Humans of Bankless

The stories behind the bankless journey

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Dear Bankless Nation,

It’s a good day to be thankful.

Six years ago today I started my crypto journey. I used the holiday downtime to figure out this Bitcoin thing. I read Andreas. I watched videos. I leveled up. That’s where my bankless story started—my journey towards self-sovereignty and freedom.

I’m forever thankful for the opportunity. I’m thankful to those who came before me, told their story, and left the bread crumbs to follow.

Our Bankless Nation hails from all over the world—from New York to Nepal and each of us have a story to tell. How did they get into crypto? What drives them? What’s next? And…what are they thankful for?

We asked the bankless community to share their stories. Here they are.

These are the Humans of Bankless.

- RSA

P.S. 📺 Watch our Weekly Rollup a day early—special Thanksgiving Edition Rollup! 🦃


🙏 Sponsor: Argent – DeFi in a tap (👈 go download this wallet now - RSA)


THURSDAY THOUGHT

Guest Post: You, the Bankless Community

Humans of Bankless

Eleven humans of the Bankless Nation tell the story of their journey…let’s do this annually.


I take pride in being an early adopter of the products, platforms, and protocols that enable a self-sovereign lifestyle.

I owe my entire career to crypto. Coming out of school with a music business degree, I've shaped my entire trajectory around self-education and learning through experience.

As someone who's always been entrepreneurial at heart, the bankless journey started from a young age selling Pokemon cards on eBay. As I discovered my creative passion in music, I realized the industry was ripe for change both in terms of monetization and the ways artists engage with their fans. The web3 journey is about empowering creators to better capture value in each and every platform they use. Because they’re the ones who provide the most value to a network should receive an equal or greater amount of value in return (either financially or socially).

I believe in an entirely digital future. And I take pride in being an early adopter of the products, platforms, and protocols that enable a self-sovereign lifestyle. Crypto has allowed me to develop a unique edge that I am proud to wear as a badge in any and all conversations. It’s given me the financial freedom to know that I am capable of creating value and that my wealth is not tied to a paycheck.

I’m thankful to work in an industry with so many creative and inspiring individuals who are not only my colleagues but incredibly close friends shaping a better future for all.

A future where anyone in the world has the opportunity for capturing upside and financial freedom through specialized knowledge.


I'm thankful to be a pioneer in the revolution that will surely change the world for the better.

To me, crypto means freedom from an economically suppressed and backward state. I'm in this journey to help bring the promise of seamless and transparent exchange to drive free markets, prosperity, and freedom in any small ways I can—while having fun doing it!

I would like to see long term strategic investments and development in getting the long tail of people to crypto. Areas of the world where we currently don’t consider as crypto centers. Places in the developing world where INGOs like Mifos and Practical Action operate to bring financial inclusion and uplift their standard of living.

I use crypto to earn money by working on Gitcoin bounties and use a small portion to invest in DeFi. Other than that, because my state restricts on-ramp/off-ramp, I'm limited to spending crypto-only buying digital items like domain names, Steam games, and Spotify or Netflix gift cards.

Crypto, and more specifically DeFi, had been under my radar for over a year as I had other areas of my life that needed more attention. I only came back to crypto around the end of DeFi summer. Since then I've been learning a lot specifically through Bankless.

I'm thankful to be a pioneer in the revolution that will surely change the world for the better. I'm specifically thankful that the Ethereum community has people with their principles and values straight, who work very hard, and with such conviction and rapid pace on foundational layers and layers above. 


My friend and colleague Piper Merriam told me about Ethereum back in 2014, and I've been hooked on the idea of transparent, immutable, programmable money ever since.

I've been in startups for about 15 years now, and that's meant being on the bleeding edge of tech for most of that time. My friend and colleague Piper Merriam told me about Ethereum back in 2014, and I've been hooked on the idea of transparent, immutable, programmable money ever since. It seems like the next frontier of web startups. Now my mission is to grow Open Source and provide economic opportunities to software developers who build billions of dollars worth of free software for the world. We use crypto to pay software developers all across the world every day, with dozens of developers on Gitcoin making their living off of ETH and DAI.

It’s exciting to watch crypto protocols start to disintermediate multiple industries where middlemen have traditionally reigned supreme. 


I want ALL PEOPLE to be empowered with freedom of choice and the ability to financially control all aspects of their lives.

Crypto to me means “freedom.” I got here on a quest to build generational wealth for our son. I stayed because of the technology and crypto’s ability to eradicate economic disparities because it sees no color or culture. Bankless as a resource has empowered me and enriched my journey as a trusted source for learning and growing in my knowledge of the space—for that I’m eternally grateful!

I’m most excited about being a part of ETH2 and staking! But options and insurance has held my curiosity this year and I see amazing things on its horizon. I’m most grateful that I made my bones in the Winter of 2017 and that I’m here to see that the best is yet to come. And with no fear!

