Devesh Mamtani, Special to Authority Magazine June 13, 2021
Many have observed that we are at the cusp of an NFT boom. The thing is, it’s so cutting edge that many people don’t know what it is. What exactly is an NFT, and how can one create a lucrative career out of selling them? To address this, as a part of our interview series called “5 Things You Need To Know To Create a Highly Successful Career In The NFT Industry”, we had the pleasure of interviewing Devesh Mamtani, Chief Market Strategist at Century Financial
Devesh Mamtani joined Century Financial in January 2017. He is responsible for risk monitoring and evaluation and the supervision of the research and trading divisions at the firm. He also heads algo- trading for the organization.
Prior to joining Century Financial, Devesh was the Deputy Vice President for Global Wealth Management at the Edelweiss Group — India’s leading diversified financial services company. Devesh’s illustrious career kicked off in 2007 when he joined Deloitte Consulting (India) as an Associate Analyst before joining Motilal Oswal Securities — India’s leading integrated financial services company a year later.
He later joined Asit C. Mehta as its Senior Vice President for Asset Management, then moved to Edelweiss Group.
Devesh holds a Bachelors’s Degree in Information Technology Engineering from Thadomal Shahani Engineering College in 2007 and is also a certified Financial Risk Manager.
Devesh is a regular speaker at Investment-related events in UAE and also writes articles for leading business and economical publications in UAE
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit. Can you tell us a bit about your backstory and how you grew up?
I grew up in India, where I completed my engineering degree specializing in information technology. Mathematics has always been a passion for me, and I soon realized that I could make a career out of it. Hence, I cleared FRM in order to hone my risk management skills. I was fortunate enough to be a part of the team that led the algo trading space in India. My parents ran a business along with an NGO for animals. This helped me in developing business acumen along with empathy. In my free time, I enjoy a good game of tennis, football or cricket as sports have always helped me in decluttering my mind. I am a firm believer in forming win-win partnerships and growing together.
Is there a particular book, film, or podcast that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
There are a couple of books that I keep coming back to on a daily basis. “The 7 habits of highly effective people” by Stephen R. Covey is a book that I have learnt a lot from. I feel it has a holistic view of how to approach life in an efficient manner. The book resonated with me as I firmly believe in taking responsibility for your actions. I also draw immense inspiration from “Rafa: My Story”, the autobiography of my idol Rafael Nadal. It has time and again motivated me to constantly strive for excellence.
Is there a particular story that inspired you to pursue a career in this new industry? We’d love to hear it.
I enjoy taking up initiatives that satiate my curiosity. I constantly wonder about what could be the next big thing that changes the world. As a result of this, in the beginning of my career itself, I was a part of the pioneering algorithmic trading team when algo trading was a lesser-known term in India. Since then, I have witnessed the finance industry evolve from one form to another. Currently, I feel NFTs are one of the future forms the industry could evolve into, and hence I am trying my hands in them.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began this fascinating career?
The beauty of the finance industry is that you have tons of anecdotes for the future generation. Recently, the way blockchain and cryptocurrencies have exploded onto the scene is incredible. From a handful of people knowing about them to it being discussed, accepted, and adapted by billions in a short span of time makes it one of the most interesting stories to tell. Talking about cryptos and not mention The Beeple auction price of 69 Million is unthinkable. A colleague of mine suggested that I should buy some cryptocurrency and later on said that he was joking. The joke made me 10K USD.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
As mentioned before, I had chanced upon an opportunity to be part of a then-upcoming field (more than a decade ago) called Algorithm trading. It was exciting to be one of the first people to do this in India. When we launched the first algo, it felt like it would be one of the biggest things in the industry. Once, a slight error in the code led to a sizeable financial loss which we were able to more than cover up eventually. This made me realize the flip side of high speed and high computational power. My colleagues and I still joke about it and call it tuition fee. This incident taught me that one needs to be careful in the world of technology.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I feel success is a very ambiguous and subjective word. I am grateful for what I am doing. I have been blessed to work with many great people. However, there are three who deserve a special mention — Mr. Bal Krishen Rathore, Mr. Nadeem Khan, and Mr. Vijay Valecha. I call them the holy trinity. They have been paramount in my career growth. In 2020, one fine evening, we happened to discuss the possibility of starting a fan engagement platform. Little did I know that with the support of these three, we would start Boomer11, UAE’s one of the first fan engagement platform. I also am indebted to my family for their constant support and love.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
I am part of a couple of projects which we hope would add huge value to people. One of them is a fan engagement platform which I hope every sports lover shall enjoy using. The other one would give people an opportunity to invest in real estate in a new and innovative way. We are hopeful that both of these projects should be useful to users.
