“Vesper just checked all the boxes that I barely knew I was looking for…”
The best stories about Vesper come from its community. Vespernaut “MrAdeline” has been doing exemplary work onboarding new Vespernauts — up to a full percentage point of the vVSP pool by his count. We recently sat down with MrAdeline (if virtually), and learned more about him, how he’s introduced Vesper to others, and what the rest of us can learn from his example. [Ed. note: Interview lightly edited for length and clarity.]
Tell us a little more about yourself. Where are you based? How do you make a living?
I live in Seattle and grew up here through the tech boom. I’ve worked for nonprofits, political campaigns, big tech, and marketing agencies. Currently, I’m wrapping up a couple of projects and plan to take the latter part of the summer off and figure out what comes next.
This financial freedom is mostly thanks to Bitcoin and Ether investing. Crypto has accelerated a life-long goal of mine which is to achieve personal financial security so that I can direct my creative energy toward issues that I care passionately about.
How did you learn about Vesper?
My significant other saw a social media post about Vesper and told me “Every project Jeff Garzik works on is solid,” so I skeptically checked out the docs and was immediately all about it. I had been looking for a reliable DeFi yield aggregator with a trustworthy team that could help me transition away from reliance on more centralized players and I had a lot of excitement around the sort of democratization of finance that DAO-led DeFi projects were introducing to the world. Vesper just checked all the boxes that I barely knew that I was looking for and then opened up my mind to a whole new set of possibilities.
So as usual, my significant other was right and she’ll be even more right when Vesper matures past its early stages.
You say that you’ve onboarded 14 people, who collectively add up to 1% of the vVSP pool. What can you tell us about them and their motivations?
Thought it would be interesting to put together some stats because I think this tells the story best:
Out of these 14:
- 13 had never heard of MetaMask before
- 10 had never used a non-CEX wallet before
- 6 started using crypto in 2021
- 3 are over 60 years old
- 2 are under 25 years old
You bring up two different age brackets, here. How do they both approach Vesper and DeFi?
The older folks are most concerned with sitting on cash that is supposed to get them through retirement years — savings accounts are completely meaningless, the moderate returns they are seeing on low-risk investments are getting eaten alive by money management fees, and now everyone is talking about inflation. The key motivation with this group has been the appeal of higher-than-a-bank APY on USD stablecoins and secondarily a way to maximize a small allocation into BTC and ETH through their respective Grow pools.
For the youngest new Vespernauts, I see people who want to hold some portion of their savings in cash because that seems to be the responsible thing to do but know they will get burned over time because nothing in traditional finance motivates a cash savings. One young couple sees the Vesper USDC pool as a great place to park and grow a rainy day fund. This group is also very comfortable with crypto as long-term investments and so the concept of Vesper as easy-as-a-401k makes complete sense and is super-appealing.
The majority of my Vesper community are Seattle-area millennials working in tech or tech-adjacent careers. Generally, these are people who have at least dabbled in BTC, ETH, and some altcoins for a couple years or more now. They have high “tech IQ” and a distrust of traditional finance — most were graduating college and starting to look for career jobs in the pits of the last recession. In addition to the personal financial possibilities that crypto presents, I think DeFi has a subversive appeal to many in this group.
Just about everyone has decided to invest in the vVSP pool after getting familiar with Vesper, even if that was not the original motivation for using the platform.
What motivated you to onboard these people?
I spent a lot of time over the past several years getting comfortable with first Bitcoin, then Ether/altcoins, and now DeFi. Many lessons learned, and some came the hard way. So many people I care about are curious about crypto and dipping their toes into a world that still has a lot of landmines. So when people hit me up I want to do more than say “ya, you should buy some Bitcoin.”
What could have been useful for onboarding that you didn’t have available to you?
I think it would be great to have a one-pager that describes what Vesper is without using ANY DeFi specific terms. [Ed. note: Good idea…]
The single greatest barrier to entry for people is definitely the need to use a browser extension wallet like MetaMask. I think only two or three of the 14 people would have onboarded themselves if I had just pointed them to MetaMask and the Vesper site. I’ve either been in person or on screenshare with almost everyone explaining what MetaMask is, how it works, why it is necessary to access Vesper thing, what is Etherscan, what are gas fees, how all the tokens are stored in the same wallet address, and so on. It worries me that this is a barrier to mass adoption.
What are you and your new Vespernauts most looking forward to in terms of future Vesper projects (e.g., Earn, VUSD, more Grow pools, etc.)?
Deposit X, Earn Y [Vesper Earn] is going to be huge. Passive income generation in USD stablecoins is going to appeal to everyone. I’m excited about so much going on with Vesper, but no doubt Earn will be the star of the show among my network of Vespernauts.
Do you have any advice for other Vespernauts who might want to follow your example?
The DeFi world is brand new, so don’t discount your own knowledge. I think it’s easy to forget that the concepts and technologies we talk about every day on Discord are completely foreign to 99% of the population. Think of yourself as the first in your circle who got a 56k modem. It took a leap to get it going, but now you are more of an expert than anyone else around you. So start slinging those AOL CDs you picked up at Blockbuster and help your friends and family get online! I truly believe platforms like Vesper are going to change people’s lives as materially as the Internet or the smartphone.
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