For just over a year now I’ve been working on a startup called “DeReg”, mostly full-time together with my amazing brother & co-founder Dimitri. Recently we have decided to stop the project so that we can each work on other things and pursue things we’re more interested in.
This post explains my personal motivation for initially starting the project and now quitting. In a separate post (soon™️) I’ll lay out the original vision we had with the hope that someone else will be inspired and at least borrow a few ideas.
Outside of believing that the core idea made sense from both a business and technical perspective, my primary goal with DeReg was to upskill as a person. While I believe being an engineer is great I don’t think it’s enough. In my life I want to have a large positive impact, not only on the people closest to me but on the world at large, I want to do big things.
Long-term, to do that I believe I need to upskill to be a leader/founder who knows how to structure capital, allocate resources and manage people. To do that I can’t be a 1-dimensional developer. The idea behind DeReg was to do a trial by fire, beginning to acquire these skills with a “learning by doing philosophy” and hopefully also build an amazing startup along the way, that revolutionized the DeFi security industry and maybe even made a ton of money to pour back into the next thing.
Mainly and most importantly the project wasn’t satisfying me. While I want more, at heart I’m an engineer and the technical challenges associated with DeReg weren’t fascinating to me. I was procrastinating a lot and getting nerd-sniped by other technical challenges that were almost always outside of the scope of DeReg.
Before deciding to quit I was contemplating this a lot, would I eventually get out of the rut, discovering a new type of challenge that would suck me in? What if all I needed was to complete fundraising and the pressure of having all these new commitments would force me into being productive, out of sheer necessity?
I’m so grateful to my brother for talking openly to me and helping me get the clarity I needed. I’m still very young, 21 in fact, I don’t need to be sure about what I want to do yet. It’s ok to stray and experiment and I definitely shouldn’t lock myself in with new responsibilities until I’m sure about what I want to do. Overall I love my brother and am very happy our first lil’ venture together had such an amicable ending. ❤️
I’m also forever grateful to libevm a dear friend and our only investor. Their investment has been returned in full in <2 months with a 6% profit. Now I can proudly say that “my first venture ever resulted in a profit for all investors with an average annualized return of over 50%”. 😂😏
Jokes aside I thought I was sure about wanting to do a startup, I thought it was the best, logical next step. I still think I was right, but maybe not. Life is funny like that sometimes, no matter how hard you try to self-impose some grander vision and strict timeline onto yourself, sometimes you just have to go with the flow. As Bruce Lee famously said: “Be water, my friend”.
In the short term, I’ll be working on passion projects / nerd-snipes and freelancing again.
I’ll also be moving to Lisbon! 🇵🇹
The main side project I’m going to be finishing first is METH, my hyper-optimized Wrapped Ether implementation. After/next to that I have a few other projects planned:
- Repurposing METH to create an ERC20 factory for anybody to deploy their own hyper-optimized ERC20 token
- Contribute to Venom, Vyper’s new IR
- Optimize the Safe Multisig contract using sstore3
- Contribute to foundry, improving traces (add the ability to have storage & address cold/warm accesses be marked, displaying internal calls similar to what Tenderly provides)
- Continue helping with the circuit breaker ERC (ERC7265)
- Interactive disassembler Not sure which of these I’ll do and in which order but they’re the ones on my mind. Needless to say that while DeReg is over, for now, I still believe in Circuit Breakers and their potential and will continue working with my collaborators on a good circuit breaker standard and implementation.
For the medium term, I’m looking at colleges again and seeing if I can go back to studying next year. I dropped out during Covid, before even finishing my 1. semester to work as a senior auditor at Quantstamp. Now that things have cleared out I’m getting some FOMO and curious what the student experience is like. Worst case I realize it’s not for me, “wasted” a little time and go back to doing just philogy things.
While I’m not actively looking I’m very open to employment opportunities. Specifically, if it matches the following criteria:
- research/engineering role
- hard and somewhat diverse technical challenges
- collaborative work environment
- cracked teammates I can look up to and learn from
- good pay (210k and up / yr)
While my main expertise is in low-level smart contract development and EVM security I’m a fast learner and very open to learning things I’m not already well-versed in such as:
- Rust (already know basics but far from good)
Thanks for reading and allowing me to share some of my personal story with you. Hopefully, you took away something from this article too. Looking forward to the future. Expect more technical content soon. 👀
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