My Career in Crypto with Rodri Fernandez Touza at Crossmint

Link to the author's page
Sarah Benali
February 28, 2023
Link to the author's page
My Career in Crypto with Rodri Fernandez Touza at Crossmint

Rodri Fernández Touza recently celebrated a year since co-founding Crossmint, the web3 industry leading NFT checkout solution, where his official title is “janitor.” Before this, he wore many different hats: a student, consultant, and even a monk. Today, he’s focused on providing businesses from web3 native to web2 native enterprise with the infrastructure layer they need to seamlessly integrate blockchain tech that will elevate their collectibles and loyalty products and services.

Bridging Web2 and Web3 is no simple feat, but Rodri and his team are committed to making it as simple as possible for companies globally. Stressing the potential benefits and a new generation of use cases for NFTs, he says the technology has so much more to offer than what negative news cycles imply.

“It’s something that’s going to touch almost every sector of society, and I’m fully convinced that in 5 years or so, everyone will be using NFTs on a daily basis— whether they’re aware of it or not,” he notes.

Finding zen in crypto

Leaving his small town of Pontevedra in Spain’s Galicia to head to England, Rodri’s earlier years were defined by overcoming challenges. Opting to be homeless for 36 days in London with limited English was a true test of strength and resilience; one that he passed with flying colors. These early learned skills would ultimately support his impressive professional and personal growth.

An engineer by training, he was always up for the technical challenge. He’d soon find himself working at leading companies like McKinsey & Co. and ultimately getting a full ride at Stanford University, where he received his MBA.

In those years, he would make his mark across four different continents, earning a Guinness World Record for the most UNESCO world heritage sites visited in 24 hours. Along the way, he even made time to join a zen monastery on a remote mountain, where he spent nearly three months on a silent retreat—the backdrop for his first foray into crypto. It was at this retreat that Rodri and his soon-to-be co-founder first experienced the autonomous nature of crypto and NFTs, pitching ideas and receiving constant feedback from their surrounding community.

The silent retreat was a breakthrough and the catalyst for Rodri’s crypto journey. Upon his return, he joined Hacker Foundation Zero (HF0), a “12-week residency for the world’s top technical founders,” which he looks back on as some of the most inspiring months of his life. Joining a diverse group of dedicated tech talents to work towards a common objective was a defining experience for him, one that he credits with expanding his range of opportunities. Graduating from the program alongside his co-founder, the duo got to work to abstract the complexities of blockchain and enable enterprises to realize the benefits of its technologies.

And so, Crossmint was born.

Bridging web2 and web3, and why it’s necessary

Rodri’s entry into the NFT arena was fueled by his desire to simplify everyday life, providing companies with the tools they could use to accelerate the application of its technology to improve. While he credits initiatives like Bored Apes and Cryptopunks with sparking the initial wave of mass adoption, he believes there’s so much more to tap into.

“Some people think NFTs are just pictures, and that’s fine, that’s how a lot of adoption is initiated. But it’s also about how it’s the first time we can have digital private property,” an advancement that opens up endless possibilities across multiple sectors, he says.

Rodri explains by providing an example of how NFTs can enable effective third-party communication that would benefit a loyal movie-goer. For instance, if someone was a proven Marvel-marathon viewer and they purchased a Marvel product on a marketplace like Amazon, existing infrastructure could make it possible to trace and verify the customer loyalty and provide them with exclusive benefits as a result.

He also highlights how major companies are stepping into the game to break down barriers and create a fairer environment for creators to thrive. A prime example, he says, is MasterCard’s recent initiative targeting emerging musicians with their new “Web3 Artist Accelerator,”.  This program helps artists reclaim their power and establish their brand by minting NFTs that listeners can purchase to support them.

With meaningful applications like these, Rodri sees a bright future for NFTs that many may not recognize yet. It’ll be facilitated by dismantling the perceived complexity and creating better user experiences, two major focus areas for Crossmint.

What the future holds

“Crypto never sleeps,” and the proof is in the consistent capital being injected into the industry. As the crypto winter rages on and some companies pivot away from the tech, he says the market remains extremely competitive, with incumbents working hard to actualize their objectives and expand their reach. That’s why, he says, he only sleeps because he has to.

Even in the current crypto bear market, Rodri is seeing enterprise adoption now more than ever before. He’s seeing more enterprises recognize that NFTs can be applied for much more than small-scale marketing activations and the sale of luxury digital goods, with the potential to elevate their offerings and enhance user experiences.

“The idea of micro-transactions, putting everything that makes sense on-chain, enabling games and marketplaces to interact at very high speeds, all of these things were very difficult and now they’re becoming possible—and streamlined. When you combine that with much better infrastructure that lets people get settled very quickly and users to do things without even knowing that they’re doing it through the blockchain, the possibilities are endless,” he says.  

Demystifying NFTs by allowing integration through a full suite of APIs removes the friction from these processes, ultimately enabling enterprises to better scale and support changing customer needs.

For people looking to break into the crypto world, Rodri shares his ideal plan: explore the bustling market to define what best resonates with you and what makes you the most excited. Engage in those communities, continuously educate yourself and once you’ve found your niche, “go all in.” To him, the most important question to ask yourself is, “what can I do today that will make me the proudest tomorrow?”

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February 28, 2023 4:30
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