Today we are talking with the founder of Vega Protocol, Barney Mannerings.
- Vega is a protocol for creating and trading derivatives on a fully decentralised network which offers fully automated processes and incentives for trading margined financial products allow for markets that are open and decentralised, with pseudonymous participants.
We’d like to kick things off by asking you a couple of questions regarding your formative years.
1) Firstly, can you tell us the things which interested you the most throughout your childhood and teenage years, and what brought you the most happiness?
For me, happiness is being outdoors. Whether it be in the mountains, the seaside, hiking - I love to be out in nature. I have always loved to ski. Growing up I also loved fiddling around with computers and learning to code.
2) Who were your biggest influences growing up, and why did they have such a profound effect on you?
I have been inspired by Silicon Valley as a whole - overarching technologies and sciences, and how they seemed differently exciting. Companies like Microsoft and Apple. I don’t have many singular inspirations, but I was very compelled by Douglas Adams’ “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” That book is something I’d always fall back to, make inside jokes about, and I read it at a quite young age and found it inspiring. Douglas Adams had an early passing, so I suppose that cemented his pseudo-hero status in my mind.
3) Teenage years are often a turbulent time for many, so on this note, can you name a time which was tough for you, and how you managed to overcome it?
Honestly, I had a very standard upbringing, and I can't recall any turbulent times of significance.
4) If there was some advice you could give young aspiring individuals, advice which you would really have liked to have heard yourself as a young person, what would it be?
My advice is simple: if the time is right and the opportunity is there - do it. Try it and fail. The worst thing you can do is ask everyone for their advice, because they’ll almost always tell you no, don’t take the risk.
We are now going to ask you some questions which will hopefully give our readers something to go on regarding you as a person.
5) Firstly, what are the particular strengths that you feel have made you successful in your field (don’t hold back)?
Blending my background in computer science with my deep-rooted passion for business and trading has allowed me to offer a very unique perspective, and understand what works, what doesn’t, and why.
6) What would you say is your most controversial opinion as regards to blockchain or the crypto space?
It's okay if some of the systems don't allow for full decentralization. I think it's important that those systems continue to exist. It's okay to build them. That's a perfectly good use of technology. I think there's a lot of varying ideologically-driven opinions and work being done. I think the technology we've developed in the space has multiple uses.
7) In the course of your day you can become under the most ridiculous pressures and stresses, what is your particular way of dealing with this?
Two things: really good friends and the outdoors. These tend to keep stress out of my life. I don't work in a permanent state of stress. I live rather pragmatically.
8) Outside of crypto/blockchain, what is your favorite thing to do?
Skiing, without a doubt. I can work long weeks, give up vacations and holidays, but I can’t give up skiing.
We are now going to ask you some creative and humorous questions, and we are sure people will love to see you what you can come up with.
9) What is the most humorous thing you have seen or experienced during your time in the crypto/blockchain space?
One thing that comes to mind was meeting a VC a few years back. When I asked him how he got into crypto, he told me that he attended boarding school. While there, he asked 90 or so of his friends if he could put crypto mining hardware underneath their beds and mine Bitcoin. The school professors eventually found out, and expelled him from school. He quite literally had no choice but to get into crypto. He would go on to use the money he made mining to start a VC. That will always be one of my favorite crypto origin stories.
10) If you somehow managed to meet Satoshi Nakamoto (that is he is a male person in this scenario) on his deathbed, but only had time to ask him one question, what would it be? Bear in mind that you don’t have much time at all, so make it a good one.
Uhhh….When moon? Haha.
11) Can you give three policies you'd enact if you became the president of a country tomorrow?
I would decriminalize substances in lieu of more defensive and proactive measures. I would do away with speed limits - I like to drive fast. And I would allow global anonymous cryptocurrency to be integrated into the financial system in a very complete way, with no surveillance to make it easy to conduct business.
Communities are often an important backbone for many crypto/blockchain projects, so we’d now like to get some personal thoughts on the community side of things.
12) Personal project aside, what are some ‘communities’ in the space that you admire and why (this is not an endorsement)?
I've heard great things about PolkdaDot’s community. I think they're generating a lot of excitement. I also really admire Cosmos for the way they've established credibility in the space. From a technical perspective, I really admire IPFS.
13) What social-media platform do you like most and why, and are there any improvements which you feel can be made to these platforms for an even better community user-experience?
My favorite platform is Twitter. The interactions on Twitter are incredibly valuable. It does hurt me that social media platforms are centralized and controlled.
14) With the endgame being mainstream adoption, do you think crypto/blockchain communities will still have an important role to play in a post-adoption environment?
Crypto communities will absolutely have an important role post-adoption. Look at Linux or GitHub forums. Those communities are driven by really smart people collectively moving projects forward. How we build these projects will always involve the communities. The crypto communities will likely change over time, but they will always be important.
In our penultimate section we are going to ask you a question regarding Vega Protocol.
15) What do you feel sets Vega Protocol apart from your competitors (that is if you have any)?
Vega is an infrastructure for DeFi protocols.
At the moment, if you want to build a DeFi protocol, you're probably building it on Ethereum. This means you’re working with the speed of Ethereum, and often paying for front-running. In many cases, that’s sufficient. However, if you want to build a complex financial product, you’re incredibly limited. Instead, Vega’s infrastructure is far better suited to build this complex financial infrastructure. Vega offers many advantages in terms of speed and fairness. At present, all other products are building on inferior infrastructures and are, therefore, limited.
Well that just about does it, but before we end this interview we’d like to ask you for something which we believe will say a lot about your belief in the industry, and which may inspire those who are reading.
16) Can you come up with a short argument for our readers on why you feel cryptocurrency and blockchain (or just one) has a bright future?
I'm going to lean on Andreessen Horowitz’s catchphrase that software is eating the world. The internet used to be incredibly expensive to conduct business compared to what it is now. Prior to the internet, business was done using physical objects like filing cabinets and pieces of paper. Now, with improved speed and efficiency of what's capable, we’ve replaced physical tools with completely programmable software that can connect you globally. Cryptocurrency does the same thing with finance.
Innovations have made money programmable for people to create, trade, and execute complex contracts and products without involving people or institutions. However, the internet never really made it to banking. Cryptocurrency is making banking programmable and accessible on a global scale. It also makes it cheaper and faster to pay the centralized people, and accessible to anyone who wants an update on a computer. I don't foresee how that can fail in the long term.
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