Episode 476: Justin Rice, VP & Head of Ecosystem at Stellar Development Foundation

Episode 476: Justin Rice, VP & Head of Ecosystem at Stellar Development Foundation

In this episode, Mike Townsend chats with Justin Rice is the Vice President of Ecosystem at the Stellar Development Foundation (SDF), a non-profit organization that supports the development and growth of Stellar, an open-source network that connects the world's financial infrastructure. In this role, he represents developers building on the Stellar network and coordinates members of the Stellar ecosystem, with an ultimate focus on the growth, development, and ongoing health of that system.

Prior to his current role, Justin worked in Stellar product development, where he helped build the StellarX exchange, which utilizes Stellar open-source technology. He holds a Bachelors of Arts degree in Comparative Literature from Harvard University.

Host: Mike Townsend

Guest: Justin Rice

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Episode Transcript

Mike: Today's guest isJustin Rice, the VP and head of Ecosystem at Stellar Development Foundation.This is the development foundation for Stellar blockchain. Recently Stellar hasa hundred million dollar platform that they're going to be giving out to developersto build on Stellar. We discussed what the pros and cons, the risks, thechallenges of allocating capital into the marketplace of developers to build onyour blockchain.

Stellar's, not the only. Foundation thatis doing this. This is , a common practice. Of course, a hundred million is alot to give out and I'm sure that's gonna spark a lot of creativity anddevelopment on Stellar.

We discussed really the patterns of thefoundation. So what are the challenges? How are decisions made internally? Whatdoes it really look like to be inside of a foundation for blockchain? Very muchenjoyed this conversation. I hope you do as well. If you do, please give us athumbs up, like share wherever you're listening to this podcast.

Here is Justin Rice.


Mike: Justin, thanks so muchfor hopping on the podcast today. I'm super excited to meet with you, get toknow you and learn more what you're working on at the Stellar DevelopmentFoundation, which is supporting Stellar the technology infrastructure.  

I'd love to learn just for a secondabout your background.

W where did you get involved in Stellar?What were you doing before and sort of what led into the role that you'recurrently at now?  

Justin: Yeah, I, I've had a,my career has zigged and zagged all over the place. For a long time I worked incommercial production, like on, on, on shoot, helping to shoot movies and, andTV shows and television commercials.

Then for a long time I was in the musicindustry. I was in a band. We recorded records, we went on. Eventually I endedup working in tech, in technology. I worked for OkCupid, which is, a populardating website. And while I was working there someone that I'd known for areally long time was building a front end application on Stellar and was basicallyneeded some help with the product side.

And was like, okay, we're trying tobuild an a Dex interface for Stellar and we're building it from nothing and canyou just come in and help us, like sort of figure out how to make it userfriendly? And then also how to like sort of work with the various people in thestellar ecosystem whose assets will appear on the exchange in order to havethem like sort of meet standards.

And that was about five years ago. So Iworked on Stellar X for a year and then moved in to work for the foundationabout four years ago. And I ended up here, I think because. y for me the, thewhole world o of blockchain is exciting because it's, it's kind of greenfieldtechnology. It's a place where we're figuring out the rules, we're figuring outthe product market fit.

We're figuring out what it is that wecan do to change the world. And a lot of the, there are a lot of big questionsand not very many answers. And so for me, there's like a huge intellectualchallenge that kind of sucked me in. What does it mean to use distributedledgers to track value? What does it mean to sort of try to provide access topeople in the world who don't have it?

How does that interact with currentfinancial technology? What kind of impact can you have? And so, yeah, it wassort of the intellectual, intellectual challenge and the potential to haveimpact that brought me in a blockchain. And, five years in blockchain isbasically like a lifetime. So I've sort of seen, seen a lot and I'm still veryinterested.

Mike: And, and how do youthink of the conceptual positioning of Stellar relative to the other? Technicalinfrastructure out there. Like where? Where is stellar? Carving out aniche.  

Justin: Stellar has beenaround for a really long time for blockchain. I mean, it, it initially launchedin 2014. The current network launched in 2015.

It's processed over 10 billiontransactions. And initially Stellar was designed to be very, it was verypurpose-built. There was a limited repertoire of transactions and it was reallyfocused on payments and specifically on cross-border payments. And so over thefirst five years of the network, a lot of the goal was to try to get moneytransfer operators, FinTech companies, wallet builders, asset issuers of like sortof key stablecoin that are collateral backed to actually use the network.

And the goal was to connect all of thesedisparate payment systems across the world in order to have a platform thatallowed for like universal payments and universal asset conversions. So Stellarwas really purpose built for payments was specifically there to help. Thefoundation has, has a mission to connect.

The, to, to provide equitable access tothe world's financial infrastructure. And so the goal was Universal payment platformthat connects locally to all the different currencies to allow sort ofuniversal uniform transactions and asset conversion. Okay. Since then though,I'll say that we recently, like, so Stellar was not built with smart contracts.

It was built with this limitedrepertoire of transactions and over the past year we have been bootstrapping orbuilding a new sort of a thing called Sorbonne, which is a smart contractsplatform that will bring smart contract functionality to Stellar. And so, inthe past it was about this limited repertoire and working with sort of peopleorganizations, businesses that are interested in, in sort of money transfer.

Now we are also starting to engage theworld of DeFi to connect those two things. So we will sort of be offering allof these on and off ramps, all this access, all this connection to traditionalfinancial infrastructure, and then embedding within it the ability to actuallybuild. DeFi protocols and DAPs and offer users the advantages that those thatDeFi has to the world.

Mike: Interesting. So the,the on and off-ramp seem to be a big part of the, the uniqueness of the valueprop. I Is that different than, what would be an example of that? Say, I'm, I'mthinking of an exchange as a place where I have my money in a bank account, saya US Bank account, I'm sending an ACH or wire to if I send it to Binance orKraken or something, they have a US bank that they're associated with and theyreconcile that.

And then you have the money show, youhave the US dollar show up in your, exchange wallet. But really it's in a bankthat is partnered with the exchange.  

In the case of Stellar, is there apeer-to-peer component of on and off ramps, or how is that how is that handledit?  

Justin: Yeah, I mean, theeasiest and clearest example is MoneyGram.

So MoneyGram, inter interoperates withStellar, that means that you can walk into a MoneyGram location with cash. Youcan put cash on the counter and they will give you a balance of U S D C in yourstellar wallet. There is no interaction with an exchange. There is nointeraction. It doesn't require a bank account.

