“We’re working on a DeFi protocol. Uncorrelated returns. The math checks out. We need our go to market to match as well. Can FINH help us?” See our work here.
By Filippo Yacob
FINH’s been lurking on the Blockchain for about a decade. From Mining, to ICOs, to NFTs. We’ve built Dapps, listed coins on major exchanges, developed hardware wallets, and NFTs. We like this industry from both a technological and sociological perspective. What it will enable, and what it stands for, but what we like most of all is just how much opportunity there is to apply great Design in order to accelerate mass adoption of it, so when our friends at Rysk got in touch about helping them take their protocol to market, we couldn’t ignore the call.
The Rysk boys are smart. Really really smart. They know the math, and they know the tech. On the other hand we know humans, and we know design. This made for an incredible collaboration developing a fresh Brand Identity, a UX & UI design system, and a unique go to market strategy.
For something a little different to our usual write-up, we decided to ask Jib, one of the Rysk Founders to interview myself, Filippo Yacob, FINH Design Director and creative lead on the project. For context I met Jib before Rysk, while working on another DeFi project in 2021, and we’ve been friends since. Here it goes.
JIB - So... we’ve hung out for a while now, have you finally figured out what rysk is?
FY - I guess I'll have to start with the customary “not financial advice” statement, but now that’s taken care of, I'll try 😅.
Rysk is a DeFi protocol that uses Delta Neutral trading strategies to produce uncorrelated returns in all market conditions. Pure financial engineering. Not necessarily for your garden variety retail trader. It’s all a bit of a mouthful, but if you know you know, and if you don’t, that’s ok.
Rysk is by far one of the most exciting clients we’ve had, because most of our work in Finance and Web3 is confidential, and this gave us an opportunity to both show a more “grown-up” side to FINH’s work, and to also prove that Web3 aesthetics don’t have to be all neon rainbows. They can be elegant, sexy, and fun, without being ridiculous.
Rysk is also the reason everyone at FINH is no longer able to spell rysk without a y. Thank you Rysk...
JIB - We’re getting a lot of love from our community for the brand concept. It’s unlike anything we’ve seen. Can you tell me a bit more about it?
FY - Before I dive into that i’d like to say that we had a ton of fun working through our process with your team, which in the end is what it all comes down to. There’s a lot to unpack here, but perhaps the most important part of the process was getting the context and brief right from the very start.
I’m not an authority on culture, this is just my own interpretation of it. I’m almost certain I lack the vocabulary to fully express my thoughts here, but The Web3 and DeFi industry are interesting because of what they represent technically, i.e. democratizing and decentralizing global access to financial engineering, and also because of the cultural energy that shape these industries as they propel forward at neck-breaking pace. Industry progress is asynchronous, and the cultural fragments left behind as the industry grows are anachronous. There forever. The core finance theories that underpin DeFi are nothing new, but the ability to combine them like Lego into new primitives, with no more than a few lines of code, is beyond mind blowing.
It's an internet native culture, with its own mythology, and bit by bit, experiencing it means creating it. It’s a complex and infinitely growing anthology of references and ever-evolving derivatives of each. Icons of icons. Stories of stories. The culture is unique, beautiful, but also extremely hard to nail.
In many ways the status quo of the Web3 aesthetics, with deep rooted origins in Web1, match the neon and retro synth vibe that’s currently been offered, but it has started looking kind of the same, and the results are somehow standardized and institutionalized, and this is the reason why we desperately wanted to move forward from the obvious visual references that have become the hallmark of Web3 for the last 4 years or so. As far as the brand concept goes, we wanted our work to achieve two main objectives:
1. For Rysk NOT to look like everything else
2. For Rysk to represent an evolution, not a full departure
When working through the initial phases of the brand concept we wanted to lead with a feeling. The terms “LOLFI” and “NOFI” came to mind. References to chaos, being on the edge, rejecting the status quo, deriding it even, and we tried to define that feeling as a team. We also created words and phrases that would help us guide our aesthetic choices. Words like “Hyper-accelerated digital capitalism”, a word salad combination that could be associated with a “cyber-something”, something generative and automated, but also something serious, solid, elegant and ministerial. It’s very hard to put a vibe into words. I think the brand itself is what communicates the concept best, along with the cultural references we’ve peppered into it. We hope the work can speak to these feelings, but below are 3 sub-themes to the work that can help explain some of it:
1. CHAOS BY STRUCTURE
Rysk uses pure financial engineering and structure to bring predictable outcomes with transparent risk profiles. If you can see the matrix you can conquer it. If you can build the grid you can bend it. If you master the rules you can break them.
2. HUMAN BEINGS WILL ALWAYS BETRAY YOUHuman beings lie. Numbers don’t. We referenced game theory, and all kinds of rules and mathematical laws, ironically discovered and codified by man. There’s a sense of automation, numeration, computation to it all.
3. TRADFI / DEFI / LOLFI / NOFI
The famous literary quote of “We never had to take any of it seriously, did we?” she whispered. “No, we never had to.” really resonated with the topic. The term LOLFI references the absurdity of the fact that money, at the end of the day, doesn’t exist.
As I said. It’s hard to put a vibe into words, but we really do hope the work is a reflection of the context.
JIB - We really enjoyed working with you guys, and the process was a breeze. I do have one final question about the go to market strategy you put together for rysk, your “MRL” concept. What is it?FY - “MRL” is a secret code for a secret project... Something delicious is cooking around the Rysk campfire. Rysk brought the meat, and FINH brought the fire.
A big portion of the work we do as a Venture Studio is growth and performance marketing. It’s not something we get to talk about often, but we spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about inverting traditional marketing models, and using the concept of “Cultural-Artifacts” as collectible meme-products and proof of service. It’s also very much in line with the above mentioned dynamics of how the Web3 culture is growing - you create it by experiencing it.
We have a wealth of experience developing and launching physical and digital products, open-source tools and services, and the ever lower barriers of entry to connecting communities through artifacts and experiences at the intersection of bits and atoms, means that if you know how to, you can have a lot of fun, and create a ton of value. All I can say for now is: get your umbrellas...
We had a lot of fun working with the Rysk team. We’re grateful for the trust and freedom to flex our skills, knowledge and know-how they’ve given us, and a unique chance to show the world what FINH is capable of. We look forward to working with them again, and we hope you all enjoy the work!