Katie Haun (@katie_haun) is a general partner at Andreessen Horowitz. Previously, she spent a decade as a federal prosecutor with the US Department of Justice where she focused on fraud, cyber, and corporate crime alongside agencies including the SEC, FBI, and Treasury. She created the government’s first cryptocurrency task force and led investigations into the Mt. Gox hack and the corrupt agents on the Silk Road task force.
While serving as a federal prosecutor with the U.S. Department of Justice, she also prosecuted RICO murders, organized crime, public corruption, gangs, and money laundering. She held senior positions at Justice Department headquarters in both the National Security Division and Attorney General’s office where her portfolio included antitrust, tax, and national security. Katie has testified before both houses of Congress on the intersection of technology and regulation.
Katie serves on the board of Coinbase, where she chairs its audit and risk committees, and HackerOne. She also advises numerous technology companies and has invested in a range of companies from seed to Series C stage. She teaches a class on cryptocurrencies at Stanford Business School and previously taught cybercrime at Stanford Law School.
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What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.
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Want to listen to another episode about cryptocurrency? Make sure to check out my conversation with Nick Szabo, in which we discuss social scalability, strengths and weaknesses of Etherium, blockchain governance, quantum thought, future careers, and much more.
SELECTED LINKS FROM THE EPISODE
- Andreessen Horowitz
- Stanford Graduate School of Business
- Council on Foreign Relations
- Naval Ravikant on Happiness, Reducing Anxiety, Crypto Stablecoins, and Crypto Strategy | The Tim Ferriss Show #473
- Silk Road | Investopedia
- Our Glen Park Library Figures in a Noire-ish Tale | Glen Park Association
- The Princess Bride | Prime Video
- American Kingpin: The Epic Hunt for the Criminal Mastermind Behind the Silk Road by Nick Bilton
- If You’re Running an Illicit Drug Site, Maybe Don’t Use Your Real Email | Vice
- Blockchain 101 | CoinDesk
- Mt. Gox | Investopedia
- Stealing Bitcoins with Badges: How Silk Road’s Dirty Cops Got Caught | Ars Technica
- Affidavit of Special Agent Tigran Gambaryan in Support of Criminal Complaint | US District Court
- The Fast Track to a US Attorney’s Office | Harvard Law School
- Ben Horowitz Introduces Katie Haun | Andreessen Horowitz
- Chun-Li by Nicki Minaj
- Law & Order | Prime Video
- What is a Reverse Proffer? | Grand Jury Target
- MS13 In the Americas | InSight Crime
- Jurors Critique Lawyers After Guilty Verdicts in Gang Racketeering Trial | ABA Journal
- Mongols Motorcycle Club
- Hells Angels Motorcycle Club
- Mongols Motorcycle Gang Member Sentenced to Life in Prison for Murdering President of San Francisco Hells Angels | FBI
- Order Holding Google in Civil Contempt and Denying Government’s Motion for Evidentiary Hearing | US District Court
- Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act | Wikipedia
- 18 U.S. Code § 1959: Violent Crimes in Aid of Racketeering (VICAR) Activity | Legal Information Institute
- Predicate Act Law and Legal Definition | USLegal, Inc.