I want ALL PEOPLE to be empowered with freedom of choice and the ability to financially control all aspects of their lives. I’m expecting great innovations in 2021 and continue to experience the ebb and flow of the industry, as always.


My goal now is to help Ethereum become the backbone of the new internet of value.

I can’t wait for the future where the world wakes up to the potential of crypto. It has changed my entire life and given me purpose. I'm very thankful for being in the right place at the right time and having the foresight to capitalize on this opportunity.

My goal now is to help Ethereum become the backbone of the new internet of value. I'm interested in building parallel systems that are 100x better than the existing ones.

DeFi builds new payment rails and unlocks a new paradigm in finance, DAOs unlock new ways for humans to coordinate, NFT's allow artists to be rewarded for their work in new and exciting ways and much more.

I bet we’re going to see tremendous growth in crypto in 2021.


I'm excited for people who have invested early to reap the benefits of trusting the process.

I’ve been in crypto for the past four years when the media mostly scoffed at it. I love the movement and the freedom it grants so many people. That's why I work at Lolli, to spread the word of bitcoin and give as many people as possible access to that freedom.

It's impacted my life because it's become my career! I am so thrilled to work in an industry like this every day. I’m grateful to see the fruits of our labor starting to pay off. It feels like we're finally on the edge of price discovery.

I'm excited for people who have invested early to reap the benefits of trusting the process. But more importantly, I’m expecting to see big players finally taking bitcoin seriously, for what feels like the first time.


To remove the Central banking authority is to relieve the overlords of their tool of oppression. That is a hill I could die on.

Crypto is first real improvement to money in the last 5,000+ years.

From my first exposure in 2013 to now, my conviction in crypto has only grown stronger. I come from the rather odd standpoint of being a Christian who believes in prophecy, and I see the tendrils of what is to come in this tech. However, at this time, it is a way out of the open air prison that is the current financial paradigm. I want the people to be able to go free. Freedom from having their labor used against their fellow man without their consent, from serving those who would extract from their substance, freedom to live as we were meant to be. To remove the Central banking authority is to relieve the overlords of their tool of oppression. That is a hill I could die on.

Right now I'm using crypto to build freedom into my own walk, and then leveraging that freedom to empower the most disadvantaged brothers of my humanity I can. It is the path to individual financial freedom.

I initially started paying attention to crypto as a technology that can enable a world financial system, and I still believe it to be moving that direction. As long as there’s always the ability to opt out, and it doesn't wind up centrally controlled, this revolution will prove beneficial to humanity. I would like to see the individual educated and empowered to take up the reigns of sovereignty; to reach for the desires that fill hearts with joy. For needs to be met, and the latent strength in each of us to be nurtured and added to the collective wellbeing of our whole. The stars are waiting.

If nurture over nature shapes the destinies of men, I would use every tool available to me to nurture the best into existence. To that end, I am starting with a small village in Kenya, and helping provide food and education to the children there that have no other systems of support. HEMAMA is the name of the organization, and I'm working toward creating a self sustaining culture that "teaches them to fish", so that the system need not rely on me for success. Get at the root of the problem rather than treating it, and that's where the real change is affected.

I am grateful that through this journey, I'm able to fulfill the desire to help my fellow man, both in the large persistent ways, and the small direct interactions. When money is a tool to be used, and not an end goal, it unlocks many doors that leave you satisfied at the end of the day.


[Crypto] has bolstered my faith in the future knowing that we have such people building tools that can defeat those who wish to bring people down.

I discovered Bitcoin during college in the summer of 2011. I immediately put my 2 desktop computers to work CPU mining and learning all I could. I was already interested in network security topics and the ethos behind Bitcoin attracted me. After college, I became the Blockchain Lead at the Innovation Lab at USAA (2015-2016). Then I joined the Ethereum Foundation in 2016 to help lead community, DevOps, and Devcon efforts.

My favorite prospect of this decentralized future is the censorship-resistant aspect of Ethereum. It has the capability to empower people who are disenfranchised around the globe, whether that be financially or because their government is restricting access to knowledge.

I've had an amazing time making friends in the cryptocurrency space and thankful for the people I've met along the way. Their spirit of building and helping others bolsters my continued dedication to crypto. I have been lucky enough to have interacted with some the smartest people I will ever meet who hold similar values of empowering people who are oppressed by their governments. It has bolstered my faith in the future knowing that we have such people building tools that can defeat those who wish to bring people down.


DeFi and Bankless are the future of finance, so my only goal is to make DeFi easy. That’s all I’m focused on.

Crypto, Ethereum and specifically DeFi has been the most fulfilling journey. Once you’ve understood the potential, you cannot unsee the value. It’s all about how can we build a new, better, alternative finance system anyone can participate in with an internet connection.

