The Web3 industry is different from all the other well-established industries for various reasons. One notable difference is that many of the Web3 participants today grew up in a world where the technology and infrastructure of the industry did not exist when they were born.
These people learned about the vastness of the decentralized world either through fellow humans or the internet. However, for Pranshu Rastogi, my next HoW guest, the understanding of Web3 and the blockchain ecosystem unfolded in a very unexpected and unique fashion.
Pranshu serves as the Head of Ecosystem & Growth at Push Protocol (formerly known as EPNS), a prominent Web3-native cross-chain communication protocol. Founded in 2020, Push claims itself to be the world’s first blockchain-agnostic decentralized communication protocol for Web3. It is an open-source network that helps you seamlessly integrate all sorts of communication features within dApps and wallets.
Before Push, crypto frontend which includes dApps and wallets had very minimum real-time communication features. Push saw this humongous gap that could be bridged. This is when the idea of Push Notifications, Chats, Spaces, Video, DAO, and even Snaps came to the fore. The aim was simple: bring familiar Web2 communication features into the Web3 environment. So far, Push Protocol has partnered with Unstoppable Domains, Metamask, QuickSwap, Timeswap, ElementDAO, and more.
In the midst of all these groundbreaking endeavors, Pranshu has emerged as a pivotal figure and someone who has embraced the vision of the protocol and made it a home for himself. At the mere age of 27, Pranshu has achieved what takes many years to do.
So, what is so unconventional about his story? A true Kanpuriya at heart, Pranshu’s roots run deep in the Pink City of Jaipur where he came of age. Weirdly curious and shy as a child, he found an abode for himself within books, influenced in part by his mother, a dedicated teacher.
However, in high school, Pranshu underwent a dramatic transformation when his innocence faded into adolescence. He would often bunk classes and experiment with the old dual-core CPUs and dusty monitors, trying to make pen drives bootable and installing different Operating Systems in the school’s computer lab. Hence, the deep-seated passion for engineering.
When college began in 2013, horizons were widened and boundaries were pushed. Pranshu discovered an array of options and healthy activities he could indulge in besides studying engineering. This is where his newfound interest in anchoring, hosting events and theater workshops came to the fore. In this chapter of his life, Pranshu assumed the central role, not only in real life but in reel life, too. It helped him present himself as a well-rounded individual who is good at technology and has a life beyond academics, too.
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Pranshu’s Web3 journey, despite finding cryptocurrency and trading as a potential Ponzi scheme initially, started right after he finished his degree. Excited to move cities and experience a life of independence, he accepted the first offer he got at a blockchain startup in Gurgaon, India. Responsible for market making and algorithm detection in the cryptocurrency domain, he gradually understood that crypto trading was definitely not a get-rich-quick scheme. However, he was still unsure about the real-life use cases and the philosophy of blockchain.
In the near future, we plan to enhance our existing tools with more features and continue to focus on improving the communication aspect within the Web3 ecosystem.
Until one fine day when he got his hands on a book that had the conversation of Satoshi Nakamoto, the founder of Bitcoin, with the world. Thanks to the reading space at his office, he learned about the core purpose of blockchain. Albeit an unconventional and sudden way to learn about the significance of something so huge, it was at that very moment that his outlook towards the entire ecosystem changed drastically. He read more into the 2008 global financial crisis and its subsequent dire consequences. Pranshu noticed that other than Nakamoto, nobody had presented a potential and well-documented solution to fix the havoc that had been wreaked into the world. His belief in blockchain having the potential to change things for the better solidified here.
Over time, he realized that a number of people are still unaware of the technology despite it being such a phenomenon. Therefore, at the end of 2019, he decided to volunteer for an e-learning services provider company called Unschool. Pranshu developed a blockchain crash course from start to finish with 4+ projects, 40+ lectures, and quizzes in which blockchain and Ethereum basics with real-world implementation were explained. Over 600 students have benefitted from the course so far.
