been the traditional way that human beings figure out, you know,which is right as we fight over it. Is that, is there, is there another pathwaythat you foresee as being most probabilistic or how do you see the inter how doyou see this intersection happening?
Mike Townsend: Yeah,
Max Kordek: I am not too positive.I think about the future here. I think like all centralized structures theybecome or became greedy and they want to keep the power. They don't want togive it up. And in crypto we see it already. It's being regulated to death.Like in Europe, in the European union, you have the Meka regulations, whichintroduce like hundreds of pages of how to behave and what to do, what not todo, or how to do certain things, which complicates everything.
Max Kordek: Like getting certainlicenses, which takes years and so much money to get, you know, it prevents thenormal people to participate in that race again. Even though crypto as a coreidea, had it that everyone can participate in it. Same as in the United States.I think now what, now there was a bill proposed, so where algorithmicstablecoin should be forbidden for two or two and a half years period becauseof the terror lunar crash.
Max Kordek: So they're fightingagainst it and some people say we are in. A money wall, a digital money wallalready. I mean, we see with Russia and Ukraine that the physical war stillexists. I mean, the media were largely ignoring already the Iranian Iraq war,but now it's back kinder, you know, for Western civilizations or nearly for thewhole whole world.
Max Kordek: So yeah, it's, it'sdifficult. I think we are kinder in a war already in the world. It's kind ofpessimistic war of course, between Western east, but also just the digitalmoney war in the government's trying to preserve their power and money justmeans power. So they're trying to preserve their money, China introducingdigital Yuan America, or like the states experimenting with that.
Max Kordek: The EU saying that theEuro is already digital. But also exploring these CB DCS, these central bankmm-hmm digital currencies. So yeah, I think the crypto industry will have avery hard future. And that's where it's very good to be established now,already, because yeah, in the, in the future, it's just going to become harderto bring in innovation.
Max Kordek: And that's whereventure capitalists are actually the necessary cuz they can provide thefounders with the necessary legal expertise and money to still bring somethingnew to the industry. But the normal guy, like what, who was me like seven yearsago, we'll have no chance anymore.
Mike Townsend: Yeah. Well, a couplethoughts on this.
Mike Townsend: I think that thisseems to be something that's bubbling up as a like a, almost an evolution ofhuman organization. Something that it's not anyone individually that is. Doing,but sort of like society as a whole, like human beings are doing this wherewe're reorganizing the methods of organization itself using the different toolsthat we have available, like the, the really primarily the central, thedecentralization tooling, and that, that tooling up peeves, it threatens toupheave a lot of the existing central centralized powers.
Mike Townsend: And traditionally thathas been resolved to physical conflict. Now I think the advantage of thedecentralization is that like team BTC will call it. Is that. You could almost,you could almost have this fight be like the United States pull out, let meback up a second. The United States pulled out of Iraq without a victory,right?
Mike Townsend: The United States hadall the guns and all the money and all the everything, but it's still choppedup an L on that, on that interaction that fight. And that's because I thinklargely the, the people there were so deeply entrenched and they were sodecentralized that there wasn't any place to hit, like, you know, old school,if we had a disagreement between this, like countries would line up in a warright on either side and then they'd have their horses and Calvary and guns andthey'd point 'em, they'd all shoot, they'd reload, their weapons.
Mike Townsend: And so I think if you,if you start from this, this means of conflict and then work your way forward,what's happening is there's more sophisticated means of combat. And you canalmost look at combat as dispute mediation and there's different tacticaladvantages you can have. So as. Powers become super powerful in thecentralization of their weapons.
Mike Townsend: Right? We have tanks,we have bombs, nuclear bombs. This is the most kind of centralized means ofpower there is, but it comes at a vulnerability in that you can't stop thegrassroots effort efforts like Vietnam, United States largely chalked up an Lon Vietnam because they were so decentralized. Same thing with Afghanistan.
Mike Townsend: And I think the samething here it's like, if there is an. If we're reviewing this as a conflictemerging between decentralized and centralized, like decentralized has a majoradvantage in that. Yes, you can the government can come to your house. Theycan, you know, with guns threaten you, take your private keys, but they can'tdo that to everybody.
