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This is an edited transcript of our podcast episode with Mark Stanwyck and Rick Seeger, published on 7 January 2022. Mark Stanwyck is the Co-Founder of Avalaunch – the first protocol, exclusively for the Avalanche ecosystem, to offer projects a platform for decentralized fundraising. Rick Seeger is the Co-Founder of Oh! Finance – an optimized yield-generation protocol. In this podcast we discuss how traditional gaming companies respond to GameFi, how fundraising works in crypto, use cases in crypto, and much more. While we have tried to make the transcript as accurate as possible, if you do notice any errors, let me know by email.
Bilal Hafeez (00:00:01):
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Now, onto this episode’s guest, Mark Stanwyck and Rick Seeger. Mark is the co-founder of Avalaunch, the first protocol exclusively for the Avalanch ecosystem to offer projects, a platform for decentralised fundraising. And Rick is the co-founder of Oh! Finance, optimised yield generation protocol. We have a great discussion on the crypto landscape and the evolution of genuine use cases. So, on to my interview.
So welcome, Mark and Rick. It’s great to have you on the podcast show. I’ll be looking forward to our conversation. It’s our first podcast of the new year, 2022. Well, before we go into the meat of our conversation, I always like to learn more about the guests themselves, the origin stories. So perhaps we can start with that and maybe, Mark, we can start with you and just find out what did you study at university, was your path to crypto natural in any way, and then how did you get to where you are now?
Mark Stanwyck (00:02:09):
Yeah, sure. The education and path to crypto piece is probably unconventional, but that’s, I think normal, particularly in crypto. So in college I actually studied environmental science, really nothing to do with what I ended up pursuing. But again, not entirely uncommon, at the time that seemed interesting. But I went to school here in California where I’m from, Northern California, which is appropriate place to study these things. And after college I started working, and after college I began working in non-profit fundraising at the Prostate Cancer Foundation here in Santa Monica. And that’s a non-profit run by Michael Milken. He has just a suite of companies and things that he does. I know a lot of them are philanthropic. And I worked at the Prostate Cancer Foundation, helping them develop their online fundraising systems, working in their communications, and learning a lot about what fundraising looked like in the real world. And, as everyone knows, fundraising’s a big business, it’s not this soft kind of fluffy thing really. And so dealt with a lot of very, very wealthy people and just got interesting perspective on that. Prior to that I had discovered Bitcoin around 2011, 2012 as someone who has a background and an interest in technology and strange ones, that was something that presented itself and was really taken by it at that time. It wasn’t until 2016, 2017 with the Ethereum application ecosystem. Prior to that, we’re just talking about value being transferred essentially. It wasn’t until that point where as a younger guy, let’s say a career path through crypto was more obvious. It was to some prior to that, but you had something that started to look more like a traditional start-up world where creative ideas and what’s possible was beginning to be really valued.
So at that point I entered crypto in a more full-time capacity and started working with any team that I could that was building. And at that point, and I would say it’s still true today. You can get involved if you are hungry enough, smart enough and aggressive enough, this opportunity is really open to anyone. And I think that’s kind of one of the interesting things about it. But worked in the industry for a lot of years, leading me to launch Avalaunch late last year.
Bilal Hafeez (00:04:24):
Okay, and we’ll talk more about Avalaunch during our conversation. And Rick, what’s your origin story?
Rick Seeger (00:04:28):
Similar start here. So little different background, although I will say, Mark environmental studies is actually going to end up being like that hot button topic in the coming years I feel like as people are going to the leaner and greener blockchains. But so about 2011, 2012, right in that same zone is when I started. Little, probably maybe more traditional, electrical and computer engineering, dual major. So definitely coder by nature, I guess, techy by nature, if you want. Studied a lot of different crypto aspects in school. So it kind of really was thrust on me in, I’d say in the 2009, ’10 realm. I do actually have an actual story where I was part of a class that did buy pizza using Bitcoin. So I think I’m one of the more original rags to riches stories of all the Bitcoin you could have had, or I should say riches to rags, I guess.
So it started there, definitely just, I was the guy at the family party saying like, “This is the future. This is just a unique store of value.” But at that point you didn’t really know what you had. You just had obviously Bitcoin being the big behemoth in the room, and then slowly you started to see different projects, different proof of work protocols, different kinds of things prop up. You have the major, major boom in 2017 where you start the emergence of Ethereum and the emergence of actual, what I like to say is actual utility. At that point I’m probably doing a lot of algorithmic trading and trying my best at writing my own bots and trying more just straight flipping. But then you start to really see the power of, “Okay, what am I flipping? What are these different tokens? What are they doing? What are these ICOs? What am I investing in?” You start really researching it. You start getting involved with a lot of the different projects. To Mark’s point, if you reach out more often than not almost every project in the whole space like, “You’re willing to help, come on in.” I don’t think there’s a project in this space that isn’t looking for help and isn’t looking to really do things better, faster, pretty much all around. So if you put that all together, that brings us fast forward to our big DeFi Summer, brings us to with Oh! Finance being the where you start to really see utility. What is important to me is, how do I put my savings and other assets to better use so it’s not just sitting there if you will, or making less than I think it should. And that’s that whole true crypto at its core is power to the people, that whole decentralised aspect and returning more to both token holders, but returning more yield to the individual person, as opposed to say to the institutions, if you will. The people are the institutions and so that’s where again, where my whole journey takes me is wanting to build something and play in the sandbox of something that is really deeply interesting to me from both a financial aspect, but also like a safety aspect and just how to best earn and how to best kind of change the world if you will, with the way I think it should be done. So maybe it’s a little bit of an anarchist hat, but not really. I just think it’s going to be different financial instruments that it will very much change the world.
Comparison of layer-one protocols from Ethereum to Avalanche
Bilal Hafeez (00:07:26):
Yeah, that’s great. And we’ll come back to some of the points about savings and safety and risk and so on around that all. But I thought perhaps we could start with talking about layer one protocols and Avalanch, which is the basis upon which both of you kind of work on. And so there’s been this big focus on layer one protocols, obviously Ethereum is the big one that has the largest market share, so to speak. And in some ways it kind of set the template of what is possible for crypto in terms of programmability and so on. Now, obviously we have a number of rival L1 or layer one protocols that have come to being the Solana, Kadano, Avalanch. So maybe we can start with getting your take on layer ones and how Avalanch compares to state Ethereum and some of these other ones? Maybe Mark, do you want to maybe start with some of your perspectives on this?
