Cover image for The man who's going cross-chain

Posted on

1 Comment

The man who's going cross-chain


Our upcoming interview features a gentleman who has long been a pillar of the Cardano community and is now forging ahead into the world of Polygon. 💪🚀

Let's start with giving a bit of background about yourself. Be as specific or general as you would like. Remember, no judgment here! We appreciate the fact you are willing to open up to a room full of strangers. Where are you from? What do you do? What are your skills? What do you do for a living? Go where you want with it, and have fun!

Hey hey! Thanks so much for having me on to talk to you fam. A big fan of what you do, and what you’re building.
I’m originally from Pakistan mate, but have lived between the UAE and Australia for most of my life. Been in Oz for the last 13 years straight though. Based out of Canberra. I actually do Web 3 full-time. I’ve been quite lucky to have a stable family life, as my wife is a pyschologist and has a steady income, which allows me to experiment, but also, within the web 3 world, I consult projects and businesses, alongside running Danketsu.
Prior to this, or rather when we launched Danketsu in 2021, I was working as a policymaker at the Australian Department of Defence, and have worked in Academia prior to government. I’m a social scientist by trade, hence I like studying sentiment within the web 3 space. And using it as an insight for my own business.

What projects do you run or do you help with? If none, what project brought you into the space?

I co-founded Danketsu (formerly ADA NinjaZ) along with my co-founder and IRL mate, Tommy Bui, who is also based here in Canberra. I currently advise two other businesses - and Club Mars LLC. I was actually brought into the space by Cool Cats in June 2021, but never actually got to mint. Yes, started my journey on Ethereum

What projects are your favorite and what are they looking to do for the space and/or the world overall?

I have a few favourites, I respect all founders in the space, especially the ones that are sticking it out in this market too and building. On Cardano I can list numerous projects, but I’m a huge fan of Edens 7, and the realistic open-world 8-bit game they are building. I also love Pluto Misfits on Polygon and Ukiyoe Warriors on Vechain

What brought you to blockchain technology in general?

Well, the idea behind a public ledger, and open access to information for everyone, back when I started in crypto. But also the opportunity to be a part of something bigger, and make money while I’m at it.

What event in your life triggered you to decide that you needed to learn & build the next generation of technology?

Building technology is a nice way to put it haha, for myself and Tommy it was always about creating something fun, that brings people together using emerging technology, and that’s what we’ve been able to do at Danketsu

What do you see as the biggest advantage(s) to blockchain technology over current web tech.

Well, I think blockchain as a technology even without cryptocurrencies, allows for more transparent avenues for people to interact in professional and personal settings. That’s it, in its simplest form imo.

Why Cardano out of all the other chains? If not Cardano, why the chain that you prefer & why?

Well, I’ve been holding ADA since 2019, and when I kicked off in NFTs, I decided to explore NFTs on a chain I held big on. There was DOT, ADA, BTC - at the time Cardano had an up and coming NFT scene in mid 2021, so we decided to settle here, after interacting with the community and people. Since then we’e expanded to Polygon, which has a very different, but also amazing vibe and culture.

If you could do anything to make a living, what would it be? What's stopping you from making this a reality?

I’m quite fortunate to be doing that on the daily with Web 3.

What are the most important qualities a team must possess and what attributes do you look for when researching a new company or project to invest money into?

Transparency, Integrity, communication and the ability to build what they are promising. In Web 3, you need to be honest, should act with good intentions for your community, openly communicate with everyone and actually possess the skills or staff to build out what you are working towards. That’s usually who I go for.

Where do you see yourself 10 years from today? What are your long term goals and why are they important to you?

I am ambitious. I see myself doing a lot, I’m not a big believer in sharing what I intend to do publicly or what i want to achieve, but in terms of Danketsu. People recognising the IP, enjoying it in various forms of multimedia - music, animation, film, literature - that is my goal

What are your hobbies? What do you find the most enjoyment in?

I’m a keen swimmer and climber. I generally like to stay active and fit. I also enjoy travel, having lived in 3 countries and 7 cities, I’m pretty used to change as well. Alongside that, throw me a non-fiction book on politics and I can use that as a getaway. More recently though it has been spending time with my son and family in general, as it gets tougher to do these things when you’re working away in Web 3.

If you could change one thing in the world, what would you change and why would you change it?

