From Potential Competitor to PoolTogether Community Member
PoolTogether Community Interview #5: Torgin, Grants Committee Lead
Welcome to the second month of the PoolTogether Community SubStack! In just 5 weeks, we have really grown this endeavor with involvement from so many people in the Community. We also hope you enjoyed the first episode of The Richard Show this week.
Today, we will be introducing you to Torgin, one of the backbones of the PoolTogether Community who has played a key part in the development of the protocol especially with his work on the PoolTogether Grants Committee.
He will also touch on his thoughts on MEV and networks within crypto protocols.
An Interview with Torgin
Tell us a bit about yourself
I found Pooltogether just as V3 launched. Since then I've been very active in the community, which led to me becoming the lead of the PoolGrants committee. I have a background in computer science and am fascinated by smart contract systems.
How long have you been in crypto?
I first learned about Bitcoin in 2017 became obsessed with daytrading for a while. I stayed for the tech.
Do you want to tell us about the main lessons you have learned since then?
1) Thinking "this time is different" is usually a mistake. History repeats itself, especially when it comes to crypto prices. 2) Don't dismiss something just because you don't immediately see why it has value. 3) Investigate projects that smart people are excited about. Even more so if it's something you've never heard of.
What was your best crypto moment?
Forging amazing friendships in the Pooltogether Discord.
And your biggest fail?
Shorting DOGE at $0.18 because I thought the valuation was ridiculous.
What is your view on Dogecoin today now that it is a Top 10 token? Does it have lasting value or is just a fad?
Usually networks are built around a product. The more users the product has, the more it's worth. DOGE is the other way around. Here a network is being built with a meme, there is no product. However, now that the network exists, products can be built to leverage it.
For example, Mark Cuban has embraced this by letting people pay for his sports team's merch using DOGE. So, I think that while DOGE on its own is worthless, the network of DOGE holders that has come into existence because if it is valuable.
I definitely think it will crash very hard during the next bear market, but it will always retain some value. One of the people that frames this best is Raoul Pal. I'd recommend to everyone to check him out.
How did you find out about PoolTogether?
In August 2020 I had just learned about DeFi and saw an Ad for a bank that offered prize savings. It immediately clicked for me that this concept HAD to be combined with DeFi. So I decided I wanted to found a startup to build this. I had even already found cofounders. While doing research for it, I found Pooltogether. Pooltogether had already built everything that I wanted to, exactly the way I would've done it.
What made you stick around?
At first I joined the PT Discord to do "competitor analysis", but it quickly became obvious that it made much more sense to join the Pooltogether effort than compete with it. The core team and community were so welcoming that I naturally started spending more and more time hanging out in the Discord, until it became all I did.
How are you involved in the community? Tell us about it.
I enjoy helping people understand how Pooltogether and crypto currencies work, so I answer any questions in Discord whenever I can. I also like to think of myself as a "healthy sceptic" in governance discussions, making sure to think things through to the end and pointing out possible challenges, especially those related to game theory. Additionally, I am the lead of the Pooltogether grants committee.
What does the grants committee do?
The grants committee exists to empower the community by offering funding to projects that bring value to Pooltogether. This could range from compensating a dev for creating a website to funding a community newsletter.
What are some of the things the grants committee has done/awarded which you are most proud of/you think has or will make a major difference to PT and the wider crypt/DeFi community?
I think the thing that has had the biggest impact is funding the coordinape program. It makes it so that anyone that joins the community and does something for it can immediately be rewarded with POOL tokens for their contributions.
That's very powerful and hopefully motivates them to stick around and continue contributing. It's also a good way to get POOL governance power into the hands of those that deserve it most.
Are you involved in any other projects or communities?
I'm very interested in MEV (Miner-Extractable Value). I have written a paper in this area, which inevitably led me to the Flashbots project. While I'm not actively involved, I make sure to watch it closely.
Why are you interested in MEV? What specifically attracts you to this?
MEV is really interesting from 2 perspectives:
1) As an MEV searcher, you can try to figure out how to best exploit the MEV that exists. It's an advanced form of arbitrage trading, which is very intelectually interesting. Who doesn't love free money?
2) As a systems designer, you can try to minimize how much MEV there is in the first place and democratize access to the MEV that is unavoidable. Since someone is making money from MEV, there's also someone that's losing. Usually that's "average" users of the Blockchain that probably don't even notice they're losing money. Figuring out how to protect these users is a very important goal.
MEV is a fairly complex topic to summarize, so I'd recommend everyone to check out the Bankless podcast episode about it. They brought 3 of the leading experts on to their show to explain it! Podcast episode link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rOVz7dOrGyY
Finally. would you recommend PoolTogether to others? How would you describe it to them?
Absolutely. I think Pooltogether is the perfect first DeFi project for anyone to try. Having a chance to win money just by saving is something anyone can get excited about. Then I hope that people challenge me on all the reasons why this "sounds too good to be true" so that I can explain all the awesome details that make it possible.
We hope you have enjoyed this week’s Community Interview. It is incredible how people with different skill-sets and interests have become involved in the PoolTogether Community.
The Community is warm and welcoming and we try to foster a positive, inclusive environment as you are hopefully starting to see through the Community interviews we post each Friday.
Please be sure to join us for the weekly Pooktogether Discord Community Call every Friday at 2.45pm EST.
In the meantime, we will be publishing the latest Community Newsletter this Sunday.