Dr. Andy Boyan is a writer and researcher at Chainlink Labs. He also hosts the illuminating and entertaining Chainlink Live series featuring influential teams and leaders across a variety of industries in the Chainlink ecosystem. Chainlink Today caught up with Dr. Boyan for a quick Q&A in anticipation of SmartCon #1 and the new Chainlinked Podcast.
CT: Hi, Dr. Boyan! Let’s introduce you to our readers. Tell us about yourself and your role at Chainlink Labs.
AB: Call me Andy! I’m a former communication professor, where I was a social scientist studying how new digital media impact people and societies. I used to research video games and I’m still a gamer when I can be. Once I got tenure, I decided to look into crypto to see what it was about and my curiosity led me down an amazing path. After some time in fintech and across the crypto industry I began writing for Chainlink Labs and I’ve been taking on more digital content like YouTube events. I recently launched the Chainlinked Podcast as a way to help distill a lot of the information about Chainlink into an audio format.
CT: What was the inspiration for Chainlink Live? What were some of the most memorable guests you’ve interviewed?
AB: Chainlink Live is a way to feature projects that integrate Chainlink oracles and get to know their goals and communities. It’s as simple as that, and it’s incredibly fun.
Most memorable? Alex Newman from Human Protocol was a super-engaging, killer conversation about the industry. Phil Devine from CryptoBlades was also eye-opening; they have a very real and active community that turned into one of the most fun sessions and turned me into a player. And Sid Jha from Arbol is just so amazingly smart and focused; the dClimate AMA we did gave me more insight into the future of the Chainlink Network than most other resources. I think there are some meta-level concepts dClimate is doing that are going to be very impactful.
CT: Now you’re launching the Chainlinked Podcast. What can listeners expect to hear in each episode? And when is the perfect time to tune in – morning commute? coffee time? afternoon jog?
AB: The idea is to offer deeper content than you usually read in a tweet, but not as technical as some of the deep dives in Chainlink’s announcements, forums, and posts. Some people just like to listen to information instead of reading it, so having a conversation about Chainlink gives people that option.
In my ideal world, someone can listen to a conversation about an integration on Chainlinked, and then incorporate those points as they head out and talk to people on their own about Chainlink.
We’re initially aiming to release new episodes on Fridays and I’d say the perfect time to listen is a few hours before you’re going to spend time with people you might want to talk about Chainlink or crypto with. “I heard about this blockchain called Avalanche that recently integrated Chainlink…” That would be cool.
CT: You meet someone who is totally new to blockchain/cryptocurrency/DeFi/hybrid smart contracts: What resources do you point them toward to help them learn more about the space without making their head spin?
AB: By now most people generally understand the idea of blockchain and crypto, so you can get right into showing them some utility like MetaMask, Aave, a DEX, etc. But after that, my favorite resources are Andreas Antanopolous’ video series on YouTube and DeFi Dad, who has some great starting point videos for DeFi. I do recommend giving people a warning before sending people to YouTube on their own though. It’s easy for new people to get lost in clickbait and scams.
Next, I would say Chainlink Co-founder Sergey Nazarov’s talks are required viewing. There’s a good highlights playlist on the Chainlink YouTube that gives people quicker snippet-sized Sergey tidbits. There’s a ton of high value information and rationale in those clips.
CT: What current, new or future use cases for hybrid smart contracts are you most excited about? Beyond DeFi, insurance and gaming, what industries do you think will be most revolutionized by hybrid smart contracts?
AB: Authorship and ownership credit for research and data. Once off-chain systems like academic journals, academic tenure and promotion systems, and open science datasets are used in combination with patents and updating real-time models for complex adaptive systems modeling (think climate, genomics, macroeconomics), we’ll need smart contracts as a common settlement layer to incentivize and verify who gets credit for what innovations. Together, we’ll see more sophisticated modeling and better and faster outcomes for complex scientific research.
Also, athletes owning their own data and the fantasy sports industry will change the way we think about public goods completely. NFTs are just in the beginning phases of redefining intellectual property (IP) and associated revenue streams.
CT: Besides Chainlinked, what are some of your favorite DeFi/crypto/blockchain-themed podcasts?
The Bitcoin Podcast – The hosts and the community there got me started in crypto. They have a thriving group of diverse people from all over crypto and other industries, a very high signal-to-noise ratio, and a lot of genuine fun. I am in their chat every day.
The Breakdown, With NLW – He’s been around for ages and he knows his audience well. Great delivery and production, as well.
Bankless – They captured the DeFi spirit early on and have good conversations.
ChainLinkGod Podcast – Chainlinked is meant to be pocket-sized digestible bits. The ChainLinkGod Podcast is meant to be a 7-course meal of Chainlink goodness.
Hashing It Out – This pod is a little older, but it has a ton of great, deep thinking and discussion about the how and why of the technical aspects of blockchain systems. The Avalanche episode is a must-listen, imho.
CT: What are you looking forward to at SmartCon #1? Can we expect special coverage from Chainlinked?
AB: The first SmartCon (SmartCon #0) was an intense couple of days of nonstop electric energy from the passionate Chainlink community and ecosystem about Chainlink’s role in the DeFi and crypto ecosystem. Since then, there have been a huge number of additional Chainlink integrations, with more projects live and natively integrated, securing exponentially more value compared to last year. So I’m looking forward to feeling even more of that energy this year and seeing what people are building and how it’s changing the world.
Talks I’m particularly excited for: Ed Felten, Balaji S. Srinivasan, Aaron Wright, Stani Kulechov, Richard Brown, Kain Warwick, Robert Leshner, Jasper Degens, David Post and basically the rest of the speaker list. Of course, anytime Ari Juels or Ben Chan speak, it’s always illuminating.
I’m definitely planning special SmartCon coverage. I find that my most compelling thoughts from a conference happen the day after a talk, so I think it would be great to give voices in the space an opportunity to think and respond to interesting concepts or announcements that come out of SmartCon on Chainlinked.
I think having many media types and outlets covering Chainlink and DeFi in different ways is an important and fun part of growing Chainlink. The community support for Chainlinked has been great already, so when Ep 01 comes out next week (fingers crossed!) make sure to listen, rate, review, subscribe, and follow me (Andy Boyan) and Chainlink Today on Twitter for all the latest updates.