About Me

Hi, I'm Daniel. Some call me Sangyoon. I was born in the U.S., but spent most of my life in South Korea πŸ‡°πŸ‡· and Singapore πŸ‡ΈπŸ‡¬, before returning stateside for college and work.

My career spans Wall Street, early-stage venture investing, and two startups as a software engineer.

As a venture capitalist, I've found and backed billion-dollar businesses at the earliest stages. As a bootstrapped founder, I've achieved a 7-figure outcome, and raised venture funding for another.

On my Substack ✍🏼, I write about two of my career interests - fundamental investing and decentralized technologies β‚Ώ. In the former, I discuss everything from undervalued small-caps to unique insights on value investing. In the latter, I write about fundamentally valuing crypto-assets, and other rare perspectives on the industry. Occasionally interspersed are tidbits of my personal life.

When I'm not going down rabbit-holes and writing, you can find me playing tennis 🎾, golf or poker with friends. When I'm alone, I love playing Chopin or movie soundtracks on the piano 🎹, though I need to start learning some new pieces again. I enjoy trying new types of coffee β˜• (I was once a Starbucks barista in my teens), and aim to be half-vegetarian, since I'm not brave enough to go full-on just yet.

That's a little bit about me. But if you'd like to learn more about how I got here in the first place, come join me below.

Ever since taking a summer camp course in middle school called "Who is Dow Jones?", I fell in love with the art of investing. I particularly enjoy that it rewards independent, even contrarian, thinking and an even temperament. I chose to attend NYU Stern for their well-renowned undergraduate finance program, but deferred by a year to take a value investing course and pore through books like "The Intelligent Investor" at the local library.

During college, I took advantage of being in NYC to intern at three different hedge funds, grateful that such institutions would even take a student like me who knew nothing. After graduating, I started as an investment banking analyst. In some ways, I was living the life - early 20s in the heart of New York, exploring hobbies together with my two housemates - hip hop dancing (where I'm sure the instructor gave up on us), boxing, or hosting friends at our den that had become a makeshift poker room.

We also found ourselves chained to our desks on many weekends. While banking was touted to be a good stepping stone to greater things, I didn't see how it was making me a better investor, particularly a long-term investor hoping to build real businesses. It was in the midst of this environment, wondering what more there was to life, that I discovered cryptocurrencies.

Long story short, I started arbitraging inefficient crypto markets. This was 2017 when the market was rife with inefficiencies.

At the time, crypto was booming. Booming so much that there was a 30-50% spread between Korean and American crypto prices. The opportunity was so blatant that everybody was talking about it, yet nobody thought to actually trade it. Why? I don't know. I asked a lot of people, and they didn't think it was possible because of this regulation or that blocker.

With a little investigation, I sorted out the legal and trade mechanics and was making $15,000 every single day, with just a few clicks. This was possible because I identified the opportunities, stayed abreast of developments, moved fast, managed risk, and pulled all-nighters to do the grunt work from talking to lawyers to setting up trades β€” all while working a 70-80 hour / week job…

After this interesting incident, a few friends and I decided to arbitrage the price differentials among exchanges... The trading was run from our tiny NYC bedroom, with rotating sleeping schedules to keep an eye on the markets 24/7. At one point, our portfolios were worth a couple million dollars. It was unbelievable for 23-year-olds whose bank accounts had never seen anything remotely like it. Needless to say, it was an exciting time. - Medium: How I Made $15,000 / Day as a Fresh College Grad
This and other early investments made me a millionaire by my mid 20s. I felt empowered - that I too could pave a path in this world following my own beliefs, and that it was ok to be different.

But I quickly felt empty.

The best in the space were engaged in a movement, not just profiting off market inefficiencies. I packed up, said goodbye to friends in New York City, my home of five years, and left my old life behind.

