And is leading one of the world’s most pivotal launches
Today’s column shares the first-person vantage point of GritDaily contributor John Karony, CEO of SafeMoon provider of the SafeMoon cryptocurrency DeFi ecosystem and protocol, and an expert in Venture Philanthropy.
John Karony: Every entrepreneurial story is different. The company I lead – SafeMoon – is in the midst of one of the biggest and broadest launches in crypto technology. Many people have asked how my own business leadership story began. So, here goes.
A lot of entrepreneurs say, “I went into business because I had a really bad boss and I’d never want to work with them again.” In my case, while serving in Afghanistan as an all-source data analyst for the U.S. Military, I quickly came to the conclusion that if I was going to die, it should be the result of my own decisions and actions. I would not die at the direction of others. It’s a little different verbiage than the traditional theme, but it represents the same basic ethos.
After the military, I started working on something I knew—or something I thought I knew: government contracting. I figured I could make some money but soon realized what I was doing wasn’t actually solving any problems. So that chapter led to my next big step: impact work in West Africa.
The fundraising aspects of the work I initially encountered in West Africa weren’t structured and managed in a way I could align with or support. Many aspects of the initial work I saw did not provide a path for effective and sustainable outcomes.
A Broader Vision
But that experience further solidified a vision I’m now more determined about than ever: 1) to forge an organization committed to creating impact, 2) sustaining our work and funding our own growth to every degree possible, and 3) measuring success by the depth and breadth of our influence for good on as many people and regions of the world as possible.
While in West Africa I observed the difficulties in supply chain economics firsthand, which compelled me to start an import/export company. But just as I began to learn the import and export system and how to move products in and out of the country, Covid began.
I immediately received a call about getting involved in the supply and distribution of PPE, which was a nightmare entirely on its own. Everyone kept going back to the supply chain to look for masks. They thought this was where the supply chain issue was…but this was not the case. People in both hemispheres hoarded masks and protective equipment to do back-end deals. The model was so messed up that I hated it, both practically and ethically.
Joining Safemoon and driving the shift to an Impact Focus
After launching my import/export business, I became aware of a video gaming development team. I saw the opportunity to help them develop and expanded the team to about five individuals. It was our goal to come together and build out a game that would sell rapidly and could become a source of business development funds.
Ultimately, however, the game wasn’t built fast enough to meet the level of purchase demand. As a result, I started bringing in web development clients from different industries to provide us with a good financial bridge. At the time these contracts happened, I discovered SafeMoon from a connection in Canada. I was immediately intrigued.
Several days later, I got a call from the SafeMoon team and decided to take a closer look. The team was planning to build out a full DeFi (decentralized finance) system and wanted to do it properly. I was captivated by the opportunity and brought over my team.
From the time I came aboard, I began building out the strategy and got it safely kicked off using the power of deep partnerships. Anyone who knows my leadership principles knows how valuable partnerships can be. They’ve been key to the success and growth of the company.
The #SafeMoonArmy: Community in action
The #SafeMoonArmy is an example of community and partnerships in action that has greatly contributed to SafeMoon’s success. More than 2 million strong, the Army can spread news across the community instantly. The community shares its opinions, its comments, and is a positive channel for energy and talent that complements the company’s efforts.
A good friend of mine once said, “In business, there’s enough pie for everyone to eat. Never get greedy.” All of the people we’ve brought on board in the current generation of SafeMoon, whether through acquisition or through partnership, have been great additions to the team. But another key aspect of our growth is the leverage of partnerships of every kind.
I truly believe in partnerships within teams, among leaders, between and among organizations, and within and across extended communities. While the principle is somewhat philosophical for now, the importance of partnerships will become clearer as our ecosystem continues to grow.
Co-Alignments are Key
Co-alignments are another form of partnership I value highly. These have been very beneficial to SafeMoon and will continue to be important to the company’s growth and development. Case in point, when we identified a hack in progress, we were able to notify a company (a competitor) in less than two minutes. Even though we may have competing offerings in some ways, the fallout from a theft would have created a ripple effect of negative loss for us all.
Engaging with partners in this way has allowed SafeMoon to have a continuous impact on the industry as a whole, demonstrating how we can co-exist and thrive in the DeFi environment we’re creating. These partnerships also extend to the shared financial ecosystem for crypto technology we’re creating and its influence, and potential for the world overall.
Following our fast launch, we’ve spent the first portions of 2022 in “warrior mode,” I would call it, to accomplish the foundational work and prepare for our next phases of growth. We’ve brought on a strong, qualified staff, we’ve partnered with key entities, and we’re building up our technology in the correct way.
Next Steps – Ecosystem advances and Return on Impact
Now we’re releasing products we’ve promised, along with a few we haven’t even talked about yet. In all, by carefully developing the product ecosystem we’re now releasing, I feel we are in a very good place.
The product ecosystem allows us to put a bigger focus on the venture philanthropy I am passionate about. The return on impact model allows us to remove the friction points in a variety of industries. It allows us to provide energy, access to clean water, and access to information and education. The product ecosystem we’re building right now is the foundation on which we’ll achieve such impact-driven projects.
Our focus on impact comes down to even our merchandise site. Today, we know that every time somebody buys a piece of SafeMoon merchandise, that sale provides 100 days of clean water to children in Tanzania. That’s one of the first impact endeavors we’ve done. And there are more we’re working on that will have very much more of a direct impact as well.
It’s been an amazing ride. And I’m looking forward to many additional chapters.
John Karony is the CEO of SafeMoon, provider of the SafeMoon cryptocurrency token and protocol and an expert in Venture Philanthropy. In addition to cryptocurrency and software development, Karony is a U.S. veteran, passionate about civil rights and social action, disaster and humanitarian relief, economic empowerment, human rights, politics, and poverty alleviation.