with @skominers @tim_roughgarden @smc90
In this episode, we go into all things auctions – which, broadly defined, are simply ways of selling and allocating scarce things – and which applies in web3 contexts to everything from NFT mints, to blockchains themselves. (Which we also go into in this episode, including an overview of the technical challenges specific to mechanism design in a permissionless context. We also briefly cover EIP 1559).
We provide a quick overview of auction types, and incentive design, and how it works in both theory and practice -- including the nuances of market-clearing prices, gas wars, and more… sharing tradeoffs, choices, and principles for builders designing these systems throughout.
Our expert guests in conversation with host Sonal Chokshi are Scott Kominers, a16z crypto research partner and professor at Harvard Business School who specializes in market, marketplace, and incentive design; and Tim Roughgarden, head of research at a16zcrypto and professor at Columbia, who led the development of the field of algorithmic game theory -- which brings together computer science and economics to solve real-world computing problems.
This conversation includes a brief mention of lotteries, which are sometimes used in conjunction with auctions, and which we kept for educational purposes only. Note there are some questions about the legality of such mechanisms like “sweepstakes” that narrow participants by requiring them to do something to enter -- so builders should NOT use these without consulting a lawyer. As a reminder, NONE of the following is legal, business, tax, or investment advice; please see a16z.com/disclosures for more important information.