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Gajesh Naik, 13, manages a fortune in DeFi – Cointelegraph Magazine



At 13, it’s laborious to imagine that anybody can perceive the potential — and accountability and hazard — of holding non-public keys to half a million {dollars} whereas dwelling life as a regular seventh-grader in India.

What makes the case of Gajesh Naik, the 13-year-old decentralized finance (DeFi) wunderkind from Goa, so distinctive is that whereas he can design a DeFi protocol in a position to settle for $1 million of traders’ cash, he’s too younger to signal a authorized contract or be held chargeable for any loss. Would you belief your cash to an unproven teenage developer with simply half a yr’s programming expertise on solidity?

Time flies

Naik began out with a YouTube channel, educating individuals to code, earlier than switching to sensible contract consulting. Right now, his DeFi protocol, PolyGaj, manages practically $1 million.

Given his age, it’s fascinating to see how he views time, and as an alternative of years or quarters, Naik speaks in months, “I was freelancing for three months, and launched two projects.”

Whereas many would think about a three-month block of blockchain consulting expertise as little greater than an internship, Naik describes it in a means that makes it sound extra like a profession part, as if it could be extra acceptable for the assertion of three to consult with years as an alternative of months.


Gajesh Naik, the 13-year-old DeFi wunderkind in an early YouTube video.

That is to be anticipated, seeing as a youthful individual will naturally understand time as taking place extra slowly — a yr may be the equal of as much as 20% of a 10-year-old’s “conscious” life, the equal of six years for somebody aged 30, or a decade for a 50-year-old. What’s extra, the pace at which info is processed slows down with age, which means that the flexibility for youthful individuals to soak up and make the most of new info is way greater. As such, Naik could also be right to see his three months of consulting as a basis of his profession.

With what we’ll name “plenty” of trade expertise, comparatively talking, Naik graduated to launching his personal undertaking, PolyGaj, which is predicated on a comparable platform on the Binance Good Chain referred to as Goose Finance. The eponymous elephant-themed DeFi platform permits customers to commerce and farm tokens, particularly PolyGaj (GAJ) and StableGaj (SGAJ). There’s additionally the potential to put cash in swimming pools promising as a lot as 34% APR on Wrapped Bitcoin (wBTC) and 62% APR on Tether (USDT).


StableGaj isn’t Stablecoin

— gajesh.eth🌋 (@robogajesh) June 26, 2021


Additionally value mentioning are Naik’s “Elephant Punk” nonfungible tokens (NFT), that are on sale for about $25. As of the time of writing, the platform has about $900,000 of investor cash locked throughout its farms and swimming pools, and Naik’s handle, which “owns” the platform, holds about $500,000 value of GajCoin, making Naik extraordinarily rich in each relative and absolute phrases.

From scholar to instructor

Naik received into coding in early 2016 — on the age of seven — beginning with Drag and Drop when he attended a two-week coding bootcamp in his native Goa on the west coast of India. In early 2017, he dove into Scratch, a programming language designed for teenagers, extra deeply earlier than spending the second half of the yr studying C and C++. The massive yr was 2018 when he “learned Java, HTML, CSS and JavaScript,” began a YouTube channel to show coding to others, and commenced attending coding meet-ups in his space.





Naik’s ardour will not be completely random, given his father, Siddhivinayak, holds a pc science diploma and works in the Indian civil service. He would absolutely not be the primary computer-loving father to help their baby in turning into a crypto-genius. Pratik Gandhi, head of promoting at Covalent, who helped arrange the interview, mentions that he shares an Indian background and might touch upon Naik’s household scenario. He’s fast so as to add that Naik’s ardour comes from inside himself, and this isn’t a case of fogeys having their “kids learn certain things to show off,” which he describes as a widespread phenomenon in India.

One actually can’t drive ardour or a love of studying — each of which Naik has in bounds. He has even impressed different relations to begin making movies, together with his mom, Pranita, beginning a cooking channel.

Naik’s first video from 2018, How one can make a Easy Telegram Chatbot utilizing Dialogflow, is nicely carried out by any measure. It’s adopted by a listing, together with Nice Unsung Heroes of Science set to musical accompaniment and in addition a quick clip referred to as Espresso and Code October 2018, which reveals a clearly excited, smiling 10-year-old boy, Naik, at a coding meetup. He’s there with about 20 others — all far older and missing that sure plain spark of pleasure and marvel, because the presenter explains one thing about server hundreds.


Elephant Punk NFT


His scope elevated to classes in issues like creating 3D geometry in Python and scraping Wikipedia, and even one referred to as How one can Analyse and Visualize COVID-19 Knowledge utilizing Python. Maybe what stands out most, nonetheless, is Naik’s lesson on How one can discover compound curiosity utilizing python, which he launched on Sept. 3, 2020 — the identical month he “joined a webinar on the basics of Bitcoin and blockchain.”

“I started digging deep into blockchain — Bitcoin and Ethereum — then I got to know about Solidity, and then I learned it in two or three months.”

To know the burden of this assertion, one should think about the worth of Solidity. In accordance with one trade job board, “the average base salary for a Solidity developer in Asia is $125,000 per year, with a low base salary of $100,000 and a high base salary of $150,000.” An evaluation of Payscale reveals that the common software program developer in India earns $6,700 yearly, which means that at 13, Naik has already outfitted himself with a skill-set value 10–20 instances the wage of a seasoned developer, or 50–70 instances the nation’s per-capita gross home product ($2,100).

