Johnny Chuang – My AppWorks & Web3 Journey

Johnny Chuang, Analyst (莊子揚 / 分析師)

Johnny is an Analyst covering web3 founders both in AppWorks Accelerator and AppWorks Funds portfolio. Before joining the team in 2023, he worked as a DeFi Strategist at Diamond Protocol, where he was responsible for portfolio management, protocol architecture design, and liquidity provision strategies backtesting. In this experience, Johnny successfully helped the protocol grow from zero to one.

Johnny graduated with a Bachelor’s in Finance from National Taiwan University. During this time, he interned at AppWorks and a hedge fund, and was the captain of the basketball team of the finance department. Outside the realm of work, he enjoys shooting hoops, working out, and losing himself in sci-fi novels and movies.

(English Below) 2019 年 5 月,出於對創投產業的好奇心,當時還在台大財金系就讀的我,參加了學校安排參訪 AppWorks 的活動,並在一個月後站在第 18 屆的 Demo Day 台下,看著台上的創業者閃閃發光。而這個基於好奇心而牽起的緣分,一眨眼就延續了四年到了現在。

那之前的我,深陷在財金系「實習至上」、「投行、管顧才是 Tier 1 工作」,以及身旁的人無不使出渾身解數,想在光鮮亮麗的金融產業中,謀得一份實習的風氣中,我過得載浮載沉,一方面從小在台灣重視學科教育的環境下,我逐漸培養出一種競爭者的心態,深怕在大學這個階段落後他人,也因此付出了不少努力,追求那些我並不真正想要的頭銜與機會;另一方面,雖然輪廓還很模糊,但我隱約感受到我真正感興趣的,並不是傳統金融行業,因此在大學前兩年,我過得十分迷惘。

參訪 AppWorks,以及實際參與 Demo Day 後,彷彿為我打開了一個新的維度。在認知到許多有能力的創業者,願意放棄普世價值所追求的成功,轉而從零開始打造屬於自己的事業後,我意識到人生其實還有另外一個選擇:靈魂拷問自己想要的是什麼後,不追隨任何人,開拓屬於自己的道路。

後來,秉持著對這條新道路的好奇心,我在 2020 年以實習生的身份加入了 AppWorks。在 AppWorks 的實習對我來說,像是經歷了一次個人成長的加速器,許多新的想法都在這個階段萌生,許多疑惑也在其中解開。過程中,我接觸了很多我從未想像會觸碰到的產業,像是印尼的 P2P Lending、台灣的社群媒體等,我也發現自己非常享受學習未來 5-10 年,才會映入大眾眼簾的產業,以及與創業者交流,了解他們創業各種決策背後的邏輯與過程。也是在這時期,我接觸到了區塊鏈及 DeFi。

記得第一次看到 Compound Finance 的模型時,我像著了魔似地瘋狂研究它的白皮書,並驚嘆其透過僅數百行的程式碼,就能創造出一個完全去中心化的借貸市場,基本上完美提供了傳統銀行所能提供的服務,且不需要任何信任、不需要任何中心化機構的介入。隨著時間推進,我開始越來越相信區塊鏈技術能為全球的金融,以及未來人們在網路上的生活方式,所帶來的巨大革命。也因此,在畢業後我走了一條和 99% 同學不同的道路:我以 DeFi Strategist 的身份加入了 OMO Finance 這家區塊鏈新創。

在 OMO Finance 的時間裡,除了執行各種交易策略,協助高淨值客戶進行加密貨幣的資產管理配置外,我也協助公司建構出 Diamond Protocol,一個專為 Uniswap V3 上流動性提供者開發各種工具的協議。創建新產品的過程中,我是真實感到快樂的,從設計整個協議的架構、撰寫白皮書,再到進行各種回測、分析,以及和 Founder 對於推動到市場的策略進行各種思辨,每一刻我都感覺到自己是真正活著,真正在 BUIDL,真正在為了推動去中心化金融付諸努力。


在見證了 2022 年諸多「黑天鵝」事件後,我開始意識到這個產業仍相當早期,相當不成熟。許多創業者為了賺快錢而採取極端做法,最後當音樂停止,一切泡沫破裂時,對區塊鏈行業造成的傷害,需要好長時間才能撫平。而回歸到 DeFi 產業上,投機心理造就了這個行業的原罪,導致如今大部分的協議本質上都是在追求「短期收益」,不斷地創造 Money Lego 並將其堆疊的行為,並無法真正乘載下一個十億用戶到這個應許之地上。

