Episode 45

Chuck Cummings from Bankless Consulting on BUIDLing a Web3 Consulting Firm

Chuck Cummings from Bankless Consulting on BUIDLing a Web3 Consulting Firm

What We Discuss With Chuck Cummings

Whenever I speak to people who are currently working or have worked in large accounting, investment and consulting firms,

There is a recurring pattern I hear.

The distribution of wealth is heavily skewed towards those in positions of power and authority, that is the partners of these firms

Besides the disproportionate gap in remuneration, the people down the hierarchical ladder do not enjoy as much recognition for their work in these white-collar factories.

So how does a consulting turn this broken business model to make sure everyone enjoys a fair piece of the pie

Enter Bankless Consulting, the world’s first web3-native professional services consultancy.

As a DAO, 90% of their net revenue generated is allocated to the project team – I mean this is a no brainer for the frustrated web2 consultant.

On Episode 45, I spoke with Chuck Cummings, the co-founder & Head of Finance of Bankless Consulting.

Connect with
Chuck Cummings
Co-Founder & Head of Finance @ Bankless Consulting

[00:00:00] Umar: Welcome to The Accountant Quits, brought to you by the Web3CFO Club, a community of web3 CFOs, sharing best practices on web3 operations and Cryptoworth, a crypto accounting solution to help you automate your crypto bookkeeping. On this podcast, we discuss how blockchain will impact the accounting profession and how accountants should prepare themselves for the future of work.

[00:00:26] Umar: My name is Umar, your host, and even if some might refer to me as the accountant gone rogue, my job is to provide you with the blockchain knowledge you need that will be relevant for the accounting industry as a whole.

[00:00:39] Umar: Welcome to Episode 45. Whenever I speak to people who are currently working or have worked in large accounting, investment, and consulting firms,

[00:00:48] Umar: There’s a recurring pattern that I hear. The distribution of wealth is heavily skewed towards those in positions of power and authority, that is the partners of these firms. Besides the disproportionate gap in remuneration, the people down the hierarchical ladder do not enjoy as much recognition for their work, in this what I like to refer as white collar factories.

[00:01:11] Umar: But the ethos of web3 is about the self-sovereignty of individuals. So how does a consulting firm turn this broken business model to make sure everyone enjoys a fair piece of the pie.

[00:01:22] Umar: Enter Bankless Consulting, the world’s first web3 native professional services consultancy. As a DAO, 90% of their net revenue generated is allocated to the project team. I mean, this is quite a no-brainer for the frustrated web2 consultant. Today I have the great pleasure to be speaking with Chuck Cummings, the Co-Founder and Head of Finance at Bankless Consulting.

[00:01:47] Umar: In this episode today, you will learn what a web3 consulting firm is about, an overview of Bankless Consulting and its services, how does Bankless Consulting onboard and reward talent? How to scale a remote first consulting firm? Examples of projects working with Bankless Consulting and much more. Chuck, welcome here. I’m really looking forward for this content-packed episode.

[00:02:13] Chuck: Thank you. I’m excited to speak with you today. I’m a big fan of your work. I just started reading the Web3 Treasury Management guide you put out a lot of good information in there, so. I’m really happy to be here. Thank you.

[00:02:26] Umar: Thank you so much. To start, could you tell us a bit about your personal background, how your career navigated from teaching and working with NGOs, and how eventually that brought you to blockchain?

[00:02:38] Chuck: Yeah. I began my career as a teacher, and then I worked in education policy, philanthropy, and nonprofit management, and most recently I was a professor of social innovation and director of a graduate program in nonprofit management. And I first heard about Web3 crypto blockchain actually about two years ago.

It was kind of like the 2021 bull run, like NFT mania. That’s what caught my attention and I started listening to Bankless. Cause I wasn’t as interested in like the hype cycle of the NFTs, so much as the technology and what it could unlock. So I started listening to the Bankless podcast and getting a sense of what this technology could do to level the playing field for people in terms of wealth distribution, and wealth generation, and the blockchain makes it easier to prove ownership of assets, fractionalize ownership, enable peer-to-peer transactions more transparent. And global transactions are made possible with the blockchain. And I think all of these functions serve to level the playing field in our society and make it possible for more people to generate wealth for themselves and make their lives better.

And so for me, this was like the first time in my life that I wanted to work in technology. I’m definitely like a humanist and I really, want to use my career to try to help other people. And so I wasn’t really ever attracted to technology before I learned what the blockchain can do in this regard. So that’s kind of how I fell in the first Bankless podcast, then Bankless DAO, and then I met some great people in Bankless DAO, and we started Bankless Consulting.