I would move to the Bay Area in 2018, at age 24, to write a book and make a Wikipedia for crypto. Hundreds of projects with technical jargon were popping up every day, where even someone full-time like myself would get lost in it all. I wanted to help people cut through the noise and understand why this technology mattered. To me, crypto is an equalizing force - an open industry where people are judged on merit, creativity and contribution rather than status, and a technology that enables people to more equitably share in the wealth that innovation creates. Imagine every time you rode an Uber, you earned equity in the company. That's a small example of what crypto rails make possible. On Ethereum, you can access loans from a decentralized protocol with just an internet connection, not gated by income, ethnicity, or social status. With DePIN systems like Helium, I am both a consumer and owner in the mobile network I use.

While building the wiki, it dawned on me that helping more projects in the ecosystem would help scale my impact faster. By good fortune, mutual connections put me in touch with venture capitalist Tim Draper and I joined him in investing in early-stage projects. I had respected him for being one of the first prominent figures to lend credibility to the space as far back as 2014, and wanted to learn everything I could from him.

I invested early in projects like Arkham, which increased the transparency of murky on-chain transactions, and the investment would grow 100x within a couple years of investing. Or Polymarket, which I saw go from an experimental project to transacting hundreds of millions of dollars in predictions every day from people around the world. I supported them because they were both founded by college dropouts that reminded me of my wiki-building days. We all strived to build tools that educated and gave greater opportunity to anyone with an internet connection.

Others, like MakerDAO, would enable more people to access loans or lending opportunities through its decentralized protocol. And of course, there were more established companies like Coinbase and Ledger, whom I had the privilege to support and watch as they become indispensable companies for the ecosystem, the former which would IPO at a $100 billion valuation.

Interestingly over time, I felt simultaneously more involved and more on the sidelines. I missed being a player on the field.

Near the end of my time there, Tim asked me if I wanted to raise a crypto-only fund together that I could manage. By then, the industry had become mainstream and big-name funds were reaching out, offering high six figure salaries to run crypto investments for them as a partner. It felt full-circle from the days when people viewed me as an outsider, and when I myself had no idea if any of this would work out.

But it felt too early to settle down. I wanted to be in the arena again.

To wrap up my years of self-taught programming, I did a coding bootcamp (a very intense three months of 14-hour days, 6-7 days a week of coding), after which some old friends convinced me to co-found a startup with them. One had sold his last startup to Bitgo, and was itching to do something new. I'd happily raise the funding, but on one condition - that I would work as a full-time software engineer.

Their condition, in turn, was that I raise the first round of financing only from angels and smaller funds (to reserve an institutional round for later) while only diluting ~10% of our equity. That was quite a bar, as most of my connections were at institutional funds, and I'd have to collect many small checks at a very high valuation. With some luck, I was able to round up about $3.7M in a month right before the market crashed in 2022, from entrepreneurs I respected like the founders of Youtube, Twitch, Rotten Tomatoes, Kabam, Y-Combinator OrangeDAO and others.

We initially built a marketplace connecting crypto gaming guilds and players that quickly amassed tens of thousands of players and the top guilds like YGG and Ancient8. Crypto gaming created a new opportunity for people, especially in third world countries, to earn a living, capitalizing on crypto's ability to "earn" equity in a project as a gamer. But when the market turned drastically, the economics of this experiment failed, and the guilds, some of which had raised tens to hundreds of millions of dollars, went out of business, along with the players.

We struggled for months, debating a new direction. Then I thought back to my experience losing bitcoin to institutions that crashed in 2022. It was a lesson in how the first cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, was intended to be stored: self-custodied, seizure-proof and censorship-resistant. I also saw that the Safe multisig protocol, an open-source smart contract for self-securing crypto assets, was growing rapidly. That was how our multi-signature crypto wallet was born.

We built a prototype and won 1st place from over 100 projects in a one-month hackathon hosted by Safe, Coinbase and Stripe. Some companies were interested in acquiring the technology and having us build in-house.

We reached a point where we had to decide on serving just retail or enterprise users, and ultimately, my co-founders chose the former. I was proud of all we had built, but that was not the direction I saw myself building for the next many years. After ruminating, I asked to take a step back and support them as an advisor. This would free up equity to hire others more passionate about retail wallets, and I could explore my next aspirations. Lately, the team has been growing users fast, and I'm excited to see where they take it. See my Code section for more on Nest.