MoneyGram, they have a whole network ofagents that do ensure that sort of like deposits or payments or deposits intoMoneyGram or deposits in the stellar are, are done, in compliance with locallaws and regulations. But it's actually a huge difference, right? Like theexample that you're talking about requires a lot.

It requires a bank account. It requiresthe ability to interact with the crypto exchange. It requires there to be acrypto exchange that is licensed and operates in your jurisdiction. Those arethings that a lot of the world doesn't have, like I have easy access to. Thatsounds like you do too, but many people in the world that live in a casheconomy don't.

So can you get into, into like sort ofcrypto into the crypto space with cash? Yes. With Stellar you can walk intoMoneyGram cash on the counter and up with a digital balance in your wallet and., unlike the exchanges, as you pointed out, where the exchange is actually sortof custodian of the funds. In the MoneyGram example, you're actually gettingthat value in a wallet that you control.

Mike: Hmm. Yeah, that's agood way to describe it. And what,  

what's the positioning between Stellarthe technology, which is open source and distributed, and people can contributeto it, and there's like, a, a common common pattern to that. Infrastructuredevelopment started obviously with Bitcoin and the Development Foundationsimilar to other projects.

You tell me how, this is not exactlyaccurate, but it's a, a portion of the initial tokens that are allocated, whichare a portion to a foundation. And that might, usually it's in the low digitsor low double digits. That money is managed by a group of people who allocateit, give it in grants to developers to build on the ecosystem.

So it's, it's incentive for thefoundations. Speaking broadly about foundations, not stellar specifically, butthey are money in the pot that is given strategically to people who are building.And, and usually it's used to fund the development agency that is like the,that's like the, the spark plug for the engine.

It's like the thing that gets the thinggoing cuz you need early developers who are paid consistently that can buildthe technology. Can you tell me what the maybe early purpose of, if that isexactly what Stellar is, then I'm curious what the later purpose of thefoundation, just about foundations generally.

Maybe what you've learned, what thechallenges are, maybe what the hopes initially and, and learnings have been..  

Justin: Yeah, I mean that's apretty good description of I think how foundations for that support layer onetechnologies work. And so in the case of the Stellar Development Foundationinitially Stellar was an idea that a bunch of engineers worked on, but thepurpose was not for them to own the output of that work.

It was to create a common infrastructurethat is, as you said, open source. So anyone can actually view the code andcontribute to it. Open participation, anyone can use it or build on it, nopermission required. And so it is, it is an interesting thing where you startout by building infrastructure that you don't intend to own, that you sort of,did you sort of offer with a, an open source license to the world?

The foundation, it is, it is accurate tosay that like the foundation does. There, there, there are lumens, which arethe, the native currency that you use on stellar to cover transaction fees orgas fees, and also to basically cover minimum requirements. If you have anaccount on Stellar, you have to have a minimum balance basically in order forit to exist on the ledger.

That, that's sort of the purpose of, of,of Lumens. Those lumens are, were created, on day one. There's, there's nomining on stellar, so they were created day one pre mind. And the foundationstarted with the, with like sort of all, all of the lumens, but those lumensdon't actually belong to the foundation.

Right. There is a very public mandate togive them away in a very structured way that we do it. And we actually publishexactly the Lumin allocations, what we're spending them on, and the walletaddresses for each of the different buckets of our, of our mandate on ourwebsite. So if you go to.

stellar.org/foundation/mandate. You cansee the, the sort of lumens that we have to distribute. You can see what theirpurpose is. And, and so one of the goals of the foundation is, yeah, to take,to distribute those lumens in a way that sort of helps to bootstrap the ecosystemthat helps to support the growth and development of the network.

We do it not because we are trying tomake a profit, right? It SDF the foundation, which I'll call SDF from now on,stellar Development Foundation. SDF is, a, a nonprofit. We don't haveshareholders. Our goal is our mission, right? So it is to con, to, to provideequitable access to the world's financial infrastructure.

And so the allocation of those lumens tobootstrap the network is. Thing. And so I think that is one of the big purposes,right? The foundation helps sort of shepherd the technology. It helpsdistribute funds in order to bootstrap the ecosystem and to achieve themission. And then also the, the foundation serves as a, as a connector betweendifferent people in the ecosystem.

So we help build mutual relationshipsbetween counterparties that are building on the network. We help to definestandards for using the network so that everyone's kind of doing it in auniform way that allows for inter-op operation. And then finally, we serve assort of a speaking partner to legislators and regulators.

So it is helpful to have a sort of actorwithin the ecosystem who is interested overall in, in ensuring that there'sgood education happening for the people who may affect policy. That, that, thatsort of determines the, the shape of the entire industry. I, I think that it'simportant to note that like SDF is one player.

In, in a broader ecosystem, an ecosystemthat includes asset issuers, wallet builders, DAP developers, protocoldevelopers an ecosystem that includes educators, a community of people who arelike, sort of enthusiasts, supporters. It includes input from eightorganizations that are using stellar adas to distribute aid.

All of these different organizationsmake up the ecosystem, and we are a, a player. And so our goal in many ways isreally to facilitate the growth of that ecosystem. Not, not to own thetechnology and because it's an open ecosystem like anyone can participate. SoI'd say we're a big participant, but just one participant of many in, in theecosystem that surrounds the technology.

Mike: Hmm. And the, I Itotally resonate with the idea of being mission driven.  

I wanna better understand the. , thefinancial incentives. So individuals that are working on the project that arecontributing to the open source, that are not being paid directly by thefoundation, are they putting aside the people who are just doing it for theirown an, donation base, right?

There's people who are just spendingfree time doing it because they want that to exist in the world. But for peoplewho are contributing meaningful hours throughout the week to the project, arethey owning a Porsche? Are they owning lumens and hoping that the value oflumens goes up? And for people who are working across those various titles, isthat the general financial incentive that, that gets them excited is, Hey, ifwe grow this thing together, it's gonna be worth more in the future than it'stoday and, and that'll benefit me and my family.

Is that the, like, is that the generalattitude or thing, how people think about it from a financial incentive?  

Justin: I think that, that,this would be a really good question to ask all the various builders that areworking on Stellar. My answer is that I think most of the people that arebuilding projects on Stellar are actually interested in creating products andservices that serve in consumers.

And generally they have some sort ofbusiness plan in mind for how I see using this infrastructure allows them tooffer better, more competitive cheaper, faster, or products and services toconsumers or they, and, or they are like building products and services thatcan reach consumers that they wouldn't otherwise be able to reach.