Mark Stanwyck (00:08:20):
Yeah, sure. It’s a really interesting question. And there’s this natural kind of positioning to the question, which is like, which is best, which is dominant, which will win. And that’s a reasonable one. I don’t know that it’s the most useful perspective when you’re talking about building, when you’re talking about investing, diversification it’s always a good idea. But to answer the question more directly, you had initially Ethereum, and this was something that felt like was going to win and win forever. And it was going to scale. And any problems that it had would be solved. And as great as Ethereum is, and quite honestly, everyone around Ethereum, other L1s basically owe everything to Ethereum, because they’re all running the Ethereum Virtual Machine and have the benefit of hindsight essentially, and more time. But the scaling issues around Ethereum are real and these things just haven’t come quite as fast or efficiently as everyone expected they would, it’s just reality. And so it left this opportunity open for other viable alternatives that were architectured differently. Again, with the benefit of more time for research and more time to observe potential efficiencies to spring up around them. And they certainly did because there’s a lot of money on the table and a lot of potential to realise through what can be built on these L1s. And so, I think it, regardless of whatever you say about the failings or weaknesses of Ethereum, none of this would be here. And additionally, all these other chains still leverage in some way the monetary activity that lives on Ethereum and the user base. So they’re still feeding off of it at a certain point. It’s not a mistake or an accident that all of these other popular chains run an EVM and launch with the EVM, because that’s their best opportunity to capture developers, capture users. And it’s all sort of feeding off of each other in that way.
Bilal Hafeez (00:10:15):
And Mark, just for our audience. And can you talk a bit more about what EVM is?
Mark Stanwyck (00:10:19):
Sure. So the Ethereum Virtual Machine is basically the operating system and the smart contract language that these applications are built on. So very simplistically you could think about it like a computer operating system essentially. And this is what all of these contracts are written and executed in. Smart contracts that allow us to have the centralised applications. This was something that was created and popularised on Ethereum and it’s become Solidity, the smart contract language, the Ethereum Virtual Machine, these are what everyone uses now and everyone is used to using and has the largest developer communities and the most support. And so when new L1s have come along, the ones that have succeeded have not gone out and said, “Here’s our new language. We’re going to rewrite everything because it’s better.” They’ve recognised the power of that buy in and launched and an effort to capture some of it, and that’s worth acknowledging. Beyond that each of these chains have different degrees, let’s say of actual decentralisation and that’s a much different topic. But at the end of the day, Ethereum is very decentralised, Avalanch is very decentralised, and some of the other more competitive L1s, I think struggle with some of these things. The interesting part about it is how much that matters and to who and why, because it could not matter to you, depending on how you’re approaching this. Now, if you are looking at, where are we in 10, 15 years? I think the true decentralisation will really matter if you’re a developer that wants to build a popular application and is only looking one year out. And the rest is kind of, we’ll see. There may be a solution here that doesn’t require that and that’s okay. It’s just, it’s not really the point here.
Bilal Hafeez (00:12:05):
No, and it’s point well taken, Mark. I guess it’s very tempting to just look at everything as a zero-sum game, the winner takes all, and so it’s a fair point that we could just have an ecosystem of all of these L1s and they all kind of end up surviving and working to different niches. Rick, do you want to add anything to this?
Rick Seeger (00:12:21):
I mean, I can just speak towards, I mean, Mark did an incredible job there. I was just going to speak towards why Avalanch in terms of why we chose it is I think it’s the things that make it more natural to the outside user, I guess, right to the norming transaction, the finality of a transaction is I believe it’s down to less than two seconds. That’s when you actually put a message on chain, how long does it take to confirm, right? That is if you’ve read anything about gas wars and things along those lines. With Ethereum those can be one, very costly. Two, it almost creates an odd user experience if you go and do something and it doesn’t complete nearly right away. And that is not traditional, that is when you go to your bank and you transfer money between accounts. I mean, yes, there might be a time it takes to actually do it on the back end. But in terms of the user experience, something happens in a relatively fast manner. So that is one of the chief points of this, the speed and efficiency of the Avalanch blockchain. Mark really touched on a lot of it. I could go into the difference of proof of work and proof of stake. I think everything is moving towards proof of stake from both an energy efficiency, but also just security aspect. That speaks towards that true decentralisation to ensure you’ve read about your 51% attacks, that’s where a network can kind of be stolen, for lack of a better phrasing. So, the more decentralised you are and the more threat the security threshold, the higher that is, the less likely of that occurring and that true decentralisation aspect. I mean, those are, and then just transactional throughput. I think there’s always been that one of Avalanch’s big things that they’ve been saying for years is that Visa level throughput and that if you’re handling credit card network level throughput through any network, you’re going to be able to handle a true chain of finance, which doesn’t speak towards either, or I guess it does speak towards that, it being EVM compatible. Brings all those financial instruments from Ethereum into what is more pleasant, again, blockchain from the aspects from the end user.
Bilal Hafeez (00:14:14):
And Ethereum will go to proof of stake this year, according to the roadmap?
Rick Seeger (00:14:20):
Barring for further delays, yeah.
Bilal Hafeez (00:14:21):
Yeah, barring further delays. And so will that dramatically improve the throughputs and latency issues of Ethereum, or not?
Rick Seeger (00:14:28):
It should, again, it’s really what you … I think everyone wants it too. I mean, even I would argue even the other L1s want it too. Better functioning Ethereum makes everything function better. Because even the bridging, getting between ecosystems. When gas is high, it’s still expensive, it’s still it’s non-natural. So the better the Goliath in the ecosystem is running, the better for bringing financial instruments in and then growing the broader ecosystem. You had mentioned it, it’s not a zero-sum game.
Mark Stanwyck (00:14:55):
Yeah. And the other thing that’s just interesting to consider is, assume all of these technologies even are somewhat equal. The thing that’s hard to account for are the community and the character and the culture of each of them independently. And it’s something that’s very hard to predict. And so when you have a decentralised technology where anyone can come build and build applications on that anyone can use, what you see are different cultures and personalities gravitating toward different change. And that’s a really interesting thing to observe. And so the application ecosystem, let’s say Binance Smart Chain, which isn’t even in this conversation, and for good reason, looks very, very, very different than what you might find on Ethereum, which in my opinion, I think Rick would agree, is a very, very transparent, collaborative and honest ecosystem. And that really matters because that shows up and everything in the work informs everything else. And so, it’s just, it’s an interesting thing to watch. The communities that spring up in each of these and why. And they’re all very different.
Bilal Hafeez (00:16:00):
Yeah, and certainly what I found at least is one of the nice features about crypto in general is this community aspect that there is this underlying philosophy of always trying to think about the community. And one kind of challenged all of that is really when you’ve introduced the money side of it, when people come in for the large returns and then it changes the culture somewhat. So, I mean how, have you found say over the past 12 months or so where there’s been much more interest in crypto because of the price gains, that it’s changing the culture of the crypto world?
Mark Stanwyck (00:16:33):
I would say no, it accelerates sort of the things that are already here and inherent some. But what’s been happening I think since really let’s say 2017 with every bull cycle, and now we’re kind of at this inflexion point it feels like, where you get this run up in price, this run up in users and then you get some kind of correction and it quiets. And then there’s a year period or so, and then it happens again. Well, crypto has been just, and the technology and Bitcoin has been so broadly validated that it’s just, it’s becoming less and less of a reversal in terms of people and community. Because everyone’s just like the, what this is and the potential and the opportunity. It’s just so rooted now that you don’t see a lot of change between these macro type cycles, which are probably condensed anyway. It’s just sort of, everyone’s like, the innovation has happened and it’s hard to put that back in the box.
Rick Seeger (00:17:28):
Yeah, extending on that. You’ll see that I think the type of cycle you’re seeing is a huge thing to touch on. You used to have really boom or busts. Full bull, full bear. And the communities kind of would follow. I mean, quiet went eerily quiet, just like, “Wow, is crypto just gone?” And the builders were building, don’t get me wrong. I mean, the ones that are still around today are the ones that built through it and had vision and saw where they wanted to go. But that didn’t stop the communities from largely disappearing, the Reddit threads from drying up, the telegrams from, and you’re not seeing them now. Now it’s like, “All right, it’s a quiet period.” Who’s experimenting, who’s going to push the envelope, who’s going where? Whether it’s really unique gamification in the GameFi space or these OHM Forks where they’re playing on game theory of like, if two users make the right decision, the token goes up and if they make the wrong decision, it goes down. And you’re seeing just really, really interesting experimentation, but right at its very core, that really is finance is experimenting with different ways to earn, different ways to utilise the different networks and platforms and even communities. So just really, again, echoing what Mark said, the cycles are looking different. And I think this what’s upcoming, this 2022 cycle is not going to look like 2021. It’s not going to look like 2020. It’s not going to look like the bears. And I think as a builder, it’s kind of an exciting to time to really put your head down and see where everything’s going.
Bilal Hafeez (00:18:53):
Yeah. And I guess on that, what seems to be more evident is more use cases or utility as you alluded to earlier. So you mentioned GameFi, we’ve mentioned savings or DeFi, can you talk a bit more about some of the use cases beyond store of value arguments, which lend themselves, I guess more to kind of Bitcoin. I mean, what are some of these use cases that we’re seeing that you think have sustainable legs in them?
Mark Stanwyck (00:19:21):
Crypto’s really interesting because it’s very, very trend based. And right now you’re seeing, let’s just say a lot of gaming stuff. Certainly a lot of DeFi things and improvements on those things, because they’ve been around for a while. Now, the idea of gaming on the blockchain, traditional finance on the blockchain, these things are not new. They’ve been around since as long as you could dream them up. But when the technology becomes sort of well acknowledged enough to support these kind of things is anyone’s guess. And now we’re seeing with the adoption of Bitcoin and some of the more traditional finance sectors, people are like, “Well, this is probably heading in the direction of real finance, what’s next?” Whereas in 2017, 2018, a lot of these protocols in theory were around. They just, sort of anyone’s guess as to whether these things would be taken gaming to. It’s just that now the technology is fast enough and can scale enough to support some of these things that everyone always wanted to build anyway. But you’re seeing a lot of decentralised finance stuff, like Oh! Finance, more straight ahead products. And then just sort of really, really wild kind of thinking around what’s possible with savings products and things like that. Games and metaverse stuff is obviously very, very popular. So online, let’s say just worlds where you’re redefining what it looks like to own and exist in an ever increasing digital world. And with Facebook rebranding to Meta, them going kind of going all in on this area. Again, when these things start to be more broadly validated in the safer areas, this is when this stuff starts to really pick up because the opportunity looks greater and more secure, and people are more comfortable in larger numbers building toward these things.
How GameFi works
Bilal Hafeez (00:21:07):
And just on the gaming side, I’m not the hardcore gamer and I haven’t really engaged in GameFi side. So as a child I’d play all the arcade games, Street Fighter and Mortal Combat, Tekken and all of those ones from the old days and Call of Duty and so on. So, I can kind of, okay, I can understand those types of games and even Fortnite, where you enter kind of a virtual world and so on and you pay for skins and so on. But can you just help me understand the GameFi side, how can it be that you can earn while you’re playing a game?
Mark Stanwyck (00:21:36):
Yeah. So there’s one way to think about it, which is just, this is a game like any other game, it’s just played in a different way and built on a different technology stack. With DeFi and NFTs, these newer concepts, which you start to see is people start to layer these things into gaming to create new experiences. The play-to-earn genre of gaming is something new, because it kind of takes all these components of DeFi that already exist and put them into one thing which people in crypto like to do, and see what comes out of it. And so, these play-to-earn games, they can look very different. They can be sort of idle games, which are just kind of casual, easy to play, easy to pick up games. They can be much more complex strategy games. But at the end of the day you’re earning money that exists on a blockchain, so you can transact with it the same way. And it leverages some of these very, very powerful DeFi type principles and protocols where you can see great yield and take that yield and do different kinds of things with it, let’s say even while it’s earning a yield.
So, we at Avalaunch launched a game called Crabada probably two months ago now. And it’s a very simple casual game with a very powerful in-game economy. And so it’s NFT-based, which means you own the assets, you own the characters in the game and you can level them up. So there’s this secondary market where these things are bred and traded. So that’s its own sort of interesting economy, right? And then you can take these crabs and play them in the game based on the level that you have and earn real money just by playing the game, and this style of game’s a little grindy, so you just kind of play it and play it and play it. But the interesting part of this really is because I think it’s easy to underestimate, well, it’s a game and you can play money. That sounds nice. But what we’re seeing here is that with the adoption of blockchain in smaller countries, less wealthy countries, and this happened in PC gaming too. There’s lots of people who are earning significant amounts of income playing these games, making a living, doing this now because they’re built in a sustainable way. And so it actually starts to in small ways that become very, very impactful and bigger, reshape local economies and the way that people actually think about work.
You can think about it like remote work, you have someone in India and they do remote work and remote virtual assistant work for people in other countries, and they’ve done there online for years. Well, this is potentially something that could replace that and then take those assets and interact with them in different ways outside of the local currency. And so there’s guilds and things like that that we won’t get into. But we were talking with a project the other night was building one of these guilds and they’re talking, and he’s in Vietnam. And they’re talking about in their local small towns, rice farmers in the fields harvesting, and then actually playing these games on their phone, earning better money. And it’s just these little tricklings of the evidence, I think that are important to pay attention to and realise that it, again, it becomes hard to predict where this stuff goes and the power of it, but we all know it’s impactful. And so it’s just, it’s very interesting to watch this stuff unfold because as you can say games, okay, that’s great. But it’s like, you really look at what’s happening here and where this could be and it starts to become very, very interesting.
Bilal Hafeez (00:24:51):
Yeah, the gaming economy, I think is very interesting. When I look at my Fortnite bill every quarter with the amount of skins my son buys, I realise that there’s a lot to the economics of video games. And I think at the moment with things like buying or selling skins, that’s a very kind of trivial way of trying to accrue value and all the value accrues Epic Games, it’s centralised rather than to the players. So that is rightful disruption there. And Rick, I know you engage with some of these games as well?
