Wormhole Foundation EVP and head of operations Dan Reecer discusses the Wormhole Foundation officially launching on Monday, their mission, and what it means for the broader crypto ecosystem.
Our next guest wants to pave the way for the future of web three where information can move freely and securely everywhere. Joining us now is Wormhole Foundation, Executive Vice president and head of operations, Dan. Re welcome to the show, Dan. Hey guys, how's it going? Not bad. We are off to a great start to the morning now, just for our audience, let's just take a quick moment for you to explain what wormhole is and how the foundation is going to interact with it. Yeah. So wormhole has been around for a couple of years now and what it is at its most basic level is we connect blockchains. Uh We are a interoperability platform as we call it. So we have products for developers that they use to be able to expand their products, bring new users to their platforms, et cetera. So right now, wormhole connects around 23 different blockchains including just connecting to base, um say just launched last week. So we're across six different runtime. So from EVM to Solana to Cosmos and the Wormhole Foundation uh which just launched officially yesterday is kind of the organization stewarding this whole ecosystem. So we are now one of the most decentralized ecosystems in the industry in terms of teams. So we just finalized funding the third development organization that is doing engineering, business development um product in, in coordination for building out wormhole. So, we've got now including wormhole foundation jump crypto and then these three organizations that have yet to be formally announced. We've got about five teams now uh building wormhole. All right. OK. Uh I just want to dive into a few other things about, you know, what's going on right now. What is the difference between, let's say, uh, the foundation's work uh today and what it did a few, let's say months back, we have reported on the foundation but uh today or, or this week was the official launch and the website, what's, what's the difference like what happened in the middle? Yes, I've personally been at the foundation for about four months and when I came on, we didn't have a website, we didn't have a brand. Um, we've been formalizing a lot of this stuff over the past few months and yesterday was kind of the culmination of a lot of that work. So now, uh we can come out officially talking about our brand, we can send people to our website. Um, but the, the focus is always going to be on wormhole itself. So, over the past few months, as a foundation, we've been funding new teams, we've been launching new products. Um such as wormhole gateway and the cosmos ecosystem. So what happened this week was really just kind of formalizing what's been um in progress over the past few months. You know, when we hear about wormhole, I think uh many of us who follow the news in the space, think about the hack that happened uh previously, how is the foundation going to work to prevent something like this from happening again to prevent um, those who have funds locked up on the ecosystem? Yeah, this has obviously been a, a big focus for the foundation as well as all the other teams in the wormhole ecosystem. Um Over the past year or so, there's been a lot of work being done on security. Um I just mentioned wormhole Gateway which launched in the Cosmos ecosystem. This was launched for a couple of reasons, one being to route assets in and out of the cosmos ecosystem. But also we're using Cosmos technology for its app chain purpose and we use this app chain to add security features to wormhole. So wormhole Gateway also runs what we call the global accountant, which uses blockchains really for what they're best at, which is keeping ledgers. So this helps our 19 validators which we call guardians keep track of all the balances on each of the 23 or 24 chains that, that they operate. Gateway also runs um the governor which is another thing that we implemented post. Um The incident last year, which governs or limits the amount of uh funds that can flow out of any given chain at any time. Um This can be lifted through a vote among the Guardians. Um And that's always proposed by um, the, the Blockchain team or the foundation behind those teams. So this is a couple of things we've done. We've also beefed up our Bug Bounty program, which the foundation um operates and has paid out um several times prior to today. So currently on immun five, we've got around a $2.5 million bug bounty always welcoming and, and working with white hats on improving wormholes security. Um Besides that just can't. Yeah, go ahead. No. Uh You know, it's interesting. Uh Jen brought this up. There's another thing that happened in June, the UN the Unis Foundation released its bridge assessment report rating wormhole and a as the industry's top cross chain messaging protocol now and then, and then it's important to kind of remember that at the beginning of the year wormhole won a community vote to become the official governance bridge for Unice, right? I mean, it has cleared like I wouldn't say conflict of interest, but it's in the cloud of, of, of something like that. Now, at the same time, you had that hack that Jen mentioned and jump had come to the rescue at that time uh with the funds and it seems like you just mentioned, jump yourself and therefore they're all kind of inter connected, uh let's say friends. Uh if, if, if nothing else and, and they're rating each other and UNICEF Foundation's bridge assessment report has rated wormhole as a top cross chain messaging protocol while there has been a hack that has happened. Um I just want to understand like, how do you reconcile the fact that there are those who say, well, the decentralized world is kind of so connected that it's not really decentralized because they're all helping each other scratching each other's back. Yeah, I would, I would argue the opposite. And so there was no conflict of interest in that report because what happened was there was a, a large discussion when they were deciding on which bridge to use for the Binance. Uh uh What's it called now the BNB chain um that led to un a commissioning a third party kind of unbiased committee of security experts to do a multi month analysis of things like architecture, security decentralization of six of probably the most used in, in and widely used uh protocols, bridging protocols in the industry. Um So that, that unbiased third party committee then did this deep analysis over the course of months and came out with this report that, that you're referring to um wormhole did come out on top. And we, we were the only one approved for un swap cross chain governance use cases without any conditions. Um Some of the reasons why wormhole is open source. This is really important to us. We are um one of if not the most decentralized um bridging protocols in the industry with our 19 validator nodes. Whereas other, other protocols tend to rely on a, a two person multis. Um So that's kind of what? Yeah, that was the outcome of Unicef's report. I'm happy to answer any questions you have on um on the conflict of interest or, or, or what you mentioned. No, no, no, we, we, we, I just wanted to say we appreciate you taking the question in the right spirit because you know, given what's happened after FTX, uh that is a serious responsibility on us as journalists to continue to, you know, just put scrutiny on any project. And that's just what we are doing, Jen, all yours for the next question. I guess the, the last thing that um we want to talk about is this tweet you tweeted. Our ultimate vision is to enable the industry's de facto interoperability protocol. The web of web three just unpack that for us as we wrap this up. Yeah. One of the things that I kind of noticed when I came on the team is that wormhole has historically been a little bit misunderstood and difficult to understand because there is so much going on under the hood. So this is something we're working on a, a rebrand now. Actually, I'm not changing the, the name or the, the brand at all but just kind of a refresh of the, the look and feel and the messaging. So the web of Web three is kind of what we've come up with as a very easy and understandable way of describing what wormhole is. We are simply here to connect and enable web three. A web three can't prosper and can't be delivered until all these blockchains can communicate securely and seamlessly. And that's what we're here Um, building for, for wormhole at the Wormhole Foundation as well as the four other teams in the ecosystem. Dan, thank you very much for joining the show this morning. We appreciate it. Thanks for having me. That was Wormhole Foundation, executive vice president and head of operations, Dan Racer.