[00:04:32] Umar: Okay we’ll dive more into Bankless Consulting, but first I wanna speak about the ethos of a Web3 consulting firm. So speaking about myself for most of my career, I have worked for traditional accounting and consulting firms, and maybe this is the case for our listeners as well.

[00:04:48] Umar: And we all know where exactly the system is broken. So these consulting firms business model, I would say is one that maximizes labor extraction from its employees. It’s hierarchical-centric. For example, at Big4 firms, equities is an important part of the compensation package for partners. As part of their ownership, these partners are rewarded with a percentage of the firm’s total profits, right?

[00:05:11] Umar: So I’ve been there, and even when the firm was growing, we the staff, we’d be excluded from any form of profit sharing. Now I want to ask you, how is a consulting firm based on Web3 principles of shared ownership and profit different?

[00:05:27] Chuck: Well, it’s different, at least at Bankless Consulting it’s different in terms of how we share revenue and also how we share equity. So our model, you know, very intentionally from the beginning, I mean, a few of my co-founders come from big consulting world and you know, same experiences you had, like the inequity, kind of the perceived unfairness of like the people who are doing all the work are making the least amount of money and have the least amount of equity stake in the company.

And people who are perceived to, you know, kind of spend their time going to fancy dinners and flying first class and, you know, playing golf, they’re making the most money and getting the most equity in the company. And so from the beginning, we wanted to do things differently. Bankless Consulting, and so our compensation is heavily skewed towards rewarding people who work on client projects. So we have a very light back office function and really push people to add value in client projects. And you know, within the client projects, a vast majority of the revenue that we earn goes to the people working on the projects. And, you know, kind of just enough goes to the back office for us to continue to grow and get better as an organization.

But it’s not, it’s not fattening any partners, wallets. There’s no kind of idle wealth being generated, Bankless consulting. And then in terms of equity, we have a tokenized equity shares structure, and we’re using that to reward people for helping build the business. So there’s about 50% of the equity of the company is available for people to contribute to building the business, and this is rewarded on a quarter-by-quarter basis.

So if you’re helping with sales or if you’re helping with marketing, Or if you’re helping build infrastructure some way, build tooling, you get rewarded with equity tokens and Bankless Consulting. So both of those incentive structures are designed to attract great talent and reward people who are adding value to the company on a quarter-by-quarter basis.

[00:07:45] Umar: Wow. Now, could you take us back to the early days of Bankless Consulting? First there was Bankless DAO. How the different formation of the different guilds to support the media brand of Bankless led to the creation of Bankless Consulting?

[00:08:02] Chuck: Yeah, I think really I gotta start with a media company. You know, Ryan and David, the podcast, the YouTube channel, they are trustworthy messengers of blockchain technology and Web3, and they attract real people, you know, not scammers, not pump and dumpers, but you know, real people like us who were professionals, we have work experience, and we’re compelled by the opportunity to work in Web3. We see the promise of this technology and we want to be a part of it. And so the DAO was created as a place for people like us to congregate and start to coordinate and started forming organically, you know, in sort of an emergent way. Lawyers find each other in Bankless style start legal guild marketers, start marketing guild designers, start Design Guild, and then start looking for work to do at the same time that talent is finding each other and forming these guilds, outside organizations starting to realize that there’s talent in the Bankless style.

There’s web3 native experts who they wanna hire to help them launch a token or embark on a Web3 marketing strategy or advise them on, you know, smart contract development or you know, whatever it may be. But there was no, there was no sort of matchmaking entity in the middle of the talent and the potential clients, you know, Bankless DAO being a DAO, you know, just didn’t have the sort of legal structure foundation to be able to enter into like corporate contracts, to hire consultants.

And so Bankless Consulting was formed as a sort of a services layer. On top of Bankless to put together project teams and match them with clients who want to hire Web3 natives. And so yeah, that’s, that’s sort of the origin story. I can go into a lot more detail.

[00:09:58] Umar: I believe you launched in 2021, right?

[00:10:02] Chuck: We started building in 2021. We launched in February, 2022.

[00:10:07] Umar: All right, so, so far what have been some of the services that you have been offering Also, what are the services mostly in demand?

[00:10:15] Chuck: Yeah. I’d say our work has, honestly, it’s been pretty broad, but I can find probably three major themes in our client projects.But you know, Web3 being such a still new and emerging space, businesses come to us with all sorts of ideas on how they want to use blockchain technology. And since we’re able to source talent from Bankless DAO with thousands of members and hundreds of active contributors in the DAO. We have been able to form a team to do just about anything that a client wants to do with blockchain technology.

So we haven’t limited ourselves yet. We don’t have like a very narrow focus yet in terms of our service offerings, but there are some major themes that have emerged where there’s like a really good match between our talent and sort of like, consistent clients coming to us wanting like a specific set of services.

