State of the Union Address
Enjoying my Web3 experience with newfound friends…
Cryptocurrency investing was largely a single-player game for me prior to 2021. I spent most of my time trading on centralized exchanges and never really engaged with anyone online. Well, I did lurk in some Telegram groups here and there, just watching chat and sponging off others thoughts and comments, thinking how much of what I’m reading is really good advice or just a means of getting me fomo-ing into coins and ending up a bagholder.
But I digress.
I realized that the online community is not all about the negatives after being more involved in DeFi protocols in 2021. True, there is a huge part of the population just trying to enrich themselves at the expense of others, for the most part. And it took me almost a year of engaging with communities and sifting out the folks that I feel are worth staying loyal to.
Just like playing video games, there is however a multiplayer option. Most folks these days would gravitate to the multiplayer because we humans are all social creatures and it’s always nice to have like-minded individuals with similar goals on the cryptocurrency journey. Call me an idealist but if time is money, then why not spend the time to really know the people that are with you on the same projects? Especially those that are worthwhile to interact, know better and to gel well with. It would make the daily crypto grind more colourful and nothing big can ever be achieved by a single person anyway.
And thus in 2021, thanks mostly to ApeSwap, I made friends. Online friends and in the cryptocurrency space. I’ve never met them and I call them by their monikers, not knowing if they’re even using their real names. But even with all these barriers to knowing if they are really truthful and sincere, in return I have nothing to lose by putting faith and trust in the friendship that we’ve forged for most part of the year.
This article is a tribute to some of these folks that have hung around almost daily. Not only sharing and discussing all things crypto, but occasionally sharing some small snippets of their personal lives and events happening to them, wherever they may be. Most times, there is no face behind each name but to me, each of these guys or group of people is a representation of a noun.
The guys at ApeSwap, without a doubt, embody Passion. No matter what is going on in the markets, they are laser focused on doing what is right for the longevity of the protocol. I do mean the entire team including the core folks, staff and all the volunteers. This is the one single, defining reason why I continue to stay with ApeSwap and occasionally write about them.
Some people might say they aren’t doing enough or aren’t proactive in pushing the protocol out there. I might agree somewhat if I was still an inexperienced noob in 2021 but after seeing the amount of effort that is put in, and of what is happening behind the scenes and with some project running experience that I had gained in 2022, I know these guys aren’t aping around. The protocol is very organized and is run like a business with segregation of roles into “departments”, just like a company.
No doubt, things may not happen as fast as most people are expecting but the team had never missed any commitments to the users since launch and I believe they will continue to do right by the community for the long term.
Another group of ardent and passionate folks are the ones that keep the Cronosphere project on Cronos going, day in and day out. Many know that I got “accidentally” involved in this token project and it propelled me in having to learn fast on what goes behind the scenes that the average investor will never see or hear about.
Cronosphere is held strong by people that believe in it’s success. Although it took only one guy to launch it singlehandedly, it is now truly supported by the masses, for the masses. A true blue, grassroots-led, community token. I am still in awe on a daily basis on the amount of confidence the community has for the long term and it too, rubs off on me, inspiring me to push myself to do my part.
This is an extremely scarce resource in the DeFi space. With developers being mostly anonymous, it is extremely easy to just bail, switch names and restart from scratch, hoping the next time nets a better result. I am truly humbled to know the lead developer for the BabyBanana project and although I wasn’t very comfortable around him initially, the discomfort slowly grew to respect and an appreciation of his attitude towards “doing it right” by the guys who believed in him.
He protects those under his care, including folks who supported his first project — BabyBanana.Finance and as promised he is fiercely pushing towards going above and beyond what the token project promised in the early stages. If I may put it in another way, he is extremely loyal to his supporters and if faced with a gunfight, he will turn up with a knife and charge first.
The project is embarking on a launch of a trading card game as well as a adventure game similar to the Pokemon or Zelda games that many know and love.
I won’t reveal who he is but it wouldn’t be hard to figure out who he is as he has doxxed himself voluntarily to put a stop to one of the things that he hates the most — FUD.
This wasn’t hard for me to decide. I made friends with the lead developer from MoonVault in the later half of 2021 and followed the development of the protocol that he built from the ground up for the community of an abandoned project, where he was also a part of.
He has freely fed me with so much information on DeFi, economics and general information that is rarely shared or talked about. Well-known in the small circles that we are part of, he usually chips in to help others in their projects, does some freelance work, and even holds a full-time job!