It was also in 2019 that Pranshu decided to pursue a career focused on developing decentralized applications (dApps), protocols, and blockchains. He again moved cities to join as a software engineer at a new company specializing in blockchain-related services.
Because he had established himself as an active LinkedIn member, he was approached by the co-founder of Push Protocol for a potential job opportunity right after. As much as he wanted to consider seizing the opportunity, he decided to stick to his commitment and give his precious time to his new job role.
Nevertheless, Pranshu was truly inspired by the work Push Protocol had been doing and would constantly keep a tab on what the startup was up to on social media to stay well-informed. It was as if he knew that his calling was in building Push Protocol as the biggest Web3 communication tool.
Thus, in 2021, when he decided to switch, he immediately pinged the HR to inquire about a potential job opportunity and received a prompt response. Eventually, he joined the startup as a blockchain consultant, a position that involved education and awareness, use case analysis, tech evaluation, design, training and support, monitoring, etc.
While we’re already a significant player in Web3 communication, our focus is on addressing all aspects of it and continually launching new features and innovations.
Around 3 months later, Pranshu was promoted to the position of VP of Engineering, a job role he excelled in for over a year before he was promoted to the Head of Ecosystem & Growth in April 2023. During his time as VP, he built and managed the entire engineering team from scratch, conducted Web3 workshops and hackathons, brought automation to the workplace and closely worked with DevOps along with improving the user experience of the Push app by integrating Push Chats.
It is indeed intriguing to learn about the dramatic shift in Pranshu’s job roles, going from Vice President of Engineering to assuming the role of Head of Ecosystem & Growth. The truth is that in an early stage startup, regardless of your job title, you often find yourself wearing multiple hats. As VP, Pranshu was already involved in many tasks related to the product ecosystem. Thus, when he assumed his current position, he was already quite familiar with the product.
As the Head of Ecosystem & Growth at Push Protocol, he shed light on some of the things that the startup aims to do in the future. “Our goal is to establish a robust communication layer. Right now, we have Push Video, Chat, Snap, etc. In the near future, we plan to enhance our existing tools with more features and continue to focus on improving the communication aspect within the ecosystem”, Pranshu shared. This may be akin to Microsoft Office Suite. The only difference is that Microsoft provides tools whereas Push is a decentralized, open-source protocol specifically designed for Web3 environments. That’s the direction Push Protocol is headed to.
Push users can expect a lot of exciting developments in the near future. For example, the startup is currently involved in an Indian Dev Tour project, called BRB (Billion Reasons to Build), in collaboration with protocols like the Ethereum Foundation, Filecoin Biconomy, Chainsafe, Alchemy and Timeswap. A lot of Alphas are expected to be revealed during the BRB tour. So, there are many interesting initiatives on the horizon. Then there is also the Push Ambassador Program which has been a success so far.
Nonetheless, the startup’s vision is pretty straightforward. “While we’re already a significant player in the communication ecosystem, our focus is on addressing all aspects of communication and continually launching new features and innovations. We aim to maintain our position as a leading communication ecosystem, with an emphasis on decentralization and governance by the DAO (Decentralized Autonomous Organization), which includes the broader community”, Pranshu shared.
As we reached the very end of the interview, I asked him to share his biggest motivation to stay in the blockchain space. “I want to primarily focus on problem-solving rather than fixating on a particular solution. Of course, the solution should adhere to legal, ethical, and responsible practices. Right now, I’m exploring the ZK ecosystem. I have created multiple projects related to it. I also have a soft heart for Self-Sovereign Identities (SISs) and Decentralized Identities (DIDs). I look forward to working more on these two things but whatever I will work on, I am sure it will have some sort of a social impact”, Pranshu Rastogi concluded.
Humans of Web3 is a flagship program of Metaschool and its sole aim is to highlight and bring to the fore individuals’ Web3 journeys that go unsung. If you are someone or know someone who has had such a journey, you may reach out on Twitter (@0xmetaschool) for a quick chat.