And so I’ll just, I’ll name three. One is token economy design. So we have really strong tokenomics expertise, and this goes from like identifying stakeholders and incentive structures and value flows kind of at the theoretical level to designing an economy to actually, developing smart contracts for a token, engineering, a token, and launching a token economy, we can do it, you know, from soup to nuts.

Also decentralized governance. So again, it kind of starts with knowing the stakeholders. What the goals of the organization or the ecosystem are, the flows and then into the development of that community. Community governance might involve even launching a DAO, so like formally building a customized DAO and all the tooling that goes along with it.

And then kind of helping get the DAO off the ground and sort of. Supporting an organization in their path to decentralization, decentralizing governance over the product, the entity, the entire organization, whatever their goals are. And then the third is marketing. So we’ve helped a lot of projects with Web3 marketing strategy.

You know, in Web3, marketing can often be synonymous with community. Community development. And so we help a lot of like, kind of like Normy or we call ’em Trad cos who wanna build a marketing strategy in Web3. We help them identify influencers and start to attract the right sorts of community members to help them build their network and start to achieve the network effects for whatever they’re trying to build.

[00:13:05] Umar: Wow, very interesting. Now if I move on to the topic of how you guys are recruiting and rewarding talent. So firstly on onboarding, like you said, the bankless consulting model is focused on rewarding work without, like regard for seniority. Could you tell us how, first, how you onboard talent, the kind of experience and profiles you’re looking for?

For example, if, if you need a tokenization specialist at your company, What sort of experience would you expect that person to have had before?

[00:13:36] Chuck: Yeah, great question. So in some ways, Bankless Consulting is a corporation. You know, we’re domiciled in the United States. We have a lot of sort of like, I don’t know, structures that you would expect from a corporation.

And then in other ways, Bankless Consulting operates sort of like a DAO and with our talent, I’d say it’s more on the DAO side, and so we mainly source out of Bankless DAO, and so we’ve had an opportunity to see and also experience working with people on projects in the DAO. Or for partners of the DAO

And so we get a sense of, you know who is available, what their proficiencies are, what their capacities are like, what their interests are, and, so when we have a client who comes to us if we don’t have the talent kind of. Already within our core team or our sort of extended team of contributors who we’ve worked with before, we can look to the DAO to source additional resources.

In terms of onboarding, it’s fairly fluid. I mean, people come into Bankless Consulting looking for work to do, and if there’s something available that matches. What their expertise is or what their experience is, then they get matched right away. Sometimes people come in and express an interest in doing some consulting work, some web3 consulting work, but the opportunity that just isn’t there at the moment.

And so we have, you know, different types of databases and tools to, I guess add them to our list in traditional consulting, you’d call it a bench. And we try to keep them warm. We try to get them involved in, you know, professional development, do a lot of like peer-to-peer learning and community building.

And so we want to keep people warm, but there’s, it’s sort of like a marketplace in a way where if there isn’t a client asking for a particular type of project, then there’s, we’re not just gonna make up work for people to do.

[00:15:47] Umar: But let’s say if there’s someone working at, say, for example, McKinsey doesn’t know a lot about web3, has not really worked for any like Web3 projects, but is like eager to learn and like transition from Web2 to web3.

Would it still be possible for people like that to come and work at Bankless Consulting?

[00:16:08] Chuck: It would, and I’d say it’s again, sort of like a fluid thing. So let’s say. Let’s say, our big internal priority for this quarter is improving our business development pipeline. And so if somebody from McKinsey comes in and they have experience in business development, then we could put them on the BD team and see what they can do and if they’re, they prove themselves to be reliable and skilled and a good person to work with, someone who you enjoy, you know, being around then.

They’re gonna be top of mind next time there’s a client project as someone who we want to get on that team.

[00:16:49] Umar: You already touched on rewarding, so I’d rather move on to scaling a consulting firm. So you’ve been running this remote consulting firm with contributors from over the world. Oftentimes you don’t know these people, but I think being associated with a Bankless Media brand, you have this goodwill.

What have you learned in the past month from scaling your team?

[00:17:12] Chuck: Okay, so one thing I’ve learned is that the amount of talent that’s sort of available and interested in working in Web3 kind of follows the market cycle. So like a year ago, there were a lot more people knocking on our door to work in Bankless Consulting compared to now maybe if we were an AI consulting firm, we’d have a lot more people knocking on our door right now.

But like the narrative has shifted away from Web3. And so I would say. That’s a big part of it. It follows the market cycle. And honestly, Bankless Consulting is like the way that we operate with such a focus on client projects and trying to have low overhead, low back office function so that we really are able to reward people who are adding value to the organization.

