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Ep. 2 Commodities Quant to Crypto CEO

The Hedgineer Podcast

07-03-2023 • 30 min

In this episode of the Hedgineer Podcast, Neel Somani, joins us to discuss his journey from being a software engineer and quantitative researcher for Citadel Commodities to a CEO and founder of Eclipse. We talk about how he was able to pivot after the collapse of Terra Luna and raise $15,000,000 to build out a blockchain as a service protocol that leverages the power of ZK rollups.


Careers:

Neel talks us through the transition from a software engineer at AirBnB, to a financial engineer and quantitative researcher at Citadel, then lastly as a founder. Later in the episode he talks about similarities and differences for engineers that decide to work on blockchain projects and how the motivations are similar to financial engineering because it interweaves economics and computer science.


Finance:

He was quick to point out that he now spends very little time writing code, although is still involved in all architecture discussions. One area he spends more time on is business development. He provides insight into the similarities between BD in crypto vs non-crypto companies. We discuss that, similar to equities, the KPIs to focus on for BD, are protocol/sector specific. As Neel points out, for protocols like Eclipse you would look at transaction count, but for something like Gnosis, you look at TVL. We also compare crypto to commodities and get Neel's take on how best to compare the two, and Michael even highlights the comparisons to nation state currencies.


Tech

Neel gives a brief overview of ZK roll-ups and how they provide cryptographic proof of the operations that have been executed to provide the current state of the network. We also touch on the tech stack similarities and differences between financial engineering vs block chain engineering, where the language level differences are pretty minimal if working in Rust. Neel also highlights the importance of Computer Science fundamentals that are especially true when designing an L1.


Hedgineer = Hedge Fund + Engineer


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