I could say something like ending world hunger, but being realistic, as we move into an ever more interconnected world, the opportunity, or rather the possibility that people are more empathetic and understanding of each other and their differences.

What's your favorite kind of music? What is your favorite music artist? What is your favorite song? Elaborate on how and why these became your favorites.

I’m a musician, and I listen to/appreciate a lot. However, hip hop has always been my go-to. If I had to pick one rapper, Tupac is an easy one, there’s also a Pakistani rap duo, that I listen to a lot of, nowadays called Young Stunners. Well, I grew up running cyphers, performing at slam poetry events and the likes, so hip hop always suited me, living as an immigrant in multiple countries through my life, the words/the rhythm always felt right.

What is your favorite book or piece of literature? What about it made it so special?

As I mentioned I like non-fiction quite a bit, particularly when you delve into politics. I’m a huge fan of William Dalrymple and his book “The Last Mughal” is a fascinating insight into the decline of the Mughals (rules of South Asia, until the arrival and rise of the British Raj). I also enjoy poetry, and in particular Persian poets of yesteryear, such as Hafiz and Rumi, but also his master, or “teacher” Shamsudin Tabrizi.

What is your favorite piece of art (if you have one)? What does it inspire in you?

I’m not a huge art connoseuir, but I do enjoy and appreciate oldly sculpted and crafted humanoid status, particularly the differences in regions and cultures and how they have depicted similar people. There is a statue of Buddha, here in the Australian National Gallery of Art, sculpted by someone in during the Gandharan Civilization of modern North West Pakistan and Southern Afghanistan. It depicts Buddha in the likeness of Greek Gods, mostly because of Alexander’s conquests of the region. It’s a really fascinating art piece, and something i have often looked at and pondered over. Especially considering the Eastern movement of Buddhism as a belief system and the depictions of Buddha changing so significantly.

What has the response been in regards to the expansion to Polygon. Both from Cardano & Polygon folk?

Overall the response has been great. Most people recognise that expanding your business and building avenues to connect more people and more tech is the future. Of course there have been some bad apples on both ends, either mocking us for expanding from Cardano of all chains, or expanding at all, but that is part and parcel in this business.

What’s been your lowest moment in running a project?

October 8 2021, Danketsu sells out its first collection, ADA NinjaZ - Aramar, in under 20 minutes. A wrong wallet address has been posted on our website. Over 200,000 ADA has been collected in that wallet, we receive death threats, 1500 people show up in a discord voice chat to hear us talk about what has happened. The floor for the collection drops to 9 ADA within the week. We call it Wallet Gate nowadays, but that was a dark point, where you successfully sold out a collection, but had no opportunity or time to celebrate it. We came back strong from that of course, and continue to be here.

What’s been your greatest success?

A community member DMing me to say that Danketsu as a project saved their life, they found a place to be, during COVID and connect with wonderful people. That’s far superior to any amount of money or superficial success.

In summary, our interview introduced us to a dynamic individual deeply entrenched in the blockchain and Web 3 realms. With roots in Pakistan and a current home in Australia, he brings a diverse background to the table.

Transitioning from a career in defense policymaking to the blockchain and Web 3 space, our guest is driven by a passion for creating engaging experiences.

His favorite projects span various blockchains, highlighting his appreciation for innovation and diversity in the crypto space. Blockchain's transparency and accessibility initially attracted him, offering open access to information and financial opportunities. His journey began with the prospect of contributing to something larger and financially rewarding, a drive that continues to inspire him.

Looking ahead, his long-term goals involve making a significant impact through Danketsu, a project that unites people through technology, multimedia, and community engagement.

Outside of the blockchain, he enjoys an active lifestyle encompassing swimming, climbing, and travel. He also finds solace in non-fiction books on politics and envisions a more empathetic world.

In terms of artistic preferences, he gravitates towards hip-hop music, citing artists like Tupac and Pakistani duo Young Stunners as favorites. His choice of literature spans from historical non-fiction to the poetic works of Hafiz and Rumi.

Reflecting on his journey, he shares both a low point, marked by a wallet address mishap during an ADA NinjaZ collection, and a high point, receiving a heartfelt message from a community member whose life was positively impacted by Danketsu.

In the dynamic blockchain and Web 3 world, our guest's story embodies resilience, innovation, and the power of technology to unite people.