Real Recognize Real, The BRAIN of DeSpread
**Disclaimer) The opinions expressed in this interview are those of the interviewer and do not represent the official statement of DeSpread.
Hi, I’m ZZoha, PR Lead in DeSpread.
DeSpread is a company of “Degens” who are immersed in the Web3 industry. Each of our coworkers has a unique personality, but we share the same DNA: a genuine love of Web3. We work in a free-spirited atmosphere, but we’re all professionals in our respective fields.
Last time, we interviewed Earl Cho, Senior consultant / Global business, for our first Coffee Chat with D’s Friends, and this time, coming up is Teyun Kwak, Senior Researcher / Market Research Lead in DeSperad, to talk about the major trends in the global market.
Teyun is a “Degen” who started investing in crypto in late 2017, and having seen the industry go through several cycles, we’re excited to learn how he catches up trends!
ZZo: Please introduce yourself!
“I’m Teyun Kwak, and I’m in charge of trend and product analysis, design, etc. at DeSpread. I’m mainly responsible for looking at X(formerly Twitter) and analyzing the latest trends, and I’ve been at DeSpread for about a year and a half.
I’ve been interested in this industry since the first bull market (late 2017) and joined DeSpread during the second bull market (December 2021). I started trading crypto in late 2017 when I saw a colleague investing in crypto while working at a company in another industry. I bought Bitcoin Cash(BCH) at the high point (5,000,000 won) and couldn’t sell it at the right time, and I started researching crypto since then.
I also invested in EOS, which was known as the ‘Ethereum killer’ at that time and tried gambling apps based on EOS network, which made up the majority of EOS DApps. It’s not easy to keep track of prices while working, so I looked for opportunities in areas where others don’t. Those DApps made me lose money eventually, but with this experience, I could made a lot of money in the second bull market.”
ZZo: You’ve been in the industry long enough to know the history of the space pretty well, so I’m curious to know what drives you.
“I took a loss from the beginning of investments, so there was a certain amount of vengeance. In fact, the whole idea of ‘investing’ is that as much as I’m losing, someone else is making money, so I was like, ‘I’m going to get back at the people who took my money.’”
ZZo: You’ve been in the industry for almost six years now, and you’ve met a lot of people, do you have any tips on which propaganda to watch out for?
“I would be wary of people who came in during the bull market and talked only about the value of blockchain, web3 ownership, etc. without talking about the business case. In my opinion, the biggest driver for starting a business in the blockchain and Web3 space is the ability to grow quickly and easily monetize that value, and I think it’s disingenuous not to mention that.
This is especially true for those working on NFTs, which were popular during the last bull market. I think there were too many examples of people emphasizing “community” without thinking much about the intrinsic value.
On the flip side, you also need to be wary of people who are too negative — it’s not easy to make money from that. You also need to be wary of people who only make negative claims or preach negativity.”
ZZo: Why did you choose DeSpread?
“I met Geumsan Jung(GM), currently leading DeSpread, when he was working at the Korean team of Aelf project, after some time has passed, I was interested in DeSpread because of seeing how he grew with it. Fortunately, I got an offer to join in the second half of 2021.”
ZZo: What is your current role in DeSpread?
“These days, I think I’m focusing more on design work than trend analysis. I drew the design on our official T-shirts. While working in the web3 industry, I realized that ‘it’s a good idea to increase value by packaging things in a way that looks good, and you should look at (other companies’) precedents and follow them,’ so I’ve been doing research by looking at designer portfolio sites so that DeSpread doesn’t look like it’s lacking in design.
I was a programmer at my last job, and I didn’t have any design training, so I’m trying to develop my own design and insight by looking at images that other people have done well, mostly on Dribble, Pinterest, etc. We tried to hire a designer, but couldn’t, because it was hard to find anyone who specializes in design in the Web3 market.
In addition to that, I use my experience as a programmer to develop bots to help people in the company keep up with the latest trends.”
ZZo: I know you’re also responsible for trend analysis, what are the main trends in the global markets recently?
