Candidacy as a DV Delegate - Max Rebol

Hello Polkadot,

I would hereby like to put forward my candidacy as a DV delegate for the next legislative term.

My name is Max Rebol and I am the co-founder and CEO of Harbour Industrial Capital, a Polkadot-focused VC Fund based in HK. In this post, I will discuss my background, why I would like to become a DV delegate as well as my political philosophy.

Background

Originally from Austria, I spent most of my career in the Greater China region. After completing my PhD in Shanghai, I worked at consulting companies in Shanghai and HK, focusing on investment research and due diligence. I subsequently worked six years in the research teams of two investment banks in HK (Deutsche Bank and Morgan Stanley).

First steps in Crypto

I learned about Bitcoin in 2015, and became active in the HK crypto community, participating in the early Bitcoin and Ethereum meetups in this city. I discovered Polkadot around the time of the private sale, where I participated myself with a small amount. Excited about Gavin’s vision, I quickly became somewhat of a spokesperson for Polkadot in HK crypto circles.

Harbour Industrial Capital

I co-founded Harbour Industrial Capital (HIC) together with Mario Altenburger in 2021. We are registered in the Cayman Islands and headquartered in HK. As of Q1 2024 our fund has an AUM of over US$10 million. We have raised this capital from private investors such as Family Offices, and subsequently invested it in over 20 Polkadot-based projects. The primary method of deploying capital were parachain auctions, as part of which we locked up DOT in exchange for a fixed amount of parachain tokens. More recently we have also made direct investment in Polkadot-based projects. Fund 1 held its final closing on 31 December 2023, and we are planning to raise a second fund later this year.

As part of HIC, I have also participated many Polkadot-related events and activities:

  • Co-founder of PolkaPort East, a growth and IR initiative in HK
  • Organiser of Polkadot HK Monthly Meetup
  • Co-organizer of Polkadot booth at Web3 Festival (HK) and keynote speaker on Polkadot 2.0
  • Organiser of the PBA Special with Björn Wagner at the China Club
  • Speaker at Connected Capital by Google in HK
  • Instructor of a course on Parachain Auction at the Polkadot Blockchain Academy
  • Panel Moderator at Polkadot Day in HK
  • Judge of the HK Web3Hack
  • Winner of the TADS Award for Ecosystem Excellence in DeFi.
  • Speaker and Panel Moderator at ParisDOTcomm
  • Speaker WOW Summit (HK)
  • Panellist at TeamZ Summit (Tokyo),
  • Panellist/Moderator at Polkadot Pulse (Dubai)
  • Panel host at Polkadot Fireside Chat at SoHo House
  • Bounty Curator of the AMI Bounty on Polkadot
  • Graduate of the PBA Founder’s Track in HK

See more details and photos of these events on my LinkedIn.

Why become a Decentralised Voices Delegate?

I have actively followed Gov1 and OpenGov since inception. The reason why we have not yet actively engaged in governance is a simple one: The vast majority of the DOT in our fund are locked up in parachain auctions, and these are not eligible for voting. As a DOT holder with plenty of skin in the game however, I have my views on how the treasury should spend its money, as discussed below.

Political Philosophy

The primary political fault line in today’s OpenGov – I believe – runs between the fiscally conservative and those who spend more liberally.

The conservatives have held the upper hand throughout the first half year of OpenGov, when spending for anything other than core-dev was hard to come by. In Q3 of last year, Giotto rose to prominence with a more liberal approach to spending. He famously argued that he will AYE every marketing proposal in order to attract more proposals, and only then become more selective. I think this was a sensible approach at the time. Polkadot has the best-in-class tech, but without marketing which drives engagement, it was doomed to fail.

The question now is whether the pendulum has swung too far to the opposite direction. There is some evidence for that, yet it is not overwhelming to me. Sure, there have been proposals recently asking for large sums, while providing sparse details on execution and value-add. So we have to stay vigilant of grifters, as they not only drain the treasury, but are also demoralising to honest participants who put in a lot of work for limited reward.

