NFD Interviews: Path

The creator of Feisty Doge, Path has actively been a part of crypto culture for close to a decade now. I wanted to interview Path to get more insight on his background, and shed some light on the person that brought so many of us together. FeistyDAO is not just a group of traders and NFT collectors and artists; it is a community that checks a lot of boxes around the notion of family. I think it is important to get a feel for who the founder is.

Following is a written interview we conducted over Discord. I think it is important to note that this was a casual interaction that evolved organically. Funnily enough, I tossed out most of the questions I had prepared as we got deeper, because it felt right. All images and links in this article were added by me, and my poor decisions should not be associated directly with Path.

Orb: Most folks into crypto and/or NFTs know about you, but I feel many have not heard about your point of entry into all of this. How and when did you first get into crypto?

Path: Hey! So I bought my first Bitcoin (or fractions of one) in early 2013, right around the time of the Cyprus bank panic. I was only 15 at the time and of course very excited with the idea that you could make money trading things online - I'd spent a lot of time running trading systems and exploits in online games to make in-game currency, but I admittedly didn't fully understand trading or investing at the time. Cryptocurrency as a concept clicked for me; I loved the decentralized aspect, especially since I wasn't old enough to trade traditional markets at the time. I threw myself into it and followed a handful of people on twitter, probably starting with Max Keiser, which led me into the first big altcoin bubble later in the year. After the thrill of that, I lost a lot of my stack bagholding things, and really learned a lesson; I threw myself into learning more and spent as much time as I could coming up with ideas and finding any edge I could. I wasn't old enough for KYC verification, so I avoided Mt. Gox, and eventually found a way of identifying which coins were being accumulated for pump and dumps ahead of time, which I used to greatly increase my Bitcoin stack. This was a core position I held for years; I never really sought to stack anything else until Ethereum in 2019. I traded Ethereum quite a lot in the early days, and had every opportunity to buy the ICO, but the market state at the time combined with not wanting to lock funds up, the high valuation of $30M (lol), and needing money to spend dissuaded me.

O: Amazing. In 2013 I bought some BTC after a friend convinced me it was the future, and then forgot about it. I also have no idea where that Boba Fett bobble-head shaped USB stick I threw it on went. Oh, the regrets.

I am fascinated with how easily you flowed into the culture and tech around crypto. Was there a point at which the potential of decentralized networks outside of purely being a financial technology clicked for you? Or was the advent of smart contracts and NFTs an unexpected outcome of it all? I mean Solidity didn't even have a proper debugger roughly 5 years ago!

(Also, super cool that you got into p2e-similar models early on.)

P: In 2019, I took a long break from twitter, and in that time branched out into other ecosystems - that includes some NFTs like Urbit, but before that and much more impactful to my view was trading CS:GO skins. These are digital collectibles that, before NFTs came along, easily had the largest market cap of any DCs. They launched in 2013, built on valve's own Steam marketplace, and are in-game items that can be used in one of the biggest games in the world. CS:GO is one of the largest esports & has a long history, so it was easy for these skins to gain popularity and a collectible culture around them. While not decentralized, they are at least an early example of digital goods having significant value, and there were various unboxing videos and gambling sites that grew around this system; the items themselves have very deep variables and esoteric methods of being obtained. Some limited-edition promotional items have matched or beaten the performance of even the best cryptocurrencies over the years.

I spent a lot of time trading and delving into this, and it really made the idea of NFTs click for me.

Smart contracts were a concept for a long time coming, but hearing about them and predecessors like colored coins back in 2014 and actually experiencing using them are very different things; it's hard to visualize the interoperability and possibilities of everything. For example, even though the potential was so great, I avoided investing in eth in favor of other tokens that promised to work on smart contracts, and when that failed I assumed Bitcoin would evolve to cover it, something that it moved far too slowly on. From a CompSci perspective, I have not touched code since I was 18, but I feel like I know enough about language and mathematics to have successfully navigated on-chain environments until now.

