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While still experimental, DeFi has matured enormously since I first wrote about it in June 2019. As DeFi protocols roll out v2s and v3s, I took a fresh look at the industry and how it is evolving. After many years in finance, I’ve realized most of what moves markets comes down to four financial primitives: liquidity, leverage, risk, and arbitrage. This article outlines the evolution of DeFi through the lens of each.

This article outlines financial primitives, or the core building blocks of financial markets, which are distinct from software or cryptographic primitives. …


Frontier tech, deeptech, hard tech, emerging tech. All of these terms attempt to describe technologies that are enabled by novel technical or scientific breakthroughs. Sometimes, these technologies are so consequential that they gain general purpose technology status — a category which includes the steam power engine, the printing press, electricity, the automobile, the computer, the Internet, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, and synthetic biology. Others are less consequential, or play an enabling role, but still have the power to shape society. Whatever terminology you prefer, the development of these technologies is increasingly vital as we face problems that require solutions well beyond…


Shira has an extensive background in turning entrenched ideologies and systems on their heads, especially in the complex landscapes of international politics. Previously Deputy Director for J Street, she partnered with the Obama Administration to transform the way the U.S. government engages in the Middle East, as well as to clear a pathway for the Iran nuclear deal. Shira has also consulted for companies seeking to repurpose military drone technology for public-good causes such as combating elephant poaching and revitalizing First-Nation economies. Most recently, Shira founded Maiden, a global user research lab for emerging economic technologies, out of a belief…


Bette Chen is co-founder of Laminar & Acala. Acala is the cross-chain decentralized financial hub and stablecoin platform of Polkadot that makes it fast and easy to use or build financial applications, improving trading efficiency and saving time. The platform offers a suite of financial primitives while Ethereum compatibility makes Acala the landing pad for Ethereum DApps to access Polkadot’s multichain ecosystem and aggregated cross-chain liquidity.

*For those unfamiliar with crypto, this glossary may be useful.

I’m sure we could talk about crypto for hours but let’s start with the story of what initially sparked your interest?

I got into crypto out of personal passion. I heard about Bitcoin a very long time ago, but I didn’t quite understand it because…


Rita Gurevich is the CEO and founder of SPHERE, a venture-backed industry leader in security assessments and remediation services. Rita founded SPHERE after gaining a massive amount of relevant experience during the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy, where she was placed on a SWAT team that had to desegregate all their IT assets based on analyzing what technology under the Lehman umbrella should belong to which buying entity. Gaining knowledge almost overnight on how to analyze all the different platforms and systems in scope, along with the enhanced regulatory environment that began to dominate the financial industry, Rita knew that whether the…


The past 12 months set into motion a very bizarre combination of events which will be discussed for years to come. These events also set the stage for crypto’s real world value to be simultaneously demonstrated across all major narratives. Narratives (or memes) are critical to the adoption of new technologies as they explain not only what to do with a new technology but why.

“Buy bitcoin to hedge against inflation,…, but also to tell your government to f*ck off. Buy ethereum to secure the fledging decentralized financial system, …., but also to tell your bank to f*ck off.” …


Camille is currently the Chief Marketing Officer of WireWheel, a venture-backed startup that modernizes and simplifies how enterprises protect and manage the privacy of personal data. She has been CEO of OmniSparx and Choozy, and a senior marketing lead or strategic advisor for companies including TeamSnap, Eventbrite, iMedical, Mixbook, Fandor, Mozilla, Chic by Choice, Liquid, PETsys, and Pitchtime. She co-managed the San Francisco and West coast presence supporting the startups connected with Portugal Ventures and is the founder of Steal this Idea, which provides multiple forms of support for early stage teams in for-profit and not-for-profit fields.

What initially sparked your interest in marketing?

My interest in…


The pandemic has catapulted most aspects of our lives online, redefining the way we think about almost everything. We find ourselves in a world in which more enterprises are migrating to cloud infrastructures and SaaS applications, more of the workforce is mobile and distributed, and more of our identity and interactions are captured digitally. This transformation has been dramatically accelerated and enterprises are increasingly reliant on third-party solutions to help them make this rapid shift. In this new world, we must also redefine the way we think about cybersecurity.

As enterprises shift more workloads to the cloud (expected to grow…


December 2020

Stephanie started her tech career in software, as an early employee at NYC-based infrastructure monitoring company Datadog. She has been a product manager in robotics/manufacturing automation as well as led growth in the ML devtool space, and now serves as GM at a stealth startup. She enjoys organizing communities of founders, executives, ML engineers/data engineers/data scientists at some of the world’s leading deeptech companies, and also advises and invests in applied AI/ML companies.

What do you view as the main challenges to continued progress in AI/ML?

The biggest challenges I see can be loosely classified as technical and organizational. Technically speaking, there is a lack of education and experience around successfully deploying models…


Data science teams are doubling every year and each year there are 2x-5x more models delivered into products and businesses,¹ but Gartner predicts that 85% of AI projects will fail to generate value for enterprises. This is partly due to a machine learning (ML) pipeline that is surprisingly manual, a disconnection between the data scientists building models and the ML engineers deploying them, and a lack of basic tooling for this developing workflow. The emerging ML OPs (machine learning operations) ecosystem aims to facilitate better collaboration between data scientists and ML engineers and to create a more automated pipeline with…

Justine Humenansky, CFA

Professional Ballet -> Banking -> Emerging Tech. The improbable @ Playground Global.

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