We ask the buidlers in the blockchain and cryptocurrency sector for their thoughts on the industry… and throw in a few random zingers to keep them on their toes!
This week, our 6 Questions go to Daniel Yan, founding partner and chief operating officer at Matrixport — a digital assets financial services platform where users can invest, trade and leverage crypto assets.
Hey guys, this is Dan — I am a founding partner at Matrixport. I have been COO of the company since 2019 overseeing the day-to-day operation of the company. Late last year, I started to spend most of my time building Matrixport Ventures — the venture investment arm of the company. It has been a great experience for me both personally and professionally. There has not been a boring day since I dipped my toes into crypto, let’s say! Prior to my stint in crypto, I was an options trader in the investment banking industry.
1 — From smart contracts and DApps to NFTs and DeFi, we have seen so many of the next “killer apps” for crypto, but none have really taken off quite yet. What will stick?
I will have to first challenge the statement that “none have really taken off quite yet!” Ethereum for smart contract, OpenSea for NFTs, MetaMask for DApp, and Uniswap for DeFi — by my standard, they are all moment-defining successful projects.
I believe all of them will stick and present themselves as key components of the “Web3 world” we are going into.
Will there be challengers and totally new categories that we can’t even fathom right now? Absolutely. That’s the beauty of the crypto world. For most people, DeFi was not a thing till 2020, NFT was not a thing till 2021. We will continue to see category-defining innovations coming along as we progress as an industry.
2 — What has been the toughest challenge you’ve faced in our industry so far?
There are many, but if I have to choose one, that would be managing the extremely cyclical volatility and turbulence in the industry.
Due to the nascent nature of the industry (yes, still), things tend to be very volatile both ways — no matter in a bull market or a bear market. Throughout these turbulences, there will always be customers that don’t feel the best — no matter what’s on their positions, their executions or simply on the mood. We always try to help customers go through these times better, and that sometimes means tough conversations, difficult decisions, and other things that’s not so easy.
3 — Which people do you find most inspiring, most interesting and most fun in this space?
This could be a cliche answer already, but I think Sam Bankman-Fried is my pick. First, he built an extremely successful business at Alameda and FTX. Then, he became a very vocal supporter on multiple key frontiers in the industry and managed to contribute in a substantial way to the growth of them (Alternative L1, DeFi). At the same time, he managed to build his influence in the traditional finance and regulatory space — now a key lobbyist power for the crypto industry.
It takes a lot to achieve just one of the three, so I think the fact he managed to hit all three is beyond impressive.
4 — What’s the unlikeliest thing to happen on your bucket list?
Bitcoin goes to $100, and I buy loads of them.
5 — What were you like in high school?
Geeky, goofy and shy. Let’s say I have come a long way from then…
6 — What should we be teaching our kids?
Kindness, courage and confidence.
They are quite self-explanatory, so I guess I don’t need to elaborate more.
However, they are easier said than done — from time to time, I will have to remind myself of these and try to do better.
A wish for the young, ambitious blockchain community:
Be courageous, and don’t be afraid to fail. Keep building, and WAGMI!