The Optimist Twitter Spaces with Nick Drakon - Revelo Intel

The Optimist Twitter Spaces with Nick Drakon

In The Optimist’s Twitter Spaces which took place on May 2, 2024, Subli hosted Nick Drakon to discuss Nick’s journey, insights, vision for the future of finance, venture investing, and more! Read our notes below to learn more.


Subli (Host) – Founder of The Optimist

Nick Drakon (Guest) – CEO & Founder of Revelo Intel and Revelo Ventures 

Nick’s Journey: From Poker Pro to Crypto Trader

  • Nick says that he dropped out of law school over 20 years ago to play poker professionally, a move that equipped him with valuable skills such as understanding expected value, bankroll management, and self-awareness. These skills later proved useful in trading.
  • Nick discusses his transition from poker to managing his own money in equities and commodities starting in 2009. He admits that he didn’t understand crypto initially, recalling how he received Bitcoin to settle a poker debt and forgot about it until its value spiked in 2017.
  • Nick says that he seriously started investing in crypto around mid-2019 after discussing its potential with hedge fund friends who viewed Bitcoin as a hedge against potential global currency collapses. This interest was further driven by his experiences with high equities valuations and low-interest rates.
  • He recounts how he anticipated the COVID-19 pandemic’s financial impacts while vacationing in Italy in early 2020, where he possibly contracted the virus. This firsthand experience led him to hedge his portfolio early.
  • Nick details the aggressive market moves during the March 2020 financial crash, where he bought significant amounts of Bitcoin. He describes the excitement of the DeFi summer of 2020 as a key period when he immersed himself in crypto, transitioning from equities due to the higher volatility and opportunities presented by the crypto market.
  • Nick highlights the regulatory environments and information asymmetries between traditional financial markets and the crypto world, highlighting the latter’s comparative lack of sophistication and regulation as factors that significantly influenced his move to focus on crypto trading.

Evolution of Trading: Insights from Nick on Crypto Markets

  • Subli asks if Nick still considers the crypto market an easy play for sophisticated traders like him or if the game has changed.
  • Nick explains that the ease of making money in any market depends on establishing and maintaining an edge. He compares the early days of poker to recent years in crypto, noting that markets evolve, becoming more sophisticated and requiring different strategies.
  • Nick highlights that in the past, crypto was similar to poker in the early 2000s, where fewer people knew effective strategies. He highlights the need for continuous adaptation and finding new edges as markets mature.
  • Subli asks about Nick’s current edge, given his dual role as a trader and founder of a research media platform. Nick recalls a saying from his poker days that it’s a hard way to make an easy living, comparing it to the difficulty of consistent trading success. He highlights that despite the occasional success stories on crypto Twitter, most people do not succeed in trading.
  • Nick says that trading requires a specific set of characteristics, not necessarily intelligence or superhuman abilities, but attributes like discipline and resilience which many lack.
  • He suggests that for most people, it’s more feasible to start a business or work in a rapidly growing industry like crypto to achieve financial success, rather than trying to compete in trading with those who have inherent advantages.
  • Nick values self-awareness, advising against pursuing challenging careers like trading or professional sports without the necessary skills or early start, and praises those who recognize their own limitations.
  • Despite the challenges, Nick enjoys trading and being an entrepreneur. He discusses his dissatisfaction with the solitary and unfulfilling nature of trading and gambling for a living, which led him to start businesses in related fields.
  • Nick shares his venture into creating a research platform in the crypto industry, Revelo Intel, which launched in February 2023. The platform offers sophisticated, in-depth analysis and has various research products, catering to both retail and institutional clients.
  • He explains his motivation for starting Revelo Intel was to create a valuable resource for the crypto market, anticipating its growth into a major institutional asset class.