O: CS:GO is a great example IMO, of how pre-blockchain projects have working models that we continue to learn from and adapt to these new technologies, apps, communities, etc.

I get the feeling you are chain-agnostic, but very objective about what you see staying functional and/or sustainable. You mentioned BTC moving super slow. Have you explored Stacks ($STX), or any other built-on-BTC projects?

Do you see projects all eventually bridging to networks with more volume, or staying mostly separated on their respective chains?

P: I haven't used Stacks, although I did use Rootstock (Sovryn) as that one was the longest in development. Regardless of how good Stacks is, Bitcoin has lost its first mover advantage to Ethereum and any ecosystem that would have come with that, which is extremely important. Aggregation, be it by consolidating to one chain or by some new seamless multi-chain technology, will be where we end up, though exactly how that happens is beyond my scope of understanding. Moreover, Bitcoin’s mining emissions are going to be more and more of an issue - even after the next halving, it requires an extra $158m more than Ethereum per week to keep pace with its price.

O: Speaking of keeping pace, the culture behind BTC (especially maxis) tends to be a little detached from the rest of the crypto ecosystem in many ways. I am dying to know how, and when you decided to fractionalize our favorite meme culture icon, Kabosu! Can you tell me a little bit about how this came to pass?

P: BTC maxis developed an extremely fundamentalist "Lindy" approach to things: a mindset that resists change at all costs. This helped greatly against things like BCash and other forks, but ironically drove out a lot of potential innovation that has caused them to fall behind.

Funny story, I originally tried to fractionalize NFD with another contract - I can't even remember the name of the site now - and almost messed up the LP by permanently locking it! I figured it out after some panic, and went with Fractional. I was inspired by Yellow Glasses Guy, another meme that had been fractionalized not too long before, but also by the disparity between the value of the Doge NFTs (which have provenance) and the community tokens that pop up all the time. This seemed like a nice way to merge the concepts into a sort of market experiment. The original NFTs themselves had gone tragically cheap in my opinion, and are still very undervalued.

The NFD project itself sort of evolved on the run, and it's very much still built on that initial idea. It certainly still benefits from having that organic first mover advantage, but I want to make sure it focuses on the dog and isn't some sort of cult around myself in the future - I think my persona and the narrative on twitter had a significant impact on its community.

This is actually fine AF
This is actually fine AF

O: There is such a resonant point you are tying together here, between the whoops moment, the mutability (ie. ability to fix) of a situation, and the experimentative nature of everything in this wild corner of technology. There is something beautiful about being in a bubble early enough that the mistakes we make are large lessons to learn from for others later, but also building blocks for not just products and services, but for cultures.  The way you have repeatedly expressed yourself in podcasts, on TW, etc do communicate a very ego-free identity behind your online persona; your honest curiosity/enthusiasm about it all really stands out to me.

Do you ever feel the cult-like nature of meme culture circling in around you a little, or do you see it more as a social movement you are a product of? Or do you see your relationship with it as something altogether different from these notions?

I promise the questions will get lighter after this!

P: Cults of personality are something I want to avoid entirely, because they create fictional abstractions of people that proliferate and become more real than the real person. I talked about this a bit in my Mirror article, and now it rings true again with SBF; information dissemination between VCs created this prodigy figure that attracted huge amounts of capital and lulled people into a false sense of security. There was very little due diligence done. This person appeared from nowhere and became godlike because of some entirely invented narrative, and very few people questioned it. It's a severe attack vector on cultures as a whole that people do not independently verify things - but this is natural, after all, most people drive a car but do not know how the engine works.

The age of the internet, and more recently, parasocial relationships through social media have created more mirages like these. It's trivial for sociopaths to bluff their way to the top in an age of short attention spans. It took an embarrassingly short conversation with a friend to spot the flaws in Luna before it collapsed, and yet several people trusted with ten or eleven figures were in disbelief when it happened.

