June 9, 2022

Enabling Endogenous Trust with Eric Tung

Enabling Endogenous Trust with Eric Tung

Eric Tung, Founder and CEO of Themelio Labs, discusses the internet protocol stack, rethinking blockchain, the importance of endogenous trust, paradigm shifts, and much more.


Today, my guest is Eric Tung, Founder and CEO of Themelio Labs, the company behind Themelio, a public blockchain that enables open, secure, and resilient decentralized apps. Themelio is pitched as a radically simple, stable, and long-term foundation that can power a vast and diverse ecosystem. Themelio plans to play a fundamental and ubiquitous role in the security infrastructure of a new and decentralized Internet, much like how IP, “immutable” since 1983, still underpins Internet communication. Themelio’s design is firmly centered around decoupling the blockchain from user-facing applications. Themelio does one thing — provide robust low-level functionality critical to secure decentralized apps — and strives to do it very well. An example is Mel, an independent, stable-value cryptocurrency that anyone can freely use. Inspired by previous blockchains like Bitcoin and Ethereum, Themelio nonetheless takes a very different design approach: radical immutability inspired by the Internet's architecture. Eric spent parts of his childhood in Canada and China, where he was born. His mother home-schooled him while they lived in Beijing to keep the Chinese Communist Party propaganda to a minimum. Yet as China ramped up its Great Firewall to block outside Internet from coming into the country, Eric rebelled and built Geph, a virtual private network that could get around the Chinese firewall. He did this when he was 12, and Geph is still used today in China and Iran. At 14, Tung was accepted into the University of Waterloo, where Ethereum inventor Vitalik Buterin was also a student and creator of Themelio. This new blockchain protocol strips out higher-level functionality to focus on the shared trusted layer of truth. We discuss various topics, including the internet protocol stack, rethinking blockchain, the importance of endogenous trust, paradigm shifts, and much more. We begin our conversation by discussing Eric’s background and what led him down the crypto rabbit hole. Eric explains how he started Geph and became interested in cryptography. We discuss why freedom tools and privacy-preserving protocols may be even more critical in the future. Our conversation transitions to discussing how the internet is structured and the various protocols that make up the internet. We pivot to discuss Themelio. We discuss how Eric and his team have reimagined how a blockchain should work by modeling it after the internet. We discuss how they created revolutionary non-fiat stablecoin. We also touch on how the killer feature of blockchains has always been endogenous trust and why that is important. We finish our conversation by discussing how to unlock the true potential of blockchain technology and what applications will drive mass adoption of blockchain technology. Please enjoy my conversation with Eric Tung.

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