Building Compound, and deep diving Defi, with Robert Leshner.

Robert Leshner is the founder and CEO of Compound Labs, and a web 3 & defi advocate. He joins Cobie & Ledger to discuss building Compound, governance, working in defi, and more.

Audio Version


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Show Notes


– Founder of Compound Labs

– Investor at Robot Ventures with Tarun Chitra (@tarunchitra)

– Reads solidity, doesn’t write it

– Interested in chess and the opera outside of crypto and investing

– Chess ELO is 15/20

Compound Bug

– Exploitable by past borrowers to claim unearned rewards

– Took hours for anyone to discover the root cause

– There’s no risk to COMP positions and only affects distribution, worst case is that tokens reserved for future user incentives is now somewhat depleted

– Please return COMP to the protocol if you received more rewards than expected (especially if you’re doxxed) Send 90% back!

Compound Governance/ DAO

– Kinda created the standard for ETH governance models

– Rob would design it differently if he were to do it again today

– Rob think she has medium power outside of on-chain governance (i.e. actual community sway)

– He has been on the losing side of a few votes already lol

– Has some sway in other DeFi communities as well

– Like + a few reputation points for being Compound founder lol

Compound Treasury


– Being offered clearly and directly as a security & compliant with US law

– Huge appetite to get offline insurance for the product

Compound L1 & The State of ETH

– Compound launching its own L1 chain that is still in development

– Act as a series of bridges to other blockchains with a simple application at the centre that looks and feels like Compound

– Can import assets from all L1s to use as collateral to borrow on other L1s

– Currently on test-net but has been in development for almost a year, all open source

– Ridiculed when the whitepaper was launched as there was no demand to get off ETH but now it’s become a pain point

– Current ETH fees are not usable for typical users

– Robert is most excited about ETH2.0 as it may negate the need for L2 if successful. In the short term L2s and EVM forks are amazing but are only short term solutions

Robot Ventures

– Investing in a lot of different projects, the current website is very out of date

– Most of the investments are in DeFi and across different chains

– Value in interacting with tonnes of founders and learning from them what works and doesn’t can also lead to some value flowing back into compound

– Being an investor can help with the signal to noise ratio

– Usually not arguing on valuations, as low friction as it gets

– Advises to start with an equity based business and not worry about having a token too soon

Robot Ventures Investing Decisions

– In general, if one of them (Rob or Tarun) says no, they don’t do it

– Cobie: “What’s the exit plan?”

– Rob: “In general, we’re ultra respective of teams and lockups. If something is up like 4-10x, we’ll sell like a quarter so we can invest in other companies”

– It’s a fund, they have their own money, also outside investors

Bitcoin Maxis

– Rob: “Typically when I think of a Bitcoin maxi i think of like Pomp, or like Dan Held”

– Rob: “Like this is Bitcoin and this is how it works!”

– Ledger: “Deflationary ETH will create some fireworks dynamics in the future”


– Hayden (inventor of Uniswap) said Unisocks are the best NFT

– Rob and Kain bullied Hayden into buying a white-haired cryptopunk

– They all made it their twitter pfps and everyone thought it was collusion

– Rob: “Everyone views NFTs differently – people will freak out about $100 on a dinner then spend so much money on these NFTs”

– Rob minted 26 cryptopunks on the initial release

– Gave away 15 punks for Christmas to compound labs guys last year LOL

Interesting Investing Areas

– 1. Utility NFTs

– NFTs that are memberships, tickets, XYZ

– Also NFT finance

– How to do complex deviates on unique things

– 2. Crypto UX

– The user experience right now is just so bad

– No one can use this stuff

– Wallets, products that extract away crypto, experimental plays here

Working for a Protocol

– Nowadays you can work for a protocol!

– Compound labs is always hiring

– 0x4C (LUKE) is looking for a job, maybe he can work at Compound!

Not Exciting Areas

– Generic DeFi

– Buzzword heavy products that are not distinguished


– Crypto is more welcoming than you think it is – get involved!

– There are more options sellers than options sellers – most people are naturally short gamma. Buy gamma and hedge it!

Notes by Kevin

Music by GiovanniPickle