Mike Townsend: It is just notpossible. They don't have the financial and practical means to do so. So Ithink this kind of like, how do you fight a colony events, right? You can't,you know, shoot each one. Like, so I think this, there has to be kind of inorder for team decentralization, to evolve as victorious, which is something Ithink that is beneficial for human beings as a whole to go through thisevolutionary process, there has to be kind of a, dethroning ideally as peacefulas possible of the existing establishments.
Mike Townsend: And I, I kind of viewthis as like, this is the new, this is the front, right? This is like, how doesthe decentralized team. Kind of pose peaceful and as much cooperativetransitions of power as possible. And it's like, it's, it's gonna become areality very soon. You know, it's already a reality. Right. But, and, and bothsides feel very just in their actions.
Mike Townsend: I'll pause there. Iknow I keep going, but tell me your reaction.
Max Kordek: Yeah. Yeah. I mean yousaid something beautiful that the us had many like losing battles because ofdecentralization. And that clearly shows that we have a big chance here withcrypto to win at the end, you know, because it historically this most, thereason that the biggest countries in the world have failed.
Max Kordek: So I think we have arealistic chance and we need that decentralization aspect of money. It's justvery difficult to maintain, but that's why the most intelligent people in theworld are in the crypto industry and working really, really hard to make adent. You know it's just not the same anymore as like seven years ago when Istarted in terms of accessibility in terms of get getting into it.
Max Kordek: But I don't think thatit necessarily has to be like that because projects already exist and everyonecan join these projects, which already established themselves like Ethereumcosts, most Lisk and many, many others. So I think even though the future islooking kind of grim in many regards humanity as a whole has a very big chancehere to at least not get the aspect of money controlled by one country, butintroduced for the first time ever something truly global And I think thatalone is a very powerful thought with like increasing communication betweenpeople, even though some nations are trying to shut that off or shut that down,I think most recent examples are being Iran more China.
Max Kordek: I still think thathumanity is more connected than ever before. Of course. And that's where wellthis Democrat or this, this decentralization becomes more powerful becausepeople can coordinate and organize themselves much, much better than everbefore. Where before physical war could be held now the brutalism of those canbe communicated to the world and every like a mop everyone's against that, youknow, no one wants a physical war.
Max Kordek: So that's where, whileRussia, Ukraine is quite surprising, but I think that's where more and morewars will go digital with the money war being the biggest probably inexistence, I can imagine. But yeah, very interesting thought experiments reallycurious to see where it goes, even though I have a, I foresee a dark future.
Max Kordek: I'm very optimistic ingeneral in terms of crypto. And I still think we have a very big chance to makea difference. So that's why I'm still here. That's why I'm still hustling,trying to make
Mike Townsend: a difference. Yeah.Yeah. It seems like the, the, the advantage of the, the decentralized like teamdecentralization is that you are really an impossible target to to hit, youknow, you could take out people individually, but that just, you can't take outthe network.
Mike Townsend: Like, how do you shutdown Bitcoin? You, you like, literally have to China couldn't do it. I mean,China tried and failed. So I think that resiliency is the strength that will.Hopefully carry human beings fur further along in our evolution. And I think mythoughts on this is like the, you wanna, you wanna make it so that it's just impracticalfor centralized governments to shut down the network.
Mike Townsend: And ideally you wannabuild strength as quietly as possible and not attack the ego of the centralizedgovernments. Like one thing I look at, you know, the queen Elizabeth died recentlyand the, the English monarchy that king and queen system that exists it's verymuch performative, right? It's like there, there's not a lot of actual inpolitical influence they have, but there's still a lot of respect paid to that.
Mike Townsend: And I think ifanything, there could be a lesson that's drawn from that, which. When thestructures of power change in humanity, which seem to happen every, you know, ahundred or couple hundred years, then one of the ways to minimize suffering inwar and conflict is to preserve the integrity and the respect of the, the, thetransitioning method of power.
Mike Townsend: So it's like, don't,don't seek to destroy, seek to just transition. So it's like, I, I almost cansee a a lesson here, which. Honor the past structures of power, but justcovertly move, all influence. So I would think that the key philosophicalprinciple to uphold in societies and particularly in the Western world is thepower to exit the right to exit should be just as, as key as like a right tovote or a right to freedom of speech, which is you have the ability to leave anetwork.
