A DeFi Project Started in the Pub

The story of how Pen-X came about and our weekly round-up; launching a Decentralised Retirement Fund on Covid.

4 min readMar 21, 2022

Good Morning Pen-X Community,

We salute you — what a great start to the week! We couldn’t be happier with the considerable number of responses we have received over the last 36 hours since the launch of Pen-X DAO.

Ionic and I are high on Redbull and caffeine, trying to keep up with all the responses. So if you haven’t heard back from us yet — we will get back to you :)

We feel a little proud because six months ago, all of this was barely an idea on a beermat in an East-London pub. And here we are with a fully functioning website, a growing discord community and a draft whitepaper that is starting to get people talking.

To all of you who know nothing about us, let me quickly digress and briefly introduce us:

Ionic & I met five years ago through a mutual friend at a crypto hackathon in London. We were (maybe we still are) two ordinary guys in their 30s diving headfirst into the industry. Both of us were flipping a few coins in the hope of becoming the next Crypto-Millionaire.

But the bear market of 2018/2019 taught us the hard way how little we knew and that if we wanted to have any success in this industry, we needed to get it together, stop gambling, and fuel up on all the available knowledge. With his software engineering background, Ionic went heavily into the tech side of DeFi and Crypto. With experience in advertising, I went waist-deep into the creative and marketing side of NFTs and DAOs. It has been both of our passion since then.

In mid-2019, things started to make sense, and with the DeFi & NFT craze of 2020, our hard work started to pay out for us. But just when we were about to start travelling and connecting with the community… Covid hit the world hard.

Left and right, the world’s economy started to break down. Although we had finally seen some financial success, millions of people worldwide started losing their jobs. Worse still, small business owners like my uncle, who had put his entire life savings into his business, suddenly went bankrupt. As a result of this, like so many others, he lost his hope of enjoying a carefree retirement from one day to the next.

Thinking back, we felt this strange guilt. I remember us chatting about how absurd the world is: while some were feeling financial pain (especially the older community), others like us were doing better than ever.

So there we are, sitting in the East-London Pub with a pen, the back of a beermat, and a pint of Guinness in our hands. We philosophise about how we could get more people to invest in DeFi and what could be done to provide alternative financial security solutions to people like my uncle.

To this day, we believe that retirement funds should be diversified, not only across usual asset classes like stocks, bonds, and commodities also but take the opportunity that high-growth blockchain projects have to offer.

But to cut a long story short… dozens of meet-ups later, Ionic and I eventually formalised our thinking into what has become Pen-X, the world’s first decentralised retirement fund.

We sketched out the details of Pen-X in a documentation, which we launched on Friday:

In the last week, we have also achieved the following:

  • Launched the Pen-X website
  • Launched Discord Server
  • Formalised the onboarding process and launched the Pen-X Job Board (We are looking for a Community Lead ASAP. Handsome token rewards will be awarded if you recommend someone we hire!)

Before ending, I’d like to give this letter a personal touch — a round of personal highlights and lowlights from last week.

My Highlight was definitely the launch. Super happy to have that massive burden of copywriting off my desk. And my Lowlight, more of a personal one… I have tested positive with Covid. Bummer. But don’t worry, I feel fine, and I’m already on the way to being back to normal.”

Ionic_eth: “My highlight: releasing the white paper out into the public and hearing people’s feedback. After toiling over it for so many weeks, it’s an incredible feeling! Lowlight: Computer crashed, and I lost over an hour’s worth of code. Heartbreaking.”

I think that sums up our week quite well. Let’s end this letter with a great tweet I stumbled across last night:

So very true. The key at this stage of Pen-X’s genesis is building a community that you and I would love to be a part of. I would never want to outsource that.

I hope this weekly letter will give all of you a more personal view of what we are doing every week and how fast things are developing as we build Pen-X from the ground up!

Like everything in Web3, this post should not be a one-way street — please use the comment feature on Medium to ask any questions or share how your last week was — we look forward to hearing from you :)

Happy Monday,





DeFi Retirement Fund. Disrupting pension with diversified blockchain investment. DAO-managed to help retirees of tomorrow. Join Free: go.penxdao.com/discord