“Juicebox in the words of” is a series that highlights JB community members in interview form. Learn about members’ roles at JB and what makes them tick.
Mr. Goldstein is a charming JB contributor who has seen it all. Read on to for a cerebral discussion on DAO governance and the future of JB in the eyes of one of its early contributors!
Hey Mr. Goldstein, how’s it going?
It’s been a long week, but good!
I’m super stoked to chat with you, our time at JB didnt overlap terribly much. How’d you get involved in JB?
My JB story starts in June of last year, right after launch. I’d been in crypto for close to 5 years— never full time, though. I was always more of an investor in projects, especially early projects. Over time I started to take a more thesis-driven perspective, and began investing in projects that I thought may show the future of the web3 space.
I got very drawn to DAO tooling before it was cool.
Like a crypto hipster…
Before it was cool, yes. I did research in the space to figure out what people are building. JB was very early on; it was a good product, but also and maybe more importantly a very good vibe. People joke about vibes, but I think vibes are important, especially in projects where the core thesis is selling tooling for communities. If you’re selling to communities, you have to have community yourself.
I mean from an investment POV, DAOs seem horrible: give money to community, no idea what they do, no control over how it’s going to go. What attracted you as someone who knows about investing?
Let’s start meta— if you believed that the internet would follow the exponential growth curve it followed early on, then it would be everywhere, just as it is now. So web3 and DAOs, in my opinion, are the only way, with least amount of friction, to set up a common treasury between participants that are truly global. There’s no other way to set up a treasury between someone from Russia, Argentina, Venuzuela, Israel, and the USA. DAOs are the easiest way to do this, and we both know how much friction you have in crypto, and yet even with all that friction it’s still the best way.
I’m reminded of the Churchill quote, “Democracy is the worst system of government there is, aside from all the other ones.” But that being said, how are DAOs better than just sharing a paypal, or a Venmo wallet?
In short, DAOs allow you to add layers of governance and management that are pre-defined. People setting all this up don’t know each other, don’t trust each other—they’re anons; it’s not friends from street that have a basketball team that they want to set up. If that’s all it is, then sure, a venmo account is fine.
But let’s say gamers on DOTA who want to set up a team and buy gear together, in 6 countries. That’s not just a venmo anymore. Remember, they don’t trust each other or know each other. But imagine it in crypto. You can say I don’t need a DAO, I’ll just set up a multisig. But what if there’s a disagreement? Oh, you need voting? Oh, you need light infrastructure? That’s the basic layer every DAO has, and it immediately solves those issues.
Fascinating, and spot on imo.
I will say something controversial.
I don’t think DAOs scale, or at least not as popular people believe how scaling works in web2. In web2, scalability is IP aggregation. The largest companies scale by aggregating IP and buying companies.
I don’t believe DAOs can scale this way because as we know, even from JB, there’s a layer where it won’t be efficient. Too much overhead. When it’s young and nimble? It’s great, like a series A where everyone knows the goal they’re working toward, with an open layer of communication on default. You can move extremely fast as a young DAO with 10-15 core contributors, and you have open communication, which is a huge advantage.
Above a certain level, though, you have governance issues and friction. Thus I don’t think we should have DAOs above that 15-20 contributor level. But that’s okay. The solution is just to spin up another DAO for new products, and have them in an ecosystem.
I believe we’ll see this happen and take form over the next 2-3 years.
When I think of JB, it seems like it’s happened/is happening. Around JB there is Wagmi/Peel/Canu, floating around in that ecosystem. Is that the kind of scaling you see in the DAO world?
100%. That’s what drove me so much and got me interested in it. It’s the flywheel that starts with the terminal and rebates, where everyone has skin in the game. Even your service provider.
Let’s talk voting systems. In classic western liberal democracy, one person one vote, with anonymous voting, is the gold standard. DAOs, by and large, don’t do this. Yet governance is something we haven’t figured out for 3500 years, is it even fair to criticize DAOs for trying something new?
