At work, he makes an exception in secrecy. On calls with clients, he often uses his real first name to introduce himself, worried that traditional business executives might feel uncomfortable working with a person known as Legend.
Over the past year, venture capital firm Paradigm has also hired engineers and researchers who work anonymously; They appear under the nickname on the company’s staff page. The most recent hire was a crypto engineer who goes through transmission 11 and goes to high school “in his spare time” according to his company’s bio. (Jim Prosser, hosting a paradigm, said employees’ bosses knew his identity.)
In interviews, anonymous crypto entrepreneurs and engineers presented various reasons for hiding their names. Some feared regulatory crackdowns could put them at risk of law enforcement. Others said they disliked attention or worried that their growing wealth could make them a target for thieves and hackers.
Anonymous entrepreneurs often take extreme measures to keep their identities private, use voice-switching software on call, or require business partners to sign non-disclosure agreements.
Some venture companies are willing to invest in it anyway. Last year, 0xMaki, a developer who helped run the leading crypto project SushiSwap, raised $ 60 million from a group of venture investors, including Ms. Wu, without revealing his real name. (The deal was struck after Sushiswap – the so-called decentralized autonomous body, or DAO, in which individual investors have significant influence – raised concerns about funding.)
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Last summer, the anonymous founder of Alchemix, another major crypto project, raised $ 4.9 million from a group of venture companies led by CMS Holdings. CMS founder Dan Matuzweski said he had never asked the project leader, who uses the nickname Scoopy Troops, to reveal his identity.
“Many of these people have a reputation for years,” Mr. Matuzewski said. “It doesn’t make much sense for them to run away with the funds and run away.”