Ok super. Thank you for all that. Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview. I’m sure you get this question all the time. But for the benefit of our readers, can you explain in your own words what an NFT is, and why people are spending so much money on them?
A non-fungible token (NFT) is a unit of data stored on a digital ledger, called a blockchain, that certifies a digital asset to be unique and therefore not interchangeable. At this point, a good description of NFT would be a collectible. They are unique digital assets or what can be called as one of a kind assets in the digital world.
A lot of people are looking at NFTs as collecting art. The spending seen on Beeple auction, Grimes Video, Jack Dorsey tweet, and many others have made artists and people believe that there is a huge demand for NFTs. People are spending on these as they believe this a unique opportunity to have a claim on future royalties as well as the satisfaction of owning the asset.
The NFT industry seems so exciting right now. What are the 3 things in particular that most excite you about the industry? If you can, please share a story or example for each.
1. Value for Creators — It is an excellent way for creators to monetize their work.
2. Fan Value — An excellent way for fans to own collectibles of their favorite creators.
3. Acceptance — NFTs have seen a quicker acceptance than other use cases in the blockchain world. If the sustainability issue is solved, then we shall see many more accept NFTs. This space could explode, especially with interest from so many creators.
What are the 3 things that concern you about the industry? Can you explain? What can be done to address those concerns?
1. Power Consumption — With the electricity consumption of cryptocurrencies being more in several countries, the rush towards NFTs has further increased this issue. This is a very concerning issue as the carbon footprint is massive.
2. Hacking — The underlying assumption is that the security of a blockchain ecosystem is full-proof and un-hackable. However, history has shown that this is not the case.
3. Acceptance issue/Regulatory — Perhaps the biggest fear for crypto & NFT investors is any market downfall on account of an outright ban on the mining operations
Switching over to protocols like proof of stake is one of the many solutions to the problem. Another possible alternative would be for the developer community & miners to invest back some of their rewards in renewable assets space.
What are the “myths” that you would like to dispel about NFTs? Can you explain what you mean?
The biggest myth probably is that the digital assets cannot be hacked. Some reports say that users of NFT marketplace Nifty Gateway said hackers stole digital artwork worth thousands of dollars from their accounts. Some people who were hacked also said their credit cards on file were used to purchase additional NFTs.
What are the most common mistakes you have seen people make when they enter the NFT industry. What can be done to avoid that?
People are getting carried away by investing in probably everything as there is a lot of buzz in the space. Investors need to understand the risks of this space. They should also know that there can be duplicates of the NFT they have invested in. To avoid this, the most important thing is learning more and having the satisfaction of owning the NFT without considering the value it may have in the future.
How do you think NFTs have the potential to help society in the future?
This could be the way collectibles and digital assets are sold in the future. It could generate fair and great value for artists. It may become very big in years to come as it is seeing interest already from big brands like NBA, Nike, etc.
Ok, fantastic. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “5 Things You Need To Know To Create a Highly Successful Career In The NFT Industry?” (Please share a story or example for each.)
1. KYR (Know your risk) — First and foremost, it is very important to understand the risks that come with this investment type. It is important to know about the risks involved.
2. Take a chance — If would don’t buy the lottery, then you won’t win the jackpot. The rally in the space is crazy. What better time than now. Invest or buy an asset that gives you the satisfaction of owning it
3. Creators — Add all the content that you have made; you really never know what would sell for how much. Ask Mike Winkelmann.
4. Selection — While selecting what could be a good digital asset to invest in or create, try to focus on it being the first of its kind. Like the first tweet, first 5000 days etc. This could be an excellent way to select from the many options available.
5. Be updated about this space — currently, Ethereum is being used, but you never know, a push towards sustainability could see a demand for Tezos.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
Education for all. I think education is essential for everyone. It is a fundamental right that every human being has. Education plus basic finance knowledge should be provided to everyone who cannot afford it. This shall help change the world to make it a better place.
We are very blessed that very prominent leaders read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them :-)
Breakfast with Rafael Nadal. I would love to ask him, how he can be so humble even after achieving nearly everything in the sport of Tennis. I would like to speak to him about his never-give-up attitude. How does he go on and on and on!
Thank you so much for these excellent stories and insights. We wish you continued success on your great work!