Behind the Charts is a blog post series about MetricsDAO’s analyst community. It serves as a way to get to know and feature some of the best analysts in the Web3 space. As we seek to empower protocols and organizations in the crypto space, it is important to empower on-chain analysts as well and highlight their skills and talents.
In this edition, we speak to J. Hackworth, a data scientist/data engineer at a large consulting firm by day and a stellar blockchain analyst by night. He shares details about his background, what got him into crypto, and some of his favorite work. He even shares how analysts can standout with their work so make sure to read through.
rplust - interviewer (RT): Hi J.Hackworth! Thanks again for agreeing to be interviewed and featured on MetricsDAO’s series of Behind the Charts. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
J. Hackworth (JH): Hello! A bit about me is that I’m based out of the midwest United States. Hackworth isn’t really my name but a way to separate my crypto identity from my normie identity.
Currently I work for a large consulting firm as a data scientist and data engineer where my projects have ranged from building AI models to determine when factory machines will fail (predictive maintenance) to building data pipelines to help personalize patient’s healthcare policies.
Outside of slinging SQL queries and writing python code, my hobbies include reading, traveling, and triathlons.
"I even tried to create a price NFT prediction model and failed miserably due to the irrationality of the market. Still, I wanted to build in the crypto space somehow [...] a friend recommended that I apply my data skills to Flipside and MetricsDAO. The rest is history."
RT: Oh wow, much respect to you three sport athletes. Factory machines and healthcare are kind of far more from crypto. I'm curious as to how did you get into the space?
JH: I’ve always been interested in technology. I remember the first time I realized how big crypto was going to be was in early 2017 after listening to a podcast with Naval Ravikatant. Unfortunately at the time, I was a broke college kid. However, I started to read more and listen to podcasts to keep up with the latest trends in the space. I took the plunge in buying my first few NFTs. I even tried to create a price NFT prediction model and failed miserably due to the irrationality of the market. Still, I wanted to build in the crypto space somehow. Around December 2021, a friend recommended that I apply my data skills to Flipside and MetricsDAO. The rest is history.
RT: Really loved hearing how you kept going despite, in your words, "failing miserably." Let's try digging a bit into that history. What are your main interests in the space?
JH: I think one of my favorite things about crypto is that since all data is on-chain, we can look at what individual users are doing. To a small player like me, it’s crazy seeing some wallets casually throwing large sums around or pumping millions of dollars in trading volume on exchanges like Uniswap in a week. Additionally, I’m currently interested in how to leverage on-chain user data to better drive decisions such as airdrops, incentives, and what to buy.
RT: Speaking of leveraging on-chain user data, what is your approach to on-chain analytics like when you’re looking to dive into a protocol or tackle a bounty?
"Adding a little flair, if you go beyond the basic format of a dashboard it can make the same visualizations a lot more impactful."
JH: If I’m unfamiliar with a given protocol, the first thing I do is usually read about the protocol and look at documentation. Sometimes it’s also helpful looking at the analysis other people have previously done for a protocol to understand the tables or trends. After this, I will then write out a list of visualizations / metrics that I think will be needed to make it an insightful dashboard.
One of the things I like to do is see what metrics and visualizations would be cool to have to create a better story beyond what is asked for.
Adding a little flair, if you go beyond the basic format of a dashboard it can make the same visualizations a lot more impactful.
RT: Definitely agree with adding a bit of flair to create a cohesive story around the visualizations. Do you have some analyses or dashboards that are amongst your favorites?
JH: Recently, I have done some work for Uniswap Grants, tracking airdrops. It was pretty crazy to see the aftermath of the Uniswap airdrop and how few addresses still hold onto the token, and how after airdrops, most users dump their tokens.
$UNI Airdroppers (Dune)
While not a Stellar Submission, another work I am proud of was my first attempt at using machine learning for a bounty by applying a clustering model to segment new users as well as forecasting the growth of the protocol.
Uniswap User Growth on Ethereum (Flipside)
RT: These are really insightful. I also saw that your Post Airdrop Trading Activity Dashboard won the top prize from Uniswap Grants. Big congratulations! Your work really shows that you have a lot of talents. What do you consider as your greatest skill as an on-chain analyst?
JH: I’m a quick learner. Before jumping into on-chain work I had very basic SQL experience (python is my bread and butter). This is just one example of how I can quickly comprehend something as well as iterate quickly for a new protocol. I also think I’m pretty good at experimenting. Whether that be trying to create a different type of analysis beyond what is asked or using a new tool. Sometimes I fail doing this, but when I succeed, the reward can be pretty good.
"Going forward I plan to practice this by writing twitter threads that can expose the lessons I’ve learned while building for MetricsDAO."
RT: And going forward, what would you like to improve on?
JH: I think the thing for me is to focus on providing insights and writing. I’m great at crunching the numbers and creating pretty visuals, but sometimes I struggle to translate those into meaningful insights as to why something is important. Going forward I plan to practice this by writing twitter threads that can expose the lessons I’ve learned while building for MetricsDAO.
RT: Any plans in the near-term you’d like to share or goals you’d like to achieve?
JH: I think in the short term, I want to build cool analytical tools that will help the great crypto community. As a consultant in my day job, I hope to do contract / grants work for protocols to help build analytical tools and help better inform their product strategy through the use of data.
RT: That's awesome. That space really needs more people like you who want to keep helping protocols with their analytics. I think I speak for a lot of people when I say I am excited to see what you have planned next.
Thank you for taking the time to share some great insights about you and your work, J. Hackworth!
If you want to learn more about J. Hackworth, be sure to reach out to him on Twitter and check out his Dune and Flipside profiles. You can also check out the analysis showcase on the MetricsDAO website where you can find his top submissions as well as those of other analysts in the MetricsDAO community.
Stay tuned for the next edition of Behind the Charts!