Naturally, Naik continued sharing his studying on YouTube, introducing Bitcoin to his viewers in a 12-minute October video incorporating illustrative pictures of piggy banks, gold bars and circuit boards. From there, he pivoted the channel’s content material to give attention to blockchain — including explainer movies about, Chainlink, Tether and others in November and December.

Issues took a flip a few weeks later, in February 2021, when Naik expanded from mere introductory movies to instructionals on How one can deploy Good Contract on Binance Good Chain (BSC) and How one can Write and Deploy BEP-20 Token on Binance Good Chain. That’s when, originally of a video about creating an ERC-20 token, Naik made an announcement to his 10,500 subscribers:

“I’ve started freelancing! If you would like to create a DApp, smart contract, token or code an NFT, just email me.”





Minor challenges

With practically 20,000 followers, Naik is a rising star on Crypto Twitter, which he describes as “good and bad — some people target me and some people make threats,” including that some individuals say issues like “you should go study,” or that he’s mendacity about his age.

One could also be proper to have some issues. The PolyGaj platform, full with its elephant NFTs and wordplay, can actually be seen as a baby’s experimentation and play. That doesn’t make it much less official, a minimum of in comparison with another cloned DeFi platform on BSC run by nameless creators, however one is left to wonder if a baby is able to really understanding the character of their cash and the very actual energy it wields.



Crypto is leveling the worldwide taking part in discipline. The one connection you want is an web connection.

— (@balajis) Might 21, 2021


There’s additionally the query of security, seeing as everybody from associates and lecturers to native criminals find out about his wealth — and the truth that it’s accessible with a few strokes of a keyboard. When requested if he would share his non-public keys together with his dad and mom if advised to take action, Naik didn’t fairly appear to understand the query’s significance.

It is very important understand that as an trade, DeFi has embraced a laissez-faire “test in production” philosophy the place initiatives are created in an experimental trend and traders take dangers at their very own peril. On this sense, Naik suits proper into the gang, and had he chosen to create his platform anonymously, it could have blended in with the remaining.

There’s, nonetheless, a purpose why so many DeFi initiatives are created anonymously — particularly authorized, reputational and security dangers — and Naik has now tied his popularity to a public, indelible crypto asset named after him. Whereas that is in fact a fantastic achievement, it could make me really feel uneasy if I have been his mum or dad.

Although Naik explains that he’s beneath settlement to not disclose which tokens he created as a part of his consulting work or how a lot he was paid, it’s secure to imagine that these contracts take the type of gents’s agreements. It’s because on account of his age, Naik seemingly lacks authorized capability to signal enforceable contracts — and might due to this fact maintain no legal responsibility.

This lack of potential to signal contracts, in accordance with Covalent’s Gandhi, means that he’s unable to obtain direct investments from “some of the big names in the industry” who’re “waiting for him to turn 18 so that they can transfer him money.”


I can’t debate & examine 13 yr olds, guys. I’m actually undecided what to do right here. I might need to simply abstain from the “minor with an admin key” conditions and let y’all determine them out for yourselves.

— Chris Blec (@ChrisBlec) Might 21, 2021


Make means for the ambassador

We’re talking at present in half in order that Naik can promote his work as an envoy for Covalent, an indexing and question layer for decentralized programs with the flexibility to tug info from a variety of blockchains.

CEO Ganesh Swami, who additionally joined us on the decision, describes the ambassador program as “a growth and leadership program,” whose 2,000 and rising individuals are chosen after an interview course of. As soon as accepted, “ambassadors” set objectives — typically to broaden their very own studying associated to issues resembling information and dashboards, that are Covelant’s bread and butter.

It’s not completely clear what Naik’s ambassador objectives entail, however it’s honest to surmise that he’s getting one thing in return for the indisputably courageous act of doing this interview — clearly, bringing on a 13-year-old brings media consideration.

Era Z

In accordance with Naik, one of many main issues in the blockchain area at present is excessive fuel prices. For this reason his initiatives are constructed on high of the Polygon framework, a issue that permits him to deploy a token for as little as $0.01 versus probably tons of of {dollars} on Ethereum’s layer one. He advocates the identical in his YouTube tutorials — proof that the rising technology of blockchain fanatics will look past Ethereum’s layer one to construct the longer term.

In my e-book Blockland, I’ve argued that Bitcoin is a joint-venture between Millennials and Era X, with Era Z’s oldest representatives nonetheless in highschool throughout Bitcoin’s early years and largely unable to participate. A lot youthful and “hip,” Ethereum then shaped as a Gen-Z stronghold in the trade, spearheaded by Zoomer-like Vitalik Buterin.

Seeing Naik, who is definitely among the many youthful Gen-Zs — probably even an early messenger of Era Alpha — select to construct on Polygon, which is a layer-two resolution for Ethereum, is fascinating. With excessive fuel charges, the Ethereum ecosystem could have to more and more depend on layer-two options as layer one proves unwieldy for at present’s younger crypto-geeks to experiment with.





Many people will recall amazed dad and mom who regarded upon us, their kids, in the early days of the web and made remarks about how the brand new technology’s world was a lot greater, with the ability to talk with associates the world over and the like.

After we think about the truth that a 13-year-old can create and make public a decentralized finance resolution and promote NFTs to a international viewers, the capabilities of younger individuals solely 10 years in the past appear old-timey and quaint in comparability.

The youngsters who, in ages previous, could have bought mixtapes or pirated motion pictures from their locker can now amass giant funding portfolios on a blockchain — anonymously — and nobody has the facility to cease them. The longer term is theirs.

5 years from now, Naik sees himself getting ready to enter school for pc science. If issues proceed as they’re, nonetheless, it’s extra seemingly that he’ll discover himself being the instructor amongst his friends.

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