Behind the Charts: Kofi

Behind the Charts: Kofi

Behind the Charts is a series by MetricsDAO about the crypto data community. It serves as a way to get to know and feature some of the best data people in the crypto space. As we seek to empower protocols and organizations in the crypto space, it is also important to empower those behind the charts and analyses by highlighting their skills and talents.

In this edition, we had the chance to speak with Kofi. Kofi is one of the pioneers in the crypto data space when it comes to using newsletters, most notably NiftyTable and now more recently, 0xTrends. But writing newsletters is not his only talent. He is a skilled data scientist first and foremost but also an investor, most recently being a partner at 1Confirmation, communicator, and developer. His excellent coverage on a multitude of topics in the crypto data space have garnered him an immense following of over 20k on Twitter in addition to his newsletter subscribers.

You only need to look at his most recent twitter threads and listen to the DefiLlama spaces he has hosted to immediately see that he has a great pulse on the latest crypto developments. As with other top data professionals in the space, he backs up his coverage with stellar data analyses.

Below are some highlights from our conversation.

While most people who follow Behind the Charts are looking to break into crypto full time, Kofi took the unconventional route and actually left his full time partner role at prominent crypto-native venture capital (VC) firm 1Confirmation to go into freelancing. It may sound daunting to leave the security of a full time job but Kofi says it is actually better for him.

“Economically, yes, you get carry (share of investment profits) with a VC firm and in the long term that can be worth more than any paycheck”, he says. However, with the freedom of freelancing, you can string a lot of projects and gigs together to get a higher pay than any full time job. According to him, this is very much possible given the high demand but low supply of experienced crypto data people.

More than the economic incentives, it was that promise of additional freedom to do what he wants which led to his decision. With the nonstop developments in the space, Kofi says he can now pick and choose the projects he wants to take on and focus on what he does best: data.

“Networking and connecting with founders was interesting but I prefer coding all day as opposed to taking calls.”

Speaking of the many developments, Kofi covers a lot of topics in crypto through his newsletters and his twitter threads. These include NFTs, DeFi, Data Infrastructure, Layer 2 scaling solutions, and many more. When asked about how one can keep up with all that is happening, he had a straightforward response: you don’t. He says you have to focus and put the work in, otherwise you will get lost in the noise. “I pretty much just go where I’m most interested.”

“The 2018 bear market was not as interesting as this one… Nowadays, every other week, there are a hundred new startups launching. Everyone is trying to do some crazy new thing.”

The current market is quite perfect for one of his top works which is his Trending Contracts dashboard and his newsletter, 0xTrends.

Trending Contracts lists out the top contracts on different chains according to transactions, active addresses, and gas spent. He said this dashboard actually has a wide target audience: from VCs who are looking to “get early into deals”, traders who want to act on “before the next narrative”, to sales and business development teams who want to scope out the next big project to work with. “Knowing what stuff is being used and why is directly correlated to success” across different job areas, he says. As for its key purpose, Kofi says the dashboard was primarily built to help answer the question of “why are we here”.

“There is this core question of what are we here for and why are we even bothering with crypto. I think the answer lies in what apps people are using day to day and why people are using them.”

Speaking about 0xTrends, he said that while related, the dashboard is a more public facing tool where “everyone can do their own investigation.” The newsletter is more sophisticated in terms of the queries and analysis used, and curated in terms of the content. The focus is more on products that show a lot of early promise in terms of driving crypto adoption as a whole.

“I am mostly focusing on products that are early. I’m not going to talk about Uniswap or Aave because everyone knows about those. There is more subjective curation of what I think is interesting.”

While on the subject of crypto adoption, we took the chance to ask Kofi about a topic that is literally closer to home. For a while now, he has been outspoken about problems in places like Nigeria and his home country, Ghana, that could be solved by crypto. He says that while there might not actually be an “existential need” for crypto in developed parts of the world like the US, UK, or Europe, the story is different elsewhere.

“Sure your bank might be screwing you over but at least your bank works”, he says. “Where I’m from… if you are an average Ghanaian with a normal Ghanaian income, there is no such thing as getting a savings account that pays you interest. If you try to get a loan, the rates that you get are some insane rate,” he further adds.

“When I think about the point of crypto, for me it is leaning towards folk where I am from, where the normal financial system does not work. [With crypto], there is this other huge international financial system where if you have an internet connection, you can just plug in and use it.”

He admits though that DeFi still has too many problems in terms of hacks and scams. But while there may be a lot of things to fix, it still holds a lot of promise wherein we can have a version where you can just trust the smart contracts with your money. He echoes one of the core tenets of crypto: “technical issues can be fixed but human greed can’t be fixed.”

Ultimately, he says this true wider adoption of millions of users will boil down to building financial products that specifically target those millions of people who really need it in parts of the world that do not have other options.

While he says that data people might not be front and center in this effort, there is definitely still a huge need for data professionals in the space. You can enter the space a lot faster than you think, according to him.

He mentions a whole variety of people who have provided a lot of value by sharing their analyses publicly and have built massive followings despite not being in the space long. He credits the vast educational material available today as opposed to a couple of years ago for this.

“You can study just enough to make the first thing you’re interested in and share that. And then study enough to make the next thing, and then share that. Just make things and share things.”

He says 6 months of consistent work is all it takes for anyone to truly break into the space. With the many opportunities that await any data professional, we would have to agree that this is a bargain.

“It’s not early for other things but for on-chain analysis, it’s still really, really early.”

We went into more topics during our conversation with Kofi such as his learnings in building 12 crypto apps in 12 months, what he plans to build in 2023, his outlook on Ethereum Layer 2 scaling solutions and their incentive schemes, and what he meant by saying every crypto data provider’s data is wrong. Be sure to check out the full recording here.

Follow us on twitter and join our discord to keep up with the latest on MetricsDAO. As Kofi mentioned, we also have a lot of educational materials to help you level up as a crypto data professional. Reach out to us to find out more.

Stay tuned for the next installment of Behind the Charts!