Mike Townsend: And, you know, that's,it's obvious in, in crypto land, but you know, to leave a country to vote withyour feet is, you know, arguably the, the greatest thing that the United Statesdid with having states as each having their own power. So I think it's, it'skind of covertly removing power from centralization from the federalgovernments and also recognizing them as still being worthy of our praise andrespect in the same way.
Mike Townsend: Like we, we look at,you know, the UK and the king and queen it's like no actual power, but still alot of respect. And so I think that that kind, that kind of is a way to, aspeacefully as possible transition power globally, at least in the west.
Max Kordek: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Iagree. I mean the past has to be honored.
Max Kordek: Very important that,well, certain opinions are not being attacked and people becoming upset becauseof that. It has to be smooth. Mm-hmm our conversation actually reminds me alittle bit about one of the leading let's call him last, the first in thecrypto Twitter space. Bylar he published the book recently, I think it's callednetwork states mm-hmm and it talks about how networks become like states statesin, in sense of like countries.
Max Kordek: I have not read thebook yet. It's at home, but too much to do recently was also quite recentlythat he published it. But I think it talks about the idea that essentiallydecentralized networks like Bitcoin, Ethereum, et cetera, become their ownstates, their own countries. And that communities are being formed on a globalscale.
Max Kordek: Without having likeborders in mind, it's more about, let's say like a collective interest into thesame topic or a collective idea or vision or dream for the future. And I thinkthat's very interesting and shows that well, countries actually do lose alittle bit their power cuz back in the day, everyone was like very proud.
Max Kordek: I am citizen of thatcountry nowadays. Really? It doesn't really matter because here in Berlin we'recurrently living in, you find every nation and it doesn't really, it doesn'tmatter anymore. You know, we are all just humans and we need still somehow aconstruct under which we can unite. And these are I think, going forwardcommunities, digital communities, and that's where I think then these kind ofnetwork states can become very real and very powerful, maybe more powerful thanphysical countries.
Max Kordek: So it's certainly avery interesting idea where then what I touched upon before. So Dowsdecentralized, autonomous organizations can play a role in crypto can play arole because you can make decentralized decisions. You can have decentralizedmoney, everything can be decentralized because you suddenly don't have this onecountry, which makes all the decision.
Max Kordek: Because it's trulydecentralized, right?
Mike Townsend: Yeah. Yeah. You I've,I I've, I think biology is a really good reference. I followed a lot of hisstuff. He's been very active on podcasting recently. I think I think the, thekey catalyst here will be the influence of China. You know, China's maybealready, but seems to be on par with the global influence, the global power ofthe United States.
Mike Townsend: They seem to be on ajust strong, upper trend and heavily taking the centralized approach. So thatputs a tremendous amount of influence and pressure on the Western world to takea different tact because clearly the, the, like every individual country isjust not gonna present, you know, any significant economic challenge to.
Mike Townsend: So I think taking likeyou know, taking the the the woo way, right? The, the, the path of leastresistance would be adopting this principle of decentralization like this for,for the same reason that the United States failed in Afghanistan and Vietnam isthe same reason, the same advantage that the west could have collectively ofbuilding an ethos of decentralization against kind of the centralized China,which to me feels like really the only path forward.
Mike Townsend: Cause I don't see anycountry. I mean, the United States is the only one, you know, on par withChina's superpower. And I don't think, I don't see India rallying to getanywhere close to that. So it's like, you know, take, take, take the advantageyou have in the decentralized construct that we have in the west and use thatto the advantage, which hopefully.
Mike Townsend: you know, sparks asminimal conflict as possible, because it seems to be that whenever there'smassive superpowers, they fight it out to determine who's more powerful, butlike decentralization does have a hugely compelling structure of organizationin that it minimizes the head to head conflict between two countries.
Max Kordek: Yeah. Yeah. I totallyagree. I would like, I would say only one sentence to that. I think it's theEuropean union's last chance to embrace decentralization. Yeah. Else I don'tthink that there is a big future ahead for it.
