Henry's voyage into the world of cryptocurrencies began as early as 2013. Like many crypto enthusiasts, he started by mining Bitcoin on his laptop, even while managing a growing digital marketing company. The allure of Ethereum drew him back to the crypto space in 2017. He became fascinated with decentralized applications (DApps), particularly with an addictive game named Crypto Dozer, which allowed players to win dolls and, potentially, Ethereum.
The transformative power of Near Protocol piqued his interest after reading a Google news article, and he quickly became involved with the project, convinced that this was the blockchain project he had been searching for.
Rather than aiming for a corporate role within Near or Foundation, Henry found his passion in building the Near Protocol community from the ground up. The strength and unity of the Ethereum community inspired him to foster the same spirit within the Near community. For the past two years, his primary focus has been on collaborating with validators on the Near blockchain.
He became a validator himself after participating in Stake Wars before Near's MainNet launch. With the Open Shard Alliance, he trained new validators, successfully onboarded the last 40 validators to the mainnet, and even helped establish their network, GuildNet, which ran for two years. His desire to serve the community led him to respond to the call to form the Near Decentralized Council (NDC).
One of the main challenges facing the NDC is cultivating belief within the community. This grassroots movement aims to engage and activate the community to build web three governance on Near. While fostering engagement and finding ways to contribute to governance delivery has been a challenge, Henry remains optimistic.
New community members are joining the NDC hub every day, and the movement is growing, with people from other ecosystems also showing interest.
Like many in the crypto space, Henry has had his share of ups and downs. During Ethereum's first DeFi boom, he experienced numerous rug pulls—a fraudulent practice where developers abandon a project and run away with investors' funds. This harsh reality of the DeFi space taught him to distinguish between projects looking to deliver value and those only interested in making a quick buck.
In comparison, Henry observes that Near Protocol hasn't experienced such rug pulls, further consolidating his faith in the platform.