Right. So if you imagine going back tothis idea of you can actually cash into Stellar, that means that it is ablockchain that touches the cash economy in a way that many others don't. Well,what if you, what, what is that, what sort of greenfield is that for you orfor, for a builder? Can they think of a product that they're excited about thateither, generally.

Ideally there's sort of a business usecase for it, but also oftentimes people who are interested in reachingunderserved populations also have a similar mission in mind to the one that weat the foundation have. So I think it's like builders are building things thathave value and the network is the infrastructure that allows them to do it.

And so it's in their interest to sort ofhelp that network thrive and grow. And it's in their interest to see theecosystem like also grow so that there are more, a counter more other productsand services or assets that they can inter-operate with. So I think it's, it'skind of like we, we, there is a collective desire to see the network succeedbecause that makes it more functional and the people who are building on ithave an idea in mind of how that functionality will allow them to create abusiness that, that that will serve some sort of need.

And so I, I, I think a lot of it is likesort of this business mindset  

Mike: driven.  

Right. Right. That makes sense. And ifyou were to say, hypothetically, start a foundation today on a sizeableblockchain, what do you think, what would, what would you do differently? Notnecessarily different from stellar, but different than the pattern of allfoundations on, on blockchains.

Is there some learning you think thatthat you've had or you think that there's consensus around with how to issuetokens, how to manage the money, how to deploy the money, how to screen thedevelopers? Like one example is, I was talking to, I forget who it was butsomebody that works in a foundation might have been at Tezos.

And he was saying that there's a lot ofdevelopers who will go around to multiple projects and they'll contribute anidea, they'll submit an idea for a grant. And a grant is free money. There's noequity exchange there. And they'll submit it to five different blockchainecosystems and get three different grants and, they'd like kind of drag theirfeet and fizzle out.

And effectively it's a form of fraud.And I wonder about that, right? Because that doesn't seem sustainable. It seemslike there's like leeches on the system taking advantage of the way that moneyis distributed through these foundations.

Just curious if there are things thatstand out to you as learnings you may have had, or gaps you think are stillexisting problems and how the structure of open source technology is builtpaired with a foundation.

Justin: I think one of themost interesting things that we've learned Doesn't necessarily relate to likefund allocation. It relates to trying to figure out what it is that afoundation can or should build itself and where it should leave space in theecosystem for a third party to build it.

Like, an interesting thing about Stellaris that from the very beginning, the, the, there's there was sort of the, thestellar stack included stellar core, which is kind of the transaction systemthat, includes the consensus protocol and the sort of specified features thatallow people to actually interact.

You That, that, that runs the network,right? But the foundation also built an API layer on top of that. It's calledHorizon. And from the beginning, in an attempt to make things easier on theecosystem, we just offered a public horizon endpoint and it's still alive andkicking today. And in so doing, I think that, We inadvertently prevented a lotof infrastructure providers who may actually provide that service as a businessfrom entering into the ecosystem.

And so I think one lesson that we'velearned is like, okay, that, that, that made sense, right? We wanted to,there's this conflict right between or trade off, I guess between making thingseasy, right? And, and trying to get full ecosystem participation. You're alwaystrying to figure out like, what, what, what can we do and what should we sortof clear out and let other people do?

And I think the decision to build thatAPI layer from the beginning, it made a lot of sense. It helped stellar grow.It helped us get to where we are, this 10 billion transactions, right? But nowwe run into a, a, a situation where there's. where we are trying to like reducedependence on that, on that API endpoint.

And as we're launching this new smartcontracts protocol Saban, one of the things that we realized is that it willhave a new set of, of sort of service layer infrastructure RPC nodes that allowpeople to actually interact with and submit smart contracts. And so one of ourgoals now, one of the lessons we've learned is like from the beginning, let'snot, let's make sure that any provision of that service that the foundationprovides, like sort of a free service takes into like, doesn't actually preventothers from entering the ecosystem and providing it.

And so I think for me it's like tryingto, the lesson is think hard about the trade offs between creating somethingyourself and the, or leaving space for other people to provide that service.And the more as seller becomes, like, as the ecosystem grows, and then as thetechnology sort of continues to be reliable and continues to reach more partsof the world, I think we are learning to be better at getting, at helping otherpeople actually build on the network.

And sort of reducing our role in some ofthe places where before, early on we were, we were very active. So it's, it'skind of like you gotta learn how to like seed control as like provide the rightenvironment for people to grow and for them to find opportunity. And then, Ithink that the distribution of funds to support them as they do is, is one ofthe tools, right?

But ultimately, I think what you'relooking for is an ecosystem where people actually have their own. Businessincentives to create a product or service that includes infrastructure, serviceprovision, but also, apps or, or assets that exist on the network. And youwanna help them.

You want to like sort of support peoplewho have this in mind. I have an idea for how to use this, this infrastructureto build a product or service and I know how, I know how it's gonna work, Iunderstand my motivation for doing it. And those are sort of the people thatyou look for And yeah, you can help, help them sort of de-risk the cost ofbuilding by giving them a grant.

But the grant shouldn't be what sustainsthem. It's sort of what helps them get going. And in the end you are looking toto support organizations, businesses, individual developers who like have amindset where they want to be independent.

Mike: Yeah.Interesting.  

So it sounds like not. Clogging theairway, so to speak, like you're, you're thinking of, of, of philosophicallycreating the app store, not creating the single app that people have to use.

Maybe that, I don't know, that analogydoesn't squarely fit, but like, conceptually speaking.

Justin: It fits pretty well.It fits pretty well. And the difference is that like that app store, there'sno, it doesn't charge 30% to the developers to actually use it, right? Like it'snot only free to use, but the actual developers can like get, some sort offunding in order to actually start to build their app.

So I think it's, it's, that, that'sexactly right. It it, it is creating an app store, but take away all theoverhead and just, , that's, that is kind of a model.  

Mike: Mm-hmm. Yeah. Maybeit's more like a Shopify app store instead of an Apple being that there's aRight, there's a primary revenue stream that's sustainable for the moneyissuer, which in this case is, is sdf.

In the case, it's interesting, likeShopify, for example, free to build apps on Shopify, but Shopify charges yourcustomers. So it'd be almost to say in a similar way, if I use Stellar as aconsumer, I'm paying a transaction fee, and that goes into the stellarecosystem, sdf. Indirectly is being funded by that, right?

The more people that use is that notright? So is there,  

Justin: no transaction feesdon't, transaction fees are, are, are, don't go to sdf, they don't go toanyone. They, the transaction fees are there to like sort of incentivizeconsiderate usage of the ledger. And to prevent spam, right? Any network ofaccounts that stores data can, people can just start spamming it and thatstarts to run.