We don’t keep a bench. We don’t maintain a bench, and so this is kind of a difference, a major difference from like traditional consultancies who, you know, you might continue to receive a salary even if you’re not working on a client project for a number of months. And so I’d say it, this type of model works.

Well for certain types of people, and for some people it doesn’t work. It works for people who value flexibility, value professional growth, and the opportunity to work on different types of projects with, you know, people from all over the world. But for people who want like a consistent nine to five, this probably isn’t the best place for them to work right now.

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[00:20:21] Umar: So Bankless Consulting is a DAO but. Like for other consulting firms who maybe they are looking into opting for a similar business model, how much of the governance part of Bankless Consulting, let’s say, is passed on to like the contributors? How does governance work at Bankless Consulting?

[00:20:42] Chuck: So as a corporation, we have a board of directors, and so that’s ultimately, You know, the governing body for, you know, major financial and strategic decisions.

But at the same time, we, we try to operate as a flat organization as we can and we make use of self-managed organizational principles. I’m not sure if you’re familiar with The Ready, it’s an organization, it’s been around since before DAOs, but it’s an organization that helps companies build self-directed management.

So think less top-down, hierarchical, and more like pods and sort of like bottom-up governance. And so we have, we use a tool for our internal governance called Murmur. It’s actually developed by The Ready. And, it enables anybody with status in the organization to propose agreements. These can be agreements about how we communicate, how we get compensated, when we meet, how we meet, you know, what is our marketing strategy, what is our treasury management strategy?

And anybody can propose an agreement. And so that’s a tool that we use for like I said, like self-management. And another way we enable self-management and having like a flatter organization is everyone has the same title at Bankless Consulting. Everyone’s an associate. And so, you know, you couldn’t show up tomorrow and be named an associate.

Like you need, you need to demonstrate commitment to the organization and you know, be here for a little while, work on a back office project, work on a client project. But then once you get the title of associate, you have, you know, as much governance rights as anybody else in terms of the management of the organization.

But then again, like I said, we do, we are a corporation and so we have those obligations, you know, to our shareholders, which our shareholders are us. But one of those is having a board of directors with fiduciary responsibilities. And so, you know, there are legal requirements and financial management requirements that.

We can’t leave up to everybody. You know, those are the responsibility of the board. But for anything that we can leave up to our associates, we do. We really want this company to be fueled and grown and managed by the people working in it. Some group who’s in like a boardroom making decisions on behalf of everybody else.

[00:23:29] Umar: Thanks a lot for sharing. So I just opened the website. It’s called theready.com right?

[00:23:34] Chuck: Okay. Yeah, it’s great. They have a podcast and they did a podcast series on DAOs with Chase Chapman. On the Other Side, I think is her podcast. But it was a, it was a great kind of exploration of self-management principles from corporations and how those can help DAOs too.

So it might be useful for your audience. We’re big fans.

[00:24:00] Umar: I wanna touch on some of the examples of projects that you’ve been working on. So without necessarily revealing their names, could you provide us with examples of projects you’ve been working on and providing consulting to for any DAOs, NFT projects, Web2 firms, trying to understand Web3 as well.

[00:24:18] Chuck: Yeah. Working on, so I’ll share a few projects that I’ve worked on. One was a group of investors who wanted to buy a professional soccer team in Spain, and then tokenize the ownership of that team, sell the tokens to raise more money, and then build like a resort themed like family vacation complex around the soccer team.Aand like kind of in the United States we have like, you know, like Disney World and Disney’s wide world of sports where there’s like professional sports teams, but then also like youth sports complexes and then also it’s in Florida, so it’s great for families to go on vacation there.

That was kind of their vision, and so we helped them with kind of turning their vision into a pitch deck for investors, and then also understanding kind of like the mechanics of tokenizing a professional sports team and how to pull off that kind of sale. What would governance look like? So that was a really fun project.

Another one, I was helping a Japanese corporation build a decentralized data marketplace so that that involved tokenomics decentralized governance and also heavy Web3 marketing strategy. Also worked with a US-based philanthropy that wanted to decentralize, wanted to decentralize. The decision-making about who they make grants to.

So kind of taking the decision, making authority from their board and having their community of grantees and volunteers and other people involved in their philanthropy decide who gets grants. And also because their grantees are all over the world building this new, building a DAO building this DAO on crypto rails makes it a lot easier for them to disperse the grants.

It’s Africa, it’s Asia, it’s South America on crypto rails. So those are, yeah, three examples kind of show you the breadth of our clientele, but it all like kind of a common thread. There is tokenomics, decentralized governance, DAO tooling and Web3 marketing.

[00:26:35] Umar: And have you seen a surge from Web2 organizations you mentioned the philanthropy organizations.

