Leadership styles in the crypto market have long been a topic of contention among industry observers. While much of the digital currency and blockchain ethos leans on the side of libertarianism — a political philosophy that seeks to maximize autonomy and political freedom while emphasizing free association — the technical leaderships and directions differ massively.

Ajit Tripathi is one such observer. A graduate of the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology, Tripathi went on to work for Goldman Sachs in Tokyo and Barclays and PwC in London before turning to the blockchain space seeking a new challenge. He served as a partner as Ethereum development lab ConsenSys for its FinTech division and worked on the Banking and Payments division of Binance until September.

In an interview with crypto edutainment platform Cryptonites host Alex Fazel this week, Tripathi spoke on the ongoing developments in the DeFi space, the battle of layer-2 technologies Ethereum, Cardano, and Polkadot, and how leadership styles across various projects can actually influence the type of talent they end up attracting.

Fazel (L) and Tripathi (R) speak in a Cryptonites interview. Image: Cryptonites

It’s one you wouldn’t wanna miss.

How Joe Lubin’s ConsenSys set the path for Ethereum

Tripathi started the show with insights on how Joseph Lubin, the founder of ConsenSys, helped create a brand of engineers, developers, and designers to help propel adoption and application building on Ethereum. 

“He had this consistent messaging about this,” recalled Tripathi, “You know, making the world a better place.” He noted further:

“Everyone was looking at this whole new technology with suspicion and you had this Bitcoin community really getting excited about disrupting the banks and the revolution. [But] Joe was coming in with messages, which were about, you know, making the world a better place.”

The narrative that Lubin pushed during Ethereum is one that continues till today. Bitcoin proponents largely push the asset as a currency and digital gold, while the Ethereum community focuses more on the development of usecases and applications built atop the technology. (Author’s note: That’s not to suggest that Bitcoin developers do not work on the technology or that Ethereum devs don’t consider ETH as money).

Sharing Tripathi’s sentiment, Fazel mentioned how Ethereum’s development activity is evident on GitHub, compared to other blockchains and the so-called Ethereum “killers.” You can see the activity of Ethereum and it just has more people involved thanks to great leadership directly to ship all of them,” noted Fazel.

ETH 2.0 critics…but killers have “nothing to offer”

The Cryptonites host then spoke on the criticism and skepticism of Ehereum’s upcoming 2.0 upgrade, which sees the network shift from a proof of work design to a proof of stake consensus mechanism — a move that would make the Ethereum network faster.

But other blockchains like Cardano are catching up, featuring lower (read: negligible) fees, and fast transactions. Fazel said in the regard, “A lot of people are kind of saying that ETH 2.0 is going to be a very, very difficult transition are and very concerned, especially the geeks are saying that it’s not feasible.”

Tripathi was quick to suggest that “nobody has really offered anything. He stated:

“There have been lots of Ethereum killers, right? Charles (founder of Cardano) is an incredibly smart guy. Tezos founders that are really smart people, but what nobody’s got the mix.”

“Nobody has really given something that’s compelling enough and different enough. It’s got to have something more than what Ethereum has to offer,” he added.

Polkadot is still “learning”—but one mistake

Polkadot’s a relatively new Ethereum competitor, enabling cross-blockchain transfers of any type of data or asset, not just tokens. Its DOT tokens launched this year and quickly zoomed to the top-10 cryptocurrencies, with a current market cap of $3 billion at writing time.

Tripathi, however, says that Polkadot is learning as it goes. “What Polkadot is doing right is that they’re learning. You’re gonna say, if you look at some of the other competitors, there are lots of good tech in this space, but they haven’t spent enough time learning,” he stated.

Tripathi added:

“They’ve got hung up on one thing. That or they have over-promised they promised the perfect solution. And like Dfinity, I mean, great team, really, really smart tech people, but they’re promised a Nirvana, you shouldn’t promise Nirvana as a startup because you don’t know what it’s like.”

As Fazel put it for the other Ethereum killers. “So you can have the fastest and the most scalable blockchain, the highest throughput throughout the entire ecosystem. But if nobody uses it, Then it’s worthless, right?” he said.

(Want to know the rest of what Fazel and Tripathi discussed? Stream and watch the entire 35-minute episode right below!)

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