You start to run into problems in termsof the longevity of the infrastructure. Cuz databases get really big and itstarts to be like annoying because, people spamming your account with is not agood user experience. So, the transaction fees are there to discourage like,sort of bad usage of the ledger at scale.

But they don't actually go to supportthe foundation or anyone. They get burned.

Mike: Does the foundationhave. does the pot get filled or, or is it just from whatever was initiallyallocated in 20 14, 20 15? Or is there a source of new funding that comes intothe foundation?

Justin: Yeah, that's, that's agood question. I think our, our finance team would definitely be in a, in abetter position to answer it. I mean, the network itself does not kick back anybenefits, any sort of financial benefits to, to the foundation or to anyone.Right. It, it, it is infrastructure that people use.

And , the funding for directdevelopment, which is the, the mandate bucket that, that is used to like, sortof support the foundation's efforts is, was there, from an initial lumenallocation, it doesn't it that that bucket doesn't refill. Mm-hmm. .  

Mike: Yeah. Okay. That makessense. So it's like, again, by analogy cuz it's not a, it's a nonprofit. Notfor, but like, if I'm raising a fund to invest in startups, I would raise $50million and then I'd write a series of checks that fund that bucket would runout and then I have to go raise another fund. So think of this like, this islike a, it's like a jumpstarter fund is s sdf and the recent allocations thathave been made into Coral and others, they've been out of that, that bucket.

And that doesn't sound like, that getsrefilled as part, it doesn't get sourced from Stellar. It doesn't get correct.Yeah. Maybe there's donations or something that people could make. I don't, Idon't know if that, I mean,  

do you see the SDF as being somethingthat is just destined to just die out? It's just like a, a fund that willeventually spend all the money sail into the night and then the ecosystem willbe flourishing.

Justin: that's a really goodquestion. I mean, that's not a bad outcome, right? If over time the, the needfor there to be a foundation to support the technology decreases becausethere's a whole ecosystem that is, that it's self-sustaining. Mm-hmm. , that'sa good outcome. Right? We, we still have a, a enough funding left.

And again, you can look, it's public. Soyou can look at the direct development fund our, our allocation right it onour, on our mandate page. And you can see that, it's, it's, this is not a, thisis a problem for the future not for, for right now. And so it's really hard to say,okay, and what is the fate of the foundation in five years and 10 years?

Like, it's, it's hard to say because Ithink that the fate of the foundation is contingent entirely upon howsuccessful we are at. Sort of realizing our mission and building out a vibrantecosystem. And so there's just so many, so many variables and so many differentpossible futures. But the one that you described right, is I, I, I, I would behappy if we achieved our mission and our, and the scope of our role reducedbecause it wasn't as necessary for us to be as active in the ecosystem.

Mm-hmm. , but, you I don't, I don't knowwhat, what will happen, to be honest.  

Mike: Yeah.  

Like, could it, like, to me it's, Icould see double-edged sword here, right? Like, say, say transaction fees didgo to its foundation. You have some percentage of. Of value lumens that aregoing from the protocol itself into a bucket, a foundation, maybe it's 5% thatare then used to like, spark new innovation on the protocol.

So there's like this, the governmentdoes this, we are gonna tax you, and then we're gonna give it to researchdevelopment and health and NASA and everything else. And maybe that createssomething that sparks the internet or space travel or something else. Like NASAseemed to be the precursor to SpaceX, which is a for-profit company that cameon the backs of a nonprofit organization that was funded by taxpayers whocontributed a portion of their money.

So conceptually the thing makes sense.It opens the door to. The other side of the sword, which is like corruption,which is, Hey, I give it to this, who knows who's allocating it, what you couldmake it, it could be dark, it could be you, $10 million given to thisorganization, and then they never go anywhere.

And whatever happened to that. So Icould, I could see, and that happens in the government too, right? The just,these are just ways of organizing people and funds, whether it's the governmentor whether it's a decentralized project with a foundation. There's just differentstructures for doing a by analogy, a similar thing, which is taking a portionof the growth and then reallocating it into new, new projects.

So I, I th I'd say that to just sayit's, it's interesting to consider the different ways that the foundation thelight side and the dark side of how it can, how it can work.  

Justin: Yeah. I mean, I thinkthat, first of all, any change to the way that say transaction fees work onStellar or where they go, it, it's not something that the foundation has.

Control over, right? Mm-hmm. , on, onstellar key network decision, in addition to validating transactions like theactual validators that make up the network, the people that the, the, the, theorganizations that run computers that actually decide, that actually review andappend, create blocks, add blocks, review transactions programmatically, andconfirm them and, and update the ledger, right?

They also have control over networkgovernance. And so there's a whole series of things, that they, they, they, theyvote on, right? So the version of the stellar protocol the minimum requirementsfor base reserves. So like the, the, the minimum requirements basically for,for holding a stellar account.

Transaction fees, the number oftransactions per ledger. These are like all network settings that validatorsactually control through, through programmatic voting. And so any change tolike how things worked, like fees , the foundation couldn't just make mm-hmm. ,right. The, the validators, the people that participate in the network actuallydecide, there's actually a governance model.

And so I think that governance models,this is one of the great things about distributed decentralized technology, isthat there you can build in governance models that keep things honest and thatgive participants the ability to actually weigh in and control outcomes.Mm-hmm. , so I think this is a really good point.

This is a place where there's definitely aclear distinction between the foundation, a participant who helps boost thenetwork and the network itself, where governance is not, where governance isdetermined by the people who actually run validators to participate in thenetwork. Mm.

So, like, any decision about any ofthose key decisions, like we, the foundation, don't make them, the ecosystem asa whole participates to, to decide what to do.

Mike: Mm-hmm. Interesting.I, I,  

I'm curious just to get your quickfeedback on this. So obviously F sbf and the fall of FTX is like, there'smassive.

Collateral damage from that. And thatseemed to be not a technology issue, but a fraudulent related issue to movingmoney around and bank accounts and that sort of thing. Then there's thebridges, which is a technical issue. So like people, bridges getting hacked andthere's technical weak points in the in the, in the open source infrastructure.

Or maybe it's not open source, but the,the technology infrastructure layer. And I think I, I'm trying to think whereare the, where are the weak points in the system and is a founda are thefoundations not stellar specifically, but like, would it be shocking to see inthe next couple years a similar sort of exploit happen in the foundation layer?

Like, cuz to me it seems like thefoundation layer is a point where there's a, a few people who make a bigdecision on the distribution of funds. It's a point where a year, a year ago,if you were to say, well, whoever runs these exchanges, there's a few peoplewho run the exchange and can make the decision about where the money can move.