Rick Seeger (00:25:17):
Oh yeah. I mean I was, Mark did a fantastic job with that explanation, but I mean, there’s some interesting points he touched on that I just want to retouch on though, of like it is redefining work economies. Obviously in a COVID world where a lot more is moving remote, this is kind of furthering that envelope even further. I didn’t know. I mean, I know a lot of them are coming from those third world countries or lesser world countries in terms of Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam, where earning additional income is life changing. And so that’s really where it’s, from just an outside looking in or an inside looking in, really incredible to see. But it’s that stickiness, it’s you mentioned a couple pieces that I’m just going to touch again. I’m like, “Sure yeah. The skin’s economy is trivial.” Epic Games might disagree. I haven’t looked up the exact numbers, but I think it’s in the probably millions, if not hundreds of millions of dollars.
Bilal Hafeez (00:26:06):
Oh no, when I said trivial, I meant more in terms of the concept is very simple, but the revenues are huge. This is a huge money maker for these guys.
Rick Seeger (00:26:15):
And I’ll bring it back to you, you’re starting to see personalised ownership, right? As Twitter in the near future will being allowing you to authoritatively say, “I own this NFT,” you start seeing people identify as their NFTs, which is driving a whole different market, which I don’t even know if we want to get into today, but it kind of all feeds in. As more people understand that a non-fungible token is certifiable ownership on the blockchain. If you can then bring it to a social media platform and it can become your persona, if you can become farmer extraordinaire or part of the crab Legion and you’re running a guild, then that becomes your persona and then you get your scholars and you’re helping to power this whole game economy that drives the whole engine forward. And again, it’s all like proof on the chain is happening, and the economy and the buybacks and all that is going back to the players, it’s way different than say Fortnite, where you buy a skin play-to-earn the in-game currency. But ultimately that’s going back to Epic, whereas this is going back to the actual farmers. And so you can, I mean, I’m hopelessly an addict of Crabada. That was an interesting one you called out. Axi’s obviously a Chuggernaut in the space. You’re going to see many, many, many more prop up. And it’ll be really interesting to see the different, again, just to bring up that word again, experiments coming out of how to have the token economies work so that the systems work. Ultimately you normally have a utility token, which is going to be that infinite kind of supply token, and then you’re going to have that really more defined supply. So then you’re going to have, I think user bases wanting to gobble up that defined supply, because that’s more that governance token where they will have a say on how that economy works. So like, “Hey, we’re admitting too much of this token. And it’s, we want to have some say into how to change that reward structure.” Well, then owning more of this other or token is more like having seats at the board. And so I think you’re starting to see some of those governance wars starting to heat up. Less so maybe in GameFi and more so in say curved out or some of these larger, more proven DeFi tokens, but you’re going to start to, I think that’s another theme you’ll see in the coming true decentralised governance and true decentralised ownership of these protocols.
How traditional gaming companies respond to GameFi
Bilal Hafeez (00:28:25):
Well, we’ll come up to DeFi in a moment. Just one kind of more, I guess engineering question almost is, is it possible in these games, in the GameFi or crypto games or the metaverse on crypto, is it possible to get as good a user experience as you have in the traditional gaming and virtual world systems that we have? There’s billions of investment that goes into these games, and the UI, UX, I mean, it’s quite amazing. I mean, is it possible to build similar type of games with the blockchain underlying it all? Or is there some limit to that?
Mark Stanwyck (00:29:02):
Yeah, I think the thing that matters there is, the answer is yes. And the thing that matters there is how much of this game actually exists on chain and how much of it leverages sort of the power of what can happen on chain? And that’s an important distinction because you certainly have truly decentralised games. And I think it’s up for debate amongst whoever’s building that and playing it, how much that true decentralisation matters. And so if every action, think about a gambling game or a casino game or something like that, where it’s just, you just run right through it and you can put this into a chunk of code. Something like that starts to make more sense because you want it to be provably fair, you want to make sure that the results are truly random.
Now, if you’re talking about a game, let’s just say like Call of Duty, where there’s an in-game economy that relies on crypto and these assets are traded on the blockchain. You can have that component of it that is verifiable. You can interact with your money and assets as freely. The economy of that’s very, very powerful, with the game actually just being maybe a more traditional game. So the experimentation that Rick’s talking about is a few fold, which is like, what’s possible on chain, what needs to be on chain. And how can we make these things better and more impactful by blending the two and landing somewhere on that spectrum of centralisation and even experimenting with where people’s tolerance for this stuff lies. Because there’s like a social sort of ethical, ethos kind of element to this where someone might say, “This should be all on chain.” And the other guy says, “I don’t care that this is not on chain. This part should be, but this I’m happy with.” And so it’s almost like you have to go through it to understand where people’s tolerance for it is, what they respond to. It’s the same conversation we’re talking about, about the decentralisation, the layer one itself is it matters to some, it doesn’t matter to others and why. And that extends to everything. So, when you’re talking about a really user experience, you can absolutely create it, and people are. And as the technology scales, you’ll go deeper, deeper, deeper in that decentralised direction. But even just today, the things that L1s and blockchains make possible are so interesting and impactful for these economies that you’ve revolutionised it essentially just by kind of bringing the two together.
Bilal Hafeez (00:31:26):
I can see where you are going there. And I suppose the sort of the challenge now is for the big existing gaming companies, how much are they willing to let go of in terms of in-game economics? There’s kind of that challenge.
Rick Seeger (00:31:38):
Or lean in.
Ways in which Defi offers high yields
Bilal Hafeez (00:31:40):
Or lean in, or endorse it and get ahead of the curve. So will be an interesting few years when we see that all. Now, I did want to talk about DeFi as well. And so, as an outsider, when I look in and I see the DeFi world, it just looks like the Wild West. I mean, you see interest rates where you can earn say two, 3%, which obviously is higher than zero, but it’s reasonable. It’s within the radar of traditional investors, but then you see yields offering 1,000% or 2,000%, and then you really start to get suspicious of those. So it really seems like the way people report yields is perhaps different. How you earn those yields is different as well. There’s all sorts of risks that one needs to understand. So how should go about understanding DeFi? Perhaps Rick, you can kind of start us off on this?
Rick Seeger (00:32:29):
Yeah. I mean, that’s a loaded question on many different platforms and many different ways. But I’d say, I can touch on reporting, I’ll start with the reporting of APRs, APYs. Of course one is compounded, one is not. Obviously if you’re showing APY your numbers are always going to look a little higher and that’s kind of a little bit of a trick to the space, I suppose. If the APY or APR looks really high, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a unsafe protocol. I would say what it does mean is potentially bad Tokenomics or something along the lines of maybe something that is harder to sustain. It can also yes mean, I mean, this is where it’s always, I think the big mantra space is like DYOR, like do your own research and make sure who is backing it, what’s backing it. This is very much, I think in GameFi you might be able to get away with this a little more in the sense of like, true to centralisation versus maybe a little bit more centralisation. Whereas I think in more DeFi, I prefer to see more code is law of what is on chain does matter because those are what protects you from URI. Like when you’re investing in a platform and you’re trying to earn yield, you want to make sure that your investment’s safe. So again, I’ll talk towards my platform, and then I can talk towards what’s underlying, because it really is using some of the yield options out there. So when you invest in Oh!, It is auto balancing on really well-proven protocol. So, it’s investing into Trader Joe, which is a loose fork or a pretty tight fork, I should say, on compound finance, a really well-known finance application. It’s investing into curve, which every time a user invests in the curve, it creates a little bit of slippage. And then it audit, it’s basically a continuous liquidity pool where that’s going to fill that slippage or fill that arbitrage opportunity and close the gap in the pools.
So that’s, if you think of it from a traditional finance, they’re trading slight differences in arbitrage opportunities. So if you’re talking between stable coins and the like, you’re going to try and close those and create volume fees and then return those fees to the user. So that’s where again, you’re going to see really more traditional things where you’re going to saw maybe see smaller gains in that anywhere from five to 20%, which probably me saying 20 is like, wow, 20, percent’s like a huge number. But a lot of that, and now this is going to go all the way back to our L1 in conversation. As you’re seeing these really big blockchains want to make a name for themselves, they’re going to have these really rich liquidity programmes where they’re trying to entice these new protocols into their blockchain. So really well known entities like Avalanch saying, “We want to bring, if you’re a builder, come to our blockchain and we’re going to help incentivize your platform with the AVAX’s token. Well, that’s going to shoot all the yields up in a safe way. There’s nothing unsafe about Avalanch giving AVAX the curve, for example. It doesn’t threaten the curve protocol. What it will do is temporarily make those APRs and APIs look very high for however long that emissions period will last. And then probably you’ll see them come down a little bit and that’s for that then experimentation.
Bilal Hafeez (00:35:23):
And so in terms, in that particular example, the yield will be high in AVAX terms. So if the price of AVAX falls, then presumably the yield, the return on the dollar amount you have in your head goes down, I suppose?
Rick Seeger (00:35:38):
Correct. Yeah, and that’s where a lot of yield protocols are harvesting that yield as quick as they can, or as often as they can and kind of compounding it inside of it. That’s just one aspect. And again, that’s just one aspect of yield farming. When you’re talking yield farming, you’re playing that arbitrage.
Bilal Hafeez (00:35:53):
And if we just go step back to say the simplest case of the stable coins, so you have a stable coin, whichever one, say USDC or whichever other one. So that’s a crypto currency that’s sort of pegged to the U.S. dollar. So the sort of the price risk is very, very low, assuming it’s managed well. Then you can deposit that with Oh! Or with know some of those protocol and you earn, I don’t know, whatever, 3% or 4%. So where’s that yield coming from? I mean, who’s paying that yield? I mean, why does that yield exist in the first place?
Rick Seeger (00:36:23):
Depends on the protocol. So if you look at a protocol like AOP, when you are lending your funds to … Like in real-world traditional finance, you give your funds and somebody does something with them and earns additional money on it, whether it’s through investments, whether it’s through playing arbitrage opportunities against the Euro and the U.S. dollar. There’s always ways to earn small percentages. So in AOP, which is a big giant, probably the biggest lending protocol in the DeFi space, I’m going to give you my USDC, somebody can lend out against it and go earn or take a loan out. And in doing so, I earn by providing money into the platform. If I borrow, I pay money into the platform. So very much a lending and borrowing system. So that’s one of the aspects. You look at a protocol like Curve, where it’s literally built, where if you deposit in, think of it almost as like a stable swap of, “I want to switch between USDC and USDT, or Dai, or MIM, magic internet money. There’s all kinds of different stable coins that are different collateralised in different ways that creates not only a fee, because the platform charges a fee, but also creates again that small slippage, which then lets the whole pool curve into itself and then creates fees and thus create yield. So each of these platforms creates yield in different ways. And that’s again, I think where you’re going to see a tremendous amount of innovation in the space, from traditional lending and borrowing to I think one of the emerging sectors, the liquidation sector, where you’re going to see protocols start liquidating positions and earning yield on like keeping protocols healthy and protocol health healthy, which is kind of that bear proof opportunity as well. So you’re going to take these again, traditional finance concepts, put them on chain, kind of cut out management and maybe a lot of the profits not going to the people, if you will, and kind of reverting it back. And what you do is sure you get that whole Wild Wild West of, “I’m unsure, this seems like magic internet, might seems unsafe.” But really at its core it’s not doing anything that’s that different then what when I give my money to Bank of America and it just sits there. I mean, what are they doing with it?” Go find out for sure, but it is a little bit of a black hole there. And DeFi it’s not nearly as much, like kind of more transparently because it’s on chain where that stable coin for example is being put to use.
What the criteria are to determine the risk of DeFi yields
Bilal Hafeez (00:38:42):
And at Oh! Finance, which is where you’re part of, one of the things that you try to do is try to find the safest way to secure yield across multiple different protocols and platforms and so on. So what are some of the criteria or principles you like to use to try to sort of find the safer yield and avoid some of the ones which outsiders may not realise is actually much riskier than it first appears?
Rick Seeger (00:39:07):
I mean, so again, I think we’re all a little degenny at heart and that there’s certain, like my risk portfolio might go into some of those protocols. At Oh it’s more the set it and forget it. And so that’s going to go against the protocols that have A, had significant audits that have kind of proven the test of time over more than say a three month period or even a six month period are more decentralised as always. Again, there is safety in that decentralisation in that whole rug risk, if you will. That rug term in crypto means somebody basically empties the bank and runs with it if you will. So when we look at it, again, we take a look at those really tried and true and beaten on protocols with known entities kind of at top of them. So if you look at the AOPs of the world, you have an extremely well-known protocol with billions in TVL. In similar vein Curve is an actual DAO where that’s creating a decentralised full organisation where people are fighting for the governance token to say where those rewards should go. But again, with billions in TVL being accessed across probably a dozen blockchains at this point. You look at Trader Joe being a clean fork of compound with a really well-known team that has been funded by some of the biggest and best BCs in the space. So, you’re vetting the two teams, you’re vetting the protocols, you’re vetting the code. And in our case we throw that all together into an index that is diversifying the risk across the index, just so there is no single point of failure, I guess, just like anything. Any investment it’s DYOR and things could occur. But that is when we are looking into what we’re adding, we’re looking into the collateralisation rates. We’re looking to adding, for example, magic internet money soon, which is a new kind of crypto stable coin, but it is 73% collateralised by different stable coins, which is more collateralised than the U.S. dollar.