I've learned so much from founding a company. Going through the ups and downs has made me a much more empathetic partner to founders I advise or work with today. I know what it's like to grind day in and out managing codebase, partnerships, investors, user interviews and finding product market fit. I would do it all over again.

The curtains are closing on my 20s, and I'm looking forward to what my 30s will bring. I hope to have more adventurous stories for you then. Until next time.

- Daniel Sangyoon Kim

Good old days learning from Tim. He wore a Bitcoin tie every day - a true believer.


Nest Wallet

A multi-signature crypto wallet that can be secured through multiple devices (mobile, browser extension, ledger). 1st place from over 100 projects in the 1-month long Safe hackathon cohosted by Coinbase and Stripe.

Features: The multisig wallet could connect to any dapp, similar to Metamask, through the Nest browser extension. It was built on top of the Safe protocol, which custodies over $100 billion in assets, and incorporated best-in-class UX with in-app security checks, swap and other transaction capabilities. You can also launch both individual and multisig wallets on dozens of EVM chains with a few clicks from the mobile app.


Task: A cryptocurrency price tracker built for my 2-day MVP project in Hack Reactor. Built using Coingecko's API.

Build: React, PostgreSQL, Node.js, Express.

Note that "Comments" section does not work because github-pages (how this is deployed) does not allow hosting of database.

Backend System Design

Task: Built a backend API that could scale to web server level. Achieved 3000 requests / second and sub 50ms latency.

Learnings: Using secondary indexes to optimize table lookup speeds from O(N) to O(logN), horizontally scaling servers with a load balancer and using a ELT process to load millions of lines of csv data into my table schema. Limitations were having to use free-tier t2 micro instances on AWS.

The trickiest part was deploying, since there are so many finnicky parts in dev ops.

Build: NGINX, AWS EC2, PostgreSQL, loader.io (deployed testing) and k6 (local testing).

Project ECOM (Front-end)

Task: Ecommerce website built following detailed client specs. Built with three other engineers in agile sprint environment. I made the "related products" section.

Learnings: Using promise.all to make concurrent API calls, using local storage for storing user styles, and more CSS!

Build: React, Express, Node.js, Amazon EC2.

Battleship game

The classic Battleship game. Made with python.

Monty Hall Brain Teaser

Wrote the Monty Hall problem in python. Simulated it 10,000x to show that what seems like a 50/50 decision is actually 2/3 in favor of switching doors.

NASA Instagram

Display the daily NASA post from their API in Instagram format. Updates every day to new post automatically. Made with React.

TripSplit App

Made front-end site for project. Made with HTML, CSS and media queries to be fully responsive on desktop, tablet, and mobile.



From 01/2023, I will no longer post here & Medium, and instead post on Substack. Subscribe at dksangyoon.substack.com for rare investment insights directly to your inbox!


Arbitraging Mt. Gox Bitcoin Claims

Assessing a special situations opportunity in crypto.


How To Intelligently Invest in Crypto as a Retail Investor (from a VC)

I go over two big wins and try to illuminate the process behind finding winners early.


Reflection On My 2020 Investments - Bitcoin, Baidu, Cross-Harbour Holdings, and Cinemark

This is a recap of my largest concentrated positions in my personal portfolio, and how they have performed.


Fundamentally Valuing Uniswap

Valuing the top decentralized exchange.


Fundamentally Valuing Maker DAO

Valuing the iconic stablecoin.


A Stock Trading Below Net Cash Balance β€” Cross-Harbour Holdings (0032: HK)

Extremely undervalued sum-of-the-parts play with a large margin of safety, trading below net cash & investments.


Valuing the Next Billion Dollar Search Engine - DuckDuckGo

How DuckDuckGo has room to grow into a $1B+ valuation despite Google.


Fundamentally Valuing Bitcoin at $75,000 / BTC

A framework to value BTC for the fundamental investor.




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Name Description Price
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Name Description Price
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