Is there some, like most of the work that you provide, are they coming from Web3 organizations? I believe Web3 firms, but how about the demand from Web2 organizations?

[00:26:52] Chuck: I’d say that demand is increasing from Web2 organizations. Say when we started, probably because you know we have the Bankless name, we had a lot of Web3 native organizations coming to us and kind of looking for like professional services expertise.

Like they already had kind of the Web3 native expertise and Web3 roadmap, but they needed kind of like management consultants to help them improve their pitch, bring their product to market, and now we’re getting a lot more Web2 companies. Coming to us who are kind of curious about blockchain technology and curious about Web3 and just don’t really know what to do with it.

[00:27:36] Umar: Now I want to touch a bit on your experiences being the Head of Finance of Bankless Consulting. So you said you launched early 2022 around Feb, and it was like the time the market was crashing just before the Terra Luna Saga. How have you been invoicing your clients? Have you been invoicing them in crypto, and what learnings do you have for building in a bear market and also invoicing?

[00:28:03] Chuck: Well, I think we’ve used Request Finance since the very beginning. I think we’re one of Request’s first clients or partners and we’ve, I mean, honestly, it’s a great tool and we have loved using it. We also have our contributors invoice us using Request as well now. So Request is a key tool for us in terms of building through the bear market.Sorry, I lost. What the other party question was?

[00:28:32] Umar: I was asking about invoicing in stablecoins, I mean invoicing in crypto. Do you invoice in stablecoins, like volatile tokens? What learnings have you learned from that? From the marketcrash?

[00:28:41] Chuck: Yeah. Good. Okay. Good question. So, I’d say probably at least 90% of our revenue has come via USDC.

Mostly on Ethereum mainnet. We have had a few clients pay us on Polygon, Arbitrum but still USDC and we run our payroll in USDC makes it easier for us because we’re a global organization. Of course, we are a US-based corporation and we’re very compliant. It’s very important to us to follow the rules.

And so we also need fiat rails so we can pay taxes also, you know, we have things like Google Workspace and DocuSign and other SaaS products that don’t accept crypto yet, so we have to have bank account, debit card. So yeah, being the Head of Finance, building a business that operates in both crypto and fiat is very challenging.

It has been extremely challenging finding accounting tools that work well for, you know, managing a chart of accounts, year-end reporting, gain loss reporting is the hardest part. Honestly, last year we did accept some altcoins as payment and we paid some contributors who worked on those projects in altcoins, but doing our taxes, doing our 2022 taxes, and trying to calculate the gain loss from receiving and paying in volatile crypto tokens.

We decided it’s not worth it. It’s not worth the accounting burden that it put on our team to, I mean, the cost far outweighed the benefits of operating with altcoins. So we are locked into stables now, 2023s. We’re gonna have much, much easier accounting in 2023 because we’re only accepting stables or fiat US dollars.

And that’s all that we’ll be paying people in as well. So that was a major lesson learned from last year. Crypto accounting tools. There are some that do a good job calculating gain loss, but those aren’t yet integrated with like QuickBooks or Xero. And so we haven’t term like you need a crypto accounting software that connects with financial reporting software and a CPA who understands what’s going on.

And we haven’t found those three pieces, how to fit those three pieces together yet. So we’re, we’re gonna sim we’ve decided to simplify things and just operate in fiat and dollar pegged stables.

[00:31:19] Umar: Okay. Very interesting. I did speak to a few of these crypto accounting solutions on this podcast. The likes of Cryptio, Bitwave, Cryptoworth, Consola Finance is like a new player in Austria.

I’m not sure what accounting software you use, but a lot of them are actually integrating their platform to these accounting softwares.

[00:31:43] Chuck: Yeah. I’m not gonna name names because I know everybody’s, everybody’s working hard in trying to solve these problems. We’ve done over 30 demos with crypto accounting firms and sometimes there’s a delta between a feature that they say they have and does it work? Does it actually work? Can we count on it? You know, these are numbers that we’re reporting to the IRS, to the US government and calculating our taxes based on, and so we need to have a lot of confidence that the software works. And our experience has been, it’s really hard to find crypto accounting software that isn’t buggy.

That also connects with financial reporting software like QuickBooks and which can be validated by a CPA in the United States. And so it’s been a real challenge, but I know that these products are in development. It’s very early, but we’ve had the experience of using them, finding bugs, telling the team, and they’re, you know, so thankful that we’re helping them find bugs.

But, then it, it’s like, well, our tax is okay. So it’s kind of hard from like, from my perspective it’s kind of hard to, to count on some of these software products. And so yeah, the decision we made was just to kind of risk-off and be more conservative and just go with dollar peg stables.

[00:33:08] Umar: Are there any other tools that come to mind that have maybe made your life a bit easy for like, as the Head of Finance?