Whether Coinbase and other centralized exchanges impact DeFi
Bilal Hafeez (00:40:48):
And one of the interesting aspects, all of this and this actually doesn’t just relate to DeFi, but almost everything in the crypto world is the UX experience. And this goes to the centralisation issue where you have players like Coinbase, who now do offer yield, where deposits, how do you think about the entrance of those guys, like Coinbase and some of these centralised entities which have really nice UX experience? I mean, how do you think that’s going to impact what you are doing and what’s happening in the decentralised space?
Rick Seeger (00:41:16):
Good and bad. I mean, it’ll make it more legitimate, which is not a bad thing. I mean, it’s going to bring a lot of eyes and a lot of capital to the systems. Sure, there’ll be people, like I’m just going to go with Coinbase. But I think the nice part is when, if I talked to my uncle or my dad and said, “Hey, I can earn 5%.” He said, “Scam.” Like “No, what is this? Interest rates at 0% right now.” It’s where, when you talk with Coinbase or you start seeing what some of their offerings, the Nexos, the BlockFis, and you start getting users more comfortable with the ability to earn more in a safe way. Then I think that risk quotient changes a little bit and you go, “Okay, well, if Coinbase is doing it, then maybe I should take a little deeper look down the rabbit hole of what’s possible.” And so that’s really, then you go from, there’s not much of a jump at that point from going from a very well-known and familiar user interface of Coinbase, setting up your first MetaMask and kind of jumping into a more DeFi world to double that yield. And you’re doubling that yield because of those protocols are giving native token emissions, which generally gets sold, but not necessarily. And that’s where again, you can see that a lot of these protocols are taking a lot of time and effort to try to replicate user experience, but also push it a little further. Be a little bit more transparent of what your daily yield is or your monthly, or what to expect.
Bilal Hafeez (00:42:31):
And Mark, do you have any thoughts on this? The entrance of Coinbase to this space and centralisation with decentralised UX experience and so on?
Mark Stanwyck (00:42:39):
Yeah. I mean, I think Rick’s largely right. That bringing people’s comfort level up just allows them to experience it and dig deeper. And that’s good for everyone that isn’t Coinbase and Coinbase is, done a tremendous service, really I think to the higher industry by legitimising a lot of this, doing legislation on behalf of this stuff and really bringing, doing a good job at bringing it into the mainstream. And so if you can simplify some of this stuff and bring it down to a point that’s accessible, again, to Rick’s point, I don’t think that’s anything but good. Because it allows people to experiment further that people with that higher risk tolerance to reach out further and it start to explore the things that let’s just say are less user friendly, also important. But at one point these things that Coinbase is now integrating were very unuser friendly. So it’s a process, and it does feed itself.
Bilal Hafeez (00:43:31):
Yeah, yeah, no, that’s very well said. And again, it goes back to this ecosystem idea that it’s not winner takes all, I suppose. It’s always tempting to constantly try to sort of think about everything because winner takes all.
Mark Stanwyck (00:43:41):
Yeah, and I could be wrong about this, but at last I heard at least the Coinbase sort of yield farming, DeFi services, maybe weren’t available to U.S. residents.
Rick Seeger (00:43:50):
A lot of states now are actually no longer eligible. Again, last I heard I was used using BlockFi for a bit, which I am no longer eligible for. So that was one. So they’re definitely getting barred from a lot of states, yet another little hat for DeFi. But yeah, that is actually, I know for a fact California is barred from, I think, using any of those products anymore, just as one example.
Mark Stanwyck (00:44:11):
Yeah. So when you have these centralised services that deal with that are very concerned with regulation and KYC as they should be, they’re not available necessarily. And so, with DeFi, DeFi really, the tried and true DeFi, let’s say that really solves for that because a lot of it, it doesn’t matter where you are. You can interact and transact with anyone from anywhere at any time, and is less concerned let’s say with regulation and these things that can be quite onerous here in the U.S. The unfortunate reality is in Coinbase, and Brian Armstrong from Coinbase has been very vocal about this is, they have thrown a lot of money and a lot of time and a lot of resources at trying to do the right thing by the regulators and interacting with them, trying to understand why they’re saying they can’t do the things they can do. I mean, probably the best, most well-funded effort around this stuff you could imagine. And the result of that was, “Well, we’re not going to tell you why, but you can’t do it.” So it’s really, it’s pretty stifling and it’s unfortunate and hopefully that will change, but this stuff is probably pretty scary for the incumbents, the opportunity and the yield and the system they’ve always relied on kind of being wrestled away from them. No surprise there, but still. So it’s when you’re talking about Coinbase as competitor, let’s say, it’s still not clear what’s going to happen.
How fundraising works in crypto
Bilal Hafeez (00:45:30):
Now, I did want to also talk fundraising and different ways for, or different parts of fundraising for crypto projects or various kinds. I know Oh! Finance you used Avalaunch to help you attract some funding. So perhaps, Mark, can you talk a bit more about what you do? The process and how it compares to traditional fundraising methods?
Mark Stanwyck (00:45:49):
I would say the biggest difference, at least between more traditional venture capital and fundraising is what we do is essentially available to anyone. So we try and bring earlier opportunity to people that typically don’t have access to it. So crypto is not terribly different then say a Silicon Valley style model of startups and things like that, where the way these things are typically structured is you let’s say have an idea and you want to build it and you want to build out a team, the next DeFi protocol. Now there are plenty of ways to raise money in crypto, but this is how it happens most of the time. You would go out and you would find investors, early investors, someone that wants to support and believe in it. And for that, they would receive tokens and a better price on those tokens. And probably a lot more of them than people later down the line are going to have access to. And that is the opportunity. So these projects, they go through typically seed and private rounds, you’ll see other things in there, but good enough. And then you’ll do a public offering of these tokens. And the reason for that is the venture capitalist, the strategic money, useful. But these are not your users, right? These are not the people that are going to be holding the token, interacting with the protocol, talking about you online, giving you feedback, being a part of your community. And you want those people as a decentralised application to be exposed to your product. And in our opinion, the early opportunity. Because if you get those people that’s say invested early, they’re more likely to stick around and go to work essentially for that investment to make sure either they get what they want out of it, whether it’s money or something else. And so historically in crypto, the private stuff always happened exactly like I just described it. Now, the way these things get distributed to the public, that’s changed over time. In 2017 you saw the ICOs where if you would raise tremendous amounts of money publicly, 60, 120, $500 million, and they would sell large, large portions of the token supply to the retail public. And that fell out of favour for whatever reason. And you, over the years, you saw different ways to sell retail communities’ tokens. You had IEOs where the exchange kind of versions of ICOs. I don’t think those ever really took. And then at some point, maybe a year and a half ago you saw this return to a more community-centric method of raising these funds.
