Today we are talking to Alex Wearn who is the Co-Founder and CEO of IDEX.
- IDEX is a high-peformance decentralized exchange which claims to be the most advanced on Ethereum, and aims to eliminate the performance gap between centralized (CEX) and decentralized (DEX) exchanges.
We’d like to kick things off by asking you a couple of questions regarding your formative years.
1) Firstly, can you tell us the things which interested you the most throughout your childhood and teenage years, and what brought you the most happiness?
The usual things, hanging with friends, playing video games, backyard sports. At the beginning of high school my two best friends and I all picked up guitar, which consumed most of our free time. Some of the best memories are the three of us jamming together late into the night.
2) Who were your biggest influences growing up, and why did they have such a profound effect on you?
My friends and my family. They say you are the product of the 5 people you spend the most time with, which would have been my parents and my friends. My parents, in particular, taught me the value of continuous effort and how that can compound into big effects over time.
3) Teenage years are often a turbulent time for many, so on this note, can you name a time which was tough for you, and how you managed to overcome it?
For the most part, my childhood was standard. Outside of the usual teenage awkwardness, there were no turbulent times of any real significance.
4) If there was some advice you could give young aspiring individuals, advice which you would really have liked to have heard yourself as a young person, what would it be?
You don’t have to play the game that’s set up for you. High school, college, and first jobs are all based on a specific formula (basically show up and do the work assigned to you). It teaches you the importance of hard work and focus, but that’s not the only formula for success. You may end up loving where it puts you, but many of my friends woke up five years into their career and realized they weren’t very happy as a consultant, banker, etc. It’s a lot harder, but potentially much more rewarding to look at the areas that interest you and the people who have managed to create a career out of it.
We are now going to ask you some questions which will hopefully give our readers something to go on regarding you as a person.
5) Firstly, what are the particular strengths that you feel have made you successful in your field (don’t hold back)?
Crypto is interdisciplinary. It’s rooted in cryptography and computer science, but also requires an understanding of economics and psychology. Being strong in multiple disciplines is extremely helpful to gaining a comprehensive understanding. Also, I’m a pretty strong communicator and writer, which is very helpful in a space that tends to be dominated by engineering types.
6) What would you say is your most controversial opinion as regards to blockchain or the crypto space?
Many users have no business being their own bank. But that’s okay. Crypto is fundamentally about creating an open system that gives users choice. Many will choose to manage their own holdings, but I believe the majority will turn to third party tools and services for help.
7) In the course of your day you can become under the most ridiculous pressures and stresses, what is your particular way of dealing with this?
I try to meditate often, but don’t do it enough. The main thing is just stepping away for a few minutes when I get frustrated. Things like going for a quick walk and petting the dog always help.
8) Outside of crypto/blockchain, what is your favorite thing to do?
Skiing. No better feeling than making fresh turns in deep snow.
We are now going to ask you some creative and humorous questions, and we are sure people will love to see you what you can come up with.
9) What is the most humorous thing you have seen or experienced during your time in the crypto/blockchain space?
Crypto memes are incredible. The memes are the best part about checking in on crypto Twitter in the morning. It’s hard to think of any specific moment, but I will say Meltem throwing gold coins out of a toilet comes to mind.
10) If you somehow managed to meet Satoshi Nakamoto (that is he is a male person in this scenario) on his deathbed, but only had time to ask him one question, what would it be? Bear in mind that you don’t have much time at all, so make it a good one.
Where did you hide your keys?
11) Can you give three policies you'd enact if you became the president of a country tomorrow?
Which country? Assuming a small nation.
Swap 10B in gold reserves for BTC and make a public announcement about it.
Revise business and tax structure to be tech friendly in anticipation of a “remote first” world.
Establish an “innovation” zone to allow more experimental businesses (crypto friendly, psychedelics, biohacking, etc.).
Communities are often an important backbone for many crypto/blockchain projects, so we’d now like to get some personal thoughts on the community side of things.
12) What do you feel makes the IDEX community unique compared to others?
The IDEX community has a very strong understanding of the project, as well as its technical and business goals. This makes for a group that is more understanding and supportive of decisions, challenges, etc.
13) Personal project aside, what are some ‘communities’ in the space that you admire and why (this is not an endorsement)?
It’s hard not to like the Chainlink and Synthetix communities. They are so passionate and committed to their projects that they amplified every success along the way.
14) What social-media platform do you like most and why, and are there any improvements which you feel can be made to these platforms for an even better community user-experience?
Crypto Twitter is the dominant source of news in the space. It’s where everything breaks. Telegram is great for smaller communities because it’s super easy to jump into new chats and project rooms. Unfortunately, it’s also filled with a lot of scammers (I get someone impersonating my co-founder once a month). Anything to cut down on the number of scams will make each of these platforms better.
15) With the endgame being mainstream adoption, do you think crypto/blockchain communities will still have an important role to play in a post-adoption environment?
Interesting question. On the one hand, I don’t see how they can’t, as they’ve been such an important part of the success to date. Additionally, many communities are starting to take a more active role in the development and direction of the project. On the other hand, many believe that mainstream adoption occurs when users don’t even know they are using crypto. In that case, products will win based on the utility they provide to the end user, not the one with the best memes.
In our penultimate section we are going to ask you a question regarding IDEX.
16) What do you feel sets IDEX apart from your competitors (that is if you have any)?
IDEX is the only exchange that combines the performance of a centralized exchange with the security of a DEX. We provide users with all of the features they love - instant execution, thousands of transactions per second, advanced order types - while still allowing them to maintain control over their cryptocurrency.
Well that just about does it, but before we end this interview we’d like to ask you for something which we believe will say a lot about your belief in the industry, and which may inspire those who are reading.
17) Can you come up with a short argument for our readers on why you feel cryptocurrency and blockchain (or just one) has a bright future?
Right now, tech companies are struggling with their position as both foundational platforms for free expression and the need for moderation that comes with it. Bitcoin and crypto are exciting because they represent an alternative -- a key internet technology that is not controlled by any one individual or entity. There has never been a more exciting time to be building in this space.
Keep up to date with Alex and IDEX on: