This week, we had the pleasure of interviewing Jon Walch, the latest addition to the Frax Core Dev team. Jon join the team right before ETHDenver, and has since been the lead on building the protocol’s novel governance module. In this episode he walked us through all of the changes proposed with the new frxGov system, which we covered in a recent Frax 101. We learned a bit more about Jon and his experiences working with the Frax devs.
What’s Jon’s TradFi Background?
Jon is a decade-long experienced software professional with a background in finance, startups, and crypto. He started at Morgan Stanley, where he worked on the algorithmic trading services team. He dabbled in TradFi, assisting hedge funds and other clients with trading. After his experience in the investment bank, Jon joined an Insurtech startup called Ladder Life. But the TradFi life was not for Jon, he had other plans.
How Did Jon Get Involved In Crypto?
In 2012, while still in college at Rutgers, Jon came across Bitcoin and began mining in his dorm room. At the time he was a big PC gamer and had spare GPUs lying around that he decided to use for mining. Unfortunately, like many others, while Jon continued mining Bitcoin until mid-2013, he was a broke college student and so he sold off his stash to cover some bills.
How did Jon Start Working Professionally in Crypto?
When Jon was gaming he noticed the high value of certain in-game items, particularly skins in the game Counterstrike: Global Offensive (CS:GO). Steam was the ultimate dictator of these skins, and reaps massive fees from transactions. When NFTs came around, he realized that digital goods, like gaming assets, could hold real-life value and be great trading assets.
So he did what any other aspiring degen would do, he founded a gaming startup called Whiplash with a close friend in 2019. His company integrated gaming and betting, so users could watch Twitch streams and place real-time prop bets on specific outcomes within the game, such as whether the counter-terrorists would win a round or if a streamer would achieve a certain number of headshot kills in a round. To facilitate the betting process, Jon and his team developed an in-house currency called Whipcash. While it wasn’t a crypto token, the platform gained a sizable following. leading him further in to DeFi.
What is it like working on the Frax Core Dev Team?
Jon describes Frax as effectively a startup, but with the distinction of managing a multibillion-dollar pool of cash. As a Core Dev, he has to find a delicate balance between moving fast and not breaking the code and losing billions of dollars in invested capital.
After his gaming startup, Jon joined an auditing firm, where he learned a ton about smart contract development for DeFi. It radically changed his mode of thinking, forcing him to relearn all of his developer skills within this burgeoning industry. Auditing, he explains, requires meticulous attention to detail and an affinity for dissecting and understanding complex systems.
What is Jon excited about for frxGov?
In the episode, Jon said that the audit for frxGov was finished last week and that it would soon be deployed in 2-3 months. Pairing it with frxETH V2, Frax will completely remove the multisig trust assumptions the team has held..
He’s also excited to see the rollout of frxGov’s delegation system. Entities like yours truly can form “large coalitions” and gain significant control over the protocol by having others delegate veFXS. We have to say that we are as well, and can’t wait to see its deployment.
Congrats to Jon for successfully joining the Core Dev Team and we’ll be excited to see his future work with BAMM and other Frax products.
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