Revelo Intel: Navigating Crypto Investments & Ventures

  • Subli says that being an early member of Revelo Intel has been extremely beneficial, mentioning the importance of fundamentals, economics, and mathematics in understanding crypto protocols and governance tokens.
  • Subli appreciates the variety of content provided by Revelo Intel, particularly valuing the podcast notes and direct interactions with project teams on Discord, which offer deep insights into projects.
  • Nick acknowledges the effort of his team and outlines the philosophy behind Revelo Intel, stressing the objectivity and integrity of their research reports which external payments cannot influence.
  • Nick talks about Revelo Ventures, indicating an expansion in their operations to include early-stage investments, which allows members to participate in new deal flows.
  • Nick says Revelo Intel has just under 700 paying members and about 6500 free members who log in daily to read their research. He adds that they also have a free newsletter with about 16,000 subscribers.
  • Nick explains that the quality of research is consistent across free and paid content, with some reports delayed for free members and others exclusive to paid members, using this strategy as a key marketing tool to showcase their work and attract new members.
  • Subli asks about the long-term vision and operational details of Revelo Venture. Nick explains that he largely abstained from investing in 2022 and 2023 due to a bearish outlook on the crypto market, focusing instead on being net short. However, around September of 2023, he adopted a more bullish stance as the market began to stabilize and clean up, evidenced by regulatory progress and resolving major scandals like FTX.
  • Nick describes becoming more actively involved in early-stage venture deals due to the improved market outlook, explaining how Revelo Ventures, launched recently, is exclusive to Revelo Intel members. Nick says that Revelo Ventures has a simple structure with a minimum investment of $5K per deal per person, aiming for well-capitalized individuals. About 120 to 130 people currently participate in a venture deal.
  • He highlights that only deals where he also invests his own money are presented to the group, ensuring alignment with members’ interests, with an investment strategy that’s cautious of high valuations and potential fraud.
  • Nick says that while significant returns are possible in venture investing, they are unlikely, highlighting the importance of meeting teams and founders in person to vet potential investments and navigate the minefield of venture capital effectively.
  • He elaborates on the strategies for successful venture investing, including diversifying investments and being realistic about the high risk of losses, noting that the best deals are often inaccessible to individual investors without connections to powerful syndicates or collectives.

Insights into Venture Opportunities and Investments

  • Subli highlights that joining the venture investment through Revelo offers substantial opportunities, especially for those with medium to large portfolios.
  • Nick explains that non-members can join the venture syndicate by applying and messaging him on Twitter, which includes a one-year Revelo Intel subscription. He mentions selecting investors who value thorough research and describes the venture syndicate as a collaborative and insightful group.
  • Nick says that upcoming deals are sometimes brought by members, enhancing the group’s investment opportunities. He is optimistic about the venture syndicate’s future, predicting significant growth and access to larger deal allocations.
  • Subli inquires about Nick’s bullish outlooks in the tech sector, specifically asking about his top interests for the year in early-stage investments. Nick prefers investing in infrastructure projects that have operational leverage and are agnostic to market winners or losers. He is interested in real-world applicable projects like Tesla’s robotaxis and Web3 technology that utilizes excess capacity.
  • Nick is keen on investing in projects that address identity solutions, anticipating significant value in compliant, user-empowered online identity management. He hints at a potential large-scale infrastructure project nearing investment.
  • Nick discusses his interest in interoperability between thousands of chains, highlighting a technology layer that facilitates seamless value transfers. He speculates on the growth of the crypto asset class and its implications for platforms like Ethereum and Chainlink.
  • Nick also talks about the potential of the Bitcoin Layer-2 space, considering it a promising area for investment given the substantial amount of Bitcoin looking for yield, and mentions existing venture backing in this space.
  • Nick says that Chainlink CCIP is ideal since it is indifferent to which blockchain succeeds; its focus is on increasing value transactions on blockchains. He says that while he isn’t promoting the purchase of the $LINK token, he sees Chainlink as a significant player in the blockchain infrastructure space.
  • Nick invites listeners to explore Revelo Intel’s website and follow their social media for free resources on understanding protocols and obtaining industry-wide intelligence. He encourages interested parties in ventures to contact him directly.

Check out these important links

Show Information

  • Medium: Twitter (Audio)
  • Show: The Optimist Twitter Space
  • Show Title: Nick Trader & Founder of Revelo Intel
  • Show Date: May 2, 2024