Meet the Team: Layne Lafrance on Trustlessness and Grizzly Bears

April 20, 2020

Identify yourself!

Hi, I’m Layne! I was born in Western Canada, but did a lot of growing up in London, England, where my family was relocated and I ended up graduating from high school. I graduated cum laude and then moved back across the ocean to go to UBC and study Finance. After that I worked for a little at a dope company called Axiom Zen where a guy named Dieter taught me about blockchains. I left to go back to school for a while, moved to Hong Kong, all the while learning everything I possibly could about the world of blockchain in my own time.

When I called Axiom Zen again and asked if they wanted to do things in blockchain and they said “yeah, there are a couple weird people in the corner talking about it, you can come work with them.” So I did. Then we put cats on the blockchain. Then cats on the blockchain broke the blockchain and Dete and I spent the better part of the next two years trying to figure out how to build a blockchain that could support the coolest parts of CryptoKitties (and decentralised software) for the masses. I’m the product manager on Flow and I’ve had the distinct privilege of bringing 20 incredible people together to make this thing a reality. 

Why blockchain? Talk to us about trust.

The notion of a trustless transaction. The ability for a group of people to not trust each other individually, but to trust the group as a whole was fascinating to me. So much conflict in the world stems from our inability to negotiate fair terms - what if there was this thing where we could all see, enforce, agree to the same terms? That’d be cool. First blockchain project was Bitcoin, then Ethereum. The first whitepaper I read was neither of those - it was Stellar. I still think that paper is one of the most intelligent and compelling I’ve read (but we always remember the past fondly I suppose).

Why Flow?

I’m a sucker for a good problem I suppose. I’ve long referred to myself as the class contrarian and Flow was the perfect project to find solace away from the pack. We were the first people to really think about the power of composability, to call out sharding, to architect a multi-node system that prioritized speed, scale, and participation. That last point is the one I’m most proud of and also feel like we have the most work to do on, but I’m glad we’ve held it as such a fundamental pillar. 

Reading list!

  • The Big Four by Scott Galloway 
  • Factfulness by Hans Rosling
  • Radical Markets by Ponser & Weyl 

Grab Bag

Q: Who would win between a shark and a grizzly bear?

A: Depends entirely on the location of the fight.

Editor’s note: This answer blew our minds. 🤯


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