Mike Townsend: How do you feel aboutthe EU? Generally speaking, I know England UK recently, the last couple yearspulled out with Brexit.
Mike Townsend: Do you feel that it'sa. , you know, I'm, I'm quite detached from it. If most people listening, Ithink, are in the us and fairly detached from the day to day practicality ofthe influence of, of the EU, do you feel it's run its course that it has a lotof opportunities still yet to, to go? Like how does that look?
Max Kordek: Mm-hmm so well, mypersonal view, personal view I think of course it was a necessary for Europe tocreate a union cuz else they would on global scale, just not matter anymore.And wouldn't have a say in any global matters. If we are looking at China and ER,like United States, I think China's already fined beyond the powers of thestates.
Max Kordek: It's if you visit you,will you just realize they're like 10, 20 years ahead in comparison to theUnited States? But like, well I think the European union. Is what the worldneeds on a global scale. We need just one union, one world, humanity. We allneed to get together. I know it's a pipe dream. It will never happen.
Max Kordek: But that's, I thinkthe ideal scenario where we just unite under one collective as humans destroythe thought of nations. And yeah, I think that would see many, many benefitsfor us as let's say in becoming a multi-planetary species, but just doing itin, in Europe as a European union, well led to the fact that a few strong countriesare carrying a few very weak countries and making it very I balanced.
Max Kordek: And I think this willbe the reason that this whole construct. Is breaking down. I don't think thatthe European union will survive in its current form for much longer. Let's say10 years, maybe if even for that it's just too fragile, too many weak players,too few strong players in it. Even though right now, everyone is havingproblems and troubles.
Max Kordek: I like the idea, but Ithink it has no big future.
Mike Townsend: And do you see it justcompletely dissolving going back to individual country influences?
Max Kordek: No, I don't think so.I think it will maybe break down into like let's say a smaller union mm-hmmwith more strong players, but on the other side, this is also not veryrealistic because that would put these politicians on the spot, you know?
Max Kordek: And who knows if, ifanyone does it. So maybe what you would also see is that the stronger countriesare stepping out of it, like, like great Britain that and the weaker countriesstay in it cuz they have no other choice. So you would maybe see France, youwould see the Netherlands, Germany, Poland being like standing on their ownfeet and all the other countries would still be in the EU.
Max Kordek: That could be ascenario, but I really don't know. It's not my expertise.
Mike Townsend: Yeah. Do you feelgenerally the sentiment in Germany is that there's a desire to dissolve the,the union?
Max Kordek: So Germany is a verydifficult case. I think Germans always complain about politics, always. Nothingthey do seems to be good.
Max Kordek: Yeah. You know, andthere seems to be this idea that a politician is very, very like. bad actor,like a very, like always does it on purpose. Does everything on purpose wrongand is stupid and whatsoever. But at the end of the day, politicians are justnormal human beings like you and me, and they just try their best.
Max Kordek: They have an ambitionto make the world a better place. I fully believe. So it's just very difficultto lead a country or a collective of countries. So I think Germans are probablyvery against, or increasingly turning very against their own country, their owngovernment because they just see that so many efforts are failing.
Max Kordek: Like now it'swintertime gas and energy prices are soaring. They're becoming more and moreexpensive. Many of the lower level society can't pay their bills anymore. I,myself, I'm supporting my father and my sister just that they have to bareminimum, you know? So it's kind of like. Becoming increasingly tough for normalnormal people to just survive and what seems to be one of the richest countriesin the world, but it's just not, you don't see it if even the internet is snow,you know, so yeah.
Max Kordek: I see more problemscoming up and more more drama coming from the society towards the governmentand coming.
Mike Townsend: Yes. And, and whatinfluence do you feel? Either crypto as an industry maybe decentralization asan industry, however you want to draw the lines there. And then if, if you feelcalled to answer this more specifically to list, but what influence do, doesthis, do these organizations or organizational structures have to play intothe, the global drama in your view?
Max Kordek: Yeah. Yeah. So like,like I said, I believe that everything started centralized 20 centralized, butbecause of efficiency becomes centralized again. So these monopolies are beingformed and well, I just said that society becomes and raged with theirgovernments and crypto now offers the society to essentially disruptgovernments.
