Chandra Duggirala Podcast Transcript

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Headshot of CEO Chandra Duggirala

Chandra Duggirala Podcast Transcript

Chandra Duggirala joins host Brian Thomas on The Digital Executive Podcast.

Welcome to Coruzant Technologies, Home of The Digital Executive podcast.

Brian Thomas: Welcome to The Digital Executive. Today’s guest is Chandra Duggirala. Chandra Duggirala is a CEO and co-founder of Portal, the safest and easiest path to Bitcoin from any other chain, or layer 2. A medical doctor turned entrepreneur, Chandra previously started a medical device company and founded an AI based personalization nutrition company that customized diets based on genomic and metabolic levels.

An advocate for free and unfettered markets, Chandra is passionate about innovating new market structures and leveraging the best available technology to deliver the value of financial self-sovereignty and super intelligence.

Well, good afternoon, Chandra. Welcome to the show!

Chandra Duggirala: Thank you for having me, Brian. Real glad to be here!

Brian Thomas: Absolutely. I’m glad you jumped on as well. Love doing these things. As you know, I do about one a day, it seems like. But again, just so excited to be talking about the world of blockchain and Web3 and crypto and all that stuff that really gets me jazz is something that I really passionate about.

So, Chandra jumping into your first question here – as a medical doctor turned entrepreneur, what motivated you to move from the medical field to technology and finance? How has your medical background and experiences influenced your approach to leading portal?

Chandra Duggirala: Great question. I don’t think directly it has done anything to help lead a startup, but it does teach you a lot of patients.

It does teach you how to observe human behavior. It does teach you that there is no end to learning. And you can basically learn anything if you put your mind and your heart into it. So, I mean, I, I was a, after medical school I went to a PhD program in, in biophysics to go down the academic track. And obviously I found that it’s very constraining for someone who wanted to actually impact the world.

The academic track is very narrowly focused, very narrowly. Designed and it doesn’t actually allow you to have a huge impact unless you get extremely lucky. The entrepreneurial path, on the other hand, is you can pretty much start anything you want as long as you’re willing to commit to learning and learning the domain and focus on it for long stretches of time.

And the results are much more widespread in the sense that the impact you can have is much broader and in, and if you’re lucky, much deeper. So it’s a very, very interesting experience to have your, your feet in both of these completely different domains that have very different cultures both in terms of, like, the operational culture as well as, as, as the mindset.

So, it’s, so it’s been pretty interesting for someone who’s curious, you know, I think you are getting to see two completely different ways of looking at the world, right. Is, is a unique opportunity, I would say.

Brian Thomas: Thank you. Absolutely. And Chandra, I, I’ve been in healthcare a long time as well on the tech side, and there’s definitely two different worlds, two different cultures.

And I can see how like, like you, I, I experienced. The different cultures and got really excited about, you know, entrepreneurship some of the stuff related to blockchain and some of the emerging technologies. So, I really appreciate your share today. And Chandra, could you elaborate on the motivation behind rebranding from portal DeFi to portal to Bitcoin?

How does this new branding reflect your broader mission to serve the Bitcoin community?

Chandra Duggirala: This actually comes from when we started, we were building a protocol on top of Bitcoin to enable specifically DeFi applications, which is lacking compared to Ethereum and some of the other Turing complete smart contract chains.

And the fundamental belief is that Bitcoin is here to stay for a thousand years. It’s a, it’s a thousand-year database. And as an entrepreneur, you want to build on something that has lasting value. This is a platform risk. So, if you think about a startup, there is product market risk. There is technical risk.

There’s financing risk. There is scaling risk. There are all sorts of risks that you. Sequentially de risk as you go through the startup journey on top of that, if you’re betting on a platform, like, for example, if I chose this flow blockchain to build something on 2 years ago it’s an additional layer of uncertainty that complicates everything.

Even more factors beyond your control. So, we picked Bitcoin right at the beginning. And then we’ve seen the evolution of Bitcoin block space from being the just used for settling Bitcoin transfers and transactions. To now you’re actually seeing it become the settlement layer for many markets.

We like to say Bitcoin is transforming into a, the settlement layer for millions of markets. All, all the Bitcoin l twos, all of the tokens that will come out on the rooms protocol. There’s going to be many L ones that actually start to use Bitcoin for, for Ficano location and stuff like that. So.

Bitcoin is being transformed into the settlement layer for a million markets, basically, and the work we’ve done is to enable that adapter technology that scales the security model of Bitcoin, trust minimization, self-custody on chain, verifiable contracts, all of that stuff to enable all of these markets.

So, we, what we’re building is. Accurately described as being portal to Bitcoin. So, we said, you know what fits the branding fits the mission of the company as well as the technology that we built. And it’s rare that we have an alignment. So, that was an easy decision.

Brian Thomas: Absolutely. And I think that was a very smart decision. We do know Bitcoin is the powerhouse and will be around for many, many years to come, if not past another millennia. So, I appreciate your breakdown of that really do.

And Chandra, you bet. Can you explain the key innovations of your Bitcoin… I’m sorry, your BitScaler technology and how it addresses the challenges of custody in decentralized finance. What makes BitScaler a game changer? BitScaler. For cross chain transactions.

Chandra Duggirala: Great question. So, if you look at the history of cross chain transactions, the period between 2010 to 2019 was the era of on chain the era of centralized custodians, right? Centralized exchanges, custody user funds, and they enable you to trade and they settle on chain when you withdraw.

That was the dominant model. And, and, I don’t have to go into the details of how many exchanges have collapsed from Mt. Gox to FTX. I mean, there, there’s a new exchange that, that, that collapses and loses user funds or gets hacked every, every week, almost from 2019. So empirically centralized custodians have proven to be very, very harmful for users, financial safety and health 2019 to 2024.

