Meet the team – David Hunt-Mateo

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This is the first article of a series on the Request team’s key members, where we introduce the Senior Blockchain Engineer of the Request Foundation, David Hunt-Mateo, aka MantisClone.

David pivoted his career into web3 at the start of 2021. At the time, he wanted to work with the Rust programming language. Searching on Linkedin yielded a seemingly endless list of job openings at Kraken and Solana working with Rust. This abundance of opportunity sparked his interest in cryptocurrency and web3. He started reading about Bitcoin and Ethereum and soon grew excited about the possibilities that blockchain technology could unlock.

After a couple of weeks, he found and applied to the Gitcoin KERNEL fellowship program in the hopes that it could accelerate his entry into web3. KERNEL is a peer-to-peer educational community and an 8-week incubator program that teaches fundamental principles about web3 and pairs founders with knowledgeable web3 mentors. The KERNEL curriculum is open source. He was accepted into KERNEL Block 2 (KB2). During his KB2 adventure, he built a mental model of the web3 landscape and searched for a project that satisfied his ikigai or “reason for being”.

Ikigai

He read as much as he could about DeFi, DAOs, Gaming, NFTs, Stablecoins, Yield farming, secure P2P messaging, decentralized storage/compute, L1s, sidechains, rollups, mixnets, TEE, MPC, ZKProofs, etc.

He thought about the concepts of trust, value, and positive-sum games. And eventually, he realized that privacy and data sovereignty motivated him the most, fueled by a general unease with the web2 status quo and the disillusionment he had gained from working with speech recognition technologies.

In March 2021, he applied to the Ocean Protocol Foundation (OPF) because their values aligned with his, their mission excited him, and they were in growth mode (1 -> N) which matched his risk/reward preference.

The interview was successful and they decided to hire him as an independent contractor. He worked there for just over a year.

We are excited to have David join the Request family and asked him a few questions to get to know him better.

Why did you join Request?

When Request approached me about joining their team, to improve the protocol and help grow an ecosystem of builders on top of it, I jumped at the opportunity. I have used the Request Finance crypto invoicing platform since April 2021 and am impressed by its ease of use and integrations with my crypto accounting software. Through talking with the team, I realized that this was just the beginning and that many other exciting use cases could be built on top of decentralized payment requests. This opportunity would allow me to use my existing technical knowledge and communication skills to connect and engage with builders in a way that previous roles had not.

What excites you the most about web3?

Honestly, I’m pretty stoked about all of it. I think web3 gives us the tools to program human behavior, create positive-sum games, and eliminate sources of inequity and systemic barriers in our world. I’m excited by financial empowerment from DeFi, novel coordination from tokenomics and DAOs, privacy innovations from mixers / MPC / FHE / ZKP, data sovereignty from DataFi, DeSci, DeSocial, and reputation systems.

What soft & hard skills have been most helpful in helping you succeed in web3?

Since many of my roles have been technical, my ability to quickly research and find answers has served me well. I don’t keep all the specific technical knowledge in my head. I focus on core concepts and principles so I know the right search terms to efficiently solve technical problems. This allows me to be a polyglot programmer, meaning that I can program in many different languages.

The second most important skill is my affinity for remote collaboration tools. Knowing how to communicate effectively with team members across the globe is incredibly important for success in web3. It’s important to know how to control your notifications, share knowledge, notify teammates, reach consensus, and track task progress.

Do you have a favorite failure that led to success?

I was laid off from a speech-recognition startup at the end of 2020, just before pivoting into web3. It was shocking to me that the stability I felt as an employee could be taken away with only 2 weeks notice. This experience was a major catalyst in my decision to become a freelancer and ultimately lead to other successes. I chose to live by my calendar, track how I spend my time, improve my online presence, and grow my professional network. I now felt confident that the next time I’m looking for work, I’ll be able to find it.

Being a freelancer in web3 requires rethinking a lot of old models of how we work especially if we want to do so compliantly. I spent a significant amount of my free time in 2021 building my business and workflows. I compiled my resources about liability, benefits, tax compliance, operations, and accounting, and put everything together in this article on Freelancing in web3.

Before we go, any advice or tips for anyone who wants to transition into web3?

While I realize that everyone’s journey into web3 is different and unique, below is a brain dump that I believe could help anyone kickstart their path into web3 and let them be in the game for the long haul;

  • SpeedRunEthereum – A platform to learn how to build on Ethereum
  • Hang out in DAOs for a month or two and get paid completing a bounty
  • Search for your Ikigai, but don’t spend too long on it. It’s okay to jump into a project, gain some skills, and keep searching.
  • Beware of information overload, you don’t need to be updated of every crypto news.
  • Be defensive of your time.
  • Be picky about your notifications, you don’t need to read every discord channel.

About Request Network

The Request Foundation’s mission is to re-invent accounting and finance by creating a decentralized network of interoperable apps that promotes transparency and real-time reporting.

We inspire and educate developers, partners, and authorities to use the Request Network and build an ecosystem of financial applications together that is open source, seamless and interoperable.

We’re building a network that connects businesses around the world, giving them ways to make business at the speed of the internet.

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Umar
Community at Request