Community//

“Build Cross-Sectional Skills” Words Of Wisdom With Jason Civalleri of Spl.yt

Build cross-sectional skills — The most useful people in crypto do not cling to one are like “programming,” “marketing,” “economics,” or…


Build cross-sectional skills — The most useful people in crypto do not cling to one are like “programming,” “marketing,” “economics,” or “law.” Instead, they are experts in multiple fields and how they interrelate. Simply taking JS and C++ classes on CodeAcademy and going through the Ethereum Foundation’s Solidity guides while working on an unrelated area will give you incredible perspective. While I’m trained or experienced in programming, politics, law, business, and economics, I believe my real value comes as a “translator” between the different camps to coordinate their efforts and achieve their goals.


I had the pleasure of interviewing Spl.yt Founder and MyCrypto Compliance Officer, Jason Civalleri. Jason Civalleri is the Co-Founder of Spl.yt. With expertise in Smart Contacts and Law, Jason has showcased his passion for internal and external compliance working as the Chief Compliance officer of MyCrypto (formerly MyEtherWallet) and helped advise multiple $20M+ ICOs.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?

Growing up during a war, recession, and extreme social/political division left me feeling that society is broken and my generation got the short end of some kind of deal. We are all victims to centralized power points that lead to massive economic failure and social unrest, like “too big to fail” firms like Lehman Bros. that destroyed the global economy, large data gatherers threatening individual privacy, big-money corrupting democracy, and political parties preventing voters from critically assessing issues. There is no silver-bullet for these problems, so my holistic path has run through political campaigning/activism, law school, and a Masters in Business Administration. Decentralized Blockchains are my natural next step because they help break down problematic centralized powers. I enjoy contributing my perspective to building a new social paradigm where future generations can thrive and prosper.

Can you tell me about the most interesting projects you are working on now?

I’m employed by, advising, representing, or leading around six different crypto projects, but the two I am most excited about are Spl.yt and MyCrypto. Spl.yt is a non-profit, decentralized effort using blockchain to remove barriers in e-commerce that allow certain online retail behemoths to amass more power than most countries. We’re building smart contracts that enable small players to provide top-notch service at lower cost than those behemoths, resulting in a better, more affordable online shopping experience for everyone. MyCrypto is a user-oriented “wallet” that returns privacy and security to users so they no longer have to depend on (and pay) large banks or tech companies — and at no cost or risk of data manipulation. If each of these (and similar) projects are successful, we will enjoy a safer, freer, and fairer internet.

What are the 5 things that most excite you about crypto? Why?

The Community — The most intelligent people I’ve ever known are working together in this movement to solve some of the world’s most difficult social problems. And we might just do it.

Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs) — I think everyone is frustrated with legacy top-down systems of governance and management, so I’m excited to see what benefits this new, more flexible method of leadership and empowerment will provide.

Crypto-tokens — Anyone can now survive while contributing to any project they choose as the value of their tokens appreciates due to their efforts. And this compensation structure is more flexible and liberating than the binds of legacy employer-employee relationships.

Speaking of crypto-tokens — I really like that they provide an economic incentive for open-source collaboration, which I believe is one of the most powerful innovations of the last century.

Options like Non-Fungible Tokens — This new asset type solves many of society’s questions about how to address software as property.


What are the 5 things worry you about crypto? Why?

Media Influencers and CNBC — Just kidding, but not really. I am sometimes frustrated by influencers who focus on Altcoin prices and encourage people to see a nascent technology as a get-rich-scheme rather than understand its true powers and risks/weaknesses. This is dangerous and causes attracts newcomers that unnecessarily get hurt because they don’t understand the fundamentals of what they’re dealing with. You don’t realize how often this happens until you’re on stage or being published, and your personal email box gets flooded by beginners who lost a lot of money to phishers, scammers, or errors and have nowhere else to turn.

Governance — Watching the crypto-community (and each sub-community’s core developers) re-invent social power structures is fascinating. But I worry our cypherpunk DIY mentality may cause us to throw out some worthy and historically proven solutions in our attempt to re-build governance from the ground up.

Throughput — There are physical limitations that forbid a perfectly private/secure, fast, and decentralized system. So far, no plausible “silver bullet” has been proposed that meets all three needs. But I am encouraged that we have the world’s brightest minds working together on this problem, and I trust that if anyone can do it, they can.

Tribalism — Crypto is still a niche technology and ecosystem. While we’re gaining momentum, we haven’t yet experienced real blowback from the “powers that be” designed to destroy our progress. I worry hyper-competitive mudslinging and personal ego-based attacks between sub-communities will make it easier for the seasoned competitors (bankers, wall street, corporate interests, governments, etc.) when they’re ready to drop the hammer.

Lack of user-focus — Crypto is hard! We’re using cutting edge technology, security, encryption, economics, sociology, and business theories to create a new paradigm. But the average person doesn’t have the time to learn all these concepts, to operate a private-key based wallet, or to keep track of a million types of tokens. Heck, many people can barely keep track of a seven-letter password. Lots of resources are (importantly) spent on protocol-layer improvements, but until we start making easy-to-use applications that any type of user can use reliably, all of this research and development will be purely academic.

BONUS — Tether (USDT) is a widely used “stable coin” among exchanges and market makers throughout the ecosystem. But that project repeatedly demonstrates untransparent (or even fraudulent) business practices. Its potential failure represents a systemic risk powder-keg we haven’t seen since Mt. Gox. This actually keeps me up at night on a regular basis than my other crypto worries.

What 3 things would you advise to someone who wanted to emulate your career? Can you share an example for each idea?

Build cross-sectional skills — The most useful people in crypto do not cling to one are like “programming,” “marketing,” “economics,” or “law.” Instead, they are experts in multiple fields and how they interrelate. Simply taking JS and C++ classes on CodeAcademy and going through the Ethereum Foundation’s Solidity guides while working on an unrelated area will give you incredible perspective. While I’m trained or experienced in programming, politics, law, business, and economics, I believe my real value comes as a “translator” between the different camps to coordinate their efforts and achieve their goals.

Get your name out — I received three job offers within 24 hours of publishing my first Medium posts on the Delaware Blockchain Initiative. I regularly get contracted for large projects by audience-members who see me present my research on securities, banking, and Nevada crypto-tax laws. I even met Spl.yt’s co-founder, Cyrus, because I had been telling his new girlfriend about this crazy blockchain thing I had been working on, and she introduced us when he randomly brought it up to her. Publish, speak, mingle, network, and post new material as much as you can that demonstrates whatever makes you special in advancing the community’s interests.

Stay Punk — Kindness, collaboration, spirit, and willingness to question authority and the status quo are punk as f***. Be punk as f***.

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this 🙂

Jessica Alba — I think the Honest Company is very similar to Spl.yt. Both companies are following charitable missions and extra-corporate behemoth approaches to make a better, safer world for consumers. I would love to hear her perspective on the world as a minority/female influencer and business leader. And, hey, I think Honest Products would be a great add to spl.yt’s global decentralized inventory.


Originally published at medium.com

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres. We publish pieces written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Learn more or join us as a community member!
Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.