I got into crypto for the money, but I found something more
How this tech recruiter went from a sceptic to facilitating people’s entry into the crypto and web3 space.
Into the Cryptoverse is a weekly Breach series that documents the stories of everyday people as they navigate the cryptoverse.
Three years ago, Lanre had zero knowledge or interest in crypto. As a recruiter, she’s now facilitating people’s entry into the crypto and Web3 spaces. This is how it all happened.
When was your first point of contact with crypto?
2019, and this was the beginning of my early in-and-out relationship with crypto.
What do you mean?
At the time, I was only passively interested in what people in my life had to say about crypto. My indifference was partly due to my perception of it, and what people used it for.
Tell me more about this.
I learned that the use case of Bitcoin, the most popular cryptocurrency, was as a store of value and a means to move money. Guess the loudest demographic of people who used it to move money?
Yahoo boys, which is a colloquial term for internet scammers. People associated Bitcoin with Yahoo Boys, and I wasn’t sure of its longevity because I thought it was only used for shady businesses. I think it happened because Yahoo Boys were one of the early adopters of crypto in some parts of Nigeria. They weren’t the only early adopters — they were just the loudest ones.
When did this perception start to change?
2020. Bitcoin made a price leap that got people excited, and I realised that there had been an increase in adoption. A couple more of my friends had invested in it, so someone always told me something new about cryptocurrencies. Then it dawned on me that this thing was catching on. This was the drive I needed to give in to my curiosity. The goal was now to be comfortable enough to put money in it.
On what path did this take you on?
A rabbit hole of information. The thing about this rabbit hole was that the more I tried to learn something, the more I realised there was a lot to learn. Google searches, YouTube videos and my friends filled some of the voids. However, my friends were also trying to figure crypto out, so they couldn’t tell me much. Sadly, the entire process got overwhelming at some point, so I took a step back and focused on other life stuff.
What was that?
Work. I was living in Ghana and working remotely at a startup that matched data science talents with employers. I was also running another tech talent startup, which I co-founded. So yeah, I had my hands full.
A segue, do you think that your background in tech helped fuel your curiosity about crypto?
I’ll admit that it did. There were times that I understood a crypto concept or application relatively easily and quickly because working in tech gave me some context. Ultimately, working in startups and the risks that come with it was one of the defining factors that spurred me to take an active step in crypto.
When was this?
It was 2021, although I can’t remember the exact moment. A close friend of mine had put some money in Shiba Inu — a meme coin built on the Ethereum network — and had made good returns. Now, it felt like crypto was a moving train, and I was being left behind. I finally downloaded Binance, and when I found my way around it, I deposited $50 in my wallet.
Did you have any crypto goals at the time?
Not necessarily. But I did have expectations. The plan was to play around with different coins and see what would happen before making an investment decision. For a start, I invested all the $50 I had in Ethereum. This was October 2021.
Why did you go for Ethereum?
The hype around Shiba Inu had died down, so had its value. A friend also told me that this was the only peak it was going to have, and it deterred me from going in on Shiba. That left me with the two heavyweights — Bitcoin and Ethereum. Ethereum was doing better at the time, so it felt safe for me to test my experiment out with the coin.
Nice. What happened after?
The plan was to see how the crypto market would move in the following weeks. I left the coin in my wallet and focused most of my attention elsewhere.
However, I didn’t necessarily check out completely; I was keeping an eye on other innovations happening in the space, especially NFTs. Twitter was a good source, and I followed a lot of web3 handles.
I should add that my focus was still to understand these things and their potential for financial growth. This changed later in October when my focus shifted to the career opportunities in the space.
It started on Linkedin. Chris Quintero, the founder of Stack Shift — a startup that helps tech talent in Nigeria expand their networks and match them with Web3 companies — reached out to me and pitched the company to me. Then he told me that there was an open role in their talent operations team I’d be a great fit for. To be honest, I didn’t jump at it immediately.
I didn’t want to move back from Ghana to Lagos. My headspace couldn’t deal with Nigeria.
But you had a decision to make.
I did. I decided to bite and interview for the role eventually.
What was the defining factor?
I researched the company and everything they did looked interesting. As the conversations went on, I realised that it could help my pursuit of crypto knowledge. Ultimately, the job seemed like a fusion of two things I was interested in — tech recruitment and crypto technology, and by extension, Web3.
Also, it was fresh to see a talent company focusing on Web3. I felt like I was going to be missing out on something potentially huge if I didn’t take the offer. By November 2021, we had gotten to a point in our conversations where I was convinced that I was a good fit for the talent operations role. So I took the plunge and joined StackShift.
Can you explain what you do for me like I’m 10-years old?
I’m helping Web3 professionals and people who are looking to transition into Web3 get into a community where they can network, learn more about Web3, and have access to global opportunities in the space.
That sounds so cool.
Man, I joined the company when its Beta Cohort of its dWeb fellowship was just starting out. In the months that followed, my interactions with people in Web3 helped me develop an open mind. We’re in the process of recruiting the next cohort for our dWeb fellowship program, and I’m looking forward to what I’ll learn from the next sets of people as well.
You’re facilitating people’s entry into the crypto and Web3 space, what’s your favourite thing about the job?
It’s the weight of responsibility that comes with the job, and it’s not just for other people but for myself as well. To put it in context, I feel like I have to understand what’s going on in the space to perform at a high level on the job. In many ways, there will be an overlap between the job and my personal life. I love that.
Also, what I do matters — it’s like we’re building the future.
I get that. How do you imagine your work influences your relationship with crypto?
I’ve spoken to a lot of people who are doing stuff in crypto, from traders to professionals. This has exposed me to different use cases of crypto and Web3 and has also helped me discover what I need to learn. Specifically, it’s strengthened my resolve to understand how trading and DeFi projects work, and I’m looking forward to learning more about these.
Rooting for you there. Where do you see the cryptoverse in a few years?
Crypto will take a natural progression and become a lot more mainstream soon. At the moment, there’s a lot of noise and projects hurting the chances of adoption, especially projects that don’t have solid use cases. But I believe that as time goes on, the things that make no sense will gradually fall off. Adoption will continue to rise as crypto matures.
That makes sense. If you think about it, what do you think you could have used at your point of entry into crypto?
A learning plan or path could have been useful. I wish I got a lot more relatable resources at the start — it would have made the learning curve easier from the job.
Shameless plug, but what I get from this is that you could have used a Breach.
Haha. I could have.
Don’t worry, we’re here now.
Check back every Monday at 10 a.m. for a new episode.
If you’re interested in talking about your crypto journey, click this link.