In this our tenth edition of 21 Questions By Decentralize Today, we headed to South America where we caught up with Eliécer Hernández, better known locally by his handle Para, An Attorney in Law, IT technician and Community Manager at Martkist, a decentralized marketplace startup project whose principals are based in Panama and Columbia. What follows is one of the most heartfelt sessions we have ever been through...if you ever wonder why we all do this, well, this is why!
decentralize.today: If you could choose three words to describe yourself, what would they be and why?
– Patience, perseverance and kindness. Patience, to calmly wait for the result of hard work; perseverance to continue with the projects already undertaken, even when they seem not to emerge; and kindness, to give the cordial treatment that people deserve.
dt: How, why and when did you get into decentralized, privacy focused online projects?
– Personally, I am quite new to decentralized projects. I worked a few months (from December 2019 to April 2020) for the Helios Protocol blockchain project and they were a good school for me. Now, with Martkist, I have been able to apply what I have learned and help the ecosystem to undertake in the world of decentralized finance.
dt: What were you doing professionally before Martkist?
– I'm a licensed lawyer here in Venezuela, and also an IT Technician.
dt: How would you describe your current work to a 5 year old kid?
– My job is about making people happy, safe and wealthy.
dt: What was your first ever job (even as a kid)?
– I worked as a Sandwich Artist in Subway franchise here in my living place. I learned there the responsibility of work and the value of time. Not just in reference to money, but to everything we stop doing while working.
dt: Who is your biggest inspiration when it comes to work/business?
– My little daughter, because it is for her that I am working hard so that I can leave her a legacy built with hard work.
dt: What’s the best life and work advice you’ve ever been given?
– Do what you love and you will never feel like you are working.
dt: Your favorite superhero or fictional character, and why?
– Spider Man, because, even though he doesn't get great credit (or great pay), he continues to do his job.
dt: What were you like as a student?
– Always thinking of something beyond the teacher's explanation (in high school). Later, in my college life, I was more assertive. I used to take a lot of notes and ask a lot of questions. I was never satisfied.
dt: What would be your dream project if money was no object?
– Free wind energy for everyone in my region (we have strong winds that are not used)
dt: What is your favorite sport or game to watch?
– I like to watch golf, because it requires patience and a lot of calculation to even get close to the green.
dt: As a pioneer in privacy focused commercial development, why did you decide business directories were the way to go and how do you handle/reconcile information collection?
– At Martkist we try to give universal adoption to our mining currency, at the same time that we dabbled in DeFi precisely because our project always aimed to be a decentralized market for goods and services. We started with the directory of services so that those entrepreneurs or businessmen could be part of our advertising network by accepting our currency as payment for their services. We have had magnificent success with this: in Colombia we have more than 10 cosmetic surgeons who accept our currency as part of payment, in addition we have other entrepreneurs in Venezuela accepting our currency (I, as a lawyer and computer technician; a yoga teacher; an audiovisual producer ...)
dt: Who are your real life heroes?
– My late grandfather, who in life was an example of work and perseverance, who, being a very poor man, was able to raise his family by providing them with the important life values of honesty and empathy towards others.
– My father, who taught me to love family despite its shortcomings.
– My mother, who with her immeasurable love, raised me with the best values received by my grandparents.
dt: What does your family think of your work and advocacy of online privacy?
– They love my work, because it is what I love and do with dedication every day, without harming anyone. Quite the opposite. My work aims at the economic and labor independence of many people who today are unprotected and unemployed due to the looming pandemic. As long as my work helps people, my family will be happy.
dt: What was the last book you read that you would recommend to others?
– “How to Defi”, by Darren Lau, Daryl Lau, Teh Sze Jin, Kristian Kho, Erina Azmi, TM Lee and Bobby Ong. I recommend this to all DeFi incomers because it is a great initiation way for DeFi incomers.
dt: What grinds your gears or is your pet peeve? What do you really dislike?
– I dislike evasive responses which, while not representing lies, denote dishonesty.
dt: Do you have an “I lost my private keys” type story or a crazy software development related story? Do share!
– Yes! In Venezuela we suffered a difficult time (politically and economically, both related), which was reflected in a generalized shortage of basic medicines. Which led to many people becoming chronically ill, and many more to death. That is why, a few years ago (about five) I tried to create an application (search engine type) so that people could donate medicines that are soon to expire by placing them in a database managed by that application, and that other people who needed that drug could access it at no cost. While it is true that it was a risky move, it sought to alleviate the health situation of thousands of Venezuelans. My idea was denied by the Venezuelan pharmacy association and I had to scrap it. That idea earned me an interview with an MIT scout and a half-scholarship for Engineering studies. I did not take it because I did not have the necessary resources to travel to the United States.
dt: Where do you see decentralized marketplaces in ten years time? Where would you like to see them?
– I see them well positioned, but not enough. Disinformation continues to reign, despite the speed with which information travels over the internet. There are many people (not to say the majority) who do not appreciate (or do not understand) decentralized projects and all the advantages they have over centralized ones (including fiat money). I think it is a matter of education to bring decentralization to its maximum exponent.
dt: What’s your go-to form of entertainment or pastime? What do you do for fun?
– Developing ideas, playing online games, reading, hanging out with my friends and sharing with my family.
dt: You have the power to solve one world problem forever. Which one would you choose?
– Unemployment and slavery.
dt: What would be the one thing you would say to your 18 year old self, if you had the chance?
– “The future's so bright you gotta wear shades” as Timbuk 3 song 😁
dt: Whilst we have you on the line, so to speak, maybe you would like to share the 'what's next' for you and Martkist?
– I will continue with the same level of commitment that I have had with my projects, and, referring to Martkist, we are approaching the zenith of our project: the decentralized market for goods and services that will position us at the level we seek: with stability and massive acceptance.
Thank you for your time, Para, we wish you every success!