Social media and its attention algorithms are military grade psychological weapons, controlling what information is seen, from memes to news. It's a dark forest of intertwined closed-source mechanisms few have a grasp on. On top of this we inject all sorts of irony and esoteric information, opinions, and feelings to manipulate others for whatever reason - it's a mess and I don't want to be a part of it. It's better and easier to affect good in small circles where you understand what is actually happening.

I'm seen as many things nowadays, but I'd like to just be a trader and collector peacefully. The social side is a maelstrom of chaos and misunderstanding. I have a confident opinion of myself nowadays so I don't feel the need to engage en masse as much. It's healthier, and I think more people should strive for that.

O: Thank you for this very clear perspective on the importance of identity vs personality in the space, as well as sharing your view of how this culture and its social media driven mechanisms operate. I feel that there is a very altruistic message here that many can relate to, and an outcome that we can all strive for as a community.

Speaking of small circles, the quality of engagement in the NFD community is refreshingly healthy. We have weekly meetings for the DAO, we discuss art, the market, and go ham with memes. It does not strike me as a typical "web3" or trader community, especially because active parties engage on rather personal levels. Do you think that your philosophy and personal goals reflect in our identity as a group? Are there any specific directions you would like to see things move in?

P: The community has been surprisingly consistent! There's a very strong group who seem to support each other, and I think we've had little friction in deciding the directions we want to take things. I think our members take after my trading strategies very much and are interested in the same ideas; that's why we've invested in rounds like Uqbar, and many of the same NFT projects over time. When it comes to art and memes, I have cautioned in the past about using myself as the centerpiece - I think the long term growth of NFD relies on a focus on the dog itself, and the idea of a self-sufficient grassroots community that isn't some sort of VC project.

That doesn't mean I want to abandon NFD, but I would like to see it stand on its own eventually, with its own identity. Something that really brings the group together is funding artists, especially those behind memes like Sminem - building a cultural hub or revenue stream around this (like dankbank, knowyourmeme and many others) is probably the most likely way forward. The group is certainly very forward thinking in general, looking to tech like VR/AR compatibility for RetroDoges; spotting these trends early is an invaluable skill set and a very adaptable ideology. I'd be very proud of NFD if they adapted similarly in the future!

O: I think the art appreciation and great sense of humor in the group is unique and powerful. Personally, I think you will be very proud, considering the healthy discussions that we are having weekly, as we build projects and discuss potential directions on a community level.

So, what are you focused on right now, outside of Crypto? Any anime, books, collectibles, etc? Are you secretly a master chef?

P: I'm currently moving house - very very nearly done, it has taken forever to organize everything. Having wealth derived from crypto suddenly became a regulatory nightmare sometime in the last few years in the UK, so I had to be fully audited. Fun.

I spend a lot of time with my wonderful partner @dunartist, talking, exploring new places, relaxing, and planning our house together. I don't spend nearly as much time as I used to at home or playing games. I have a collectibles account, @pathcsgolol on twitter that I sometimes post to; I collect watches, art, cards, among many other things.  Outside of that, my days are taken up working on Wallet Garden (previously Trunks) and working on my self in terms of fitness, sleep schedule, and organizing my portfolio and any ideas I'm following.

O: Finally, the hardest and most important question: How many ideas a week do you think we can come up with during our weekly FeistyDAO meeting? I’m taking bets for an ATH.

P: I'm sure you could come up with a hundred ideas in one meeting - that doesn't necessarily mean they would be any good 😛

A lot to take away from discussions like these. Personally, my biggest one here was Path’s point about cults of personality, much to muse on there. I find it fascinating that decentralization brought so many people into the crypto and NFT space, and that individual figures at the center of centralized methodologies continue to divide us. Healthy communities will prevail, no matter what.

I hope you enjoyed this casual interview, and encourage you to come connect with us over at NFD! Bring us your favorite memes.

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