Lindsey Maule At Luna Capital: Looking At The Moon, Down To Earth As A Blockchain Builder
For Lindsey Maule, like many crypto enthusiasts, Bitcoin came before the blockchain. You could say she came for the small community and big profits, and stayed for the complex evolving technology and ever-expanding ecosystem. Lindsey turned her hobby into a career on her journey from being a student that skipped lunch to fund her Poloniex account to now running her own crypto hedge fund. Much like Bitcoin itself, Lindsey’s story is one of patience, persistence, and staying true to yourself in an ecosystem often distracted by hype and FUD (Fear of Uncertainty and Doubt).
Bitcoin Unlocks a Community
Bitcoin succeeded in planting a seed of blockchain in Lindsey’s mind in college, which provided a perfect time to be receptive to new things.
“I believe life is about being at the right place at the right time,” she remarks about her fresh memory of buying her first Bitcoin.
Lindsey majored in Economics and Statistics in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and spent most of her time with friends in college who graduated from the elite high school in North Carolina focused on Science and Math. Those friends, with cutting-edge thinking, had been making Bitcoin transactions since high school and brought her a brand new topic in conversations.
Then in 2013 Lindsey unlocked her new world of trading after being influenced by what she had been seeing and hearing about bitcoin.
“I acquired a strong math background and loved trading and investing. Investing in cryptocurrencies opened a new door of fascination for me.”
Lindsey told CoinTime about the journey from trading oil and commodities to trading cryptocurrencies. She started by registering a Poloniex account.
“It was new and exhilarating, and I became obsessed.”
Lindsey would stay awake until 7 am reading Reddit threads and talking to people in the Poloniex TrollBox. Even during class, Lindsey would learn as much as she could find online about cryptocurrency. From then on, she was no longer just an outsider listening to other stories about cryptocurrency, and began to feel like a part of a cool online community of friends.
What does this cool community feel like? Religious.
“The community around Bitcoin felt like a new religion was forming, and the whitepaper was the bible that gave people hope for a more transparent, decentralized world that gives power back to the people. Anyone who has built anything in this space has read the Bitcoin whitepaper and builds because they want to see a part of that vision, and sometimes more, delivered.”
Creative thinkers and builders compose this community, and being a believer in Bitcoin has become an evangelical and global movement. She believes that Bitcoin will always be around and have its own unique purpose.
Lindsey Maule with the Partners of the crypto arm at Signature Bank, one of the largest banks that support digital currency, located in NYC
Learn from Trading
One of Lindsey’s first trades on Poloniex made over a 1500% return in less than six months. Huge increases like this always makes every trader who profited from it think it won’t be so far away from the moon.
However, today TrollBox no longer exists. Regulators are beginning to enforce KYC/AML, the crypto market has returned to rationality, and Lindsey reflects on the fascinating experience thus far.
“I find this story to be more so funny because although the returns are quite high, it’s also a bit ridiculous.” Compared with trading traditional assets such as oil, cryptos are more volatile with uncertainties; they are less calculated. At the same time, in a small market, cryptos gives people an impression of a borderless asset for everyone. People could spend a few days of making strategy in traditional markets, but the crypto market is more event-driven.
Lindsey Maule talking about Bitcoin in December 2017 on Fox News
She thinks that apart from winning money from this “game”, Bitcoin was more financial than technical in her mind at the very beginning. But she learned to understand an important lesson through this perspective:
“When I make a great trade, I want to move on and keep doing great. Alternatively, if I didn't do great, then I move on and try to create the next time. Sometimes it seems like a one hit wonder, but these wonders can happen again and again. I’ve always just learned more discipline over time. I think that's one of the biggest lessons of life overall.”
Bitcoin has brought many rollercoaster movements within the last 10 years, and Lindsey witnessed half of this journey. She thinks that today is not the time to only focus on money as though the industry could collapse. She believes that people who came in solely for the money either are forced to learn more or pull out. The sharp drops and runs distract builders from the true meaning of this space and takes away time and energy from their creativity.
Lindsey at Precursor Venture’s portfolio picnic at Dolores Park in San Francisco
Beyond Price, Start a Crypto Career
Just after college, Lindsey hesitated at a crossroads before Charles Hudson confirmed her faith in being a crypto builder. A casual conversation put Lindsey’s crypto trading experience in Hudson’s spotlight.
Charles invited her to be the Head of Cryptocurrency Research at Precursor Ventures and encouraged her to pursue her passion full-time.
This was in 2017 when there weren't many crypto researchers and firms in Silicon Valley. It seemed like such a crazy thing to work on a brand new field at a time when people thought bringing on a crypto researcher was bizarre.
Hudson bringing on a crypto-focused team member made Precursor one of the first firms to introduce crypto, alongside Andreessen Horowitz and Sequoia Capital, which provided Lindsey the opportunity to be a first mover in the crypto world.
“Despite all of market uncertainty, Charles decided to trust his intuition to bring me on, which I thought was really forward-thinking of him.”
Before long, Luna Capital came to fruition as Lindsey decided to start her own fund. Together with two current co-founders, Lindsey got the fund up and running with capital in a month or so. With that start, they ended up fundraising toward the end of 2017 and were backed by many angels and institutions across the globe, including Silicon Valley, NYC, and China.
“There was no doubt that we were capable of making this happen.” Lindsey teamed up with the founder of the the world's largest Bitcoin ATM and veteran crypto fund manager to build up the new fund.
“People just ended up backing us based on the strength of our team and our vision, and I thought that was quite incredible,” Lindsey said.
She only pitched less than 30 times for Luna before having around 30 investors – converting nearly all of their pitches.
Lindsey Maule advocating for DAG Technology at World Crypto Economic Forum
Move to Build the Future
People will commonly cheer “to the moon”, so Luna Capital’s name came from the Spanish word for “moon.”
Lindsey has been asked several times about the name of Luna Capital, though the name itself was a personal preference,
“I used to say ‘to the moon’ a lot in my early days when I commented in Bitcoin forums. It was initially a placeholder name, but we grew to love it as it echoed the crypto mantra ‘to the moon.’”
While she is hopeful for crypto and blockchain prosperity, she still has some concerns about this industry:
“My biggest concerns are that many people aren’t actually building, and unrealistic expectations will force good talent to fold too early. I am already seeing this happen.”
Meanwhile, she is excited to see what will come out of the new generation of protocols, like Hedera Hashgraph. “I am intrigued by how much there is to know and learn every day.” People are excited to see new products being built for anyone to use blockchain seamlessly and tools for investors and traders to use.
She believes that innovation doesn’t always need to be crazy to make a huge impact. Sometimes the simplest products are radical to us today which will be standard in the future like riding scooters everywhere, and the number of comfort people now have hopped into a stranger’s car to take them to an important meeting on time.
This mathematical, friendly, and passionate CEO is always looking to the future:
“The future of innovation will be part crazy and part simple. The things that many people do and use in their everyday lives, like cars and planes, were once also impossible. Blockchain will surpass barriers we find impossible to reach today.”
Executive editor： Red