Sunny was a student at UC Berkeley studying Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) with a minor in Political Economics. He left studies after his 2nd year to awareness of his work and research in the blockchain area.
He set up a small hobbyist mining rig a while ago to go through the motions and see what it’s like and better understand the software, and he doesn’t think it’s still running anymore. He probably wouldn’t mine professionally, and he said the economics don’t make sense in an interview.
Having built something that brings people more sovereignty in their lives is the main reason for him to create Osmosis.
The motto he follows is: “A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”
Asked who his crypto hero was and who inspired him, he unequivocally replied that it was Vitalik Buterin because, like him, he believed that quality in an entrepreneur is the ability to stay true to values.
He is no longer a libertarian and he presents his claims in a very interesting way:
“First is that I became less fixated on the consistency of moral frameworks. I think many moral frameworks act as a crutch to avoid fully reasoning about an idea. Always choosing “maximizing liberty” when making decisions is easy, without questioning the base assumption of if “maximizing liberty” is the optimal strategy. When thinking through things more, you realize you end up adding more and more qualifications to your stated framework to the point that you realize instead of guiding decisions by the framework, you’re instead just adjusting your framework based on intuition. So instead, I think it’s better to use frameworks only as a heuristic; when analyzing a policy, I’ll start with the libertarian stance and then allow intuition and critical thinking the iterate until I find a position I am happy with. And if that conflicts with the libertarian “party line”, then so be it.
The second is I think I began to better understand the game theory of Tragedy of the Commons situations; essentially, they’re large-scale prisoner dilemmas. I think this problem is explained quite well in Section 2 of the SlateStarCodex Non-Libertarian FAQ (the story of the lake). You need a system of enforcement, essentially a way to shift the payoff matrix to make it such that defection is no longer the optimal strategy. The government is often used as a way to do that, by punishing defectors. Libertarians see this as an encroachment on the non-aggression principle (not harm), and thus many end up taking the position of letting people do whatever they want (and then Moloch wins). I heavily sympathize with the non-aggression principle, but I do think we need to solve these coordination problems, especially as the world globalizes and people tend to play fewer repeated games with the same people. This is one of the things that makes me still excited about blockchains, that it may enable us to create mechanisms to fix broken games, but using non-aggressive means. Instead of using force, we can create incentives and smart contracts to solve some of these problems.”
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