[00:33:15] Chuck: Request is great. Circle is awesome. I mean, we transact in fiat and in crypto, and so having circle makes that so easy. Mercury is a great, I don’t want to call them a bank, I don’t think Mercury’s actually a bank, but it’s kinda like a front-end for, for a bank. They do like kind of some banking services. I don’t think they’re technically a bank, but they have some great services as well.

Also. Who else would I want to plug here? Yeah, I’d say probably those three are the best tools that I’ve found.

[00:33:51] Umar: It’s very interesting because I mean, you don’t need so many tools to get going to first start. I mean, when you start to do like accounting in crypto, on accounting for onchain transactions like you need of course, a good self-custodial wallet, something for your invoicing payments. If you are using a crypto accounting solution that like fits your needs, that can help to automate some of your on chain transactions with like categorization and everything, and exporting those to your Main Ledger You don’t need that many tooling to first start.

[00:34:25] Chuck: Yeah it’s true. And I should mention, cuz you mentioned like having a self custodial wallet, like we have a multisig, you know, Ethereum mainnet, well across all the EVM chains we have multisigs for, you know, our treasury, where we receive payment and from which we pay our contributors.

Request is built in Gnosis, which helps us a lot with paying our contributors like that. Integration is awesome. But Gnosis is , I think still no has a way to go and I don’t, I don’t know if Gnosis like is a company or what, I don’t really know what’s going on there, but we’ve had, we’ve had some real challenges with their UI and UX, which make, you know, makes me wish that there was a better, like, multisig solution.

But yeah, and I don’t wanna. I don’t wanna be negative or like criticize people, but it’s been, it’s a really hard job. Even like you said, there’s not a lot of functions that you need to do, but integrating crypto and Fiat is just inherently very challenging and, and Gnosis has just such a challenging UI, even for like the Web3 native people to use.

[00:35:38] Umar: On the Web3CFO club, someone lately was asking about how to manage their multisig wallet owners and how to get those transactions signed fast because they usually have to like chase people sometimes recreate the transaction because the time has elapsed and they chain a tool called OnChainDen.

Then, I don’t know if you’ve used that or like have issues sometimes chasing like people to sign transactions, but that’s something apparently that has helped them.

[00:36:05] Chuck: OnChainDen. Okay, cool. I’ll look into it. I’ve been a signer on old other Multisig as well, and Bankless Consulting. I mean, our signers are on the ball.

It’s really great actually. Like when there’s something to sign, it gets signed within an hour. I’ve been in another multisig where yeah, transactions can time out and go stale because we haven’t gotten the right number of people and it’s been like seven days and contributors are wondering where their money is and it’s messy.

The whole multisig thing is. That’s another conversation we can have. Managing a treasury by committee. There’s merits in it, and then there’s also unique challenges with that as well.

[00:36:45] Umar: Before we continue, we’ll take a quick commercial break from our sponsor. Working in Web3 can transform your career, be financially rewarding and surround you with a vibrant community.

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[00:38:27] Umar: I wanna move on to a different topic now on how to attract talent with the great resignation.

So I’m actually part of that great resignation. So I quit my job in 2020. I was a bit tired of the Web2 way of doing things and eventually, somehow that led me to web3. We are very early in this new way of working. I was reading the other day, Peter Levels, the founder of NomadList, predicts will have a billion nomads by 2035.

That’s a very optimistic prediction, but who knows? I wanna ask you, how do you see DAOs flourishing as a work model for freelancers and how have DAOs evolved and improved in terms of governance, like from its early days from the DAO hype, where everyone was, every project was actually turning into a DAO.

[00:39:15] Chuck: Yeah. Well, this is a tough question for me to answer because I have worked in different DAOs as well in Web3, and I would say it’s not always a great experience for the contributor working in a DAO. I’d say couple of like the biggest challenges I’ve seen and I’ll get to answering your question because I try to respond to these challenges in the way that we operate at Bankless Consulting.

But you know, one of the challenges is kind of like not knowing really what your job is. There’s lots of work to do and it’s not exactly clear who is doing what and what is expected of you. You know, coming from a traditional employment environment where you have a supervisor and you have a job description.

You’ve interviewed for something, it’s kind of obvious what you’re supposed to do and then what other people are supposed to do. But in a DAO it’s a lot more fluid. It’s kind of like, what can you do? Can you do this? Can you also do that? And then if you prove to be competent, you get more and more work and people rely on you more and more.

But sometimes compensation might not, you know, be keeping up with your increased scope of responsibilities. So, and I’ve seen a lot of people burnout working in DAOs cuz they come in and they’re very enthusiastic and they think it’s, you know, really some of the things are really cool. Like, I’m working with people from all over the world.

