Gajesh Naik, 13, manages a fortune in DeFi – Cointelegraph Magazine
test in production” philosophy where projects are created in an experimental fashion and investors take risks at their own peril. In this sense, Naik fits right into the crowd, and had he chosen to create his platform anonymously, it would have blended in with the rest.There is, however, a reason why so many DeFi projects are created anonymously — namely legal, reputational and safety risks — and Naik has now tied his reputation to a public, indelible crypto asset named after him. While this is of course a wonderful achievement, it would make me feel uneasy if I were his parent.Though Naik explains that he is under agreement not to disclose which tokens he created as part of his consulting work or how much he was paid, it is safe to assume that these contracts take the form of gentlemen’s agreements. This is because due to his age, Naik likely lacks legal capacity to sign enforceable contracts — and can therefore hold no liability.This lack of ability to sign contracts, according to Covalent’s Gandhi, means that he is unable to receive direct investments from “some of the big names in the industry” who are “waiting for him to turn 18 so that they can transfer him money.” I can’t debate & investigate 13 year olds, guys. I’m honestly not sure what to do here. I might have to just abstain from the “minor with an admin key” situations and let y’all figure them out for yourselves. pic.twitter.com/x2ZeKe8iDu— Chris Blec (@ChrisBlec) May 21, 2021 Make way for the ambassadorWe’re speaking today in part so that Naik can promote his work as an ambassador for Covalent, an indexing and query layer for decentralized systems with the ability to pull information from a number of blockchains.CEO Ganesh Swami, who also joined us on the call, describes the ambassador program as “a growth and leadership program,” whose 2,000 and growing participants are selected after an interview process. Once accepted, “ambassadors” set goals — often to expand their own learning related to things such as data and dashboards, which are Covelant’s bread and butter.It is not entirely clear what Naik’s ambassador goals entail, but it is fair to surmise that he is getting something in return for the indisputably brave act of doing this interview — clearly, bringing on a 13-year-old brings media attention.Generation ZAccording to Naik, one of the major problems in the blockchain space today is high gas costs. This is why his projects are built on top of the Polygon framework, a factor that allows him to deploy a token for as little as $0.01 as opposed to potentially hundreds of dollars on Ethereum’s layer one. He advocates the same in his YouTube tutorials — evidence that the rising generation of blockchain enthusiasts will look beyond Ethereum’s layer one to build the future.In my book Blockland, I have argued that Bitcoin is a joint-venture between Millennials and Generation X, with Generation Z’s oldest representatives still in high school during Bitcoin’s early years and largely unable to take part. Much younger and “hip,” Ethereum then formed as a Gen-Z stronghold in the industry, spearheaded by Zoomer-like Vitalik Buterin.Seeing Naik, who is actually among the younger Gen-Zs — potentially even an early messenger of Generation Alpha — choose to build on Polygon, which is a layer-two solution for Ethereum, is fascinating. With high gas fees, the Ethereum ecosystem may need to increasingly rely on layer-two solutions as layer one proves unwieldy for today’s young crypto-geeks to experiment with. Many of us will recall amazed parents who looked upon us, their children, in the early days of the internet and made remarks about how the new generation’s world was so much bigger, being able to communicate with friends across the world and the like.When we consider the reality that a 13-year-old can create and make public a decentralized finance solution and sell NFTs to a global audience, the capabilities of young people only 10 years ago seem old-timey and quaint in comparison.The teenagers who, in ages past, may have sold mixtapes or pirated movies from their locker can now amass large investment portfolios on a blockchain — anonymously — and no one has the power to stop them. The future is theirs.Five years from now, Naik sees himself preparing to enter college for computer science. If things continue as they are, however, it is more likely that he will find himself being the teacher among his peers.