Overall however, the treasury still remains in a good shape, recent spending has not significantly reduced its size, and it constantly gets refilled. A bigger concern to me than a shrinking treasury is overall Polkadot adoption. Providing incentives for quality projects to come and build on Polkadot should be a priority. We need to reach the escape velocity which is when the mere existence of great projects on Polkadot attracts more great projects, even without additional incentives. We are not there yet, and until then, the treasury should provide countercyclical stimulus.

My political philosophy for this candidacy could therefore be summarised in the following three bullet points:

  • Between the fiscal conservatives and liberals, err on the side of the latter (for now)
  • Always call out Grifters and NAY their proposals
  • Become more fiscally conservative as adoption increases

Vote for me!

I launched this candidacy because of a genuine concern for Polkadot. Its technology is second-to-none, yet it is still punching below its weight. DOT is the largest asset in our fund, so we have a strong vested interest in its success. DV is a pretty unique “Attempt At Governance”, as it conveys significant political sway for a relatively short period of time. I hope to use this power to help shape a brighter future for Polkadot. We are in this for the long run.

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To avoid any potential confusion, I wanted to highlight that I currently have a treasury proposal in opengov , but it will have concluded before my potential DV terms begins.

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I met Max in Hong Kong and at Sub0 Bangkok. He has a deep understanding of the ecosystem with many years of experience in the blockchain industry. Through his investment company, he has supported numerous parachain projects before. Active member of the community. In my view, Max is an excellent candidate for DV.

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I met Max in Dubai at Token 2049; he is deeply involved in the Polkadot ecosystem and already helped parachains teams secure a slot this year. I see him as a valuable figure and great ambassador of the values Polkadot aims to spread. His knowledge of Chinese is definitely something helpful, and I have seen him engaging in discussions about Polkadot in 3 languages. His great knowledge of global markets and the financial landscape in the cryptocurrency sector will probably make him very suitable for evaluating what counts most when it comes to OpenGov proposals.

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I know Max as an AMI bounty member, and was really impressed by his contribution to the Polkadot ecosystem, enthusiasm and involvement. As already mentioned above, I have no doubt he is the ultimate candidate to this role and I’m sure he’ll utilize it to the best interest of Polkadot.

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We need people with this vision and market experience in positions that help us improve the use of Treasury resources. It is not easy to manage investments. Dig this from scratch. Even more so in WEB3. And all this since 2021.

Professionals with this background have to master human relations, know in depth about business models, risk assessment, have discipline, good contacts and everything else. Polkadot only stands to gain from this candidacy.

Can you share the address(es) with which you have voted in OpenGov in the past?

We have actively voted in the past, due to the reason mentioned above (i.e. DOT locked in parachain auctions are not eligible for voting). Hence I don’t have much of a voting history to share unfortunately.

Having known Max for over 10 years and having worked with him for almost 3 years now, I can see and feel his passion for Polkadot on a daily basis.

His deep understanding of the ecosystem and connections to projects and teams building on Polkadot as well as investors make him the ideal candidate for this role.

I’m confused–do you mean you have not actively voted in the past?

Appologies - my typo. I meant to say we have not actively voted in the past for the above mentioned reasons.

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Max is one of the most successful and active Polkadot Ambassador. Looking forward to seeing him as a DV!

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I think @Max would be a great addition. I also agree with everything, there is a massive gap in Polkadot in bringing and supporting new projects to join the ecosystem. Also projects that do submit proposals end up getting pushed away, as has been seen recently with a couple of high quality well established proposals.

Failing to support integrations with well-established platforms not only deprives us of new value but also jeopardizes our long-term adoption prospects. The primary issue that demands immediate attention is the allocation of resources toward growing the ecosystem and fostering relationships with both open and closed-source projects.

Instead of short-sighted approaches like Kukabi’s exclusive focus on 100% open-source projects or the self-serving stance of ChaosDAO, which resists competition for projects resembling its members’ interests, we need a more inclusive strategy. Additionally, the presence of two delegates who consistently abstain from most proposals is detrimental, placing undue burden on the remaining three delegates. This state of affairs is untenable and must be rectified promptly with more members like @Max

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I had the pleasure of meeting Max at the Polkadot Blockchain Academy in HK. I fully support him in the running to become a DV.

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