New Member Proposal: derek walkush

Hi all, my name’s Derek and I’ve been involved as a contributor in Aladdin over the past few months and am excited to apply to the Boule council!

About me
I’m currently a junior at Georgetown University in DC studying International Economics and Math. I got into crypto in late 2020 after looking into the sector for a tech investing club at school. During the pandemic, I decided to drop down to part-time for classes and worked at Accolade Partners, one of the leading blockchain fund of funds that is an LP in a16z, Polychian, 1kx, Variant, and other funds. I quickly went down the rabbithole and started experimenting with some of the core DeFi apps, and eventually wanted to get more involved on-chain. I joined Index Coop as a part-time contributor on their BD team. After investing in Aladdin, I reached out to some of the core members and began developing research content in the form of meeting minutes and reports to share with the community. That research can be found here.

More recently, I joined the investment team at Variant Fund, an early-stage token fund deploying a thesis called the ownership economy, which posits that the next generation of leading web applications will be user owned and governed. The fund was one of the earliest investors in Uniswap, Goldfinch, Gro, and other famous DeFi protocols. Before Variant, I had been involved with an on-chain data analytics community, OurNetwork, where I got connected to one of the GPs that I primarily work under, Spencer Noon. My Dune queries can be found here.

What strategies excite me
Broadly, there are two categories of farms that I would like to research further and present to the DAO:

  1. Cross-chain DeFi – as projects begin introducing token incentives to attract liquidity to L2s, many farms will have extremely attractive APYs. Cross-chain lending – through protocols like Hundred Finance – would allow the DAO to access those yields without moving assets directly through bridges to custody on L2.
  2. Composable leverage – more flexible and composable leverage would allow the DAO to take larger positions in lower risk stablecoin farms (such as Yearn); yields on stables like USDC are tracking in the low single digits, but with higher leverage could present an attractive low-risk return for the DAO. These strategies involve protocols like Gearbox, which was presented to the boule.

Why I want to join the boule
Aladdin has been one of my most meaningful involvements in crypto. I’ve really enjoyed taking notes on the research calls; the knowledge and experience of the boule members continues to impress me. I’d like to join the boule to contribute further to community and position myself as a long-term member of the DAO.

I realize I’m quite young compared to the other members, but I’m eager to learn and feel it allows me to bring a unique perspective that could attract a new audience to Aladdin. Quite obviously, younger generations will have to become more involved with DeFi for the sector to continue gaining momentum, and I would argue that having a younger boule member would lower perceived barriers to entry for the council and the ecosystem, more broadly.

Thanks for considering my application and feel free to drop any questions below!