That's a, that's a point of concern or aa a point where there could be somebody who takes advantage of it and obviouslysomebody did. Do you think foundations have a, again, not stellar specifically,but from your vantage point, do you think there's a, like a, a weak point or apoint of concern where they're, I would love to prevent something like thatfrom happening on the foundation layer, to not have to learn the hard way fromsome foundation abusing the power and that sort of thing.

I'm just curious your reaction to thatidea.

Justin: I think it's reallyimportant that foundations, and actually I think this is generally true for thesort of crypto and blockchain ecosystem. I think transparency is, Incrediblyimportant. Mm-hmm. . And so, for instance, again, we, we, this est the StellarDevelopment Foundation, we we have a a, we publicly display the funds that weare distributing and so anyone can like actually see that we are doing what itis that we say that we intend to do.

And so that level of transparency, whichis something that this sort of open nature of blockchain allows, is somethingthat we, as an industry should expect and lean into. And so I think if you'retrying to evaluate whether someone's an honest actor, a lot of the times Ithink you should be able to look at the transactions.

You should be able to look at therecord, right? And say, are they acting honestly? And so I think that helps tobuild faith. There's a similar like, sort of idea in the stellar ecosystem.Asset issuers that issue stablecoin on Stellar, the general ecosystem standardis that they're expected to publish third party attestations of reserves.

So, U S D C publishes a monthlyattestation of reserve from Grant Thornton. Right. And so this like sort oflevel of expectation, again, it's not at the foundation level, it's at theissuer level. But it's, it's a similar kind of thing. I think transparency,transparency, transparency. That's the way to keep people to, to like sort ofkeep people informed, make sure that people are honest, that organizations acthonestly and honestly, like, I think for us it's really important to do thatbecause we want feedback from the ecosystem.

Like we know, like we are, we are outthere trying to support people and encourage them to build on this underlyinginfrastructure. And in order to do that, it's like crucial that we actuallyknow what they think we should do. Mm-hmm. . Right? And so beyond justtransparency, I think it's also engagement.

So we are transparent. We're engaged. Wehave a ton of interaction with the various people who are actually the builderson our technology. And by doing that, the goal is to like sort of make surethat we're clear that, that we're aligned with the ecosystem as a whole. And Ithink that's like the expectation, right?

Not just for foundations, but fororganizations. If you're working in the, the, in, an open source, openparticipation, public blockchain, you gotta use that, that the public nature ofit to like sort of make sure that you create alignment and that you are heldaccountable for the decisions that you make.

Mm-hmm. .  

Mike: Yeah. There's a realbenefit that you get from that, which is the feedback from the community andthe increase in trust that you get from being transparent. I think that the,that's the antibodies to the, the, like, the tendencies for people to cover itup or like Celsius, like we're transparent.

We're, we're, we're safe as a bank andlike behind the scenes all sorts of shady stuff happens. So I you're, I thinkyou made a really good point about having a, having a third party trustedauditing firm is actually a really useful player in the space because, there'slike, there's a lot of built up trust in the institutional layer.

And that's, while it may not be acomputer represented trust factor, it's highly valuable. I wanna ask you,Justin, about the, the recent investments.

So, the SDF has made some biginvestments over the last few months. Can you tell me what's been most excitingfor you and how the projects have come about?

Justin: Yeah, I mean, I thinkfor me more than investments, the, the world where I work is the, and theproject that I, the projects that I'm working on more than say typicalinvestments are actually sort of developer incentive programs, developer rewardprograms and grants. And as I mentioned, we, we as a founda or based onfeedback from the ecosystem, we started working on a project called sobon,which is a smart contracts platform that will plug into Stellar.

And in October we launched it on a a theFuture net, which is a developer like Sandbox network. And it's slated tolaunch on main net in, the second half of this year. And between now and then,our goal is basically to bootstrap an entire smart contracts ecosystem. And soin order to do that, we announced.

That we have allocated a hundred millionto, to spur. So bond adoption, that is money that will be distributed through aseries of programs over a series of years. And already we've launched the firstthree of those programs. We started Ba ba and they're, they sort of eachtargets a different layer of developer engagement.

So first there's a thing called StellarQuest, which is for learners. It's a gamified intro to Stellar. You can go playit right now and it will sort of show you how to use Sobon and in, you canenter into competition with other developers to sort of show your chops. It'sfun. Great way to learn. Like, sort of after that, there's a thing calledSoonathon.

So Aaon is essentially small awards forcontent creators. So you tinker with Sobo, you experiment, you leave feedback,you write content, you write tutorials, you even raise issues on GitHub. Thishelps us like sort of create the content that, that that onboards newdevelopers and it also helps us to get feedback as we continue to actuallyrefine the so bond platform between now and May net launch.

And then the third one is that Stellarcommunity Fund. It's a fund that's been around for a long time. But this yearwe actually turbocharged it, right? So we mega ultra supersized it. It'srunning every month now. It is giving away a lot more money. Our goal this yearis to try to distribute through that fund 10 million to developers.

It essentially is looking to give away ahigh volume of grants to people that are building that are sort of first tomarket building proofs of concept. On Sobo in order to start to bootstrap theSobo ecosystem and like the outcome that we're looking for, which is ambitious,is by the time we get to main net launch for there to be a sort of minimumviable sobo ecosystem.

All of the things that, that arenecessary to con to grow as smart contracts ecosystem that already exist otherplaces we want them to exist in this ecosystem. And so we're very at, at avery, like, giving away high velocity high volume grants to a lot of differentprojects to bring them in and sort of de-risk the cost of them building in anew ecosystem.

And to help them start to build thosecrucial experiments. And so those three things, stellar for learners, so banonfor tinkerers and content writers and s scf for builders are like the firstthree programs that we've launched as part of the larger Sora bond adoption fund.I'm pretty excited about it because I think no matter who you are, you canengage in one of those programs.

You'll have some structure to start to,work in this new smart contracts ecosystem. You'll start, you'll be able toexperiment with the technology. It's a very welcoming community. It's veryfresh and there's an opportunity here to be like sort of first to market inthis particular ecosystem, building all of the, the DAPs and DeFi protocols,tools and educational resources.

And I think the very cool thing is thatwhen Sorbonne launches, it will connect to classic stellar, right? So thatstory I was telling you before about Stellar has these on and off ramps,including cash in with MoneyGram. Now put DeFi in the middle of that and youcan build these DeFi projects that essentially allow people to access them viacash in.