Max Kordek: But also thesemonopolies, I mentioned before, like let's say of big tech companies and well,that kind of gives people hope again and kind of make them dream and let thembelieve that, Hey, here's a real chance where I can maybe bring power back tothe people and this is what crypto is all about.
Max Kordek: So I see really cryptoas like the. The golden future of the world, which we can somehow use to bringback that decentralization, to make the world more fair again. And yeah, it'sjust to let people live a better life again. It's just one part of the puzzle.But I think a very important one.
Mike Townsend: You know, a lot ofidentity is formed either individually or collectively in relationship to theother.
Mike Townsend: And we live in a worldwhere we just launched a new satellite system into orbit that is, you know,gonna explore the depths of the, of the universe, at least our solo system to agreat degree. I, I would love to see in my lifetime us discover otherintelligent life on other planets. It seems statistically like given the, youknow, just picture every piece of sand on every beach in the world is the solarsystem.
Mike Townsend: Like that's, that'sthe reality of this space that we're living in. and it would seem to me thatit's more akin to like a brain where the whole thing is just firing together.And we're just not quite networked into that situation yet. It might be some criticalmass of technological development for us to, you know, connect to that API, soto speak.
Mike Townsend: How, how do you, whatare your, what are your thoughts on us as a planet either, you know, cominginto contact with other complex life forms, do you, you know, some people wouldsay that they're already here, some people would say there it's unlikely thatanything else exists. Do you have a, just an intuition about the reality theremm-hmm
Max Kordek: I mean, it can only bean intuition mm-hmm, interesting conversation shift.
Max Kordek: So I think there'sdefinitely life out there. I believe they're not on the planet already. Ibelieve that technology. But maybe even the basic loss of physics prevent us ofdiscovering them either, or I hope it's technology and not the loss of physics,because I do hope as you, that in my lifetime, I still learn about the factthat not even like intelligent, but could be the most dump protein or whatever,or like bacteria, virus, whatever it is on a different, on a foreign planetthat we discover it still.
Max Kordek: So I think it's outthere. I, I believe it's too far out for us to discover it yet. I really hopewe discover it. And if we do, I think it will be a monumental shift to society.Because then suddenly we are, we are indeed all human. And I hope that thiswill put it quite clearly into everyone's mind mindset.
Max Kordek: Well, we are one.Species and we need to yeah. Hold together, even though I of course do hopethat then if it's an intelligent species that they are friendly. So veryinteresting thought experiment. I mean, that's the whole story with avatar.It's like the modern day P hunters. Right. And looking forward to the secondpart there coming end of this year.
Max Kordek: So it's a veryinteresting story.
Mike Townsend: Yeah. I have a, andI'm certainly for me, the dust is not settled here, but it, it is precariousthat the United States government through the military published a, like anofficial press briefing saying that they have unidentified objects, likevehicles flying over the world that they've identified.
Mike Townsend: They haven't been ableto like tie 'em down, but they, the, the pattern of flight behavior. Is absurd.It's like, you know, there's just fly 500 miles an hour in one direction andstop on a dime and turn like, and make a, make a right angle, turn in adifferent direction. And they've identified these things as hovering over thenuclear sites across the world.
Mike Townsend: So that's anotherthing that was like, what, what the hell is going on here? And it it's like,there's a few things, you know, like part of the way I like to make sense ofthe world is you develop patterns of how people behave, technology behaves, andthen you can start to see the trend and then you feel more confident working onsomething like blockchain in particular is an example of that.
Mike Townsend: And then there's alsolittle, little, like, like splinters in that, you know, you'll, you'll seesomething that you're just, it conflicts with your whole structure of reality.You know, if you believed in the theory of you know, Newtonian physics, andthen you discover quantum physics in the early days, that must have been like.
Mike Townsend: Mind blowing, youknow, you have this constructive reality and then this thing just screws it allup. And I kind of think like entanglement, quantum entanglement, where you haveone particle here and then the other particles, another part of the universe,and they instantly interact. It's like maybe travel across the universe.
Mike Townsend: Isn't, doesn't need tobe like on a spaceship, Elon Musk style, maybe it's, you know, there's sometechnology yet to be discovered that makes the whole traveling part of it muchmore feasible, like, you know, who would've pictured planes in the 15 hundreds.So I that's my optimistic take on it.
