It's been a few months since I've posted a work update and today I have an update to share: I'm joining Paradigm for the next six months as an Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR). Paradigm is a crypto-focused venture investment firm cofounded by Fred Ehrsam and Matt Huang.
In this post, I want to share a little bit about the path I took and what I'm planning on working on during my time here.
To understand what I'll be doing, it helps to first have some context on what I was doing before.
In 2018, I joined Coinbase and quickly focused on asset addition. This included everything from founding the new cryptoassets team, launching asset integrations, scaling the team from 2 to 60 people, and working on tools that accelerate productivity in the cryptoeconomy. Now, Coinbase is a leader in asset addition and can routinely add a new asset with less than a day of engineering time. There’s always more to be done and I highly suggest you apply if you're interested.
So, why leave? Deep down I knew I wanted to go back to building something from scratch. Leaving was still a hard decision because I really enjoyed working there. But it was time to build something new.
That something new was to build a fixed-rate borrowing protocol on Ethereum. Predictable cost of capital is important and I'm a big believer in the need for fixed rate instruments. After all, imagine where the US housing market would be if there was no such thing as a 30 year fixed. Fixed rate borrowing in crypto is important, but how do you build it?
Fortunately, Allan Niemerg and Dan Robinson collaborated on a whitepaper that explains exactly how to construct fixed rate instruments. They fast-followed and published a second paper where they explain how to build an automated market maker (AMM) that supports assets that incorporate a time to maturity.
So I got to work.
Starting something new tonight. First 1k LOC down.— Omar Bohsali (@omarish) October 10, 2020
While I was at @priceonomics, @rohindhar used to always say the trick was to just push flywheel until things started working. That stuck with me and here’s a nice one-liner to make sure of it. pic.twitter.com/TTpldtcBLs
A week or so after I started, Dan Romero messaged me with a link:
As it turned out, Allan (one of the authors of the Yield whitepaper) had been building a protocol based on the designs and concepts in the papers. He had already recruited a team and was being incubated by Paradigm, where Dan Robinson, the other co-author of the paper, works.
Towards the end of the build phase, I got stuck at a specific esoteric ethereum math problem related to the automated market maker. Seeking advice, I reached out to a couple of my finance friends, and also joined the Yield discord channel and pinged Allan and Dan. What happened next surprised me: they were very responsive, open, and very generous with their time. We spoke through the AMM design considerations, and I figured I had found my solution.
That wasn't the end of my surprise. They also suggested I use the YieldSpace implementation to solve my AMM problem (it did). It was already security-reviewed and running on mainnet. Allan, Dan, and I started hopping on hangout calls where we'd talk through the specifics of our platforms.
Their long term view was refreshing.
Without a doubt, fixed rate borrowing on ethereum is important. To me, it was a means toward the end of building something great for people, and pushing the cryptoeconomy forward. Yield had already built what I was thinking of, and I was impressed with their clear thinking, drive, and willingness to collaborate.
So, what to do?
Along the way I had gotten to know some of the folks over at Yield and Paradigm. I'm a big believer in the potential and potency of small, motivated teams, and everybody I met at both Yield and Paradigm seemed to be exactly that. Everybody I met was curious, driven, and seemed like people who got stuff done.
During one of my conversations with Fred Ehrsam, we discussed the idea: what if I were to join Paradigm for a few months and hack on projects as I figure out what to build next?
And that's how I ended up as Paradigm’s first EIR.
So, what will I be doing for the next 6 months?
Building things, contributing to open source projects, and figuring out what I'm going to do next. I'm still figuring out specifically what it is and have some ideas that I'm working on actively. I realized I have a long backlog of projects in various states, and it's time to release and share them with the world.
If you want updates as I make things, you can follow me on Twitter, and also sign up for this email list where I plan on sharing updates on what I'm working on.