On last Friday’s episode of Metaverse, I got to chat to Edan Yago, co-founder of and core contributor to the decentralised Bitcoin trading and lending platform, Sovryn. Founded in 2020, Sovryn allows members to trade with leverage and earn yield by lending. Its mission is to build a full suite of decentralised tools to bridge Bitcoin with other aspects of the traditional economy and DeFi. Before this, Yago founded several other companies in the crypto space; including CementDAO, and Epiphyte. He is a passionate advocate for the mass adoption of open finance, and is keen to continue pioneering innovative financial products, as part of a borderless economy, and is active in the current advancements in El Salvador.
It was exciting to speak to someone actively working at the vanguard of the crypto revolution, and to gain his insights of what needs to happen to bring Satoshi Nakamoto’s vision into our daily reality. A core takeaway from our conversation was how Bitcoin created a system of digital property rights. Essentially, the internet started as this place of infinite possibility, but without any vehicle for individual digital property rights, we became beholden to intermediaries, like PayPal or Facebook, which have the ability to control our virtual behaviors. Bitcoin has the revolutionary potential of giving individuals complete sovereignty and self-reliance in the virtual space, cutting out the middlemen and allowing true control and ownership over one’s digital life. Yago explains how our most important, foundational rules as social individuals boil down to property rights– even the Ten Commandments (for example, as he noted, “thou shalt not kill” equates to my right to my body.) We see that countries with weak property rights, like North Korea, falter, while those with robust property rights like the U.S. prosper. So ensuring digital property rights has revolutionary potential to create a secure, new way of life within our borderless metaverse.
Yago explained how his fascinating family history has made the abstract concept of financial sovereignty as the key to individual freedom very concrete to him. As Polish Jews during World War II, Yago’s family survived the Holocaust by liquidating their assets into jewels, which they could conceal on their person and use to bribe others, ensuring their escape. Similarly, as a child, Yago helped his family smuggle coins out of South Africa, when they had to flee due to their anti-apartheid views. Most in today’s Western nations assume no one will confiscate their wealth the way they do in other countries, but there’s no guarantee of that. Yago believes the best defense is to be prepared: instead of simply hoping that our property rights will be maintained, taking measures to protect our assets in a decentralised digital realm is the best, proactive defense.
It is precisely this world that Yago is attempting to create with Sovryn, which as a decentralised trading platform allows users to engage with Bitcoin without requiring any intermediaries. He sees intentionally building up such systems as essential to ensuring an incorruptible future world, and that it is far from a foregone conclusion. For example, we discussed how platforms like Ethereum are overly reliant on centralised stable coins, which means they would crumble if the coin itself fails and makes them vulnerable to corruption. Yago warns against Ethereum’s “move fast and break things” approach, and emphasises that we must move in a thorough, carefully planned way that prioritises decentralised processes to ensure we build a truly incorruptible version of the metaverse.
Within the next ten years, Yago sees us moving towards an increasingly virtual world, where our physical location becomes less important. To him, this means a diminishment of the nation state, which evolved out of industrial technologies, and is becoming increasingly irrelevant as such. Yago shared his optimistic view for the future, seeing an open financial world as the natural step in our next societal evolution. He believes an economic revolution where national currencies are replaced by decentralised cryptocurrency will reap benefits in other parts of life. For example, Yago considers today’s nihilistic, polarised politics as a vestige of a broken system tied to geography, but believes we are in a transitional stage where we are moving towards a progressive, borderless, and truly global civilisation. Although he recognises that moving towards this future could be disruptive, he’s optimistic that there’s a way we could smoothly transition into this new way of life, which would be more equitable, liberating, and prosperous for all people. Looking ahead, Yago’s dedicated to doing his part to keep developing Sovryn as the incorruptible platform that will make this revolution possible. It will be exciting to watch what unfolds.
To hear more of our fascinating conversation, which covered everything from the gold standard to El Salvador’s Bitcoin adoption, listen to the full podcast episode here.