So there's a very exciting. Inflectionpoint right now where we are able to attract a new sort of strata of developersand where we are moving very quickly to give them the structure and support. totry to, to, to be a part of this new greenfield ecosystem. Hmm.  

Mike: That's awesome.  

I'm curious on the community fund, isthat a fund that is a, like a sub fund of s sdf whereas a portion of thefoundation's money went into this and then that's like, yeah.

What is it exactly? What's the purposeof it?  

Justin: Yeah, if you go lookat the mandate page that I, I, I feel like I keep mentioning it, but if you golook at the, stellar.org/foundation/mandate, you'll see that there are specificbuckets. One of them is called ecosystem support. And ecosystem support is agrant allocation that, it doesn't belong to s sdf, it is earmarked to give outto various grant programs, and there are several that sort of draw from thatbucket.

And s CF is one of them. It's, it's thebiggest one right now. So it is, again, it's, it's a very clearly earmarkedtracked, transparent source of funds that we are sort of giving out in publicto the, to, through this open application grants program. .  

Mike: That's awesome.So,  

so the process, if I'm on thedevelopment side, say I'm me, a few other developers, they're working inblockchain, we're really interested in this, we wanna win the grant.

What is, what is the process? Both, whatare you looking for from the, from the grant perspective, from the fund'sperspective, and then what is a developer? What should a developer know as towhat's happening behind the scenes? It's like, is it you and three other peoplethat review these things once a week and then every month you'll pick the bestone?

Or like, how, what are you looking for?And then what's happening behind the scenes to make the decisions on thegrants?  

Justin: Good question. If youare interested, go to community fund.stellar.org and all the information isthere. I mean, there's just, again, it's very transparent. There's a ton ofinformation about what we're looking for.

There's an applica, there's a submissionform for the grant that will walk you through the exact requirements in orderto submit, ask you very specific questions that will help you submit anapplication that meets those requirements. And there is also like a handbookthat explains the selection process, the approval process, the req, sort of theeligibility requirements, like everything that you need to know as literallywritten out in great detail.

At a high level, like right now, the SCFsupports, offers awards to like any eligible project that's helping to expandthe stellar or so bond ecosystems. Currently we. y is one of the main focusesis to bootstrap this minimum viable, so bond ecosystem. So like the, the, thethings that are necessary for a blockchain ecosystem to actually exist, to beto, so that people can continue to build on it.

The tools, the, the sort of buildingblocks the protocols, the DAPs, the educational resources, all of those are inscope for the for the, for the s scf, the Stellar Commuting fund. And so if youwanna build any of those things, you can go there and find out on, on, on thebackend. The grants are, are quick turnaround, so there's a deadline everymonth.

The review process, once the deadlinecloses, takes about a week, I think. And it involves like basically a, aselection panel of, of people that are drawn from both within the foundation,but also from the broader stellar community. Anyone can join that panel.There's, there is a, it's, it's. You have to sort of be qualified.

It's a verified panel, so it, but the,the requirements for joining are also very transparent and they're, you, youbasically need to have contributed in one way or another to the Stella to, sortof the stellar ecosystem. And so it's, it's a review panel that goes throughthose, and it, it allocates awards based on if they meet the sort of qualqualifications to give out those awards.

And at the moment, again, the goal is,if you imagine that these are grants in, if we're, if I'm saying okay, we'retrying to allocate, we're, our goal is to give away about, $10 million worth ofgrants in this year. And the grant size, the grants are designed to sort of defcover the costs, development costs for say, two to three months, right?

So the grants are on average about, say,a hundred thousand dollars worth of lumens. That's a lot of grants, right?That's, that's a hundred, a hundred grants in a year. So there's a lot ofopportunity for a lot of people. To come and, and, and, and apply for thosegrants. There's, there are a lot of awards to go out and definitely it will bepretty high volume, but again, I think it's things that help grow the stellarand so bond ecosystem specifically, like these sort of minimal requirements fora thriving ecosystem for sobon over the next six months.

And they are there to cover the, thedevelopment costs for two to three months for a team of developers. They're notintended to, to cover operational costs or to be like super long term. It'slike, let's, let's help you get started. Let's de-risk those development costs.Let's, let's get you experimenting.

So I think it's, when you show up, it'svery important that you have a definitive project with a clear scope in mind..  

Mike: Gotcha.Interesting.  

Did you wanna talk about any of theother projects that you've recently funded? Or if not, I'm curious to learn alittle bit more about how the, how projects that have been funded in the pastare going and, and what have been some of the most successful investments thatthe fund has helped create?

Justin: Yeah, I mean the, the,this fund, it's, it's no strings attached, so it's not, it's not an investmentwhere there's, where you give up any equity. Like it is definitely like fundsthat help defray the cost of development. And that's an important point becausewe're not asking. Applicants to give us anything, right.

Other than a well scope proposal. Butbut the this will be the 13th round of the s scf and most of them predated the,the, the plans to launch sore bonds. So many of them were projects that werebuilt on classic stellar. To date, those projects have done things like, we'vehelped support the main block explorer on Stellar a network visualizer thathelps you understand sort of the, the, the network topology SDKs that we don'tmaintain, but that others do have, have gotten kickstarted through scf.

So that's all tools. Then there's likemm-hmm. applications. So lobster, which is, the, probably the, the mostcommonly used stellar wallet. I think Stellar X, which is the exchangeinterface, like the, the grant recipients have built applications. There's alot of sort of like, applications that have been designed to enablecross-border payments or to serve specific users in specific markets have alsolaunched.

And I think I think for this round, I,we are about to announce the first sort of s SCF grants for this year, but Idon't, I don't wanna scoop it, so I can't, I don't think I can talk about anyof the specific projects. Sure. But I think we'll be announcing those quitesoon. And the current round of, of applications submissions is open till March13th.

And so I think, again, the, the, the s ef of the past, the first 11 rounds that happened in, in the years previouswere. . They, they were, they were a bits, they, they didn't happen as quicklyand they were all for sort of classic stellar projects. The current rounds arehap you know, again, it's sort of turbocharged, so it's happening faster and,and it's focused on this so bond ecosystem development.

So I think that what will happen nextwill relate in a lot of ways to like what's happened in the past, but it willbe the new crop will be somewhat different, and yeah. I, I wish I could tellyou more about the projects that are about to win.  

Mike: Can't  

are, are you, are you concerned aboutthe, the issue I brought up earlier with like people submitting projects andgiven that you're gonna make a hundred in a year, that's two a week, that'sbasically one every two and a half business days.

