Please tell us more about your background, how you got interested in web3 and what you are currently working on?
I had read a little about crypto in 2015 and when Bitcoin went on its run to 20k in 2017 it captured my attention. During that time I managed to make some excellent trades based purely on luck. I had no idea what I was doing, yet making incredible returns. Of course, this didn’t last long as the market turned very bearish following the 20k run and the ICO era on Ethereum.
In 2018 and 2019 I started to notice a series of DAPPs on the Tron blockchain appear. Most of these were somewhat shady online casinos. However, this was the first time I was interacting with protocols in a non-custodial way. I spent a good amount of time testing protocols and also following different wallets. One could somewhat easily find the most successful users and mirror what they are doing. A somewhat common “exploit” I noticed was that large users would drain certain online casino treasuries by utilizing martingale strategies. A lot of other ones were just rug pulls. The protocols then were very ugly compared to the ones of today.
In 2020 I rekindled my crypto YouTube channel (I started it in 2017). I used YouTube as a way to conduct research, connect with people, and because I enjoyed it. I was quite active and happened to build up a decent following. Through one of my streams, I found Backd. I really loved what they were building and reached out to see if I could help. After a few months of part-time help, I joined Backd as a full-time team member and stopped creating YouTube videos.
Beyond crypto, my background is primarily in TradFi or corporate finance (which was my study in college). I also had a mildly successful estimation services company I ran for a little while, worked some marketing jobs, and of course had a few failed side ventures.
I feel as though many people get interested in web3 because of the principles or narratives behind it. Most of which I stand behind. However, what personally captured and keeps my interest is the twitchy and memetic nature of it. A Twitter user with a profile picture of a frog can build a protocol with billions in TVL, everyday people can access returns normally only available to “accredited investors,” and any individual can contribute to a project without even having to show their face. In a lot of ways, web3 mocks the ideals that TradFi has maintained for decades. Furthermore, web3 tests comprehension, deductive reasoning, and such in a way you can’t find anywhere else. It is a challenging game, but one that never gets boring.
What is your definition of web3? Why should we care about it?
Web3 is the integration of distributed ledger technologies and the internet. The internet gave leverage to anyone in the form of access to information. Web3 will do the same but for property rights (ie asset ownership), financial services, etc. It also aims to do this in a fair and decentralized manner. But, we will see how that all works out.
I don’t think everyone should care about web3 if I am being honest. The permissionless non-custodial world that web3 aims to be is not what most people want. This requires active participation and responsibility. Most people would rather have someone else deal with their finances and don’t care about the “not your keys not your crypto” ideal. However, for those individuals that care about financial freedom and what comes along with it, they cannot ignore web3. The old gen investors (e.g. Warren Buffet) may become eluded through their dismissal of crypto over time.
What soft & hard skills have been most helpful in helping you succeed in web3?
Considering that I am not sure how success is defined in this context I do not have a precise answer.
If success is achieved when work becomes play then perhaps I have some.
One of the advantages of web3 is the melting pot of tasks and people. I stumbled upon a fantastic project that is run by a great group of people. This is just as useful as any skill because it internally programs efficiency and learning in a sense. So, to answer this question I would just say find a project that will keep you excited for at least a few years. The rest will come naturally.
What’s the best thing about your job? The most challenging?
The best part about my job is the people. Both the team and also the community. The most challenging part for me personally is probably organization. This is a really simple task, it is just challenging in the sense that it requires constant effort. Not only files and information but also my mind. It is really easy to get lost mentally with web3. I’m guessing most web3 people are like myself and consume way too much information. This can make staying focused on the right tasks and coordinating with other people challenging. It also has resulted in quite a few missed opportunities for me.
How do you manage to grow Backd community?
I’m lucky because the protocol design of Backd is pretty optimal for forming a strong community. There are many reasons why other protocols struggle with community growth but the main one is that there is simply not much for the community to do. It’s pretty hard to grow a community when members are left only to talk about price and maybe post a few memes. Or when engagement requires a valuable skill such as software development. Engagement is extremely important and if you can guide that engagement into productive endeavors you can build a very strong cohort. I could fill a few pages answering this question but I will keep it with this as it is my strongest point. Productive engagement.
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What do you focus on to differentiate your projects from other competitors?
At the time of this writing, Backd does not have any absolute competitors. Rather, the Backd protocol has competitors concerning specific components of Backd. Backd’s strategies are competing directly with Yearn. But Backd’s core value proposition, Reactive Liquidity, does not have any competitors. Because Backd is a novel protocol, we don’t need to focus on differentiation too much (as of now). Instead, the focus (from a development perspective) is on perpetually optimizing strategies, adding new actions, as well as integrations.
What is your favorite web3 Project? Among the people you’ve worked/interacted with in web3, who do you admire most and why?
Other than Backd my favorite web3 project is probably Iteration Syndicate. I have been a part of the community for a relatively long time and have had a lot of fun with it. It is an extremely unique project and group of people.
Well, I admire everyone on the Backd team. Beyond that, I also have admiration for Kurt. Before I was working full time in crypto I had practically zero contacts. Kurt was always open to talking and has shared a lot of good points with me along the way.
What is your vision for your niche? What do you expect to come in the next few years? What developments in the field do you find to be the most exciting?
In terms of Backd I envision it becoming a monster of a protocol. There are countless ways that we can expand and integrate. It was designed that way.
It is hard to say what is to come in the next few years. I think the impact of Covid will not be truly felt for a long time. Not the impact from the virus itself but from our economic reaction to it (modern monetary policy and all of that stuff). Regardless, I don’t think high levels of inflation are going away. At the time of this writing, crypto is still very correlated with traditional financial markets. In the next few years, I am expecting a gradual decoupling to occur between equities and digital assets.
I find DeFi derivatives to be the most exciting. I think in the next decade we will see new types of derivatives that had never existed in the traditional finance world.
What is the question that has not been asked here that you would have enjoyed reading the answer to from one of your peers?
What is your favorite meme. This one!