Let’s face it, blockchain is not the easiest thing in the world to understand, no matter how many times you use words like “decentralized” or “distributed ledger” to explain it.
And while it may be a bit early in the year to start handing out awards (Decryptys?), podcasts deserve their own category of media that demonstrate excellence in the area of illuminating blockchain technology. Here are our nominees (in no particular order):
Whereas a lot of other podcasts on this list may feature big-name guests or dive into the technical details of how blockchain works, ZigZag is different—in a very good way. It is one of the few—if not only—highly-produced, well-edited, super-fun and accessible shows out there in this space.
Hosts Manoush Zomorodi and Jen Poyant left their storied careers in public radio to take a shot at the risky business of independent podcasting (and about blockchain, no less). As part of the Civil and Radiotopia networks, Zomorodi and Poyant use their platform to relate what it’s like being female entrepreneurs in crypto. If you’re just now jumping in, we recommend starting with Martin Austick’s catchy tune back in Episode 02; it breaks down blockchain in an earworm that’s difficult to forget.
The host of Block Zero, Kevin Rose, is well known in technology circles. He was one of the founders of Revision3, Digg, Pownce and a startup incubator called Milk—small projects that eventually were spun up and sold to much larger companies. He was also an investor at Google Ventures where he threw down on companies like Ripple, Medium and Nextdoor. Now, he’s a venture partner at the start-up firm True Ventures. He’s also got his own show where he touches on a little bit of everything—from work-life balance and productivity to life improvement.
But apart from all that, he’s also got a crypto podcast, Block Zero, that gets into the nitty gritty of blockchain with founders and entrepreneurs in the industry. It doesn’t come out that often (there are only about eight episodes so far), but each hour-long interview gets deep into the technical weeds of this technology.
From one of the the co-founders and hosts of Longform, Aaron Lammer, Coin Talk keeps the crypto chatter casual, conversational and informative. It will typically host writers and reporters covering the crypto space and provide some insidery context and gossip behind the week’s news in blockchain.
This show is clearly not trying to be another one of those podcasts that hosts expert guest after expert guest. Instead, Lammer and Jay Caspian King, a correspondent at Vice News and writer for New York Times Magazine, provide a trustworthy and comical rapport that’s enjoyable to listen to while also keeping their listeners up to date with important happenings in the crypto world.
What Grinds My Gears
While the name might lack creativity, What Grinds My Gears is actually pretty refreshing. Hosted by Jill Carlson, a former bond trader on Wall Street turned crypto consultant, and Meltem Demirors, chief strategy officer at CoinShares, this podcast is genuinely unlike any other on this list.
It’s only a few weeks old, but this show is already providing a healthy dose of cynicism to the space. Instead of allowing some blockchain bigwig to rattle on for an hour, this podcast bucks the trend by featuring 10- or 15-minute conversations around big stories in crypto while offering opinion, analysis and debate. In other words, it breaks down what’s real and what’s hype—and fast.
Laura Shin, host of Unconfirmed, is an independent journalist and (gasp) “nocoiner.” She’s been hosting a different podcast called Unchained since the summer of 2016. However, it’s the spinoff that makes our list.
Unconfirmed is somewhat more concise and targeted than Unchained. It focuses on answering the important, looming questions that each news cycle in blockchain brings. Episodes last around 20 minutes and feature experts tackling critical topics—like how we can’t seem to stop ourselves from misusing terms like “decentralization.”
This Silicon Valley-based legacy venture capital firm also moonlights as a pretty stellar podcast outlet offering expert commentary. While not specifically crypto-focused, the episodes that do touch on the decentralized web (see here, here and here, for example) provide high-level analysis from some big-name investors, like general partners Ben Horowitz and Chris Dixon.
The show, which releases multiple episodes a week, is also worth a listen for its broader coverage of the entrepreneurial space, covering topics like marketing, user growth and case studies of other companies in tech.
Off the Chain
Rather than geeking out over the technology behind blockchain, host Anthony Pompliano focuses on the decentralized web’s impact on the financial sector, from investing and fundraising to everyone’s favorite topic, regulations.
Guests booked on the show hail from various backgrounds, including media, law, tech and finance, making this show a worthwhile, perspective-widening listen for even the most avid blockchain enthusiast. It’s also worth noting that Pompliano has a background in crypto investing—he’s a partner at Morgan Creek Digital and writes a daily email newsletter analyzing crypto news for institutional investors.
Invest Like the Best
Hosted by pro investor Patrick O’Shaughnessy, Invest Like the Best is tailored for those keen on learning about market trends and innovative investment strategy. While it’s more finance heavy, there are plenty of episodes that delve into blockchain and how the technology is disrupting the great flow of money.
If you’re in the blockchain world, and you’re hunting for useful business context and strategy, this is your jam. O’Shaugnessy is the CEO of his own asset management company and will typically host other venture capitalists, researchers and authors. Listen to an episode or two and try telling us you don’t feel a little smarter by the end of it.
Epicenter is an appropriate name for this podcast. It’s been around since 2013, and hosted some of the biggest names around: Vitalik Buterin, Gavin Andresen, Ralph Merkle, Neha Narula, among many others.
Beyond thoughtful Q&A, the small cast of hosts will also pepper in their own interesting insights, which makes each hour-plus episode every week feel like it’s not long enough.