The Crypto, Blockchain, and DeFi industry is a remarkable space full of ambition, innovation, and a drive to make a difference in the world. But as a newcomer, such as myself, it can be very daunting, littered with technical terminology and a pace that’s so fast it makes one week in the crypto sphere feel like a lifetime. That’s why I’m incredibly grateful to have a community, in YAP Global, who are supportive of my development. Not only are they giving me the tools to practice meaningful PR and learn about the industry on a daily basis, but on top of that, they have also given me free crypto to play around with!
My name is Sam O’Donohoe, I am an Account Executive here at YAP Global, and I wanted to give you a little insight into one of my favourite workshops from our recent company offsite.
During YAP’s first-ever global off-site week in April 2022, the team competed in The Path of the Degen challenge. Each Yapper was given 0.3 SOL (around $30 at the time) and tasked with exploring different protocols and then investing their crypto in hopes of making yield and becoming the ultimate degen. This was a test of mental fortitude and creativity that lasted over the course of three days.
By the end of those three days, our performance would be marked by George Harrap (Head of DeFi at YAP Global & Co-Founder of Step Finance) and three winners would be chosen based on the following categories:
- The Crypto Whale: Best wallet performance
- Prodigy of DeFi: Best portfolio explanation
- The People’s Champion: Most interesting asset mix
Each winner would receive 1 SOL as a reward (around $100 at the time).
Before diving into the challenge, I should clarify what a degen actually is. A degen, shorthand for ‘degenerate’, is a tactless trader with a complete disregard for metrics. They often invest in meme projects and are associated with pump and dump schemes. In this case, the term is used ironically to underpin the light-heartedness of the challenge.
Going into the challenge as a beginner with zero practical knowledge of crypto, winning wasn’t even on my radar. I knew there were people like our Account Manager, Mia Grodsky, who is a seasoned veteran by my standard, and she had already gotten herself stuck between a rock and a hard place. She had swapped out all of her SOL and not left herself any extra to pay for transaction fees. Nonetheless, I set myself three personal goals to ensure I made the most out of this exercise – to explore the various Solana protocols, to learn different investment strategies, and to have fun!
Like most other Yappers, my first port of call was to seek advice from our in-house expert, CJ Cheong, our Senior Account Executive. After a thorough explanation of the different approaches one could take, CJ helped me navigate several Solana-based Decentralised Exchanges and showed me the basics; borrowing and lending assets, staking my coin, and setting up a liquidity pool. A liquidity pool is a collection of staked tokens locked in smart contracts which provide liquidity in terms of borrowing and trading assets. This enables users to find lucrative liquidity pools in order to maximise their profits, otherwise known as yield farming.
After grasping some of the basic functions of trading, I did what any other budding crypto newcomer would do – I bought an NFT. So, I went on Magic Eden and bought myself a Banana Republic Ape, immediately listing it back on the marketplace, and selling it within a day for a whopping 0.002 SOL (around $0.002 at the time) profit margin! However, I wasn’t the only one to have bought my first ever NFT. It was also a first for many Yappers; from Becky Corbel (Samantha Yap’s Personal Assistant) who purchased an avocado with shades, to Katherine Samson (Account Manager) who purchased a cat in a hat, to Niro De Silva (Operations Executive) who purchased a penguin in overalls. It’s safe to say that YAP Global dominated the NFT marketplace.
Following the NFT craze, I decided to have some fun and buy some SAMO as it is my namesake coin. For context, we have so many Sams at YAP that it gets confusing, and so my nickname is Sam O, after the first initial of my surname. I then, rather fortuitously, stumbled upon the ultimate SAMO/xSTEP liquidity pool on Step Finance which held an annual percentage yield of 216%. So I did what I now do best and set about yield farming. What started as a joke had turned out to be a smart decision which worked in my favour. On top of that, I followed George’s advice and joined the Samoyed Coin telegram community to start learning in greater detail about the coin and its applications. I was well on my way to becoming a degen.
The rest of the team
My favourite part of the challenge was the final evening when everybody was huddled over the table and were executing their strategies. I like to call this the YAP Global Yield Farming Factory. In my opinion, a team that yield farms together can thrive together.
Overall, I was content with my approach to the challenge and satisfied that I had fulfilled the three objectives I had set out for myself. That being said, I still wasn’t expecting to win any of the three categories of the challenge. I had made a marginal loss, a lot of my decisions were simply based on memes, and I still wasn’t confident enough to be able to effectively explain my strategy.
On the morning of the concluding workshop, each Yapper had their chance to go up and explain their strategy and what they had achieved over the last three days.
And the winners are:
- The Crypto Whale – Debra Nita, Senior Account Executive. Debra had managed to garner the most yield by purchasing a mooning NFT that very morning, an hour before the end of the challenge.
- The Prodigy of DeFi – CJ Cheong, Senior Account Executive. CJ, in typical CJ fashion, explained his strategy with extreme detail and precision, not skipping a single beat and blowing us all away with his wealth of knowledge.
- The People’s Champion – Sam O’Donohoe, Account Executive. This came as a complete surprise to me, not only because I had won, but also because Saad Qureshi, our Senior Account Manager, had announced he had bought my Banana Republic Monkey NFT from me. Being the only Yapper to have sold an NFT during the challenge was the swinging factor which cemented me as the people’s champion.
The Path of the Degen challenge was one of the highlights of the YAP off-site for me, not because I had won, but because I had so much fun learning how to trade crypto. The challenge also encouraged me to collaborate and create relationships with the team. What will I do with my 1 SOL? The next steps, for me, are to continue to play around with crypto, consolidate my knowledge of meaningful PR, and help the media accurately cover this ever-growing space.