Jul 29, 2019
by Gabriel Nergaard

Meet the team — Mr. Kangaroo

In this article, we will get to know Veil designer, Mr Kangaroo

This article is a continuation of our series of interviews with members of the Veil team. In this installment, we’ll meet Veil designer Mr. Kangaroo.

Tell us about yourself prior to getting into crypto. What were you doing? What were your interests?

I had my first contact with design in the early 2000s. After my apprenticeship in communication design I started working as a freelancer for various clients. To get a deeper understanding of the fundamentals I concentrated on academic studies in media design and print technology engineering. Along the way I kept working as a freelancer for multiple large clients and design agencies.

Can you tell us the story of how you got into crypto?

I was interested in Bitcoin since I heard about it in 2009, but at the time I didn’t have a deep enough understanding to get into it and still feel comfy. I wanted to learn more about it and the underlying mechanisms before I personally invested in it or got involved in such a project, but did not have the spare time to dig deep enough to get an adequate knowledge in the first years of Bitcoin. After I finished my academic education in terms of design, I took the freedom to read a lot about it and understand how it works. Right after my first financial investment I got in contact with various members of crypto projects and took the chance to get involved.

You are a designer, but at the same time have a very deep functional knowledge of how blockchain networks work. That’s unusual. Which came first in your life, becoming a designer or a geek?

In my opinion, good design is based on understanding the product as well as the client base, so I feel it’s necessary to understand the fundamentals of the tech to translate the functions and needs into a good visual representation. The technical side of crypto evolved a lot in the last 5 years. There are various good projects with a different focus, and from a technical point, blockchain developers, in particular, have done a very good job coding solutions to real world problems, but most of the actual cryptocurrency projects lack significantly in terms of user experience. The user interface is the first and most fundamental contact point of the end user to the product. A lot of crypto projects don’t focus on developing a good user interface that is self-explanatory and help the average person to use a product without hitting a learning wall.

If cryptocurrencies should ever reach the point of mass adoption there is a lot of work to do on the design side of things to provide an intuitive design aesthetic similar to financial tools people already know and love, and to empower people to actually use these products.

In your work outside of Veil do you gravitate towards projects where that capability for technical understanding provides additional value?

Yeah, my specialization in the field of design and engineering naturally results in gravitating towards projects where that capability can be of value. Agencies hire me as a freelancer because my specialization is kind of rare and something they often can’t offer in-house.

What prompted you to go from becoming someone interested in crypto, to someone contributing to crypto projects?

My belief is that crypto is the next disruptive emerging technology. And as an anarcho-syndicalist I think it’s a chance to revert some very bad decisions made in human history. Besides that I am just a pretty inquisitive guy and crypto seems to be a chance to feed that need.

What have been the best aspects of working in crypto projects?

Working with some pretty interesting and brilliant people in a truly international and decentralized team at the forefront of a revolutionary technology which has the potential to change the world as we know it is a privilege for me.

What have been the biggest challenges?

One of the biggest challenges for me as a designer is the greenness of the whole crypto scene in terms of design. That applies to the necessary timeframes for the creation of a good and appropriate design, which is determined by several phases like research, concept, design, feedback, iteration, and so on, so in a nutshell impatience is a huge problem.

It also applies to the demand on quality. If you comb through cryptocurrencies on CoinMarketCap you can see several projects which even have generic logos and branding. Design seems to be a pretty easy discipline for someone who has no idea how to measure the quality of a designed product and sometimes there is a fine line between cost-effective and low quality which seems appropriate for the inexperienced observer. You could think that clients of a cryptocurrency are first line investors who don’t care about the quality of design. But at the end of the day crypto is FinTech and there is a well-grounded reason why FinTech companies in the non-crypto world invest a huge amount of budget, knowledge, and manpower in the perfection of their designed products.

Project yourself a decade into the future. What does the crypto world look like? Is Bitcoin still the leading coin? Is privacy added to Bitcoin or does it remain transparent?

That’s a really tough question, especially since the world moves a lot faster in the crypto space than in the “normal” economy. I guess besides the classical cryptocurrencies there will be digital currencies that are created and controlled by huge companies like Facebook and Google. But these will always see users as a way to profit from selling their data. Bitcoin will still play a huge role, specifically since it was the origin of the whole cryptocurrency movement.

Perhaps Bitcoin will even have some privacy features added, but only to a certain degree, and will be way behind the so-called privacy-centric altcoins.

What are your non-crypto hobbies and interests?

I have a weak spot for any kind of designed objects and content, contemporary art, and music. Besides that I’m a sucker for sporting activities, especially the disciplines that let me push my boundaries like skating and skydiving. In a nutshell, there are a lot of things that make life worth living. Maybe even too much to experience in a lifetime.

Thanks so much!

Any time! :)