- Crypto unicorn Dune is powered by a misfit collective known as the “Dune Wizards.”
- The wizards come from all walks of life but have one thing in common, a passion for wrangling blockchain and Web 3.0 data.
- We spoke to 6 of them to understand how to get started on Dune, their journey and how some secure paid contracts.
Earlier this year, blockchain data analytics firm Dune raised $69.4 million in a Series B round led by hedge fund giant Coatue.
It was a landmark raise that valued the company at $1 billion and placed Dune, formerly known as Dune Analytics, in the exclusive “unicorn club” — private companies that are valued at at least $1 billion.
However, it wasn’t an easy journey to reach unicorn status for the three-year-old start-up.
“I remember, it was a very painful slog for them,” said Richard Chen, general partner of VC firm 1Confirmation and a so-called Dune wizard. “Because the day they started, late 2018, right in the depths of the last crypto
and basically had to work hard to find product market fit. They weren’t paying themselves, struggled to fundraise but that really forced themselves to build a product that users love.”
Dune came into its own when the crypto market boomed in 2020 and 2021. As frenzies formed around “DeFi summer” and NFTs, it offered a way for individuals to make sense of the trends by exploring blockchain data, such as NFT trading volumes, through easy-to-understand dashboards.
Powering the platform is a misfit collective known as the “Dune wizards.”
The wizards share a passion for harnessing blockchain and Web 3.0 data to create and maintain the dashboards. They come from all walks of life, some are VCs, others are college dropouts and crypto protocol founders themselves.
Building a dashboard on Dune requires two core skills: a grasp of SQL, a programming language used to query databases, and an understanding of smart contracts, pieces of code on the blockchain that can self-execute when certain conditions are met.
“I actually started Dune a year ago without knowing SQL,” said Hildebert Moulié, a 25-year-old Dune wizard. “I didn’t know it and I learnt it on the spot, by at first [forking] other people’s work.”
The harder part is understanding smart contracts and how data is passed between them, said Florian Barth, a 26-year-old community success manager at Dune. It’s an essential skill and most wizards learn it by using Etherscan, a platform that allows for the exploration of transactions on the ethereum blockchain.
Some of the best dashboards are the ones that pull out compelling information and contextualize it, Barth said.
Many of the top Dune wizards are now securing paid contracts with investors, users and even protocols who want dashboards built. In most cases it’s their previous work on Dune that’s helping to secure the contracts rather than their CV.
“I think the first nine months, I didn’t get a single paid dashboard,” said Moulié, who sits third on the wizard leaderboard after joining in April 2021. “I just contributed and the paid dashboard came in as a second phase and now I’m lucky that I get a lot of options.”
—Dune Bounty Bot (@Dune_Bounties) March 21, 2022
Companies and individuals even put out bounties for dashboards they want created on Twitter.
“I think that’s how I started. I did a few contracts from there back in late 2021,” Moulié said. “Then gradually, as you climb the leaderboard on Dune, you get more and more people directly messaging you.”
It’s been a similar story for Andrew Maury, a Dune wizard based in California that has built dashboards with a number of companies, including Art Blocks, an ethereum platform for generative art, and Forefront, a content aggregator for social tokens.
“I’ve had a lot of other people reach out to me because I’m listed as one of the Dune wizards there,” said Maury, who’s currently fourth on the leaderboard.
Insider spoke to 6 wizards to understand their journeys on Dune.
Get to know the wizards better
1. Hildebert Moulié, aka hildobby, the leaderboard climber
Hildebert Moulié is a 25-year-old based in Amsterdam who got involved with Dune when he was trying to make sense of the data on the ethereum blockchain and how it all works. He recently dropped out of his masters degree to pursue crypto analytics full-time.
“My approach was to make queries in order to understand what was going on,” Moulié said. “And also, as a side thing, publish them because maybe they could be useful for other people.”
Last November, Moulié’s work started to garner attention. His LooksRare vs OpenSea dashboard has helped secure him contract work.
At the start of this year, Moulié received a grant to continue building on the platform.
“I think it’s the one I also use the most regularly to check the prices and see when it’s best to trade or to track the usage of EIP 1559, which is this upgrade on ethereum that happened last summer,” Moulié said.
2. Florian Barth, aka 0xBoxer, the aggregated super user
Barth’s foray into cryptocurrencies started early when he bought dogecoin in high school. From there, Barth continued to dip in and out of crypto while studying business administration at university. He stumbled upon Dune while participating in a number of DAO communities.
“I pretty much taught myself how to use Dune in a couple of days,” Barth said.
