Both Stani Kulechov and Aave, the decentralized finance (DeFi) money market he founded, enjoyed a fruitful 2021. In April, the launch of a liquidity mining program helped propel Aave past rival Compound in total value locked (TVL) rankings, establishing Aave as the preeminent lending platform. Just a few weeks later, Kulechov joined Variant Fund as a partner, and has since been listed as an advisor and investor in a number of emerging Web 3 projects. In addition to helming Aave and his growing venture capital portfolio, Kulechov is seeing tremendous success serving as Aave’s hypeman-in-chief. His sometimes spontaneous “rAAVE” parties carry growing cultural significance (and have attracted mainstream media attention), and in addition to generally playful attitude, he’s a great Twitter follow for the future products he teases: an Aave-powered social media protocol, Aave debit cards, and even, possibly, a Web 3 fashion line? Even if just one of the above end up releasing in 2022, odds are we’ll be seeing him on this list again.
The Complete List: CoinDesk’s Most Influential 2021