I get to dabble in a lot of different types of projects. It’s kind of choose your own adventure, the sky’s the limit. But after a few months, the compensation question always comes up. Like, what am I getting paid for? Am I getting paid enough? I find myself working a lot more hours than I thought I would.

Can I rely on these other people that I’m working with? I never see their faces. We’re not in the same office, like, can I count on them? Is this project going anywhere? Is this like, am I gonna see the fruits of my labor? And so I think like ironically, because of how fluid this space is, more structure is needed.

And like roles need to be more clearly defined. Compensation needs to be more clearly defined upfront before work begins for this to be sustainable for people to stick around. And so, you know, we really make an effort to do that at Bankless Consulting before people take on work. Really getting an understanding of, you know, who is leading this work.

It’s like kinda like we wanna be flat. It’s not really like who are you reporting to, but kind of like, who is the lead of this project? Who’s accountable for making sure that, you know, we get results. And so people know what they’re contributing to know who they can look to for support, know what they’re getting paid.

These structures, I think, can be taken for granted in a traditional work environment because everything is so structured. But in a DAO space where there’s so little structure, I feel like you have to make an extra effort to communicate these expectations. So because I mean, at least like at Bankless Consulting when there’s a talented person that comes in and starts working with us, we want them to stick around.

Like we know that this is a long-term game and we’re building something for the long term, so we want to. We want to treat people well, and we want people to be happy working with us and providing them concrete expectations about what we need from them and also what they’re getting paid, whether it’s, you know, in dollars or in equity shares.

[00:43:02] Umar: I can relate to that. I remember in the beginning when I discovered about DAOs and how I can actually start contributing to it. In the beginning, I made the mistake of trying to join like too many DAOs and trying to Yeah, do way too much. I was spreading myself a bit thin because at the end of the day, it’s actual work that you have to do.

It’s not just chat on Discord. So, and it takes time. It’s just like any other work you do. I mean, I was not doing something. Because in the beginning, I thought I need like technical knowledge to work in it out like I was very unfamiliar with, but I was just applying the existing skills and knowledge that I have in Web2 to like the Web3 project.

[00:43:39] Umar: And it’s just like any other job.

[00:43:43] Chuck: Yeah, I think so. Yeah. I agree.

[00:43:46] Umar: Now for probably the last question of our episode today, I wanna touch a bit on the social impact projects you’ve been working on. So in the past month, you’ve been building Bankless Consulting social impact practice to help organizations implement Web3 technology for real world impact.

Could you tell us a bit what these social projects you’ve been working on and share a bit more on what you are working on right now?

[00:44:11] Chuck: Yeah, for sure. I gotta say, there’s something about Web3 that attracts people who wanna make a difference in the world, and I think it’s different from what attracts people to crypto.

I think crypto attracts people that are probably more focused on making money, and crypto is part of Web3, like undoubtedly, but Web3 encompasses a lot more than just crypto. I think a lot of our clients who are coming to us looking like trying to figure out how to build products or transform their organization in some way with Web3 technology, they’re coming to us with a social impact mission in mind.

Whether it’s trying to create some sort of incentive system that acts as like a center of gravity that pulls, pulls in their staff, their company leadership, their clients, their partners. And you know, this is where token economic design comes into play a lot with our clients. Like how can a token be used as an incentive that rewards people for doing what?

What you want them to do and what you want them to do here is something that is a net positive for everyone involved. You know, kind of going off a little tangent here, but you know, in the United States, a couple of years ago, the Business Roundtable published a report about the importance of all of a corporation’s stakeholders.

Not just the shareholders. And so I think historically, at least in the United States, like you know, we’re the capital of capitalism. There’s just been such a focus on returns to shareholders. And a couple of years ago, the Business Roundtable put out a report. You know, business Roundtable is a membership organization of all the biggest corporations in the United States, maybe globally, but at least in the United States.

And they’re recognizing like, yo, we recognize this isn’t sustainable. We can’t just be extracting value from the world to give money to our shareholders. We also need to make our company sustainable places to work. We also need to serve our customers, understand the communities that we work in, what are the negative externalities of our business, and how can we compensate people for these negative externalities?

And you know, the reason I went down that tangent is because, you know, a good token economy, good like token incentives design, can take care of all of that. Like you can design a token. Or a dual token system with decentralized governance and incentive structures that make it so that your business leadership, your staff, your customers, the community around you, you know, they can all contribute to what you’re trying to build and also get rewarded for what they’re contributing to whether directly or indirectly.

So that’s been really cool and that’s I think why so much of our work has been around token economy design, token economics, because it is just like such a key primitive in this new world, in this kind of like evolved mindset of how can a business do well for everybody who’s involved in the business, not just the shareholders.

