Please tell us more about your background, how you got interested in blockchain & DeFi and what you are currently working on?
After a few years as CFO, I became an entrepreneur. In 2014, I co-founded a company that powered international money transfers with Bitcoin as a backbone. That’s how the love story with web3 started.
I’m currently working on Request Network as a co-founder, of the blockchain agnostic payment request protocol. This idea was born in 2017 because at the origin of most cross-currency money transfers there is the need to pay an invoice in a different currency. Request Network is a technology that powers cross-currency invoices and payments all over the world, by connecting to more than 10 blockchains and enabling over 40 digital currencies.
Last but not least, I actively support the team at Request Finance, the first successful application on top of Request Network technology. In one year, we onboarded 1,000 businesses, DAOs, and freelancers from the web3 industry.
What problem does your project solve? What is your vision?
The 2 biggest challenges the project solve are:
- The challenge of compliance and simplicity: for companies dealing with cryptocurrency payments. Their accountants are happy now.
- Some intercontinental business relationships were not possible before stablecoins and Request: an Argentine contractor can now work with an Indian client for a $ 50 invoice that will be sent and paid in seconds, without a lot of fees and no compliance struggle.
Also, we’re building Stripe or Paypal for web3, where one can request assets and get paid without a third party. It could be NFTs, cryptos, or the leading payment request protocol in the Metaverse. What we know is that it starts with a payment request protocol and its simple crypto invoicing and payment application.
What do you focus on to differentiate Request from other blockchain networks?
Most of the blockchains generate payments without intermediaries (~send), not payment requests (~request). Request Network is doing it for all blockchains.
Are you currently looking to recruit new talent to your organization?
Our hiring team is on fire. We hire in all positions, including defi and blockchain engineers, full-stack and backend developers, marketing staff, and product managers.
Our team has been fully remote for over 3 years, we have a growing product to work on, with awesome technology that has a positive impact, and more importantly, makes users happy.
Tell me something that’s true, that almost nobody agrees with you?
- About web3 vs web2:
I think it is dangerous that web2 monetizes our data and our attention, and at the same time web3 is also dangerous because it tends to monetize our attention as well. For example, the retroactive airdrops could easily lead to a crypto burnout pandemic, see how fast this list grows.
- About payments in BTC or ETH versus stable coins:
Elon Musk was wrong if he believed people would buy cars in BTC (Tesla only sold 18 cars in BTC). People and businesses don’t need to pay in Bitcoin or Ethereum. They shouldn’t even want to pay in such a volatile currency. Most businesses and people make the same mistake when they first decide to pay or get paid in BTC or ETH, and then, sometimes a few years later, they switch to stablecoins and reverse their decision.
What soft & hard skills have been most helpful in helping you succeed in DeFi?
Everyone needs some technical skills, not necessarily coding, but reading a smart contract is necessary.
Processing information efficiently is important as well. It was quite easy to follow the progress of the whole industry from 2014 to mid-2017. Self-reflecting was key to decreasing the perimeter of information I process over time. Right now, I could not know everything about the industry and build something good at the same time.
Last but not least. Grit and determination led me to survive as a builder in the space. I’ve been harassed, insulted, attacked, and hacked. It takes some balls to stay focused. Luckily, the team receives a lot of love right now from the players who adopted the tech. That’s a reward.
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What’s the best thing about your job? The most challenging?
The best thing is to be working with partners who are quite smart and visionaries, with influencers who inspire us for a fairer future, and with highly talented colleagues.
Building in web3 is something we love but it’s also a pain in the ass. The technology stack is not that mature yet compared to the number of followers, and the REQ community tends to expect 168 new milestones a week. Fortunately, Request Network’s adoption reaches an all-time high every month this year.
Tell us about the greatest working day of your life. You're at home in the evening, sitting on your couch and thinking about what you accomplished. What made you so happy that day?
The greatest working day of my life did not happen yet. I’m making sure it happens within a few years. I expect it to be the day Request Network becomes a fully autonomous DAO, with an exponentially growing adoption by builders and users.
What is your favorite DeFi Project? Among the people you’ve worked/interacted within DeFi, who do you admire most and why?
I like KyberDAO for their humbleness and awesome project, MakerDAO for their successful transformation to a DAO, Aave for their awesome token economics and rebranding (from ETHlend). And Chainlink for the successful strategy, at all levels.
I also love Gnosis Safe. Martin K. is a person with strong values, their first multisignature wallet was efficient but super complex to use. Their experience has improved and their positioning enables projects such as Multis.co to build an even better experience.
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?
Today, Request Network’s main application is a web application that helps over 900 organizations to bill and pay with crypto in a compliant way. Companies & DAOs use it to manage invoices, expenses, and salaries in 1 click, with more than 10 blockchains and over 40 currencies at the moment. I expect all fiat currencies to be tokenized and compatible with web3.
I also expect the concept of “Digital Transformation” to become outdated for big firms while “Web3 Transformation” becomes the strategic thing to do now in order for them to survive. And that includes getting its spot in the Metaverse before it’s too late.
Unfortunately, the world might suffer a crisis and, as a consequence, this transformation will accelerate.
What quote has actually stuck with you and changed your life?
Some people say that Steve Jobs was not only a visionary but he also iterated a lot with users and said “No” quite often. It seems that among his last few words, he said he was “proud of the thousands of times he said “no” to an opportunity”. I think that’s powerful. Web3, NFT, Crypto, Metaverse are full of opportunities. Pursuing all of them would mean building nothing valuable. I’m making extra efforts to focus on what’s important.