In the first article of a series on the 1inch team’s key members, we’re introducing co-founder and CEO Sergej Kunz.
Sergej got his first computer at the age of 13, and the first thing he did was disassemble and reassemble it to figure out how computers work. Unlike his friends, most of whom spent hours playing computer games, he was less interested in gaming and more in programming.
At the time, Sergej didn’t even have an internet connection, so he had to go to a library to download educational materials on programming. By the age of 17, Sergej had self-taught himself programming well enough to get freelance gigs coding websites.
Upon graduation from secondary school, Sergej got a job writing code for a company, simultaneously taking programming classes. In his spare time, he did a lot of coding, as well.
While working as a programmer and, later, a system administrator, Sergej wrote during his free time a text message aggregation system, allowing users to send text messages globally at the best rates. This system became the basis for the first company he founded in 2014 and ran for a few years simultaneously with full time jobs.
He subsequently worked as a senior developer at Commerce Connector, a Stuttgart-based product price aggregator, and at the communication agency Herzog, doing various coding work, from PHP to frontend and databases.
From 2015 to 2019, Sergej worked for Mimacom consultancy, running projects for major customers, such as Bosch, Siemens and Porsche. A project for the latter company led to a full time job.
At Porsche, Sergej initially worked in DevOps, but gradually began shifting towards cybersecurity.
Sergej first came in touch with crypto back in 2012 when he tried crypto mining. However, at the time, crypto didn’t enthrall him that much, and it took a few years before Sergej assembled his first Ethereum mining farm in late 2016.
He continued Ethereum mining through early 2018 when it became less profitable. By then, Sergej was already hooked by the blockchain and the crypto. He launched a YouTube channel, CryptoManiacs, in which he did live security audits of smart contracts.
During one live stream, Anton Bukov, 1inch’ future co-founder who had been introduced to Sergej by a friend, joined in. The two developers hit it off immediately, and Anton became the channel’s co-host for the next six months.
Subsequently, Sergej and Anton took part in a hackathon in Singapore where they won a prize. Many more hackathons and prizes followed, including two major awards from Ethereum Global, cementing the duo’s reputation in the crypto space.
In May 2019, at a hackathon in New York City, over the course of 60 sleepless hours, Sergej and Anton developed a DEX aggregator solution from an idea that arrived when the hackathon had already been in progress.
Originally, Sergej and Anton considered a solution that provided crypto price info from various sources, enabling a user to find the best rate.
Meanwhile, in the weeks preceding the hackathon, Sergej wrote an arbitrage bot, and that prompted him and Anton to the idea of a crypto exchange aggregator that splits deals across multiple exchanges, offering the user better rates than any individual exchange.
The solution won only a minor prize at the hackathon, but it became the basis for 1inch.
As a passionate enthusiast of blockchain and DeFi, Sergej sees great opportunities in the segment.
“What is cool about this space is that just about anyone can create a unicorn company that will become DeFi’s Amazon or Google,” he says. “Competition here isn’t that tough as lots of talented developers are comfortable at the tech giants and they don’t want to put their stability at risk. Those who do take risks have much higher chances for a great reward.”