S1E1: The Founders of Beanstalk

March 16, 2022

0:00 Intro • 1:57 Why do you use a voice modulator? • 3:15 Why do you use a pseudonym? • 7:27 Anything surprising with being anonymous? • 12:06 Why did you select the name Publius? • 15:08 Ending

The Bean Pod



Why do you use a voice modulator?

  • It’s hard to be anonymous in today’s day and age, and while it may ultimately be impossible to preserve our anonymity, the goal is to do so as long as possible.
  • At some point, Beanstalk will not be dependent on Publius in any capacity.

Why do you use a pseudonym?

  • There is a hostile legal environment to starting certain cryptocurrencies or projects. This is not necessarily the case when working on or contributing to them, especially after they become decentralized.
  • The goal of Beanstalk is to become a global issuer of money, so we don’t want to become figureheads like Vitalik is with Ethereum. An autonomous monetary system should not be dependent on particular leaders.

Anything surprising with being anonymous?

  • We’re surprised at the extent to which people take us seriously and want to work with us. Especially in the early days, it was amazing to have high quality people with impressive backgrounds want to come work with us.

Why did you select the name Publius?

  • Going back to the concept that “it’s not about an individual, it’s about an idea”. One of the most important documents in the history of America are the Federalist papers, which were authored pseudonymously under the pseudonym Publius by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay. They were advocating for the Constitution, and their arguments were very well laid out.
  • Beanstalk is ultimately a credit based system, and Alexander Hamilton was a major advocate for what ultimately became the American central banking system, and he made a series of arguments on the importance of having a centralized credit within the union to tie together the various states, and he was an advocate for the American government taking on a lot of the debt of the states in order to further cement the union. The epitaph at the top of the Beanstalk is an Alexander Hamilton quote speaking about exactly that.


