A conversation with @whipper156 from rep3.
We're always trying to learn about all the interesting things happening in web3. To satiate our curiosity, we host a weekly-ish Twitter Spaces series called Coffee Conversations. What follows is a summary of the sixth episode.
For the sixth episode of Coffee Conversations, we hosted Whipper156.
Whipper156 is a pro DeFi user and a full-time crypto degen. Currently, he heads integrations and partnerships at rep3.
Whipper156 was trading traditional financial instruments when he came across Bitcoin. Initially, he got involved because he found it stupid and wanted to short it.
Later on as he learnt more, he became aware of the broader implications of cryptocurrencies and blockchain applications.
Almost all things that we do in traditional finance can today be done using decentralized tools and applications.
The best way for anyone to embrace decentraliztion is to use these tools and recommend them to the people in their communities.
The easiest ones to get started with are DEXs and web3 social projects.
Web3 social is particularly interesting because it enforces people to truly own their content, while also making it impossible for them to be "kicked out" or silenced – something that's common in the web2 social platforms of today.
This transcript is edited for brevity and clarity.
Infi: Alright, we've got a few members in the audience, so it's a good time to begin.
Welcome everyone! This is infi from rep3, and today, for the sixth episode of Coffee Conversations, we've got Whipper, who is helping us with integrations and partnerships at rep3.
They're doing a phenomenal job, and they've also made us more aware of we could adopt decentralization in our daily lives, which is increasingly important in today's world.
We should actively consider this in the wake of FTX and all that's happened in the past year.
So without further ado, Whipper!
Whipper: Thank you so much, and welcome everyone. Thank you for allowing me to be here and to talk a little bit. I go by Whipper as my blockchain name, and I got into crypto at the end of 2017. And funnily enough, some people may have entered crypto just like me.
When I first heard about Bitcoin, I actually thought, like my first initial reaction was, "What the hell is this Bitcoin crap?"
It sounds like a complete scam. And because I had a lot of knowledge of financial instruments and how to short different asset classes, I was trying to search for a way to actually bet against Bitcoin. And I was trying to profit by hoping that the price would go down. And the weirdest thing happened: as I was looking to short Bitcoin, I started doing a little bit more research, and a light bulb went off in my head, and I was like, wait a second.
Some of this stuff that, you know, in this whitepaper and what people in the web3 community are talking about, this sounds very interesting. And I started to devote a lot more time to researching and learning more about Bitcoin, Ethereum and web3 in general. And it just absolutely blew my mind.
I went deep down the rabbit hole. It wasn't long after that I decided to go full-time. So while I own some businesses in the traditional space, I decided I was very passionate about this. And it's also something I decided I wanted to spend a lot more time on.
Then once COVID hit, things really sort of intensified for me because, of course, things in the traditional space and the businesses, in general, were impacted very differently. And the world, in general, was impacted on a, you know, very intense scale. And that's when things really started to go full motion for me.
And I decided that this is a space I want to contribute to. And I feel very passionate about it and have done a lot of different work for many projects and different DAOs within the space. And even though I don't have, like, let's just say, massive OG status – like some of the people that have been around since 2011 or 2012 – I definitely would consider myself a pro DeFi user.
I definitely know a lot about this space. For those listening that are sort of on the fence about whether or not this is a space they want to go full-time with, I would say just do it. I spend most of my time researching and doing work for different projects. So I'm happy to be here, contributing and doing something I'm passionate about.
I believe that if you feel passionate about something, you really wanna be putting your efforts behind that. So yeah, that's a little introduction to how I got here. And I know we want to talk about decentralization a little bit, which is another very important part of this.
For all of this to actually make sense, we need decentralization. That's what we're here for. And I think that I have to stress that point. I'm sure many people on this call probably already understand this. Still, suppose this is being recorded and read or listened to by anyone else. In that case, I think that's probably the first and most important point we must focus on.
And I say that because, without decentralization, what we're all doing is recreating Web 2.0 and the same traditional financial infrastructure we have already created. As to what we alluded to earlier concerning FTX, the year 2022 will probably go down as the year that that point of decentralization gets driven home as hard as possible.
Because this year, we saw the collapse of so many centralized entities pretending to wear the mask of web3 and confusing people and scamming people into believing that what they were actually investing in was true decentralization, which was an absolute lie.
And I think that it's our job, the people that work here every single day, it's our job to reach out to the general public and educate them on why decentralization is important and how we can improve the world.
Because essentially, that's what this technology is trying to do. So I know I rambled a little bit there. I hope everyone enjoyed the introduction and what we're going to get into. That sums up my intro and a bit of what we will discuss.
Infi: Well, Whipper, you made some great points. In fact, it really speaks to your background.
Because, first of all, you've been around more than most of us. But what's even more interesting is your trajectory from being a hater to a believer.
Most people only start believing in the gospel when the price increases. But, your belief is a by-product of your research and reasoning as opposed to buying into the popular narrative of the day. This kind of nuanced understanding is, first of all, really rare, but it also makes you look at things in a different light.
