My journey to web3 data

How I got crypto pilled

Before Crypto

I entered crypto in the fall of 2017, upon buying my first BTC & ETH as incentive to keep up with the industry, but my journey actually started in 2012 when I took a Ruby on Rails Backend programming course. Up till that point, my training had been in organizational psychology, but the seeds for data work were planted then as I took the 1 train from 116th and Broadway to the Flat Iron district for evening classes at General Assembly.

After completing my dissertation in 2014, I worked in higher education, exploring how organizations balance social and financial goals. At the time, I was interested in how leaders helped their organizations manage the social-financial tension. When presented with an opportunity to see an education company pursue both social and financial missions, I jumped in to the operational side. My partner and I led an in-house edtech startup, while supporting the parent company’s mission to subsidize education for low income schools.

I came away with two key thoughts:

  1. Social enterprises are harder to operate than traditional for-profit enterprises. Good in theory, I have yet to find one that sustainably works in practice.
  2. Social enterprises might be more of a bandaid to a systemic problem of underfunding public goods.

By the 2017, I was looking for a change and bought BTC & ETH at the market top. I spent the next year absorbing white papers and attending conferences ( Deconomy in Korea, Community Ethereum Conference in Toronto). Despite the market crash, I knew permissionless, censorship resistant, public networks were here to stay.

Having skin in the game got me down the rabbit hole. The interdisciplinary nature of the industry kept me staying. Crypto appeared to have implications for multiple strands in my life from economics, to software and data, to organizing and coordination, the intellectual stimulation of was endless.

Quick tangent.

My country has vacillated between democratically elected governments and autocratic military regimes since 1932. In the 70’s, politically active college students (my parents’ generation) protested military regime, resulting in a bloody clash. Fast foward 50 years and we still have people protesting. For good reason. Look at how Move Foward’s resounding victory in 2023 and subsequent shenanigans by the old guard.

Several decades worth of experience suggest protesting to be necessary, but ultimately insufficient - in my opinion. I’ve seen that story and don’t have another 50 years to wait around for evolution.

The fact that crypto represents the chance at a new system is compelling for me. Crypto represents a chance at punctuated equilibrium and I’m here for it.

I say this realizing crypto has a lot of regulatory headwinds and often times get in its own way. Credible Neutrality should be the guiding principle for any system that wishes to make corruption difficult. But credibly neutral foundations are themselves, very difficult to build.

Insert “remind me in 20 years” tweet.

I spent 2019 leveling up my technical skills, taking a web development bootcamp (Lambda School, now BloomTech), doing consulting (AWRL) and briefly working for a startup in the Cosmos ecosystem (TruStory).

Things started coalescing in 2020 as I placed 2nd in a data visualization competition to be presented at the Wharton People Analytics conference before Covid19 shut the world down. I continued to hone my data skills.

Another inflection point came with the Bankless membership airdrop in May 2021; I got in at the ground level and started contributing.

I spent 2021 enabling capital and coordination through on- and off-chain data at Bankless DAO as a core contributor ( POAPs), from genesis to season 3.

I was a founding member at the Analytics Guild where I shared insights with the community through forum posts. My colleagues and I built DAO Dash, an in-house analytics platform to provide insights to guilds and projects at BanklessDAO. I also provided growth and usage metrics for the BanklessDAO Bounty Board project.

I’m currently focused on leveling up my smart contract sleuthing skills to analyze DeFi protocols. I am a contributor to LlamaRisk, analyzing protocols looking to integrate into the Curve ecosystem.

Additionally, since early 2023, as ChatGPT took the world by storm, I’ve been exploring how to leverage AI and language models for crypto data work.

I like the lightning round questions from the Flywheel DeFi podcasts so I’ll pose them here:

What was your virgin blockchain experience and CEXes don’t count?

I’d say September 20, 2019 was when I sent my first metamask transaction. I moved 1 ETH from a CEX to my metamask and subsequently made an approval to send $SAI - single collateral dai. Shortly after, I lent out SAI by minting cSAI on Compound.

Favorite off-chain touch grass activity.

I am making a conscious effort to spend less time in front of screens so I get in my reps for weights, swimming, yoga and starting muay thai.

If you’d like help with on-chain analysis, please get in touch.

Paul Apivat
Paul Apivat
CryptoData Analyst ⛓️

My interests include data science, machine learning and Python programming.