In Part 1, we detailed three of the different types of crypto OGs you might encounter at an industry party.
They were: (1) shady super coders and/or no-nonsense founders, (2) “famous” and respected OG industry leaders like Vitalik Buterin and Brian Armstrong, and (3) the returning OGs who tried to shake off the stink of a failed project .
This time we meet even more categories of crypto OGs, with insights from those most familiar with them.
4. The “NeoGs” market makers and traders
There are a select few crypto players who joined the game late, yet have risen to prominence to become behemoths in terms of net worth and impact. Usually, these are smart market makers and traders who are often mistaken for OGs.
Take, for example, Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of FTX trading exchange and quant trading firm Alameda Research. Amidst the recent crypto collapses, he gained even greater prominence as he stepped up in a big way provide rescues and minimize the contagions.
Noobs may mistake SBF for OG, but he only joined the industry in 2017. Bankman-Fried made his fortune from arbitrage crypto trading, which he leveraged to build his empire.
The 30-year-old is a self-made billionaire who is a regular in legacy financial media, invited to speak at all the major crypto conferences, and one of the default industry representatives who weigh in on US congressional hearings. His wardrobe seems to consist exclusively of FTX T-shirts.
SBF famously stated that he doesn’t necessarily believe in the future of any cryptocurrency, however he sees them as attractive opportunities. Bottom line, he’s the type who’s in it “for the money” (but only for the purposes of an altruistic gift at some later stage).
“I don’t think you can call those who joined in 2017 OG,” says Darius Sit, founder of successful crypto-trading firm QCP Capital, which he also founded that year.
“That’s my definition anyway. I think OGs are hard core believers who went all in when no one else was paying attention to the space, so that’s definitely a lot ahead of 2017.”
Like SBF, Sit was also in crypto primarily to make money, and since its inception, QCP Capital has become one of the world’s largest crypto options trading companies with $1.5 billion in assets deployed back in 2021. Its
Project arm was an early investor in many prominent projects, such as Deribit, dYdX, Algorand, Tokocrypto and Nansen.
Judging by their successes, and the fact that the top three highest net worth in the cryptocurrency industry these days comes from market making companies, one can wonder if the winners in the industry are the smarter opportunists, instead of the holding believers.
Sit down insists that marketing is also a concrete use case and innovation of blockchain, instead of just a money-making endeavor.
“I think Sam and I shared – and probably still share – very similar views, and maybe I can provide some nuance here. A lot of crypto or blockchain initiatives promise incredible things that may or may not happen. But what is very real to me and what I believe is the crypto capital markets.”
“To some extent, this is nothing new,” he continues. “It’s the same market structures and practices with a different underlying: crypto assets. At the same time, it’s also completely different.”
“Crypto is not tied to any particular country or authority; it is a non-aligned asset class that is accessible to anyone from any jurisdiction. It is the only scalable financial ecosystem that is independent.”
He adds: “In a world where geopolitics has become increasingly unstable, I think that counts for something. I enjoy being part of this developing market.”
In the aftermath of this year’s macro sell-off and the liquidation of many Singaporean whale trading firms and exchanges like Three Arrows Capital, which sent shockwaves through the cryptocurrency market worldwide, QCP Capital held its ground.
“We were always concerned about the leverage and rehypothecation in the lending and borrowing markets, and so, we never participated in a big way. I did feel quite stupid at times, especially when people around us made billions from the balance sheet expansion and easy leverage. Finally , the choice to only focus on trading and developing the derivative markets may not have been the most profitable, but it was the right one,” Situ comments.
At any networking party, you can find Sit having a quiet conversation outside with a few other people. “I don’t like crowds and prefer deep, quality conversations,” he says.
5. The flashy influencers and YOLO bros
Last but not least, influencers are the OGs most likely to throw a networking party in the first place, to convert standards into crypto investors.
Even the letters “OG” conjure up images of swaggering, bling-bling-studded social media shiller types, sporting loud Bitcoin paraphernalia (cue The Bitcoin Man), driving lambas and popping champagne in the clubs, or otherwise chilling on a yacht somewhere in the Bahamas.
Often derided, they played a critical role in painting a dream of what is possible when you jump on the bandwagon of a deflationary asset class. They’ve all made life-changing sums of money early on from cryptocurrency through shrewd intuition or dumb luck, and they want the whole world to know about it.
Whether buying flashy Lambos or super yachts or to establish a community on a tropical island, these people are passionate about enjoying life to the fullest. They tend to be engaging and inspiring with larger than life personalities, making them suitable as event promoters, marketers, content creators and social media influencers. For better or worse, they are the face of the crypto industry in the mainstream.