Following today's agenda, let's discuss some of the ways an average web3 consumer or enthusiast can choose decentralization in their day-to-day life. We can cover some key ideas they should keep in their mind, perhaps even suggest some tools they coudl use. In fact, I have a few that I'd like to share.
Whipper: I definitely have a lot to talk about that. Funnily enough, I was conversing with a friend the other day who told me he had lost some money in FTX. And I was like, "That was completely avoidable for most of us! Why didn't you use DEXs and other DeFi products?". Because everything you can do today in traditional spaces can technically be done on the blockchain in a decentralized fashion as well.
And I don't know if there are a lot of traders out there in the audience. I don't know if there are a lot of options traders or people who buy and sell insurance.
But for them, I'll say that the infrastructure to do all this on the blockchain exists. Anyway, so his response to me was -- and by the way, this is something that I agree with -- he said, "Well, you know, Whipper, you gotta understand that, like right now, it's quite difficult for noobs, so to speak, to really navigate their way around using these tools that are built on the blockchain."
And it's something that I do agree with. I hear a lot of complaints and criticisms against how the current infrastructure is around, you know, protecting your seed phrase in a non-custodial wallet, how to interact with a web3 wallet and different decentralized tools, and so on. I guess we take it for granted. Like us being around the ones in this space, in the trenches, day in and day out, we use this stuff, so we take it for granted.
My first piece of advice thus would be as follows. The truth is that if you do a little research and spend a little time, it's not so difficult, and the pros completely outweigh the cons.
Suppose someone takes one hour, two hours, or even five hours to just dedicate some time to understanding how non-custodial wallets work and how you can interact with these protocols. In that case, it's really not that difficult.
And I want people out there to understand the saying we have in web3 -- "not your keys, not your crypto."
Unfortunately, so many people learned this the hard way this year, whether it was Voyager, FTX, Celsius, or something else. The list goes on. This was a disaster of a year in terms of centralized companies going down and taking so many people with them.
So my advice to those wanting to learn a little bit more about decentralization and web3, in general, is to really take the time and try to research as much as you can and try to understand why we're here and why all of this makes a difference.
To go back to what I was speaking about earlier when I started to get into Bitcoin as an example, crypto really made me start to think about things that I never really thought about and things that I believe that 90% of the population don't think about.
And it's as simple as thinking, where does the money come from? How is money created? At what point do governments get to decide how much money or how little money to print?
And it's funny because like money affects everyone on the planet in one way or another. And it's interesting how as societies, we accept the fiat currencies, and rightfully so. I mean, this is the system that we all grew up in.
And we just accept things as status quo without challenging them. This is where I think people really need to start thinking. And again, this isn't financial advice. This doesn't suggest that people completely disregard fiat currencies and go all in.
The point I'm making is that as you start to research and as you start to go down that rabbit hole, you start to understand just how little we really understand about money and how money is being utilized within different governments, and how the printing of money actually affects each and every one of us.
This year, we were also affected by really high inflation rates. Again, these are things that really affect the day-to-day person, whether it's grocery shopping or whether you have a family to support. And I think that as you start to go down the rabbit hole and learn about all these different concepts and what this technology is trying to do, it opens up this avenue.
And if you utilize the technology, you'll see that this technology is really trying to improve lives and benefit all of us. So ultimately, my advice is to take the time, do some research, and see for yourself. Trust me, you'll get it the first time you make a transfer or interact with a protocol.
Like there's gonna be like a shiver that goes through your body. Cause you're gonna be like, wow, this has been the piece of the puzzle that's been missing.
We have this application where we can FaceTime, video conference, and talk to each other. But this idea of being able to transfer value over the internet in a decentralized fashion is so wonderful.
And then this idea of being able to create social identities on the blockchain and this concept of using that identity within the metaverse goes on and on. It's just wonderful.
And ultimately, just educate yourself on all the options because that's what decentralized finance and decentralization in web3 actually offer users. It's just options. And as a user, you get to choose what you want. If you want a centralized exchange or to use centralized custodial options, that's completely up to you.
But at least allow yourself to learn what's out there so you can make more informed decisions.
Infi: Yeah, I'm glad you said that. We're not trying to impose any actions or propose that this is an objectively better way of doing things, even though we may personally believe so. We're just asking you to think about the current crypto and fiat system a little beyond the surface and use or interact with some of the protocols out there.
Of course, then with that knowledge, whatever decision you make will be an informed one.
In fact, this is an interesting exercise in and of itself. Because when you start reading all this, you will naturally get interested in the government, money, power, etc. All these opaque concepts!
The second thing I wanted to say was regarding usability. Objectively, web3 tools aren't all that bad. They're just different from the ones we are used to. I'm sure people had trouble driving the first cars because they were so used to horses. But that doesn't mean cars are necessarily bad. Nor does it mean that we need to make them more like horses.