Now, the way that the Tokenomics shook out and their structure were different, people were receiving less publicly, I think, than in 2017, but the way that these were being sold, at least in spirit felt more community driven. And so with Avalaunch, we created this platform because we had noticed a trend in this more community-driven model of just not really offering enough to the retail public. It still felt a lot like that insider’s game. And what I mean by that is, you would raise millions and millions and millions of dollars privately, and then you would launch the product to a retail community and say, “Hey guys, we’re here. We love you. We want you to love us. But the early opportunity here is not for you, we’re going to sell the community a $100,000 worth when we raise seven million privately. That’s for someone that’s not you.” And not only does that not really track from a community perspective, but you want those tokens in a decentralised protocol broadly distributed. It’s important. The decentralisation of that token, a lot of people holding it, not a few with a lot of it really, really matters for the integrity of what you’re doing in most ways. So not only is it an interesting thing to do, to say, “We want our retail people involved.” But it actually is healthier for the protocol. So our platform Avalaunch solves for a lot of this where I think a lot of others haven’t even tried. So the sales that we do are very, very inclusive. We see a very, very broad participation in these sales. And at the end of the day, we get retail people that certainly don’t have these opportunities elsewhere involved with pretty impactful investment opportunities they just wouldn’t experience otherwise. And it services everyone. It services the investors, it services the team, it services the health and the future of the protocol and the community they’re trying to garner by doing this in the first place.
Bilal Hafeez (00:50:11):
And the types of projects that you’ve launched includes the game you mentioned earlier, Crabada, Oh! Finance, Rick, maybe I’ll come to you in a moment to talk about your experience and Colony I think you raise, was it $2 million I think it was for them.
Mark Stanwyck (00:50:24):
Bilal Hafeez (00:50:25):
That’s your biggest of launch so far. So typically it seems like the 500 to one or two million is the sweet spot, at the moment at least?
Mark Stanwyck (00:50:33):
Yeah. I would say that’s increasing. We certainly have the users to achieve a lot more. What the challenge here is, is reworking these deals in a way where you see the community are represented. Because you have to consider this, sometimes we need projects that are looking to raise very early and sometimes we need them much later. And if you need them much later, these investments, the earlier commitments, the Tokenomics, these things are hard to go back and change, even if it’s in the best interest of the project. And so, as we have gained more visibility, more authority, people want to use us more, we’re able to exercise that power to better represent the community and have more say in these things. And that’s why you’re seeing the sales get bigger and bigger, because we’ve proven that that’s actually a good thing to do. And the reason you weren’t doing it before, well, I don’t know why. Probably because everyone else did it that away, but so we’re demonstrating that it’s possible. So we are seeing that these sales go up, but yes, you’re right, 500,000, closer probably to a million and up are the type of sales that we do.
Bilal Hafeez (00:51:37):
But it sounds like philosophically you are trying to keep that sense of community and decentralisation alive in the fundraising process where the traditional Silicon Valley BC approach is kind of the opposite?
Mark Stanwyck (00:51:49):
Yeah. And it’s really about like, let’s just crack this thing open. This is supposed to be for everyone. We have certain limitations. Like we’re just, we’re not in 2050 or whatever. So let’s do the best we can. And what that looks like is education on the side of the private investors and team, and a commitment to the community to see them more included, because we think this is a better way to go forward and actually start a project right. And so yeah, it really tries to embody those crypto ethos of community and inclusion and access. We do our best, it’s not perfect. We struggle with some of the regulation issues and things like that. We’re not Coinbase and even they have trouble, right? So it’s a working toward, I think, a better system, but I do believe we’ve made tremendous progress in that regard.
Comparison of VC vs decentralised user-driven funding
Bilal Hafeez (00:52:39):
And Rick, you’re on the side of this, you use Avalaunch. So can you talk about your experience? I mean, why did you go down this route rather than the traditional, go to a VC fund and raise money and so on?
Rick Seeger (00:52:50):
Well, I mean, we obviously had our private seed sales, like everybody else, but, and I think you’ve even seen what Avalaunch has done over the last even two months since we’ve launched is, it’s the community. It’s definitely like you want to appreciate and you need your early seed funds to build and put your head down and deliver a product. But spreading, it’s not just spreading the funds, it’s spreading the user base. If more people are aware of your product or are likely to use it, it is truly decentralised finance. I think if I read that right, Mark, I’m either going to be off by a full 10,000 or I’m going to be right on, 26,000 or 36,000 for Islander registrants?
Mark Stanwyck (00:53:26):
Yeah, it was around 31.
Rick Seeger (00:53:28):
So, about right in the middle. But you think about that, I mean, if the sales get bigger, it’s not, it’s still, it’s a better portion. It’s not a better portion for each person, and they’re more likely to be committed and using it. And so in a similar vein for what it does for Oh!, When you’re trying to get your word out there and say like, “Hey, have you heard of us? We are trying to really change the game of like, park your capital, let your capital work. Why own an Oh! Token while we’re constantly buying it back through letting your capital work because we keep a small amount of the yield and constantly just put that flywheel into effect.” Well, if you shout into, if you’re the only person in the forest and you shout no one hears it. But if Mark brings his entire community of people that are deeply familiar with Avalanch, deeply familiar with crypto and says like, “Hey, let me educate you on this protocol. Let me educate you on these founders and what they’re building.” It gets a very, it gets a certain excitement, but it gets people using your product. And so that’s sure you want your big whales, don’t get me wrong, especially in centralised finance and where TVL is certainly king, somebody comes in and speaking, maybe more your crowd where, “Hey, sure I have a hedge fund and I’m willing to looking to maybe earn more or have a little bit more risk than I’m used to. And I’m willing to park 10 million today to earn 10%.” Great, yes, we would love to have you, don’t get me wrong, but there’s something powerful about 31,000 people parking $10. And at Avalaunch you can do that because the transaction fees are cheap enough and then at least let their money earn money. Their USDC earns USDC and if the more people talking about that and the power of that, it is the Coinbase model, but it’s bringing it to the centralise. It’s the bring it to the belief of why we build it and you can’t have that belief without communicating.
Bilal Hafeez (00:55:04):
That’s all good points. And I guess I have to go a bit tabloidy now. And I see Jack Dorsey on Twitter. He’s been tweeting about how bad the VC community is and how they’re bad for the crypto world. I mean, do you have any thoughts on that, Mark?