Quickly, he secured a reputation for being an “on-chain data guy” and reliable contributor to the space. Having worked on many Dune projects, he soon became a go-to person for answering questions, teaching others how to use the platform and raising bugs to the founding team.
Eventually this morphed into a full-time role at Dune, which Barth left university to take on.
“I never finished my thesis, actually,” Barth said. “So I’m still officially a student of the university.”
Barth operates as an “aggregated super user”, helping to solve problems for the community on the
channel, running a podcast and writing documentation and guides.
Barth’s NFT dashboard allows the user to enter any ERC-721 token and retrieve highly detailed price data.
“Whenever I think about buying NFTs I use my own dashboard,” Barth said. ” … I think it’s the best source on NFT trading data that is out there at the moment.”
He highlights Moulié’s OpenSea vs LooksRare dashboard as another personal favorite, because of its “apples to apples” comparison.
“He made the dashboard at the right time with the right metrics,” Barth said.
3. Richard Chen, aka rchen8, the VC wizard
After Dune’s co-founder Fredrik Haga, 25-year-old Chen is Dune’s number one user,
Having always been technical, Chen would pull raw data from ethereum and various blockchains to evaluate investment opportunities for his fund 1Confirmation. When Dune came along, it was a lifesaver, as it removed some of the most painful parts of the process.
“It was easy for me just to quickly spin up a dashboard about some project I was looking at and see what their KPIs are, and their user growth and all that,” Chen said. “It’s been immensely helpful for me personally in informing my investment decisions.”
SuperRare is one example of an investment Chen made based on seeing data on a Dune dashboard. Yet despite being one of the platform’s biggest users and a venture investor, Chen didn’t make an early investment in Dune.
“That is one of my big regrets,” Chen said.
“There was some really hacky solution, I figured out,” Chen said.
He also frequently uses other creators’ NFT aggregators to get a good overview of the market. One example he highlights is the Genie vs Gem dashboard.
4. Fredrick Haga, aka hagaetc, the OG wizard
As the co-founder and CEO of Dune, Haga is the original wizard ranked first on the leaderboard. In a recent interview with Insider, Haga shared some of his favorite creations on the platform.
One of his first picks is the “Looks Rare vs OpenSea” NFT-focused dashboard created by hildobby, who he highlights as wizard that’s risen through the ranks.
“It’s a nice temperature check on what’s going on,” Haga said. “And you can see that the volumes have gone a bit down on general NFT trading.”
There’s also a move toward protocol balance sheets on the platform. One exciting example is Maker DAO’s work in this area.
“It’s been fantastic to see people create these old world, if you will, financial statements, but instead of being a PDF that comes out every three months, it’s actually a live dashboard on top of Dune,” Haga said. “And that anyone can look at anyone can see real time and then understand the risks in that system.”
5. Andrew Maury, aka Rantum, the career changer
Like Moulié, Maury first came to the platform to try to make sense of on-chain data, especially as he started getting into collecting NFTs.
Maury came from a background of doing analytics for Web 2.0 marketing and consulting companies.
“Once I realized that it was so accessible, I fell down the rabbit hole, and just really dug into Dune and started building dashboards from there,” Maury said.
Now Maury is focused full-time on building out dashboards and analytic solutions in the Web 3.0 world. Freelancing with crypto companies, such as Art Blocks, Uniswap and Squiggle DAO.
“There’s no shortage of opportunities right now,” Maury said.
Maury’s NFT overview dashboard is his go-to tool for understanding what’s going on in the NFT world. He also enjoyed making these more flexible where a network of dashboards work together. One example is his work with Art Blocks.
6. Dylan, aka 0xBi, the trading data whiz
Dylan is a 28-year-old data analyst from China. He first started using Dune to help try to analyze on-chain data and now he believes he is currently one the heaviest users of Dune in the Chinese community.
He’s even made a document in Chinese based on his own experiences using the product to help other Chinese-speaking users.
“Most of the people who use my dashboard are cryptocurrency secondary market investors, and my dashboard can help them make some trading decisions,” Dylan said in a written response.
Insider spoke with Dylan via his Twitter account that’s linked to his Dune profile. Dylan did not want to share his real-world identity for the piece.
Dylan’s favorite dashboard is one that provides analysis on specific altcoins.
“This board has a lot of metrics to help you evaluate the overall situation of a token and decide whether to trade it or not (Holder growth rate, Token trading volume on dex, whale positions, early holders),” Dylan said.
He also likes the Olympus token dashboard because the indicators are rich while the chart placement logic is in line with user habits.