Like are pe like how, like clearlydevelopers have. They could just go around to multiple projects, submitsomething that looks good and then never build anything. A hundred K to a lotof people is, worth their time to make a nice proposal. How do you mitigatethat? Like  

Justin: Yeah, I think thatthat's a really good and difficult question, and I think there's a coupleanswers.

First of all, breakage is normal. Ithink a certain amount of grants that you give away will not have the impactthat you want, and the question really isn't, how do you make them all haveimpact? It's how do you get enough bang for your buck, right? Like, right. If,if a certain percentage of people are just kind of like graspers and they don'tactually build something useful, but you do get useful things out of a program,it might just kind of be the cost of, of doing business.

The ultimate question is what's, are yougetting the outcome that you want? Not, are you preventing like sort of peoplefrom abusing the system? So I'd say for us, that's what we focus on more thananything is like, are we getting high quality projects Through that thencontinue on. To actually create great benefit for the ecosystem.

And I think generally the answer is, isit's worth it. But second, I think that the selection and review process, likeit does involve the community. So people that tend to be successful in gettingthese awards have some sort of credibility, often a history with the community.And so they're not, there is some work that you do to like, sort of build upthat credibility and that does defray some of the, like, people from, fromabusing the system.

Third, in this specific round of s scf,it's, again, it's set up to sort of allow people to, to develop. And when yousubmit, you actually submit some, some deliverables. Here, here are the fivethings that we want to do. And when you get the first award, you actually, youspecify a first deliverable, right?

You say, we're, we wanna build? Andmaybe it's just like a proof of concept, right? We wanna build a proof ofconcept of whatever it is that we're talking about. That's our firstdeliverable. You essentially get 10% of your award. , you complete thatdeliverable, it should take about two weeks. Then you say, we've completed ourde deliverable, and the selection panel actually looks again, says, did theycomplete it?

It's, it's a proof of intent, right? Sohave they proved their intent to actually build by completing a deliverable?And what, this is new, so we don't actually know if this works, but the idea isfor it to be a lightweight gate so that like, it reduces like you actually haveto complete something to, to get the full award.

And so it, but, but it's not superonerous, right? It's not, it's, you basically say, here's what I wanna build.And then you say, I built it. And then, you get the 10% to do that first thing,and you get the, you can sort of re reapply for the remainder once you'veactually completed it and you get it if, and only if like the, the selection panelreviews that deliverable and it is basically like, yeah, you did it.

So I think it's gonna work, but we'llsee.

Mike: Have you ever thoughtabout, like, I was always interested in the, in the business model of 99Designs. Have you ever seen that company? Yeah. It's like, the logo one, like,you basically say like, hey, I'm Justin. I'm starting a barbershop. I want alogo. I want it to be blue and whatever you describe it.

And then it's like a open bid where it'slike a, okay, I'm willing to pay 300, and then designers anywhere could submittheir logos and then whoever you pick wins the prize. And, and so it's likethis, there's like some, some, like the transact the, what would you call it?It's like the, the cost of figuring out the right logo is on the creators.

Mm-hmm. . So they're all about justcreating a lot of logos and trying to really narrow in what you're looking for.And if they win the win the bid, they win the money. And I, and I, it almostseems like, could that work here where it's like, okay, there's a bid, theecosystem is, is looking for like, we want some.

App functionality to do something right?And it's described and like, okay, this is our bid. Whoever can build it, andwhoever gets sufficient community voting to approve that you've met this, thesatisfaction of the, of the proposal gets the money. So instead of like, submitthe proposal, we give you money, you go build, could it be like, this is whatthe community wants whoever multiple people can try to build it.

And then whoever builds it first to thelevel that that is met by the criteria of the project, gets the money it like,as a re it's like a reward instead of a grant. Is that, does that make sense?Have you tried that or thought about that? That does make sense.  

Justin: And it is the kind ofthing that we think about.

Like I think that, that when we arethinking about these like sort of the stellar community fund in, in gen inparticular, but like community fund, community informed funding in general.There's always a question of like, yeah, how do you, how do you make itefficient? How do you get the best participation?

How do you make it so that like, You'reboth encouraging the community to weigh in and using their opinion to like,evaluate and, and distribute awards, as well as how do you make sure that thoseawards are actually effective at, at sort of helping the ecosystems grow. Thoseare all really, really big questions.

And I'll say, I, I like your idea. Andfor me, we, what I've described is the about sort of the functioning of, ofscf. The, the community fund is like how it works right now. But every singletime that we run it, we do iterate and we say, okay, we're gonna try a new, Imean, in conjunction with the community, we say, all right, what, what workedwe just did around, what worked that round?

What didn't? How should we modify theprocess? And we get a lot of feedback and there's a pretty collaborativeenvironment where, where we get a lot of, where, you know, people share ideaslike the one that you just had, right? And we start to. Get feedback on whetherwe should try to implement them. And oftentimes we will try something new for anew round and see what happens.

Right now there is, there's actually abig discussion about how to continue to like, sort of improve the votingmechanisms for S scf and something like what you described, I think is the, isthe kind, that's the kind of discussion that people are having for me, I'd sayright now, like we are so early, especially in the Sorbonne ecosystem that likeI, we, we really want, it's kind of like a more, is more approach, we want aswe are really, really trying to like, capture attention and interest and get alot of people building.

That's true because we want to have alot, like, we don't just wanna have like a sort of like a I'll, I'll say like,, that's true because we wanna have a lot of different we wanna open theopportunity for people to participate and have a lot of different people whoare trying and knowing that some will succeed and some will fail.

And we can't always reason about whowill, like in the beginning, I don't even think the people who are buildingwill know all the time if they're actually gonna succeed or fail. It's alsotrue right now because

there's this notion of you've, you'vegot a new planet to explore and, and a budget to do it. And you can send up onerover, right? One Mars rover. Yeah. And you spend a trillion dollars on therover and it's fully tricked out and you think it can do everything that youwant it to do.

You park that rover, I don't know,there's a crash landing. It ends up on the wrong side of Mars, or it drivesinto a ditch first thing. Or the battery has some unexplained failure and yougot nothing. Right? Or you can basically take the same rocket payload and put amillion tiny little spider robots in it.

drop them off on the face of Mars. Mm.Each one just does one little thing. It runs until it can't run anymore. Thenit throws up a flag, it looks to see if there's oxygen in the soil and itthrows up a flag. And you sort of threw that method fast, cheap, and outtacontrol method. I'm, I'm stealing this from a movie called Fast, cheap, andOutta Control.