[00:47:33] Umar: I wanna ask you if you have any Alpha to share with the listeners, like some social impact projects, enabling shared ownership and profit sharing you find interesting.

[00:47:42] Chuck: I think that the decentralized data marketplaces are gonna be a major industry within Web3. It’s sort of like finding ways to collect more and better data from users, like say from app users collecting, incentivizing them to produce more and better data, incentivizing researchers and data scientists to use and package that data in ways that adds value to the world. And then incentivizing also people to purchase the data per people companies to purchase the data. So there’s several stakeholders in these decentralized data ecosystems. I think in web2, these are closed economies.

The company that’s collecting the data, you know, has ownership over the data that’s collecting from its users. It employs the people that are collecting, analyzing, cutting the data, reporting the data, and then also they have the sales team that has to go out and figure out who’s gonna buy this data for what purposes.

And we know closed economies. Just aren’t as good as open economies. I mean, throughout history, like, I mean, it’s been proven over and over again that when you open up your economy, everybody gets richer. And so I think Blockchain enables more decentralized data ecosystems, and we’re gonna, we’re gonna start to see some really cool things in terms of what companies can do.

Getting more and better data, giving users more control over how their data is used and what it’s used for, what it’s sold for. So I would keep an eye on that kind of sub-sector within Web3. I think it’s, it’s gonna be, I mean, alpha for impact, but also, you know, I think these can be, these will be some valuable tokens as well.

[00:49:36] Umar: Awesome. Thanks for sharing Chuck. We are close to the hour mark. As, so the title of the episode today is Building a Native Web3 Consulting Firm. As closing thoughts, has there been anything that we didn’t touch on that you’d like to mention to the listeners?

[00:49:53] Chuck: Well, of course. I mean, I gotta plug our business.

We’re Bankless Consulting. We’re, we want to be easy to work with, we’re global, we’re passionate about the technology, and we wanna bring it into the real world. We wanna make a difference. And so, We’re great partners to work with. If you are listening to this and you want to talk about token economics or governance or marketing, or you know, go-to-market strategies, please be in touch. We’d love to talk to you.

[00:50:22] Umar: Lately, I’ve been promoting the podcast in the Web3CFOs club as well, so I’m sure a lot of these CFOs in these Web3 organizations will be very keen to reach out to you.

Chuck: Excellent.

Umar: Now I have a last question that I like to ask to my guests, which is, do you have a quote or a maxim that you live by?

[00:50:41] Chuck: Yes. Sorry. It’s probably, it’s a little cheesy, but it comes from the poem ‘For Whom The Bell Tolls’ by John Donne. And the poem ends with send not to know for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee. And you know, this was talking about the bell tolling is the church bells which ring, you know, back then whenever this poem was written, they rang when somebody died.

And so the authors sang, don’t ask Who died, you died. And it’s this idea that we’re all connected, like all humans, all life on Earth is connected. And you know, the circumstances of your neighbor, the circumstances of someone on the other side of the world, these affect you as well. And so that’s just a maxim that means a lot to me that I try to live by that, you know, if other people are doing well, then I’m doing well. If other people are struggling, then I’m also struggling. In a way, I just think that we’re all connected and we all need to recognize that we’re in this together.

[00:51:46] Umar: Can you spell the name of the author again?

[00:51:49] Chuck: Yeah, I’ll give you a link to the poem. John Donne. Alright. It’s the poem that inspired the title of the Hemingway book, For Whom The bell tolls, which is, you know, in that book it’s an American who goes to Spain to fight the fascists. Sort of the, you know, in the same vein, if there’s fascists in Spain, there’s fascists here.

You know, we, we all need to fight fascism. Fascism kills all of us. It’s kind of like a theme of the book, but the poem is centuries older than that. It’s from like the, the Middle Ages.

[00:52:24] Umar: Thanks a lot again for sharing. I will check it out. Chuck, thanks a lot for coming in today. I’m very happy that we finally got to record the episode, and thanks a lot for your time and sharing your knowledge.

Before we go, if people want to reach out to you and learn more about Bankless Consulting, how should they do so?

[00:52:40] Chuck: banklessconsulting.com. We’ve got a short form at on our homepage. Take you 30 seconds to fill out. We got a bot connected to our Discord. We’ll be alerted right away and we’ll get in touch with you. banklessconsulting.com.

[00:52:54] Umar: Perfect. And on Twitter you are?

[00:52:56] Chuck: I’m @mr_cgc. I’m also on LinkedIn, Charles Cummings on LinkedIn.

[00:53:06] Umar: Perfect. Well, thanks a lot again. Thank you. We’ll be in touch. Thank you so much.

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