Mark Stanwyck (00:55:16):
About Jack’s sort of perspective? No, not really. And I think a lot of people will tell you it’s like pretty hypocritical in many ways. The VC community, and this is not just true of crypto, this is true anywhere. They represent a very specific segment of investors and people and users. And I think all that’s important there is to acknowledge who they are and what they’re good for essentially. In crypto, I historically I think too much was given away privately for a number of reasons. And we saw a real imbalance happening, where again, you see 99% of this raise happen privately and then this sliver given to the public, right? And so what we’ve tried to do is, and I don’t have good or bad things to say about VCs. I think they serve their place when selected appropriately and good ones. But what we don’t want to see is them dominate the raise and the token distribution really at the expense of everything else, because then why do it? So there’s certainly predatory VCs. There’s a lot of VCs in crypto that aren’t actually VCs. They’re just people with money and it becomes hard for teams to tell the difference. And those people can be really, really damaging to a project because there is not a lot of regulation here. They have ultimate and total access to their investment and they can sell it in a heartbeat. Just doesn’t matter, it’s just, it’s very wild. And so the vetting of the team, the vetting of the VCs involved, knowing these people personally becomes very, very important. So, when we end up doing an IEO on Avalaunch, this is the result of months and months and months of due diligence and work with a team that can only be done after years and years and years of working in the industry to even think about how to do that due diligence. And so I think the reason that our platform is popular is because it allows people to experience that crypto thing, which is like get in early, and not worry about all of this weird security risk, and is this a scam, is this not? Know that you’re dealing with a very well vetted professional team that me and my team are willing to publicly represent and takes a lot of the stress away from people that want that kind of opportunity. And they have to trust us, which most people do, because we behave ethically and transparently and have for a long time. And that little system is the one we’ve come up with. There might be better, and there probably will be, but it’s just, it’s kind of how we solve for all this now. It’s like, get good community, get good users, get am exposed to the early opportunity, and don’t make them stress about it. Because a lot of this public fundraising stuff is very FOMO-driven. It’s very artificially constricted. Everyone’s fighting for the scraps. That’s not what happens on this platform. We want people to be excited about the potential of the product, excited about the team and then move through that sale process in a very slow, educated half away.
Bilal Hafeez (00:58:05):
Now I did want to go to some personal questions before we kind of wrap up our conversation. And one thing I always like to ask all my guests is a few questions. One is, what’s the best investment advice you’ve ever received? Maybe I’ll start with you, Rick.
Rick Seeger (00:58:18):
I take risks. Is that crazy for investment advice? I’d say it’s actually comes from my uncle where, have defined risk quotients. I believe he always preached caution, but I wish in my entire investment life, I wish I was willing to take more risks. So I think maybe that is just a total hat for all of DeFi, like be willing to research it and jump into it. But it’s more just, I think there’s a mantra of like, diamond handsing and holding for max and gain, or selling too soon and FOMO and all those mental things. Simply put, take risks, know what you can afford to lose and know where you can go with it, sure. But some of the best things from investing is on some of the biggest risks.
Mark Stanwyck (00:58:59):
And I would probably say, and this really applies to crypto is, know enough to have conviction, because I think it encourages education, but this is how you identify not just opportunities early. Understand what’s happening here and build something, know enough to build a thesis that no one else or maybe not a lot of people have. And that will also actually carry you through the investment and have you hold it through the up and down. So I think conviction is important, but primarily educating yourself around how to generate.
Bilal Hafeez (00:59:33):
Yep. And the next question I had for you guys was, do you have any productivity hacks or anything, any systems you use to manage information overload? So perhaps, Mark, I can start with you this time?
Mark Stanwyck (00:59:45):
I’m a bad person to ask about this. Crypto is so nonstop and this is, I think anyone in any fast-paced industry will tell you this, but I mean, really the market’s nonstop. The community is nonstop. The progress is nonstop. I don’t have a productivity hack. My hack is, either realise that you’re getting in and you’re not going to get away and you have to love it, or don’t get in.
Bilal Hafeez (01:00:07):
Rick Seeger (01:00:07):
God, he’s not kidding. Sleep less, coffee more. I mean, it really, I mean, I will say that Christmas day and maybe New Year’s Eve were the two slowest days I’ve seen in a long time, which was kind of welcomed. Other than that, it go, you get four hours sleep and you drink a tonne of coffee. But it’s love what you do. It’s love the people in the space. It’s got to know the people. I mean, I guess that’s the productivity hack. Lean in, lean in, get to know the people in the space, get to know in any industry, but especially in crypto, because it really is smaller than you think. Be willing to ask when you don’t know and be willing to, when you do be willing to share.
Books that influenced Mark and Rick
The History of Money (Weatherford) and The Compound Effect (Hardy)
Bilal Hafeez (01:00:40):
Yep. And that’s good. And then finally, what are some of the books that influenced you over your kind of investment life? Maybe Mark, I’ll go with you?
Mark Stanwyck (01:00:48):
Yeah, that’s a good question. It’s funny, because there’s probably two. One was The history of money I think by Jack Weatherford, and this was impactful for me. And I think that a lot of people in crypto go down this rabbit hole of what is money, because it’s sort of like taking the red pill a little bit. When you realise that you’ve been sort of taught one thing, whether you realise it or not, and there are, there’s energies and momentum and systems, but behind this stuff that aren’t very important to understand. And the history of how we conceptualise money is a critical component to doing that. When people get into crypto, they really just start to go down, start to learn about things they never thought they’ve learned about. And I think that’s one of the great things about it. Politics, philosophy, money, what is money? All this stuff, you’re just in it. You have to be, that was a good one. I won’t name names, but people in crypto would probably hate me for this, but listen, if you’re going to make a lot of money in crypto, let’s protect it. And these are, books that really changed me personally about honestly just compound investing and the power of that and understanding that this stuff can be pretty effing simple. When it’s too, too complicated, there might be someone trying to sell you something.
Bilal Hafeez (01:02:00):
And was there a particular book on compounding that stands out?
Mark Stanwyck (01:02:04):
I don’t remember the name of it. It was by, I don’t remember the name of it.
Rick Seeger (01:02:08):
I don’t know if you, you might literally be taking it off my mouth. I was going to actually, The Compound Effect. It’s Darren Hardy, I think. It was one I was going to say that was going to be my one, just because it is amazing how, what compound economics does and coming from different backgrounds, I think a lot of people jump into the space and just have no idea the absolute power of it. And so it’s interesting that Mark finished on that note, because that’s where I was going to start with mine. It is truly the whole space runs on it. Crypto runs on it, and so few people understand the power of it.
Bilal Hafeez (01:02:38):
Yeah, well noted. And so, if listers and viewers wanted to learn more about Avalaunch or to follow you more closely, Mark, how would they go about doing this?
Mark Stanwyck (01:02:49):
Just you can go to the Website or Twitter. If you go to avalaunch.app, you can find our Twitter there, crypto kind of lives on Twitter. You can find our telegram there. Same thing, very active community. It’s a good place to learn. Our blog is there with everything you could ever want to know, all our announcements and the application. So avalaunch.app, the one stop shop.
Bilal Hafeez (01:03:10):
Great. And I’ll include the links in the show notes. And Rick?
Rick Seeger (01:03:13):
Same story, oh.finance. Oh.finance, that aha moment when you discover crypto, hopefully.
Bilal Hafeez (01:03:18):
Great. No, that’s great to hear. Well, I’ve really enjoyed this conversation. It’s been great having you on, and it’s a super exciting space and hopefully we’ll stay in touch and hopefully we can reconnect at some point to learn how things have progressed.
Mark Stanwyck (01:03:33):
Awesome. Yeah, thanks Bilal, it’s been great.
Rick Seeger (01:03:36):
Appreciate it. Thanks for having us Bilal
Bilal Hafeez (01:03:36):
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