我開始渴望,能夠從更多面向去理解,並幫助這個產業中的創業者,我開始希望自己能在產業的推移演進中扮演一個更全面的角色。於是,伴隨著這些反思,我想起了 AppWorks。於是,帶著這些在區塊鏈產業的經驗,我回來了。

親愛的創業者,我是 Johnny,如果你也對區塊鏈技術有著非常深的信仰,並相信這個技術終將為人類社會帶來下一次網路世代的革命,非常歡迎來找我聊聊!

In May 2019, out of curiosity about the venture capital industry, I participated in a school event and visited AppWorks. A month later, I stood under the stage at the 18th Demo Day and watched the entrepreneurs shining on the stage. The special bond between AppWorks and I has lasted for four years and is still going.

At that time, I was deeply affected by the culture of “internship first” and “investment bankers and consultants are the only jobs that we should do” in my school. Back then, everyone around me was doing their best to get an internship in the glamorous financial industry. On one hand, as a student that received an education in Taiwan, I have gradually developed a competitive mindset that made me extremely fearful of falling behind others, and as a result I put in a lot of effort in pursuing titles and opportunities that I was not sure if I truly wanted. On the other hand, although the vision was still vague, I could feel that I was not really interested in the traditional financial industry. Therefore, during the first two years of university, I was quite lost. 

Visiting AppWorks and attending Demo Day opened up a new dimension of thinking for me. After realizing that many capable entrepreneurs were willing to give up the standard career track and start building their own products from scratch, I realized that there is another path in life, that is, not following anyone else’s footsteps, but to create our own paths. Later on, with my curiosity about this new path, I joined AppWorks as an intern in 2020. The internship at AppWorks was like an accelerator for my personal growth. Throughout the internship, many new ideas emerged, and many doubts were also resolved. During this period, I had a chance to touch upon many industries that I had never imagined, such as P2P lending in Indonesia and social media in Taiwan. I found that I really enjoyed learning about industries that would only be visible to the public in 5-10 years, and communicating with entrepreneurs to understand the decision-making process behind their vision. It was also during this period that I went down the rabbit hole of blockchain and DeFi. 

I still remember when I first read about Compound’s model, I was immediately drawn in. I studied its white paper and just can’t help but marvel at how it could create a fully decentralized lending market with only a few hundred lines of code, while basically providing services that traditional banks could provide without any trust requirements and without any centralized institutions. As time went on, I began to believe more and more in the huge revolution that blockchain technology could bring to global finance and people’s lives on the internet. Therefore, after graduation, I chose a different path that 99% of my peers would not understand: I became a DeFi strategist at a web3 startup called OMO Finance. 

During my time at OMO Finance, aside from executing various trading strategies and assisting high-net-worth clients with their cryptocurrency asset management, I also helped the company develop the Diamond Protocol, a protocol designed to help liquidity providers on Uniswap V3 with various tools. I felt genuinely happy throughout the process of creating this new product, from designing the protocol’s architecture, writing the whitepaper, conducting various backtests and analyses, to brainstorming the go-to market strategies with the founder. Every moment, I felt like I was truly alive, truly building, and truly working hard to drive decentralized finance forward. 

However, as my understanding of the industry deepened, I began to develop new values. 

After witnessing many “black swan” events in 2022, I realized that this industry is still in its early stages and quite immature. Many entrepreneurs have taken extreme measures to make money, and when the music stops and the bubble bursts, the damage caused to the blockchain industry will take a longer time to heal. Going back to the DeFi industry, investors’ speculative mentality has created the original sin of this industry, resulting in most protocols essentially pursuing “short-term gains” and constantly stacking money legos, which cannot truly onboard the next billion users onto this technology. I began to yearn to understand more aspects of this industry and help entrepreneurs in it. I started to hope that I could play a more important role in the industry’s transition and evolution. With these reflections, I thought of AppWorks and decided to return with my experiences in the blockchain industry over the past few years. 

Dear founders, this is Johnny calling out. If you also have a deep faith in blockchain technology and believe that it will bring about the next generation of the internet revolution for human society, I warmly welcome you to come and talk with me!