The protocol that he leads — MoonVault is one of the most interesting in terms of tokenomics. It also defines what can be done should one choose not to fork an already established protocol and build one from the ground up. The UI is unique and differentiates from all the copies that you see out there. Though not well-known as compared to other protocols.
MoonVault strength lies in not offering riskier, degen options for it’s users. Truly, you could stake and not check for a long time as compared to other protocols where most people check at the minimum of once every day. It also takes community feedback very seriously and continuously offers what the community is looking for in terms of a fuss-free DeFi experience.
Being as close to a handmade product in real life as you can possibly imagine, there are plans to move forward to a v2 (and v3) rendition and I am looking forward to participating and supporting it. It is as multi-chain as it can get with only a few people in the team with focus on providing services to the community as opposed to revenue generation.
This project was bittersweet for me. My first NFT project that I actually participated in the mint and I got so excited I minted 8 at a go! This was in mid-2021. The best part of it was that I actually managed to get the fourth rarest NFT in the entire collection of 10,000!
However, the project quietened down after and there was little to no demand for the NFTs for almost the rest of 2021. Being a idealist, I decided to just hold since it was my first mint and I felt emotionally attached to that fact.
I still admired my NFTs from time to time and dropped by the Discord channel to say hi and to keep things moving. It was also heartwarming to have the admins and other regular holders responding, which kept me holding onto the dream that the project could be revived one day with a breath of fresh air.
Fast forward to the later part of 2021. News came. And suddenly I saw game demos being released, rebranding happening and announcements of the upcoming plans for a full-on Metaverse launch. Citizens of Bulliever Island, or as we all know it now as the Bullieverse, has stayed a crouching tiger and is now poised to pounce!
In a short span of time, they had IDO’ed on multiple launchpads, listed on 2 major CEXes and have a beautiful play-to-earn game exiting beta with 2 more games (at least) in the works and releasing soon.
I felt bad having had secondary thoughts about the developers initially but they have come full circle and have made me a Bulliever, once again.
Just like one of the friends I have had the pleasure of knowing whilst on this Crypto journey, I feel drawn to the underdogs sometimes and it had led me to support (albeit not always positive) new launches or smaller scale projects to help them get off the ground, so to speak.
Huge bonus when I actually discover the developer-founders of the project are my fellow countrymen and this was how I discovered CrocSwap, which was subsequently acquired by the Mad Meerkat NFT project on Ethereum, and then launched on the Cronos blockchain.
Personally, maybe I felt a similarity of mm.finance vs VVS (top DEX on Cronos at that time) as compared to the unspoken rivalry of ApeSwap vs PancakeSwap on BSC (now BNB chain) and went ahead to explore and support their protocol further.
From my interactions with the MMF team, I immediately identified the locals and though I don’t participate much in their chat channels, it always had a sense of home because of the slangs that only us locals can identify with. But they are more than just a homely feeling…
In a short span of time, they have incorporated unique and different methods of running a DEX, centering a lot of the transactional volume around their native token, MMF. Of course, every DEX we know does that, but MMF just does it differently and the results seem to show that they are doing something right.
On top of this, their strategy to construct a “great wall of services” built around tokens in their ecosystem with each carrying and/or buffing another native token is a case study in and of itself. The relationships intra-tokens are intricate and isn’t a simple read and understand topic.
As of this writing, MMF is not only a DEX/launchpad. But they also own their own Yield Aggregator/Optimizer, a Tomb Fork, NFT Marketplace and Index Funds. All of which are still successful in their own rights and adding on to the utility of the basic MMF token.
There is also news on an upcoming partnership, on a scale where almost US$25 Mil is required to be put down as a security deposit. What it is? We can only speculate but following their journey since inception has been nothing short of brilliant.
These are projects that I am still vested in or am heavily involved today. There are many other good projects that I am also participating in but these have left the strongest impression on me during my stay with them.
If you find yourself feeling good about a project that you are looking at, or beginning to invest more as time goes by, don’t be a silent contributor. Engage and see what you can do to help them along. It is frustratingly stressful for developers or project teams to handle everything on their own and they always welcome a helping hand.
At the same time, if you do chip in, make friends along the way. Life isn’t just about making money all the time, it’s also about nurturing relationships that could possibly be worth more than it’s weight in gold in the long run. Unifying like-minded people is extremely satisfying and there are huge opportunities to be able to do that in Crypto.