“These days, global interests in NFT which drived the last bull market has gone down. Right now, it seems like the NFT market has completely bottomed out, and we’re paying attention to what happens when the NFT market dies. I think the reason the NFT narrative is losing steam is because those who got in early and made money have sold and gotten out. It’s a bit like the ICO craze that fueled the 2017 bull run, where investors flocked to NFTs because they were fun, not because there was any tangible substance to them.
Now is the time to be as risk-averse as possible and wait for the next upward cycle. However, I don’t know what narrative will drive the next bull market, and we won’t know until it comes in waves, so don’t neglect to stay on top of trends and try new services when they come out.”
ZZo: I know you found CryptoTimes, Japanese research partner of DeSpread, how did you find and what criteria did you use to decide they were a good team?
“I read everything on my Twitter feed to follow the latest trends. I noticed that Japanese-language Twitter accounts were not only keeping up with trends but also organizing their content well, so I paid attention to accounts in the Japanese web3 industry.
I noticed that CryptoTimes was doing research in earnest, so I introduced them to our team, and I think everyone recognized the potential of CryptoTimes. Maybe it seems that people in the Japanese Web3 industry are working hard, whether it’s investing or researching because of high tax rate in Japan.”
ZZo: You also do product reviews, what’s the most impressive product you’ve reviewed so far?
“The project that impressed me in a bad way was ‘Anicube’. It was an NFT project created by Cube Entertainment in collaboration with the Animoca brands, but the biggest problem was that the goal of the project was unclear.
While Animoca brands is known for its early investments in promising projects such as ‘The Sandbox’ and ‘Axie Infinity’, there hasn’t been much success since then.
Cube Entertainment is competitive just by having a lot of famous celebrities, but I’m not sure why they issue them as NFTs. I wrote an article analyzing these issues.”
ZZo: Tell us which domestic and international projects you’re interested in and why!
“I’m watching ‘tripleS’ very closely. The tripleS’ agency ‘Modhous’ is a startup started by Simon Kim of Hashed and Jung Byung-ki, a former director of Woollim Entertainment. At first, I was interested in it for that reason, but as I watched, I realized that tripleS NFTs, unlike other NFTs, only function as ‘photo cards’ for fans. Fans love collecting photo cards.
The biggest problem was that entertainment companies, including Anicube, advertised a similar roadmap to other NFTs and promised additional benefits for owning them. It’s hard to keep providing benefits for NFTs, and the roadmap is actually meaningless. The tripleS seems to have a sustainable business because they’re good at what they do, which is being an entertainment agency, instead of trying to show something web3.”
ZZo: You’ve been following the crypto market for a long time, what’s been the most interesting or shocking event you’ve seen?
“The most memorable was the cascade of companies going under, starting with the bankruptcy of FTX, a global crypto exchange. Unlike 2017, when the Chinese were driving the market, in the subsequent bull run of 2021, Americans created the narrative and a lot of people believed and followed (key figures like Sam Bankman-Fried).
It was a huge shock when I realized that the people I believed in were fraudsters, and it was even more shocking because it happened not long after I moved to DeSpread.
I had lost a lot of money and I was really questioning whether this was the right industry for me. I used to watch short videos on a Twitter account called ‘Out of Context’ to clear my head. I came to the conclusion that I shouldn’t put too much faith in this market. I decided that if the crypto and web3 markets were to crash, I would still be able to do something about it. I decided to get into the industry quickly, build relationships with successful people, and put myself in a position where if the industry crashed, I would be able to recover.”
ZZo: The last question, do you have any goals you’d like to achieve in DeSpread?
“The Korean web3 industry lacks a lot compared to overseas in that there are not many people spreading positive influence. In the global industry, there are industry leaders such as CZ and Brian Armstrong who inspire other practitioners and push the market forward, but there is no such person in Korea. No matter how famous someone is, there is an image that they only sweep up money from individual investors.
As a member of DeSpread, I want to contribute to creating a healthy market where there are more people who have a positive impact on the industry in Korea. I think one way to do that is to filter out people who are just using their fame as an excuse to advertise at a company level.”
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