Making the jump from traditional career paths to crypto isn’t always easy or a person’s immediate instinct. Renato Martinez from our DeFi team took some time out of his busy NFT-filled days to explain in-depth the compelling story of how he got into crypto in 2017, got out of the space some time later, and then hopped right back in again in 2020 when DeFi summer was looming. As you can see, just because you backtracked a little at some point, doesn’t mean it wasn’t for the best and that you can’t revisit an interest later in time.
Check out Renato’s recount of how he became a fundamental cog in the Nexo machine.
Renato Martinez – Our Resident DeFi Guy
1) Who are you? Describe yourself in a few words.
A crypto enthusiast who studied and understands a bit of finance, loves Chinese food, and enjoys going to the theater and hanging out with friends.
2) How would you describe your digital personality #Meta-Identity? (Ex. Internet Aficionado, Social Recluse, Digital Doggo Freak)?
Hmm, never thought about this, haha, ‘cause I don’t spend much time on social media. But my digital footprint could be described as someone who likes the crossover of tech and social impact, specifically when it comes to the inclusion of people with fewer resources.
3) You have all the resources you need. What would you create?
I have two ideas in mind:
I really believe that talented people should have access to opportunities to develop themselves despite the lack of resources they may face. So, a platform where patronage and sponsoring can be done on chain. My concept is that young people would have a tokenized profile on a blockchain so people around the world can help them develop their talents, mentoring them and help them with connections. When those being sponsored grow up and/or develop their skills, the “patron” can receive a variable “retribution”. It would work great in football or sports where people can start sponsoring talented football players from a young age, helping them nurture their skills.
I love Chinese food, so a Chinese restaurant DAO financed with NFTs where holders have some kind of VIP status such as not queuing for entry, the chance to meet the best-in-class chefs, special cooking experiences or classes, one free meal per day, and even the ability to decide the “dish of the day”.
4) How did you get into crypto? What’s your Nexo story?
It was July 2017, I was doing my first internship at an insurance company and decided to use part of the money I earned there to make some investments – crazy of me seeing as you can hardly invest in anything at all with the amounts of money I had at the time. One day, one of my best friends told me about blockchain and decentralization, and “pitched me” how they can revolutionize societies as well as finances. Coming from an emerging economy like Peru, it was easy to understand blockchain's potential to solve some of my region's biggest problems such as corruption and low access to banking services.
From there, we tried to create a “Lima Blockchain Club” at my university but it didn’t garner much traction with university leaders. After the craziness of December 2017, I sold my bags to focus on finishing my degree (it was not rational to me that local marketplaces sold bitcoin as a “be rich in two days by buying this coin” asset).
Three years later, in 2020, I finished my degree and was working in M&A in Peru when COVID began. I saw prices at a ridiculous low and decided to enter into crypto again, digging into the industry more this time. What I found was incredible: DeFi was by then more of a reality than the old promises my friend had talked about three years prior. Since then, I dived really deep into the DeFi “rabbit hole”, the more I dug down, the more I love the space. Still….I continued working in TradFi and I felt that I didn’t have as much time to follow and learn about the crypto space as I would have wanted while at the same time performing well at work.
November 2021 rolled around and I decided I wanted to be in Web3 full-time. By 2022, I had heard about DAOs and I joined BanklessDAO. Their mission, the bankless movement resonated with me given where I live (Peru) and how DeFi can increase the number of “banked” people out there and improve access to financial services in emerging economies. I started doing translations while learning about the space at BanklessDAO. One day, I met a guy on the Bankless Discord who managed a lending fund and was looking for someone to join its company. I didn’t think much about the role, to be honest, I just wanted to work in crypto and have my attention focused on the space full-time. We talked, my new acquaintance was looking for someone based in the US but considered me for some freelance work. Thanks to him I learned more about crypto lenders and, among them, Nexo.
I traversed Nexo’s website, and found a role called “NFT Degen”, the name was curious, to be honest, and given I was into NFTs for some time, I decide to apply without reading more about the position. Then met Simo and @KryptoKiril and here we are.
5) What is your biggest challenge?
Not overthinking things too much.
6) What is your biggest failure?
Not staying in the blockchain space during the last bear market and not spending enough time with someone really special to me that passed away.
7) How many hours do you sleep?
6 or 7 hours
8) What’s in your crypto survival kit?
And the drive to never stop reading and learning
9) What coin are you most curious about?
The $Pinta Token – an Argentinian project that is tokenizing beer. One $Pinta is equal to 1 beer. Also, $VRA.
10) Who’s on your must-follow list on Twitter?
Michael Burry (aka @Cassandra)
11) Who are you outside of work?
Tech enthusiast and avid reader, someone who likes going to theater and art exhibitions or galleries.
To me crypto and blockchain are… a global revolution of economics, governance, and politics, that will help open the door to the evolution of society.
Next Week on People Fundamentals…
We’re going from deep inside the DeFi and NFT rabbit hole straight to the institutional side of Nexo’s business. To show you it’s not impossible for a single company to offer services for such diverse fields of finance, our Head of Institutional Client Management, Nadejda Petrova will tell you about her journey from TradFi into crypto and what it’s like working at the intersection of these two ecosystems.