July 20, 2022

High Stakes Protocol Development with Wil Barnes

High Stakes Protocol Development with Wil Barnes

Wil Barnes, CEO, and Co-founder of Jet Protocol, discusses Jet, Solana, Ethereum, Maker DAO, the dynamics of debt markets, and much more.


Today’s guest is Wil Barnes, CEO, and Co-founder of Jet Protocol. Jet is a borrowing and lending protocol built on the Solana blockchain focused on innovative lending products and cross-chain interest rate arbitrage. Most of the widely used DeFi protocols used up until this point have been built on top of and supported by the Ethereum ecosystem. Jet is ready to take borrowing and lending to the next level using Solana’s bleeding edge tech, low transaction costs, speed, and scalability. Users can also look forward to Jet's innovative interest-bearing products, which will be used to create markets on Serum DEX. The goal of Jet is to build a borrowing and lending protocol with market-driven interest rates, instead of the utilization curve-based interest rate models currently seen on Ethereum and Solana. Solana’s low fees and high throughput network gives Jet an opportunity to create an interest rate market-making experience that not only matches, but improves upon the centralized experience that everyone is familiar with. Wil is a Blockchain developer, Distributed systems software engineer with years of blockchain and software development experience before Jet at MakerDAO, ConsenSys, Kauri, PwC, and Booz Allen Hamilton; Wil brings immense engineering management and financial expertise to his broader team at Jet. Wil’s interests include open finance & geopolitics. We discuss various topics, including Jet, Solana, Ethereum, Maker DAO, the dynamics of debt markets, and much more. We begin our conversation by discussing Wil’s background and how he fell down the crypto rabbit hole. Wil shares how it is tough to break into traditional finance, especially when you want to work in the debt markets. He explains without a degree from a prestigious university or having a preexisting relationship; it is virtually impossible to get a job in traditional debt capital markets. He goes on to discuss how this is antithetical to crypto’s ethos and how in crypto, he was able to get various opportunities through hard work and merit. We transition and focus our discussion on his time at ConsenSys and Maker. Wil explains how Maker works and how it evolved over time. We discuss the DIA peg mechanism and address the various misconceptions about DAI. Another major conversation topic was bear markets. We discuss how to survive a bear market and how bear markets are for builders. We discussed his journey from working on Ethereum to eventually launching a project on Solana. We discuss the challenges he felt prevented him from building what he envisioned on Ethereum and why Solana was the ideal place to build Jet. We discuss the path to decentralization and the issues blockchains face when scaling. Our final discussion topic centered around Jet. Wil explains the importance of fixed interest rates for debt markets. We touch on the perils of CeFi. We discuss Jet’s mission and the future of DeFi. Please enjoy my conversation with Wil Barnes.

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