welcome to the beanpod a podcast about decentralized finance and the beanstalk protocol i'm your host rex before we get started we always want to remind everyone that on this podcast we are very optimistic about decentralized finance in general and beanstalk in particular with that being said three things first always do your own research before you invest in anything especially what we talk about here on the show second while you're doing that research try to find as many well-developed opposing viewpoints as possible to get the best overall picture and third never ever invest money that you can't afford to lose or at least be without for a while and with that on with the show on this inaugural episode of the pod we're going to chat with publius the pseudonymous founders of beanstalk we'll be talking about what led them to develop the protocol in the first place and some of their guiding principles and philosophies oh and just to forewarn you police uses a voice modulator to conceal their identity so they kind of sound like darth vader with a master's degree in economics you'll get used to it though and so that publius great to have you on the first episode of the pod welcome how's it we're going you know we make this joke quite often but it's very true uh as many of the best jokes are that uh our sanity and quality of health is uh basically determined by whether beans are a pig so that's right uh so far so good and uh nothing to complain about on this lovely friday i was gonna say and if that's how you're gauging it things are good because we have been all over peg here over the last really over the last few weeks yeah definitely no complaints on this end so publius one of the first things that people notice when they hear you speak is that you use a voice modulator do you want to walk us through the reasoning behind that why you why you use that tool so ultimately it's really hard to be anonymous in today's day and age and while it may ultimately be impossible to preserve our identity the goal is to preserve our anonymity for as long as possible and at some point beanstalk really will not be dependent on us in any capacity and uh at that point it's like you know the marginal cost of being doxxed uh goes down to introduce our listeners to the protocol and to the team into what we're trying to get done here i want to start off with some just some basic background questions really some questions you've probably been asked a number of times on a number of different podcasts or interviews but we're going to go through them kind of one more time here in this format in our own podcast to kind of get them laid down and get them laid out for the audience so that everybody kind of knows where where we're coming from so to start off kind of the um the elephant in the room so to speak could you talk us through the the decision to use a pseudonym um how you came to that decision what your thinking was sure so there's really two separate even though they're complementary reasons why we decided to ultimately use a pseudonym and found beanstalk anonymously the first is if you look at the history of attempts at state algorithmic or credit-based stable coins basis which in 2017 raised 133 million dollars in an ico was ultimately unable to launch but they published a letter uh which you can still go read uh i believe on basis.io uh where they explain that uh you know they're unable to continue with their work and they are returning all of the funds and uh they basically cited u.s securities regulation and in short for better or worse uh it appears that there's a somewhat hostile legal environment to uh starting uh certain cryptocurrencies or projects uh not necessarily working or contributing uh to them certainly once they are decentralized like something with ethereum or bitcoin but ultimately given that beanstalk was new and that we were the only ones working on beanstalk at the time it seemed like a prudent thing to do to not necessarily identify ourselves as the people that started it uh now the second complementary reason is that if you look at projects like ethereum that to date uh have been incredibly successful at attracting a really wide and diverse community all across the world to contribute to its development nonetheless it feels in many ways that people still look to vitalik uh to lead the way and ultimately given that the the goal of beanstalk is to become a global issuer of money we really don't want that similar dynamic that ethereum has which is not nearly as much of a problem in the case of ethereum vitalik can have certain opinions on policy or the way to move the technical direction of the ethereum network forward but ultimately that's fundamentally different from having someone at the head of what should be an autonomous monetary system and so from uh both a practical pers perspective uh wanting to ensure that beanstalk had the highest chance of initial success uh by not putting our our name on it so that there was no way it could be stopped from getting out into the open by targeting the founders uh and then furthermore uh with the goal of ultimately having beanstalk succeed as much as possible in the long run and we really do have high ambitions for beanstalk uh we don't want the protocol to be reliant uh or the community to be ryan reliant on the word of uh publius and so or any individuals and ultimately uh by using a pseudonym uh that provides a much easier way out from that position of leading uh leading the protocol and so even though uh uh we're still actively involved in many ways in uh developing being stuck and helping bring being stuck to a wider audience and we're certainly just one part of that operation at this point in time but the goal is for the protocol to at some point be uh not dependent in any capacity uh on publish uh and so that's that's really the the reason why we decided to do that so before we move on to i want to talk about the name publius in particular but before we move on to that just a quick question has there been anything unexpected about your experience acting in a pseudonymous capacity anything that has particularly surprised you over the months of development that you didn't expect so there have been a couple different things that are surprising most notably is that people are willing to take us seriously and want to work with us uh despite our anonymity and even though now with beanstalk farms having like 40 paid contributors that seems like less of a less of an obvious thing to be surprised at uh because lots of people want to contribute to be in stock farms in the early days uh it was kind of amazing to have high quality people that had just left really big companies with meaningful names uh and pedigree uh ultimately decide that they wanna come contribute to beanstalk and that was an incredible experience now one of the other things that's been most surprising is like we've we feel like the way people treat publius is not really like a human and in fact like even last night we get a dm like are you sure you're not an agi like that's those are that's a weird experience to have uh certainly uh but that's uh you know all part i guess comes with the comes with the pseudonymous territory but those would be the most surprising things it's it's interesting um it makes me think of a couple couple tweets that i had seen from folks that are involved with uh with beanstalk you know over the last i don't know over the last couple months or so where you'll see somebody write like you know publius is not a person publish is an idea i think there's some value to that uh when i think about my interaction with the protocol and getting to know the organization sitting in on our a t universities which for those of you who are interested are actually every tuesday night hearing publius speak hearing you speak using the modulator and the pseudonym it's been an interesting experience because for me that was um it was actually one of the characteristics of the organization that helped me to take it more seriously knowing that you know we live in an age where um people thrive on their um their social acceptance or recognizability and to look at a founding team that sets that aside for the sake of trying to make sure that the project is um as carefully crafted and built in a uh in a way that isn't necessarily subject to that influence as possible for me that was actually uh that was a factor that that really drew me to the protocol so it's it's been really interesting to see different people um kind of work their way through that understanding and the acceptance of that that anonymous situation for the founders in many ways uh what you said at the beginning about how publis isn't a person it's an idea a hundred percent right and we're not one individual and ultimately it takes a village and it's not about us it's not and so uh we we hope to just be one part of uh beanstalk's success and the ultimate success of uh the potential of this technology uh to really have a positive effect on the world and to bring freedom to a wider audience so it's not about us and uh it makes it's got those um i am spartacus vibes kind of going on well uh we're not gonna say no to that comparison yeah that's uh probably not one we would make of ourselves but uh it's very kind so to talk about the name a little bit more specifically again something that i know you've talked about in a variety of formats in a variety of places publius in particular would you talk us through why you selected that pseudonym sure so going back to it's not about an individual it's about an idea uh one of the most important documents in the history of america are the federalist papers uh which were authored pseudonymously under the pseudonym publius by alexander hamilton james madison and john jay and they were advocating on behalf of the constitution and the arguments that they made in the federalist papers were quite well laid out and thorough and had a meaningful impact on the ultimate uh ratification of the american constitution so that's where the name publius comes from but beyond that if you look at what beanstalk is ultimately it's a credit based system and alexander hamilton was a major advocate for uh what ultimately became the american central banking system and alexander hamilton made a series of arguments on the importance of having a centralized credit uh within the union to tie together the various different states and he was an advocate for the american government ultimately taking on a lot of the debt of the states in order to further uh further cement the union and in fact the epitaph at the top of the beanstalk white paper is an alexander hamilton quote uh speaking exactly about that and the importance of credit and not just credit but maintaining a healthy amount of credit and so the quote just to read it is a national debt if it is not excessive will be to us a national blessing it will be powerful cement of our union and that quote is quite relevant to today and the current state of the financial system in america but it's also a very prescient reminder about the core of how beanstalk works and ensuring that the debt of beanstalk never becomes excessive and so when you combine the fact that we're quite inspired by both alexander hamilton uh in his work on central banking and the american monetary system and then also the impact of the federalist papers and the fact that they decided to write those incredibly important documents pseudonymously even though they also wanted to be a part of uh the world and political life under their real names there's certainly certain times value in doing things in an anonymous capacity and so that's where that's where the name ultimately comes from