Max Kordek: No. No, certainlycertainly, I mean there are all kinds of different ways how to make sense ofsome things or how to predict the future.
Max Kordek: I mean, you mentionedElon Musk, I think his future or his predictions for the future are alwaysalong the lines of what's the most ridiculous and hilarious outcome and thatwill happen. Mm-hmm , you know, I think more, more so that well, for example,in the case of your UFO, which suddenly makes like a, a 90 degree turn at 500miles an hour I always think about just some reasonable explanations mm-hmm forexample it's just a measurement mistake or a device error or it's it is Chinabeing 10 years ahead.
Max Kordek: Mm-hmm and alreadyhaving some kind of like. Like devices, we don't mm-hmm we know about, orbecause it was over like radioactive sites or whatever that there are certainphysical laws we don't know yet. And this causes our devices to malfunctionwhatsoever. I always try to seek the most realistic and probable solution, youknow which doesn't sound too crazy, even though I really enjoy like one or twoconspiracy theories.
Max Kordek: But in terms of likelife outside earth and technology not invented yet and imagining planes in the1500, well, there are many theories, right? Like for example, that our brain isjust a receptor of a consciousness, like a, like a receiver of a consciousness,far out somewhere else. And that we just receive the consciousness.
Max Kordek: And live the lifehere, but while our let's call it soul or consciousness is really not here withus. It's somewhere else. And if we die, it's being broadcasted to another show.So, I mean, there are many theories like that and they might stem from peopletaking too, too many substances or whatsoever.
Max Kordek: But it's still a veryinteresting thought experiment and well might be because we are still notunderstanding everything in this world. Right. So yeah. Very interestingthought experiment difficult to say. Of course, what's true. What's wrong.
Mike Townsend: My quick reaction tothat on like a heuristic level is if there's an area of unexplored.
Mike Townsend: Terrain we'll call it.It could be intellectual terrain, whatever it is. And there's already kind of aconsensus on what that unexplored terrain is. That probably means that it'swrong, or at least at a minimum that it's not encompassing of the full pictureof reality in the same way, like Newtonian physics was right.
Mike Townsend: But it was also notfully encompassing quantum physics. And so I, I tend to think like thepsychedelic research that's being done, the ideas of entanglement, the ideas ofyou know, what you're referring to as panpsychism, as like consciousness existsoutside there and where the receptor for it there's, you can kind ofintuitively sense, particularly in the Western world, this like reaction oflike, oh, that's just, that's just some silly stuff.
Mike Townsend: Like that's we alreadyknow, like there's, there's an implicit religion that we carry into our. Ourperception of reality. And I think that that that's exactly the kind ofimplicit assumption that is correct, but not complete. And I mean, I'm, I'msuper excited to see where the psychedelic research goes.
Mike Townsend: Because it might, itmight unveil a deeper level of sophistication. That's actually going on thatdoesn't conflict with what we know to be true today, but it just expands uponit in a, in a deeper level, which there's something about that that's soexciting and and interesting. Yeah.
Max Kordek: I, I totally agree.
Max Kordek: And it's always alsojust something people only understand if they've experienced it themselves andwe see the world becoming more open to stuff like that. So yeah, I'm also superexcited in that regard generally, like in all kinds of develop. We are involvedin as a, as a, as a society. I think we still have a lot stuff to discover.
Max Kordek: I mean, at the end ofthe day what we don't know, like there's always definitively more what we don'tknow then what we know. So that just opens up so many new discoveries for thefuture, which we don't even think about. So I don't think that there arecertain limitations. I mean, at the end of the day, the reality is just, you couldimagine kind of like a program and this program could be rewritten.
Max Kordek: We just don't knowhow, so you could teleport yourself anywhere in, in the galaxy. I don't thinkthat this is something unrealistic. It's just that the rules, the sheet codeessentially for that was not written yet. So . Yeah, I think that the optionsare limitless, but we, as humans have to see that we survive as a civilizationand not destroy ourselves.
Max Kordek: I think we are our ownbiggest enemy. Yeah.