I think it’s ever-evolving. You put it very well— nobody has figured governance out. It’s always been one-person one vote, but keep in mind there’s a regulatory body that accepts people and gives them the privilege to have a vote. Whereas in crypto, I can buy JBX tokens. What’s better? When the buying is not restricted to people, you can try to put safeguards in place, but someone can always come along and amass tokens with a bot farm and try to influence your governance model. It’s playing whack-a-mole. I don’t know which whack-a-mole will win, or what’s even better at this point, but I know we’ll have to work on it and I’m a happy investor in new innovative structures because of the the token model. I think it gives a lot of promise to these governance questions.
Agreed. Regarding JB, What was your role as contributor? How’d it wind down?
My area of interest is two-fold. I believe in the token, and that the token powers the ecosystem. It’s really a mindbowing thing that something like a token can power so many things— like voting, transaction settlement layer, currency— the fact you can have that blows my mind every single day. I got so fascinated by the tokenomics jango created with the boding curve, discount rate, reserve rate, etc., and I tried to play with it and tool it up. I tried to model it out, to see how the variables move and interact. Secondly I tried to help with the treasury in an external adviser capacity, to push the treasuries and suggest to the community what I thought should be done. In some cases the community agreed, in others it didn’t.
I sounds like you have a strong finance and econ background. What is your background?
Finance and econ, yes. And operational efficiency. By day I’m an executive in a large web2 company startup, so I know finance extremely well as well as econ and econ models. Being around crypto for a while I’ve seen thousands of tokens at this point and have looked deeply into them.
What caused you to take a step back from your JB role?
My time is just scarce. I try to balance family with my primary occupation and with JB, which I love, but when I saw it took too much time with my family I had to take a little break. And I wanted to be fair with the community that I just could not allocate the same hours to JB as I was before, and I wanted to be up front about that. This is especially true if I’m extracting value, which I was. I want to be fair and keep my end of the bargain, and if I can’t, I want to take a step back; it’s just a matter of personal integrity.
People are so open to stepping back, it surprised me when I first arrived… Such a unique community where people are so open.
Definitely. If the DAO space has merit, JB will be a top three project, because of what you’re describing, because jango managed to build a vibe and team and culture or ecosystem, of people being able to go in and out, be honest, and receive feedback and accept it— and that’s extremely rare. The fact that I’m not an anomaly is wonderful, it makes me even more bullish about JB.
How do you see your role with JB today?
I’m still focused on the same areas, and I try to stay up to date about what’s going on. In some cases I will feel like having a stronger voice, and in some other cases you don’t always need to be in front and center. But I’m still a JBer at heart and around the discord.
Quickly— mass adoption of DAOs and crypto. What’s keeping it from happening in your view?
The workforce needs to mature. We need a workforce that’s crypto native, grew up with on-chain assets, digital assets, and so on. Letting that younger generation mature into a workforce is when we will see that mass adoption. That happened for the internet, for mobile phones, so why are expecting anything different for crypto?
Who’s your favorite contributor, and why is it filipv?
I will say that my favorite contributor is in fact filipv! I got to know him in NYC much better in person, and he’s very thoughtful and quick to learn a lot of things. I appreciate his ability to push back in a highly emotionally sensitive but thoughtful way, while not being combative. His EQ is through the roof. I respect the shit out of him that he found this place and made himself so invaluable. It’s not easy to find a good signal from all the noise in crypto, and to do that and find the right place, not just any place, but the right place like JB, is impressive. Which is honestly more than I could do at his age, so shit man, he’s awesome.
For sure, filipv is a sweetheart, and a powerhouse. What’s something that would surprise people to learn about you?
Hmm… I hold three passports!
Do you want to reveal what they are, along with passport numbers/SSI?
No. I can say they’re from three different countries that are very distinct, and that don’t always like each other.
I’m so intrigued, but we’ll have to leave it at that. Thank you Mr. Goldstein!