DAO Reflections and Slock.it with Christoph Jentzsch

The DAO was a system of smart contracts on the Ethereum blockchain that investors put millions of dollars into. Back in May 2016, it was the largest crowdfunding event in history, and we discussed it in detail in a previous episode with Matt Leising. The DAO was hacked due to a security vulnerability, and this event led to a hard fork of Ethereum.

The DAO was organized by a company called Slock.it. Slock.it’s original goal was to allow people to connect devices to the Ethereum blockchain. If you could connect smart locks, cars, and electricity systems to the blockchain, it could create decentralized systems for sharing these devices. To raise money, Slock.it created the DAO. Although the initial scope of the DAO was to raise money for Slock.it, over time it expanded in scope to become a decentralized system for venture capital.

When the DAO was hacked, the events that followed shook the Ethereum community. The hard fork lowered the financial damage inflicted on the investors–but there was still outrage within the community. How was it possible for an open source crowdfunding project to launch with a security vulnerability? As the Ethereum world looked for someone to blame, they turned to Slock.it.

Thus began a very difficult period in the life of Christoph Jentzsch. Christoph is the CEO of Slock.it, and he has been involved in the Ethereum community since the early days. When people think of Slock.it, they might imagine a group of people that move fast and break things. But in fact, Christoph’s early work on Ethereum was around rigorous unit testing of different Ethereum clients. He was obsessed with testing, and consistency between the different Ethereum interfaces.

In today’s episode, Christoph and I talk about his early experiences with Ethereum, his reflections on the events of the DAO, and the direction that Slock.it is going today. Since the events of the DAO, the company has refocused its efforts on the original mission–to connect devices to the Ethereum blockchain.

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