David Hoffman is the co-founder of Bankless, one of the most popular crypto podcasts & newsletters in the world, and BanklessDAO, a decentralized community that promotes bankless media, culture, and education.
The idea to launch bankless grew out of the infamous 2018 crypto winter, and it actually wasn’t David’s first podcast. Before launching Bankless, David and his previous partner regularly published the popular POV Crypto podcast, where most of the discussion and debates were focused around Bitcoin vs. Ethereum.
On a personal note, Bankless played a big role in inspiring me to build CryptoStaker in hope of helping to bring crypto staking education and tools to the mainstream.
That’s why I’m super excited to be sitting down with David to talk about his work on Bankless alongside Co-Founder Ryan Adams, his thoughts on the future of Ethereum, and of course – ETH staking.
Enjoy, and as always – if you like our work, please consider following us on Twitter or subscribing to our newsletter to get more interviews with the most interesting people in crypto.
David, before we talk about Bankless and really start picking your brain about Ethereum, can you tell us a little bit about yourself? What gets you out of bed in the morning?
David: “Stories. And I think that’s true for everyone, too. Stories are what gets us all out of bed. We all have particular motivations in our lives, and we tell ourselves a narrative about what we’re all to do here on this Earth. We’ve all discovered a story that we vibe with, that gets us out of the bed in the morning.
I get out of bed to tell stories. Every single Bankless podcast is a story, i write my articles with beginning, middle, ends. Everything is a story at the end of the day, and I want to tell as many good ones as possible.”
What’s your crypto “Hero Journey?”
David: “I knew the name Bitcoin, as we all did, but without any deep understanding about what it was.
2017 happened and I learned I could mine ETH with my computer for $5 a day. I scaled that operation up to 27 gpus earning me like $500/month, which was super good money for me at the time.
Next step was to learn about the Ethereum thing that I’m mining, and that’s the journey i’m still on to this day.
February 2018: Got a job at an ICO advisory firm. That company blew up in August
2019: Got a job at a security token advisory firm. That company blew up later that year.
2020: Worked for a tokenized real estate company. That company still exists.
February 2020: Started the Bankless podcast with Ryan
September: 2020: Founded Bankless LLC
And since then, I’ve help produce 300-400 podcasts and ~50 articles in that time, all about crypto, Ethereum, DeFi, decentralization, money legos, and of course $ETH.”
How does your current work in the crypto space look like? Can you give us a sneak peak into your day-to-day?
David: “A large part of my time is putting together podcast agendas, or recording a podcasts. There’s a lot of backend stuff that comes with this too; mostly scheduling. But we’re getting good at that.
I also do a lot of writing: I write a 5-10 min piece usually every Monday, and then much longer form articles every 6 weeks or so. There’s a bit of a tug of war in Bankless about how I need to produce shorter article but I can never seem to actually be able to do that heh.
I have a 2nd monitor which I’ve spun vertically and it’s my discord/telegram/twitter monitor. Aka my social window into the metaverse. Most of the time it’s the Bankless LLC discord channel, I also frequent the Bankless DAO discord, MFers discord, rocketpool, the boys club, and lately the cult DAO discord.
The day calms down around 3:00pm and then I try to run to the gym to get some sunlight squats in. I usually come back and do some self-motivated work (articles, Layer Zero podcasts, ways to express creativity etc), since this is when discord tends to quiet down.
I live in Little Italy, San Diego which is a restaurant central. I have my local favs that I go to for dinner (which is usually my first and only meal of the day).
But I also travel frequently. 30-40% of my time I’m elsewhere, so all bets are off then. Either ski trips or crypto conferences.”
You’re putting in a ton of work into producing Bankless. After 350+ episodes, what keeps you going? Where is the drive coming from?
David: “I kinda consider myself retired to be honest.
I work like 60-70 hours a week (Pretty sure Ryan does even more) but it doesn’t feel like work (some of it does but whatever). I’ve found my way to vibe on the internet with my internet friends. I tell them good stories and they gather around and listen. I’m just having a good time.
After grinding like this since 2018, it’s become easier and easier to positively influence the entire industry with what I feel is important and valuable not just for us as a community but for the world at large. The fact that people are interested in hearing these stories is such an honor and a privilege, so I’m having a fun time vibing in that ability.”
What are some of your achievements with Bankless that you’re most proud of?
David: “Changing the narratives around Ethereum.
For newcomers, it might seem crazy now but for a while, Ethereum was at risk of dying. In 2018-2020, there was no money, no funding, no resources. For a while, it was pretty dark. There were some hardcore believers that we’re doing our best to keep the campfire alive, but we lost a lot of good people along the way.