It just means that for this specific context, in the context of a car, maybe this is the best way to operate it. And guess what? You will adjust to it fairly quickly.
So this brings me to my next question. What are some tools that we can play around with? For starters, it's DeFi projects and web3 social projects. These are the easiest and the best ones to get started with.
So play around with Uniswap, with LensTube, or Lenster. Those are good starting points. But Whipper, you've been active in the DeFi ecosystem for a long time, so which ones do you suggest?
Whipper: Yeah, no, for sure. So I think that the first thing I would recommend is to download a browser extension wallet and maybe fund it with some testnet crypto or five or ten bucks worth of ETH or Polygon. Then, just try to do some swaps on some DEXs.
Adding to your point, the internet experience in the early nineties was crappy. It was brutal. So people have no idea where this will go in the next decade or two.
Today, when it comes to the internet, we focus on social media a little more. This is also something I'm very passionate about and a theme that really falls back to this idea. In web2, you own nothing. And in web3, they're trying to give ownership back to the individual.
Yeah, platforms like YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram are great; they've completely transformed how we interact. But here's the thing, if someone decides they don't like what you're saying or posting and decides to de-platform you, you're just done.
As a YouTuber, if YouTube shuts you down for any reason, you'd have no way of communicating with your community. All your hard work is gone just like that. No more access, no more reach, just gone. And it's not just about random individuals; think about all those huge YouTubers or Amazon sellers who have zero direct connection to their followers or customers.
Infi: I feel web3 social is definitely going to be a game-changer.
Alright, we're getting to the end of our conversation, but before we wrap up, I have one question I would like to ask.
Since you're well-versed with everything rep3 offers, I wanted your thoughts on how it benefits communities and individuals.
We understand the concept of tokenization and having a solid proof of your work. Still, people struggle with understanding the net positive of it all. The initial reaction is usually, "Why should I want this?". Can you share your thoughts on that?
Whipper: Yeah, 100%. The way I see it, web3 has the potential to revolutionize the way we interact with the internet and with each other. It's about giving back control to the people, allowing us to own our online presence and our communities. This is a big deal because, for too long, we've been at the mercy of centralized platforms that have the power to censor or de-platform us without warning.
The reason why I'm such a big believer in web3 is that I truly believe that this technology has the potential to have a positive impact on communities. Giving people the ability to tokenize and have a solid proof of what they've done opens up many avenues for communities to strengthen themselves and their user base.
That's where rep3 comes in - it has features that allow communities to painlessly realize the potential of web3. For example, rep3's technology lets communities give specific governance weights to individuals who consistently contribute to the community. This way, everyday contributors can be incentivized and rewarded with extra privileges, such as extra voting rights, and even boosted APY from yield aggregators.
It's exciting because rep3 is like a tool that can almost do anything - if the community needs something, rep3 can handle it. Many different ideas can be thought of and constructed, making me passionate about rep3 and how communities can benefit from utilizing these tools.
Infi: I feel the great thing about rep3 is how it fits perfectly with community operations today, that too with minimal effort.
Think about it. Tracking contributions can often be a hassle with various Discord channels, Telegram chats, and even Google Sheets or Airtable Bases. But with rep3, the contribution flow is streamlined and super easy for the community moderators to manage. For the members, it's a great way to build an on-chain reputation and earn badges for the work they do.
So, if you're thinking as an end-user, rep3 not only decentralizes and lets you earn tokens and badges for your work, but it also makes your life easier. That's the ultimate advantage of using rep3, and it's something I can't stress enough.
Whipper: I'm happy you brought that up. rep3 is truly amazing, and one of the best things about it is how easy it is to integrate into your community. You can set up a community in under two minutes and then connect it to your Discord in just a couple more minutes. The technology is powerful, and the ease of integration sets it apart from the competition.
Infi: That's a great note to end our Twitter Spaces on. For those who joined late, this time we hosted Whipper, who looks after integrations and partnerships at rep3. Thank you, Whipper, for taking out the time to discuss how we can incorporate decentralization in our daily lives.
We covered how individuals can move towards decentralization and suggested some tools that can help, such as Uniswap and other DEXs, and web3 social such platforms such as Lenster and Lenstube. We also talked about Rep3 and how it's yet another tool that can help you embrace decentralization.
That's the end of episode six. Thank you to everyone who tuned in to this episode of Coffee Conversations. Whipper, do you have any last words before we end?
Whipper: Wow, I can't believe we just had a half-hour conversation! This was really great. I want to thank everyone who took the time to listen to what we had to say. It was a lot of fun. If you're interested, feel free to reach out to me. I'd love to do this again.
I wish everyone a wonderful weekend and success on their journey in web3. If there's one thing I can leave you with, it's to do your research. You won't regret it.
So thank you all again, and have a wonderful day and weekend!
Infi: Alright, thanks everyone. I'll see you all next time. Till then, stay safe and work hard!