I came into the space thanks to friends pushing me to learn more about crypto in 2017 and have been addicted ever since. I am very proud to contribute to Bankless while I work to onboard millions more into DeFi through simple DeFi tutorials and building a DeFi asset management hub for everyone.

Right now I am about 80% Bankless. I use nearly all use cases in DeFi but I specifically use lending, liquidity provisions, and derivatives to put my money to work. I am always long ETH but also hold positions in NXM, AAVE, SNX, YFI, HEGIC, LINK, CRV. This isn’t a recommendation or endorsement but I mean to make clear I put my money into the systems I educate on. I believe DeFi and Bankless is the future.

DeFi and Bankless are the future of finance, so my only goal is to make DeFi easy. That’s all I’m focused on. I had never edited a video or podcast until the last 12 months so it’s been an amazing journey to say the least.

Thanks to crypto for inspiring me to do so. :)

The Internet and my career are on a natural path towards crypto.


I got here from the bitcoin hype, and have stayed on from the continual great ideas and people I've met as part of the bankless journey…it’s exciting to be here before the Cambrian explosion.

Personally, I also feel like crypto has given me a stronger sense of control and transparency over my wealth.

Crypto is a way for me to connect and build with people I never would have had the chance to before. The community is extremely well aligned (for the most part) in producing solutions that address many of the economic and social issues facing the world today. I got here from the bitcoin hype, and have stayed on from the continual great ideas and people I've met as part of the bankless journey. And let me tell you, it’s exciting to be here before the Cambrian explosion.

Looking forward, I want to see humanity leverage crypto to slay Moloch and effectively create the infrastructure necessary to encourage non-zero sum games in both small communities and world organizations.

But for now, I mainly use crypto to build public sector focused solutions on both public and private Ethereum chains. It's given me the ability to actually act upon issues I've come across while working in business and finance.

I expect we’ll see more value added from combining interactions cross chains (public and private) and more flexible choices in virtual machines (VMs) in general!


Since most of the people I interact with are crypto nerds, I'm able to use crypto for most income, payments and trading. It has completely transformed my agility with my finances and I'm finding more creative incentives in crypto than fiat.

I'm a child of escapees of the Russian socialist regime who to this day are heartbroken by their experiences. So I've learned from my parents that access to markets, the certainty of your welfare, and the ability to earn income in a free market are vital for a high quality of life. Crypto makes this possible.

After doing a few year stints as a management consultant for financial services companies in New York, I defected to Ethereum. My brother Mark Beylin had been working at Consensys in late 2016 and as I learned more I felt there was nothing more important I could be working on. Since then my life has been consumed with Ethereum; I moved continents for a crypto startup, taught my parents how to use Uniswap and met some of the greatest people who have changed my life.

This year I learned about the value of liquidity and the power of incentives. With so many experimental markets we get to see how liquidity impacts effiency. And while 2019 felt like heads down time, 2020 has been the year of seeing incentives play out live, and liquidity isn't loyal.

Crypto is like post-capitalism utopia, and the libertarian movement pushes that the market is capable of meeting the needs of society - so I'd like to see real public goods problems *actually* get fixed by free markets in crypto.


Bitcoin didn't seem that interesting to me. It was only when Ethereum launched, which allowed for developers to create dApps, that I got interested in crypto.

For me, crypto is the evolution of the Internet. We built the communication protocol layer in the 90s and 00s and now, we are building the money protocol layer.

I started my career as an Internet analyst for Goldman in the 90s before becoming a hedge fund PM long Internet and short things that get disrupted by the Internet.

I brought Akamai public in the 90s, it was my first experience with a node based network. I invested in Napster and eBay/Skype and closely followed the first generation of decentralized "unstoppable" networks like BitTorrent. I invested in Activision, which demonstrated the power of virtual currencies through World of Warcraft. I got into alternative credit in 2011 when I launched one of the first P2P lending funds that invested in Lending Club, which demonstrated the power of disinter mediating the banks and directly lending to a borrower.

But Bitcoin didn't seem that interesting to me. It was only when Ethereum launched, which allowed for developers to create dApps, that I got interested in crypto.

Putting it together, I could see the power of developing applications (Ethereum) on a decentralized node based network (Akamai/BitTorrent), that allowed for the transfer and utilization of virtual currency (Activision), in order to facilitate peer to peer finance (Lending Club).

The Internet and my career are on a natural path towards crypto.


Action steps

  • Let’s be thankful :)

  • Leave bread crumbs—share the story of your bankless journey


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Not financial or tax advice. This newsletter is strictly educational and is not investment advice or a solicitation to buy or sell any assets or to make any financial decisions. This newsletter is not tax advice. Talk to your accountant. Do your own research.


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