“I think people like me, like Kyle Chasse, do the hard work every day to preach the gospel of Bitcoin to the masses,” explains The Bitcoin Man – aka Herbert Sim, a social media influencer with hundreds of thousands of followers. Instagram and Twitter.
An easily recognizable regular at conferences, Sim carries a Bitcoin coin everywhere he goes and regularly posts on his social media about the virtue of investing in cryptocurrency.
“I am very public about my identity because I have never done anything obscure in the past. Moreover, I only shill Bitcoin, and I 100% believe that it is safe and advisable for everyone to invest in Bitcoin.”
“Back in the day, I remember a bunch of us would party hard at a club, and we’d show everyone we got rich with Bitcoin. We’d hire girls with big breasts wearing tiny T-shirts with Bitcoin logos to drink with us in the club,” Sim remembers fondly.
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Sim got into cryptocurrency during his college years at Oklahoma City University in the United States. He assisted a professor researching blockchain and delved into the digital punk movement. “This happened already in 2009 and 2010. In 2010, someone, whom I cannot reveal, gave me some funding — about 100 thousand — to host. CryptoChainUniversity, one of the world’s oldest academic repositories for crypto and blockchain research and education.”
“The definition of OG is quite fluid, but I would say the latest deadline for OGs to enter cryptocurrency should be around 2014,” Sim said.
Since then he has worked in many different capacities in the industry, for example as the global operations director of Huobi Exchange and as the chief marketing officer of Cryptology. He also founded a UK-based venture capital fund trademark “The Bitcoin Man.” In his free time, he likes to draw illustrations and write fantasy short stories inspired by the crypto industry.
“People like us, we are the life of the party; we’re not tired of the industry at all,” chips in Harry Horsfall, CEO of Zebu Digital — a Web3 platform accelerator and marketing agency based in London, United Kingdom.
Horsfall bought his first Bitcoin in 2011 and went all the way around 2013. “I’m not a whale, and I’m certainly not Lambo rich. I’ve lost my crypto throughout history, but the most important thing is to start it again and keep believing in the future! ” spurts Horsfall enthusiastically.
Before crypto, Horsfall used to organize music festivals, and now he organizes many Web3 parties, for example, Zebu Life, Defi Life, Avalanche Summit, Ethereum Collective, Hijack Collective etc.
“The thing about crypto parties is… they’re not that great because they’re mainly male. So, we used to hire girls all the time. Now things are changing, and we’re happy to see more and more girls entering the proportion of 50: 50.”
6. OG is a spectrum
This guide is a rough outline of the different types of OGs based on their roles and characteristics in the industry. But many OGs can straddle a number of different categories, and others defy easy categorization.
What if you invested $1 in Bitcoin back in 2010? Would you count as an OG?
“No, an OG would be a person who originated the technology or leveraged the technology to create new business opportunities that addressed key pain points previously ignored or unknown. I would not consider myself an OG, but an early accidental believer-adopter, because I invested $50 SGD in Bitcoin in 2014. To this date, this has become my best performance,” says Victoria Au, now a business director at fractional real estate investment platform RealVantage.
Zing Yangwho first bought crypto in 2014 and became one of the board directors of Litecoin, has an identity crisis around this label.
“I think I’m an OG of timeline and participation, although, by my definition, I feel like an impostor because I’m not technical enough or part of the developer community that got in early from the 2009 days for ideological reasons or romance. with the technology,” she says.
Yang has now changed careers completely to join global food products conglomerate Cargill, where she feels she can make a more concrete contribution with her talent and skills.
“Being an OG isn’t all kittens and rainbows,” says Marcus Enga rare former kid OG who got into cryptocurrency 11 years ago when he was just 14. “I stumbled into crypto on a Bitcoin discussion forum. And I’ve had my fair share of adventures since then. I was also an early Dogecoin OG.”
Now 25 and working as an investment lead for QCP Capital, Eng believes he has finally begun to make concrete contributions to the industry.
“When I was 14, I was so young. I was just fooling around. I was a rebel, and I went in for cryptic idealism. I also didn’t manage my wealth well and lost a lot of it over the years. Now I’m much more sensible and critical to the industry and able to help others navigate this space.”
Being rich overnight so early also brought him some mental problems. “For a while, I was depressed because I lost motivation to do anything else in life except for my own amusement,” he says.
In conclusion, OG should simply mean anyone who has believed in the vision of blockchain since its early days, made contributions to the industry, and adopted and invested significantly in cryptocurrencies since 2014 at the latest.
“However, remember that there is always someone who will be ‘more OG’ than you in so many different ways. It’s not binary – it’s a spectrum,” adds Yang.
Check out Part 1 of our Real Life Crypto OGs Guide below.
An Insider’s Guide to Real Crypto OGs: Part 1