Hi! I originally learned about crypto in 2015. At the time, I was studying Economics at University College Cork in Ireland. While I was there a Lecturer assigned us with a paper on “the potential benefits of digital currencies for the EU.” Before this I had only heard brief comments on BTC price action and, to be honest, generally negative sentiment around the word “Bitcoin.” This gave me an excuse to look into it more and I was excited to learn.
I started with the Bitcoin whitepaper and almost immediately started looking into the “altcoin” ecosystem. From first glance, the ethos of crypto, and decentralized finance in general, made a lot of sense to me from a personal perspective. I was keen to learn as much as I could on the space. From there I was on my journey down the proverbial rabbit hole.
“For me, if you are long a particular crypto asset, staking is a no-brainer—you are helping secure the network, earning rewards for doing so, and it's relatively easy to get started for anyone.”
When I finished my undergrad in Cork, I went on to do a Masters degree in Dublin before starting my professional career as a Consultant with EY in Dublin. I spent ∼3 years there where I was primarily working in the Financial Services and Energy & Resources industries.
My personal interest in crypto continued throughout this time, through the bull market and into a bear. I spent a lot of time on crypto Twitter, learning about the space, new projects, protocols, and the industry that was being built around PoS. I came across a website called StakingRewards.com in my research. I found it incredibly useful to have an overview of the various reward rates, staking ratios, etc., and decided to DM the Co-Founder and CEO.
A couple of messages back and forth and a few calls later, I was offered a role to come onboard as their first commercially-focused hire. I spent over two years there helping to scale up the commercial operations, going on to lead their Business team. Today, Staking Rewards is the leading data and research platform in the staking ecosystem. They also host network-agnostic, staking-focused events like the Staking Summit, so they are playing a great role in continuing to grow the overall staking ecosystem and bringing it together on an annual basis.
In the last month I joined Alluvial to help drive the growth and adoption of Liquid Collective and I couldn’t be happier to do so.
So as mentioned, while at EY I was a Consultant by day and a crypto Twitter enthusiast by night. In and around that time, I started getting more involved in the Cosmos ecosystem, which has a large staking focus in general. I was also very interested in the likes of Solana, Polkadot, and, of course, Ethereum.
Once I learned about the concept of staking, I was fascinated. For me, if you are long a particular crypto asset, staking is a no-brainer—you are helping secure the network, earning rewards for doing so, and it's relatively easy to get started for anyone. At that time, all I had to do was forgo liquidity for X number of days in order to unbond and I was ensuring that I wasn’t getting diluted by network inflation. It didn’t make sense to me not to stake, as I wasn’t actively trading anyway.
I then had the opportunity to go “all-in” with working in crypto and the staking space was exactly where I wanted it to be. That message was one I wanted to help spread to new people entering the space.
The fact that Staking Rewards was a chain-agnostic company meant we were looking at the whole staking ecosystem which was great for seeing trends and innovations. It felt like we were standing on top of a hill, looking down into the valley of the “staking-wars" between protocols for market cap, node operators for stake, and so on. And a lot happened within those two years!
“Once I saw the team that was being assembled, plus the list of partners they had already built out, I knew things were going to get interesting. Add to that the backing in the latest round, and I knew that it wasn't a matter of if Alluvial would succeed but when.”
There are a lot of reasons! As I mentioned, at Staking Rewards we had been closely watching the development of the liquid staking space and the adoption of the various protocols.
One thing was clear to me earlier this year—all protocols in the Liquid Staking space were relatively homogenous, outside of the networks they operated on, the traction they had received to date, and the narratives around them. The other thing that became clear to me through conversations I had with enterprise partners was that for true enterprise adoption and liquidity, there had to be more focus on compliance and building within whatever regulatory guidelines were available.
I had come across Alluvial initially last year when I saw the launch at Permissionless and the company’s goal was clear. Over the years, I had also worked briefly with Alluvial CEO Mara Schmeidt while she was at Coinbase Cloud, and knew of Alluvial Chief Business & Policy Officer Evan Weiss through POSA Executive Director Alison Mangiero, who I worked with at Staking Rewards. I had seen all the work that they had both done in terms of contributing to the staking ecosystem in general and advancing it forward.
When I saw that they were joining Alluvial full-time I became even more excited about the project and took a deeper dive. I looked into the rest of the team and saw that everyone on the team had already been heavily involved in the staking space via companies like Bison Trails, Coinbase, Figment, Consensys, and more.
Once I saw the team that was being assembled, plus the list of partners they had already built out, I knew things were going to get interesting. Add to that the backing in the latest round, and I knew that it wasn't a matter of if Alluvial would succeed but when. So I couldn't have been happier when the team gave me the opportunity to come over and lead Sales.
“Usually, if we are working on something, it has never been done before. There is no playbook of best practices, but this is a challenge that I love as it offers a blue ocean.”
Right now we are focusing on adoption of Liquid Collective, working to support LsETH's availability on as many platforms that fit its ethos and philosophy as possible. From custodians, to retail exchanges, to introducing brokers, we want to make sure that leading teams are giving their customers the opportunity to get involved in the world’s first compliance-focused LST.
Going forward I will be the first touchpoint and relationship manager for our Integrators, focusing our sales efforts and defining our sales strategies. I’ll also be working directly with our Integrators regarding our channel sales and helping them to train and collaborate with their internal sales teams.
The regulatory landscape is certainly a challenge at the moment in multiple jurisdictions for Liquid Collective's potential Integrators. I think that this is something that takes time, but certainty will eventually come. The Uniswap dismissal recently in US courts was a strong indicator that common sense can still prevail in the States, especially when it comes to receipt tokens.
Another general challenge in web3 is the fact that, usually, if we are working on something, it has never been done before. There is no playbook of best practices, but this is a challenge that I love as it offers a blue ocean.
While at Staking Rewards I drove the introduction and successful uptake of both the Staking Summit and the Verified Provider Program. These were two initiatives that I feel added strong value to the overall ecosystem in terms of 1) bringing the staking ecosystem closer together to foster collaboration, and 2) to set standards of best practice in a space generally lacking clear regulation.
Another highlight was when we worked with Bloomberg to get Staking Rewards’ data integrated onto Bloomberg Intelligence for their users.
Network: Reach out to people in roles that are similar to the one you are looking at for yourself. Who is likely leading that function? Who is in a role that I’d see myself in in 3-5 years? Reach out and ask for help; ask for advice. Be respectful and oftentimes you will find that people are willing to help, or at least to point you in the right direction.
Add value: Another tip that can help you stand out from the rest is to add value to the ecosystem of your desired project(s) for free ahead of time. This could be by conducting research, writing blogs, etc. Show the value you can add early on. You’ll see over time that your skills improve, you now have a portfolio, and can back up the proposed value you can bring to a project with facts.
Some that I’m excited to continue following are:
Nothing else for now. Thank you for reading and hope to see and/or speak to as many of you as possible over the coming years!
Liquid staking via the Liquid Collective protocol and using LsETH involves significant risks. You should not enter into any transactions or otherwise engage with the protocol or LsETH unless you fully understand such risks and have independently determined that such transactions are is appropriate for you.
Any discussion of the risks contained herein should not be considered to be a disclosure of all risks or a complete discussion of the risks that are mentioned. The material contained herein is not and should not be construed as financial, legal, regulatory, tax, or accounting advice.