Like through that method, right? Youessentially, you're not putting all your eggs in one basket, so to speak. Likeyou are basically saying a lot of peop a lot of small things, a lot of smalleffort sometimes is a better approach to exploring a world than like one bigwell reason Mars are over.

And so I think for now, we need thatthe, we need a million robots, not like a million little spider robots, notlike one super well-defined Mars rover. And that may change. But a lot of theway the community fund is like sort of designed at the moment is to facilitate., that exploration, that experimentation multiples.

Mike: Mm, I like that a lot.I'm also tangentially, I'm a really big fan of sending out, like from a likespace exploration perspective, I'm a really big fan of sending out like 10,000Voyager, which are the small satellites. And sending, just spray those thingsall over and instead of investing 30 years into like the James Web or the Hubbleand then having that be all our eggs are in that, that thing better work.

And it's great that it's up there andit's great that it worked, thank God. But it's like the Hubble almost didn't,and. I just think the idea of explor, like if you kinda look at nature likeplants when they, when they explore new ground, we have these these plants inmy front yard, they're like, they have 50,000 different little tentacles thatgo around and they explore using that and it makes more sense.

You're, the analogy of explore via a tonof small bets. That's how seed funding works. I mean, if you're a seedinvestor, you don't know what's gonna work, what doesn't. So you make a bunchof small bets and the, the more confident you are, the, the later stage fundingyou are by analogy and, and company investing, the more you can invest.

So it does, it does make a lot of sense.I do really like that idea. Flipping it though, like, here's the proposal.Whoever builds it, gets the prize. I, yeah,

Justin: I, I'm, I'm notopposed to that , I'd say, I'd say let's explore it. That's, that's the kind offeedback we want. Yeah. Because that's the other thing, right?

Is that I, I, I think, going back toyour earlier question, like, okay, well what have we learned as a foundation,right? What, what, what would we do differently? I, I think part of it is like,Blockchain as an industry is still young and the, we're still sort of lookingfor the best ways that it can impact the world.

We're still trying to attract talentedminds to actually participate and build cool stuff. The potential's there,right? But there's no, there's still a lot of experimentation to do to figureout like what actually works. And so, yeah, I'm all for like, trying everyidea. I mean, not every idea, trying every idea, every, every decent idea andseeing, seeing what happens.

I, I think I said like earlier, like I,I, I started as, as a musician, right? Like I was, I was in a band, I wrotesongs, and I just like know that when you're, when you're in that world, youget up every day and you try to write a song and then you may succeed. If youwake up and you only try to write hit songs, you'll never write a song andyou'll never write a hit song.

Like you write a hundred songs. One of'em might be a hit. You write, try to write one hit song. You'll maybe writeone song and it probably won't be a hit. And it's just like, you have to sortof like, come up with processes that allow you to that, that, that allow youto, to like sort of fail a lot in order to succeed.

You can't like specifies Yeah, exactly.Like you can't just reason about what success, if you just knew exactly what todo, like life would be so easy and, and, but, but you know, you don't, right?Like, like there's so much of it is like I'm trying to figure out what the nextright. What the, what the right things to do are.

And in a, in an industry like blockchainwhere there's just like not a ton of actual success or failure data, I mean,it's probably true in any industry, but certainly in blockchain where there'snot a ton of success or failure data. I think it's really good to be able tolike run experiments because one of them might be a hit, but it's hard to knowwhich until you try.

Mike: Hmm. Yeah. I love it.I told you I'd get you outta here in an hour and I, I definitely want to, Iwant,  

I'm just so curious to hear yourthoughts on like, a lot has changed in crypto over the last year, mostly like ahuge spike and then kind of depressive, collapse and all sorts of stuff. How doyou view our current condition today?

Do you view it as, Hey, it's just thetechnology itself is great. It, that wasn't the thing that broke. It waspeople, and there's been a lot of like, depression in the prices, but still thetechnology is, is flourishing and we just need to like build it now and thenthere'll be this reemergence of useful technology or, or do you have adifferent perspective on where we are as like a collective of, of builders in,in decentralized technology space?

Justin: Yeah. I think the lastyear has been a setback for the industry and I think it creates a whole newslate of challenges. I think we've lost sort of credibility as an industry.We've lost the faith of the public. We've invited. with good cause. Thescrutiny of, of legislators and regulators. There are a lot of questions and Ibelieve that the underlying technology as is actually something that is, can beused for good, should be used for good, has a lot of potential, but that it's,there's a lot of work to do to like sort of differentiate the good parts anddisambiguate the good parts from the problems.

There's a lot of work to do to educatepeople about why certain aspects, why decentralization, for instance, isimportant and why you, when you sacrifice it for centralization, that is whatoften leads to, to many problems. And also to actually build, like say consumerinterfaces or give consumers, or even businesses, but basically users of, ofany kind of decentralized technology, a user experience that is somewhere hassome sort of parody with like more centralized interfaces.

So I think there's, there's educationsort of. confidence building and f rebuilding faith. And then also like sort ofcreating technologies or like creating interfaces or ways for people to interactwith blockchain that, that are, that have better user experience and like allthose things are necessary and they all involve like thinking and building anddifferentiating.

What is good about blockchain anddistributed ledgers from the, the problems that, that, that sort of arose inthe last year for me. And, and so I think it's a challenge. Like for me, in myrole and at the foundation in general, we have only ever been focused onutility, right? We've always talked about real world use cases.

We've talked about building applicationsthat make sense. We have talked about our mission, right, to increase equitableaccess to the world's financial infrastructure. We have supported and talkedabout and engaged with actual products that have. Purpose for consumers for endusers, for the world. And so I think, for us, we're, we're just like continuingto focus on the things that we've always focused on as an industry.

I think a lot of people are starting tosay to do that as well. And I think by continuing to do that, we can sort ofsolve those problems, better interfaces, restore faith, educate. It's just,it's, it's, I feel like we've lost a little ground. It's gonna take a while toget it back.  

Mike: Yeah. Yeah. I hopeyou're, I hope you're right that it's a little ground. That's my biggest hopeis that it's not a, it's not a setback like the, like the psychedelics in thesixties where it's just like banned for 50 years hoping that the government doesa responsible job in, in maturely regulating the space as opposed to crackingdown on it and viewing it as a threat.

Yeah. It, yeah. So a hundred percentsupportive of what you guys are doing. John, Justin, thanks so much for, forspending your time with me and Yeah. Congrats on all the progress so far. Ihope you guys continue to, to fund great people and great projects.  

Justin: Awesome. Thanks Mike.It was fun.