Mike Townsend: Yeah. Simultaneouslybiggest enemy and, and biggest hope. And I, I think that the calibration thatI, I ask myself and that I, I think is a good one, is like, do you feel you'reon the right side of history? Because that is like, it's like swimming downriver as opposed to swimming out river.
Mike Townsend: And you know, part ofthat is just like let, if you're working in some old system, some oldbureaucratic system of some, you know, industry, some old insurance company,whatever it is. And it's like, you're, you're feeling stuck in the world. It'slike, there is a. Out of that. There is there is there, there I, this is myexperience in life is that there's a resistance period with the change.
Mike Townsend: And then there's like,oh, a whole new frontier that opens up. And I think that's kind of the, theoptimistic take on how to make career transitions. But I think I I've heardthis, that recently that there's about 10,000 developers in crypto total, whichis astronomically small relative to the total number of, of developers on theinternet.
Mike Townsend: It's like, I thinklike a fraction of a percent. So it's like, there's still so much space yet toexcavate, which is you know, I find super exciting to be on the early frontiersof that.
Max Kordek: Yeah, no, definitely.I think AI has this moment right now. And as you mentioned, crypto reallydoesn't have many developers in this industry right now.
Mike Townsend: Yeah. I mean, thereality is that, I mean, I, I, after I sold my last company there we had about20 developers down in Argentina and the acquirer didn't wanna hire peopleoutside the us. So I spun up this business called Otter labs and we basically,it exploded after COVID and every company went remote and it we're connectingpeople down in south America to people, mostly in the states that are hiring.
Mike Townsend: And the explosion ofremote work is just like gotta be one of the most influential patterns andtrends of our lifetime. And the biggest blocker in hiring people fordecentralized projects is that the, the frameworks are just not familiar. Likesalinity is not something that many people have experienced with.
Mike Townsend: It's I, I find whatyou're doing, the, the principle of what you're doing, which is taking thelanguage that people know, and then allowing them to build in a new world usingthat existing language is like, it's massive.
Max Kordek: I mean, like onethought to that, I don't even think it's about the language itself. Yes.
Max Kordek: We picked the mosteasy, most accessible one, most widely known one, but it's about the idea orthe, the, the, the thought that a. There are many people familiar with thatprogramming language and B it has the reputation of being accessible becausethen we are softening the entry into the world of crypto mm-hmm
Max Kordek: We brought them intothe industry because we delivered or gave them something familiar, which theydon't have to be afraid of. And I think that's a very powerful idea. I can'twait to see where we are in a few years with, well, this, this idea, this uh,yeah. This foundation of our project.
Mike Townsend: Yeah. Yeah. It makesso much sense, man.
Mike Townsend: Is that, is thatprotocol is that language. And so porting that over to the world of blockchainis like, it's almost so obvious that, I mean, you guys were in the right placeat the right time, but it's, it's such a compelling concept to just say, usethe language you're already familiar build in this new world.
Mike Townsend: Like that's thetagline. And I love what you guys are working on, man. Thanks max, are youwriting or tweeting personally that you wanna throw out there or,
Max Kordek: yeah. Yeah. So I'mtweeting under the tag Max Kordek. So that's my profile name. I have a YouTubechannel, but recently I was a bit too busy to, to manage that, but we'll getback to it.
Max Kordek: The beginning of nextyear, that's also metic or metic HQ. It's all under my name, very easily tospot the most important Twitter handle though is Lisk HQ. It's our projectTwitter handle there, you get all the information you need. And I, I thought,or I think it's a very interesting conversation we had because while you'reprobably familiar with the golden cycle or circle that you don't start withthe, what you start with the why, and we pretty intensively discuss the why,why crypto?
Max Kordek: And I think it gives avery good picture into why crypto is necessary for this world. And with li.just being one of the players in it, trying to make it more accessible todevelopers and to users giving them whatever they need to benefit from this technology.Yeah, I think it's a very was a very good session here to make peopleunderstand why we are doing this.
Max Kordek: Yeah.
Mike Townsend: I enjoyed it verymuch. Thank you so much, max for your time and talk soon.
Max Kordek: Thank you. Yeah,thanks. Bye. Bye.