The genesis of a finpunk

The origins of finpunk and what to expect from this blog. Rob Viglione is a crypto founder, blockchain executive, and PhD in Finance.

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Rob Viglione in the Horizen Labs, Inc. office in Milan, Italy. June 2021.

Twelve years ago an anonymous entity called Satoshi Nakamoto published the Bitcoin white paper and released code and a genesis block into the wild. And thus was born Bitcoin.

This will undoubtedly be marked as a monumental event for humanity, and it certainly changed my life. The original white paper declared Bitcoin a "peer-to-peer electronic cash system," but blockchain, cryptocurrencies, world computers, smart contracts, decentralized exchanges (DEX), automated market makers (AMM), non-fungible tokens (NFT), and the countless other protocols and ecosystems exploding around this technology imply regime change in society writ large.

Today I run a software company, Horizen Labs, whose vision is to "provide certainty for the world's information." Translation: We create blockchains, cryptographic circuits that secure them, and applications that make them useful. We're building on the Horizen blockchain, an open source software project I helped co-found in 2017 when forking GitHub repos was the cool thing to do. And no, we had no clue what we were doing back then, but sometimes grit and ignorance work out.

I recently completed a PhD in Finance with my dissertation work in "cryptofinance," and I've had the pleasure of structuring and teaching two honors courses on "Bitcoin and blockchain applications in Finance" at the University of South Carolina. Satoshi quite literally changed my life.

Before that everything feels like a blur, ranging from being a U.S. Air Force officer working in Space Command as a physicist, software project manager, and later as a "mercenary mathematician" (aka data scientist) for a variety of intelligence units in Afghanistan. Not too shabby on the fun and interesting scale, but it seems a lifetime ago.

This blog will cover a bunch of things and I have no doubt will evolve over time. One big theme will obviously be the unfolding crypto revolution that has the potential to change the world, if only we don't screw it up. And yet this isn't a crypto blog, I just happen to live in that world right now.

I used to be much more opinionated about everything, and then I got a PhD. This was the adult equivalent of eating humble pie, and it taught me to stop taking myself so seriously. I learned that the things I used to be so confident about actually have many sides and much nuance. Thank goodness the world is more complex!

I'm still a relatively new CEO and have a ton to learn.  A lot of the content on here will be about leadership, strategy, professional growth as I learn myself, building an organization, and frankly building a new industry from scratch. Readers will share this journey with me and maybe we'll make an impact on the world together.


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