ETH wasn’t money. DeFi wasn’t a thing. No one had any good use cases on Ethereum, except for a few gems.
But Bankless, with much help from others in the ecosystem like Anthony Sassano, Eric Conner, and countless more, started getting really loud about what a lot of people were missing about ETH and Ethereum.
The Triple Point Asset came out of Bankless in 2019. Ryan put his foot down and made the “ETH is Money” meme. ETH the Internet Bond came in 2020. Ultra Sound Money came in 2020.
I think there’s a change that the content that Bankless has produced around ETH and Ethereum has perhaps added a hundred billion dollars to the Ethereum market cap. And if not that much, then it will soon.
When NGU, Donations to Gitcoin went up, funding more things and more projects. ETH having a high market cap funded more open source development and was able to actually compensate core devs for their commitments to decentralization and open source values.”
Bankless has had a ton of interesting guests and fantastic episodes, but I’m gonna make this difficult on you – name your 5 favorite ones, in no particular order.
What is a little known fact about you that your listeners/readers don’t know about?
David: “My mom, sister, and brother-in-law all bought a house together. My mom lived in the basement while her separate unit was being constructed in the backyard. That’s finished now, so it’s Mom in the back, sister & husband (& now nephew!) in the front.
The house next to them went on sale in the middle of 2021. I put a chad cash offer on it and now it’s my house.
It’s too early in my life to live next to my mother, so I moved to San Diego and now there’s an Afghan refugee family staying there instead.
I haven’t talked about it publicly cause it kinda feels like virtue signaling, but also I kind of think I should flex that more? We have to remind ourselves how much of a bubble crypto is in, and that there’s a lot of suffering out there in the world and we should be using the money we’re making to help people who can’t even afford to even think about crypto in the first place.”
Since this is CryptoStaker, let’s talk about ETH Staking. Were you a believer from Day 1? The community was very skeptical about the Beacon Chain
David: “I’ve never had a single doubt about the full and uncompromising achievement of every aspect of the Ethereum vision.
That would be betting against humanity and human ingenuity. Humans can solve problems, and Ethereum has nerd-sniped the worlds best problem solvers.”
How do you imagine the staking space will look like 5 years from now?
David: “The financialization of ETH staking is going to be insane. Projects like Lido and Rocketpool are just the beginning. The TAM (Total Available Market is the total market demand for a product or service) of the staking market is ludicrous, especially with something like a $5T network that Ethereum is going to become this decade.
Projects like Obol network are going to open up so much optionality with PoS services, and everything is just going to add to embedding ETH as the native risk free rate to the internet.”
(Editor’s Note: Financialization is a process whereby financial markets, financial institutions, and financial elites gain greater influence over economic policy and economic outcomes. Financialization transforms the functioning of economic systems at both the macro and micro levels.)
Besides Ethereum – what other chains / L1 projects, in your opinion, are innovating or building interesting tech?
David: “My philosophy on the long term conclusion of crypto is that the crypto-network that operates like an empire is the one that wins.
So my attention is mostly on the L2 ecosystem, and watching it extend its tentacles further and further out to the frontier.
I think Optimism by far has the most interesting tech behind their rollup, because of how replicable its going to make DeFi. Optimism’s EVM equivalence is going to allow Ethereum to spread roots into parts of the world we could have never reached before.
I’ve recently started participating in Cult DAO and think it’s super interesting and highly experimental. We’ll see if they can pull it off.”
How is it like working with Ryan? Can you share an interesting/funny story that comes to mind?
David: “Him and I once got into a 60 minute debate about whether ETH price going up increases gas costs (in USD terms) or not (I thought yes, he thought no). Completely unplanned 60 minute debate, and after we we’re done (we didn’t come to consensus), we said “damn we should have been recording that”. And that’s how the debriefs started.
We’ve never fought once about anything, I don’t think. We’re alike in so many ways, but also definitely different enough in many respects that allows for each one to optimize for their best side of Bankless.”
You get to display a huge billboard and everyone in the world sees it, what do you write?
David: “Read Meditations on Moloch”
Best short advice for people who want to start producing content in the crypto space?
David: “A joke I’ve said like 50 times now
The only 3 things we know for certain that works about Crypto:
- Non-sovereign SoV monies
Content is extremely viable in Crypto. Crypto culture is so strong and we are all looking for content and entertainment about it.”
What’s the first thing you check when you wake up in the morning?
David: “Do you want me to say ETH price? Because I’ll say ETH price.”
Best crypto podcast other than Bankless?
David: “Zero Knowledge, hosted by the fabulous Anna Rose. Hands down.
Uncommon Core also fantastic.”
Who’s someone you look up to in crypto?
Favorite hobby outside of crypto?
David: “Rock climbing!”
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