- River Run Riot | One Percenter Bikers
- Nuestra Familia | Historica Wiki
- Gangs Thrive in Maximum-Security Prison | 60 Minutes
- Norteños | Wikipedia
- 12 Secrets of the Witness Protection Program | Mental Floss
- Concealed Carry in the United States | Wikipedia
- Why Governments Are Afraid of Bitcoin | Investopedia
- Satoshi White Paper | Bitcoin
- $90 Million Seized in Fraud Case Tied to BTC-e Exchange | Bank Infosecurity
- What Are NFTs and How Do They Work? | CoinDesk
- Global Fantasy Football | Sorare
- Dapper Labs
- Officially Licensed Digital Collectibles | NBA Top Shot
- Stablecoin | Investopedia
- Rally Creator Coins
- Series of Tubes | Know Your Meme
- “One Hundred…Trillion Dollars.” | Tim Ferriss, Instagram
- Hyperinflation | Investopedia
- Horror Stories of Hyperinflation: Germany in 1920s | factXtract
- How Bitcoin Could Smash Socialism in Venezuela | Foundation for Economic Education
- Estonia Is Working on a Digital Currency — for Real This Time | Decrypt
- The Pros and Cons of Incorporating in Delaware | Entrepreneur
- Biography of the Dollar: How the Mighty Buck Conquered the World and Why It’s Under Siege by Craig Karmin
- Diem Association
- GameStop Hearing: What to Expect from Robinhood, Reddit, and Citadel CEOs | CNBC
- Musk Touts Crypto on Twitter, Tesla Buys $1.5 Billion in Bitcoin | Motor1.com UK
- Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP
- No “Yes.” Either “HELL YEAH!” or “No.” | Derek Sivers
- How the Difference Between Your Experiencing Self and Your Remembering Self Shapes Your Happiness | Brain Pickings
- Memoirs of a Geisha: A Novel by Arthur Golden
- Palace Walk by Naguib Mahfouz
- Killing Pablo: The Hunt for the World’s Greatest Outlaw by Mark Bowden
- Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War by Mark Bowden
- Under and Alone: The True Story of the Undercover Agent Who Infiltrated America’s Most Violent Outlaw Motorcycle Gang by William Queen
- Crypto Canon | Andreessen Horowitz
- Clubhouse: What Is It and How Do You Get an Invite to the Exclusive Audio App? | The Guardian
- What Is DeFi? | CoinDesk
- Katie gives us a rundown of how blockchain technology both powered the Silk Road darknet market and dropped the breadcrumbs that led to its downfall — as well as the arrest of the corrupt agents who were exploiting the investigation for their personal enrichment. [06:45]
- As an aside for anyone not already in the know: what is blockchain technology? [16:57]
- How did Katie get the tip that there were corrupt agents profiting from the investigation? [21:23]
- What does the job of a federal prosecutor entail? [24:30]
- As a federal prosecutor, Katie never lost a case. To what does she attribute this perfect record? What is it about her methodology that differentiated her from others in her field? [26:00]
- What made “fearless and egoless” Assistant US Attorney Wil Frentzen such a good mentor (and a bit of a character) during this time? [32:15]
- A story about the time Katie and Wil made sure Google wasn’t above the law. [35:58]
- How is the RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) Act used to take down organized crime? [38:55]
- While working to put violent criminals behind bars, what was the self-talk that kept Katie level-headed when risks to personal safety were of valid concern? How large are these criminal organizations, and how much reach do they have in the outside world? [41:40]
- Was there ever an instance where Katie genuinely feared for her life while prosecuting these types of criminals? [47:34]
- When did Katie first hear about Bitcoin, and how did her impression of it change as she learned more about it? [48:37]
- From navigating the mistrust of early players in the emerging crypto space to finding common ground and eventually joining the Coinbase board of directors. [51:57]
- Why it’s important for there to be ongoing dialogue between governments and crypto developers. [56:31]
- On illustrating the potential good of cryptocurrency with Paul Krugman and others who are skeptical of — or even downright hostile toward — it. [58:24]
- What are NFTs (non-fungible tokens), and how do they work? [1:01:16]
- What developments does Katie expect to see in crypto or blockchain over the next three to five years? [1:08:05]
- In what ways does Katie see regulation of these new technologies taking shape as government adapts to understanding them? [1:15:07]
- What types of countries will most readily embrace digital currencies in a powerful way, and is Katie concerned that the US might just show up too late to the party? [1:21:03]
- How might Bitcoin volatility decrease to the point where larger institutional investors would allow it into their portfolios as they do gold? [1:29:50]
- What roads less traveled have been the most challenging for Katie? [1:32:58]
- What’s the story behind Katie’s pivot from government prosecutor to joining the board of a cryptocurrency company and working with venture capital? [1:38:42]
- Does Katie agree with one of our mutual friends that she is a child whisperer of sorts? How was she inspired to excel when she was a child, and what does her son want to be when he grows up? [1:45:27]
- Favorite books and the memories with which they’ve become entwined. [1:53:00]
- Katie’s ask of the audience: explore crypto (and suggested resources to get started). [1:57:55]
- Parting thoughts. [2:04:13]
Related and Recommended
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