There were these different attempts to have on chain custodians, like, like multi-SIGs Waltz. There are bridges and derivatives on other chains when the, the original underlying asset was held by a series of validators. All sorts of these attempts have also proven to be empirically very, very insecure.

So, for example, in 2023, 2.8 Billion dollars was lost from the bridges. Just in 1 year, so we believe that the era of 2024 and the future is going to be custody less cross chain transactions. And in that, in that main bit scaler, fundamentally works this way. There is a, we’ve built what is called a multi-party HDLC contract on the Bitcoin chain.

And then there’s a corresponding contract that is actually deployed on the pair chain, whatever your L2 is or L1 is. And then, because of a clever way of implementing what we call non-custodial delegation, in which the validators of the portal notary chain are witnessing all of these swaps, they’re broadcasting these, they’re actually running the operating system called portal OS, which comes with all the full nodes and the cross chain.

Event reading and passage message passing system called the coordinator. They are broadcasting all these transactions and only on chain footprint is when you open or you provide funding into a liquidity pool and then when you close. Epoch typically takes 30 days. Within the 30 days before users put money into these liquidity pools, they actually get a series of pre committed transactions on the native chain that gives their funds back after the epoch is over.

So, in all other forms of on chain custody, when the validators who are in custody or the multi sig owners who are in custody of the funds decide to steal their funds because the value of the collateral Is far greater than the value that they or the value of the user funds that the custody is vastly greater than the value of the collateral, which they’re going to be slashed for the expected behavior is that they will steal funds.

And then that happens quite commonly as it happened on third chain, et cetera. In our case, the worst thing that can happen in the case of a consensus failure, whether it’s Byzantine or fail stop or whatever, is that users have to wait for the timeout period, which is usually less than 30 days, right?

Epoch is 30 days, and then they broadcast the pre committed transaction states on the native chains or your Bitcoin or Ethereum, et cetera, and get your funds back. So, the worst-case scenario in, in portal’s case is your funds will be illiquid for a period of time, but we’ll always be able to get them back on the native chain as opposed to all of the forms of one chain custody.

You will lose your funds if the validators decide to steal them. It’s a, it’s a major breakthrough. And there’s many other properties of bit scaler. I mean, we call it a bit scaler because it not only scales the amount of transactions that you can do the throughput, but also the variety of transactions.

With no changes to the core Bitcoin protocol, you don’t need new up codes. You know, you don’t need any new changes to the consensus. We see a lot of projects that come out of the woodwork and say, hey, if you just implement these 2 up codes, we can do this. We need none of that stuff. It works with the constraints as is because the assumption is because I’m going to change the protocol is pretty much ossified and it’s supposed to be that way.

Brian Thomas: Thank you. I appreciate that. You know, we talk about web 3 blockchain crypto being a way for truly to give power back to the people. And these exchanges have notoriously, unfortunately, it’s kind of given everybody kind of a bad taste in their mouth. And I love the fact that you are working to advance technology to make this whole process, this whole chain more trustworthy, more secure.

And so, we don’t, we can minimize those risks of, of losing our investment. So, I appreciate that. And Chandra, could you discuss the significance of your partnership with Anduro and how it enhances cross chain, cross chain trading and Bitcoin utility? What future collaborations can we expect from Portal to Bitcoin?

Chandra Duggirala: Great question again. So Anduro is the blockchain built by Marathon Digital, which is one of the largest publicly listed mining companies. And what they’ve done is they’ve. Taken the Bitcoin core code base and they’ve added some additional features so you can think of it as a fork or a side chain or of Bitcoin. One of the advantages of working that way versus trying to build your own thing from scratch is that you it’s time-tested battle tested code military grade security. But the enhanced features that they want to bring on include tokenization of real-world assets, tokenization of equities, tokenization stable coins, all sorts of interesting stuff.

What we do provide is the permissionless peg in and peg out from all of those assets on that on their chain. Back to Bitcoin again, going back to the theme, Bitcoin is the settlement layer. You can play in with your NFTs. You can do your RWAs, you can do all the other stuff that you want to do on web three digital goods.

But the settlement happens on Bitcoin because, because at the end of the day, the only digital asset that most people are willing to hold for long periods of time and ignore volatility is Bitcoin. And because empirically that’s proven to be a very, very, very solid strategy. Given the state of the world and so permission, let’s begin and pay out for all these other assets.

And then you get many pairs that you can trade against anyone that integrates the port liquidity router will be able to have all of their assets be paired with your asset because all of the swaps are routed through a USDT pool. So, if you have let’s say, xBTC on your exchange. You can now, if you provide, provide liquidity for USDT versus XBTC, you can have all sorts of other pairs available to your users as well, because everything routes through the USDT pool.

And so, with the Enduro, permissionless peg in and peg out, we really like the work that they’re doing. They we believe will bring a lot more users and adoption to their side chain, which in turn benefits the security of Bitcoin.

Brian Thomas: Thank you. And I really appreciate you impacting that and the strength of that partnership, some of the innovations that they’re leveraging, you’re able to leverage as well.

And again, just love that you’re trying to make this a better place. Something that is more trusted, something that is more versatile and something that is going to help really the consumer at the end of the day. So I appreciate that. And Chandra, it was such a pleasure having you on today and I look forward to speaking with you real soon.

Chandra Duggirala: Thank you very much, Brian. Appreciate that.

Brian Thomas: Bye for now.

Chandra Duggirala Podcast Transcript. Listen to the audio on the guest’s podcast page.

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