Whether you’re searching for a new partner or employee or just looking to build your network, due diligence is particularly important in the crypto space. Newcomers may need more time to come to grips with the industry’s nuances and potential, and there are also unscrupulous actors interested only in a quick profit.
The members of Cointelegraph Innovation Circle know both the positive indicators and the warning signs to look for. Below, 12 of them discuss the signs that show them someone is a crypto connection worth pursuing.
True potential for collaboration
This is a very welcoming space, and connections come in fast. Those I’ve made are not all with potential partners. Sometimes they are people from an agency, a sports league or a particular blockchain, but the overarching theme of each relationship is really what blockchain is all about: openness and collaboration. Connections in this space really come down to two things: Is the connection trusted, and are they collaborative? For example, when we build long-term nonfungible token programs at Sweet, we’re always thinking about what gives our partners’ fans and consumers a reason to engage, participate and purchase. – Betsy Proctor, Sweet
An intent to create long-term value
I am not interested in wasting my time with people who are in this industry for a quick buck. So I always check a new connection’s prior projects to evaluate if they tried to create actual long-term value for their customers and partners or if their involvement was just about price speculation. For me, it’s not so much about how successful these prior projects were — a great project can often fail to get off the ground for a number of reasons — I’m interested in seeing the intent behind them. – André Neves, ZEBEDEE
Experience with multiple languages
When it comes to vetting technical talent within the crypto space, I look for experience with multiple languages. If there’s one thing I’ve learned building Web3 technical products, it’s that there are hundreds of protocols and languages to pick up and try out. Folks who are adaptable, with experience up and down the stack, are the best hires, regardless of blockchain-specific experience. – Brian Platz, Fluree
Reliable connections and good references
When vetting connections in the crypto space, you need to follow the same common-sense methods you would use to vet connections in any industry. As this is a new space, there will not always be an accredited institution related to a title, and there has been a dearth of projects in the last five years, so the community is still relatively small. When I meet someone in the space, I research who they are and who in my network they are connected to, and if I am to get into a financial transaction with them, I expand my due diligence by getting references. The onus is on me to make sure I have the right level of comfort and that I take my time prior to getting in too deep. In the event speed is required, then I make sure that I have the mechanisms in place to extract myself if necessary. – Genevieve Leveille, AgriLedger
Alignment on a larger purpose
Alignment of purpose and behavior that demonstrates they practice integrity around that purpose are the first and most essential ingredients. As the scope of the engagement increases, industry experience, or at the very least the ability to learn new concepts within the industry, becomes increasingly important. It’s much easier to teach someone who shares a deep alignment of purpose than it is to find someone who has the skills I need but who must be convinced to get in alignment with our larger purpose. In my experience, it pays to disregard which school someone went to or what vanity projects they are attached to and instead focus on what brings them to the table. Discover a person’s deeper motivations and you’ll be able to make a much more reliable assessment as to whether you want to work with them. – Edward DeLeon, Anatha
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Awareness of crypto history
When making crypto connections, I look for a depth of knowledge and an understanding of the history and failures that have come before. I come across a lot of people pitching the same projects that failed miserably in 2017, and they don’t even know that there is a precedent of failure. If you don’t understand crypto history, then you’re doomed to make the same mistakes. – QuHarrison Terry, NFTQT.com
Transparency around identity
Transparency and anonymity are the yin and yang of crypto, and they seem to be in this grand, continuous battle. The recent Wonderland fiasco should be a reminder that founders who don’t want to be doxxed are a red flag, and the community should steer away from them. It is very important to exchange sensitive information only with non-anonymous actors. – Amber Ghaddar, AllianceBlock
Positive interactions on social media
Among key factors when vetting a connection in crypto are their track record in the space and how they interact with the community across social channels — especially Linkedin. This is important as it allows us to understand how they manage and view their businesses, how they want the public to see them, and that they are not scared to talk about their work. It also allows us to engage with other people they have worked with to get a sense of how they operate their businesses. – Tim Mangnall, Capital Block
Reputable, high-value partners
As a marketer, I seek connections with partners who can promote eToro and bring value to a partnership by sending new customers to invest in and use our service. I always try to find reliable websites that attract a decent amount of traffic and whose owners have a good reputation in the space. Additionally, I always also check on who is advertising there and the geographic locations of users. – Shiran Herzberg, eToro
A long-term commitment to crypto
I am interested in how potential connections view the long-term viability of the crypto space. Do they view regulations as a help or a hindrance? How do they see their role evolving in this space? Do they believe in the potential of crypto to streamline global finance by eliminating middlemen, increasing transparency, streamlining settlements, etc.? We assess each person’s long-term commitment to this space to ensure that we’re aligned in our mission to harness the full potential of crypto. – Oleksandr Lutskevych, CEX.IO
Practical ideas for expanding the space
I look for connections who have a realistic, pragmatic view of how the space should evolve. Moving the perception of digital assets from one of “magic money” to one of “a vital part of the global financial marketplace” will happen when real bridges are built between the two worlds. Otherwise, the result will be the mere assimilation of the spirit and innovation of crypto into the old world. – Patrick Campos, Securrency
Whether it’s a national bank or a crypto-native protocol founder, the most successful contributors to crypto’s long-term growth think bigger than themselves and bigger than their organizations. They see how blockchain and crypto can change financial services. They’re thinking about connectivity across organizations and across borders. All of this helps me know they’ll make the right decisions when we’re working together toward a larger shared goal. – Nathan McCauley, Anchorage Digital
This article was published through Cointelegraph Innovation Circle, a vetted organization of senior executives and experts in the blockchain technology industry who are building the future through the power of connections, collaboration and thought leadership. Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of Cointelegraph.
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