Neil Patel

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Eric Chen, the visionary behind Injective, has a remarkable story that spans continents and industries. From his early years in China and Colorado to his ventures in the crypto world, Eric’s journey is a testament to resilience, innovation, and a forward-thinking mindset.

In this interview, we delve into his life, his inspirations, and the creation of Injective, a groundbreaking blockchain platform. Eric talks about how his long-term view kept him going despite getting off to a slow start. And, how he knew his vision went way beyond the initial hurdles.

Listen to the full podcast episode and review the transcript here.

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Early Life and Formative Years

Eric’s journey began in China, but his family moved to Boulder, Colorado, when he was just a baby. Although he doesn’t recall much of his early childhood in China, he has fond memories of his time in Colorado.

The small, close-knit community of Boulder provided a nurturing environment that played a significant role in shaping his worldview. However, his life took a drastic turn when his family relocated to Hong Kong.

The bustling urban environment of Hong Kong was a stark contrast to the serene surroundings of Boulder. Adjusting to this new world was challenging, but it broadened his perspective, exposing him to different cultures and ways of thinking.

A Global Perspective

Eric’s unique upbringing in both the United States and Asia gave him a global perspective. He developed a keen awareness of the differences in technology adoption between these regions.

In the US, he observed firsthand the rapid advancement and availability of new technologies, while in Asia, he noticed a lag in the adoption of these innovations.

Or worse, as Eric notes, “technology ends up being like a localized Asian counterpart of the similar type of technology that shows up in everyone’s daily lives instead of the original innovation.”

This awareness of technological disparities sparked his interest in computers and the internet. In Hong Kong, access to the latest tech was limited, which led Eric to explore every corner of the internet.

This early exploration laid the foundation for Eric’s future endeavors in the tech world. In retrospect, he realizes that he didn’t know the implications. He only knew which tools to use and some of the concepts and primitives within the open web ecosystem.

While still in high school, Eric moved back from Hong Kong to Northern California, where he found himself immersed in a vibrant tech scene.

Surrounded by peers and even their parents who were actively coding, Eric eagerly participated in hackathons. This experience not only sparked his interest in programming but also helped him connect with his new community.

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From Tech to Finance and Back

Despite his burgeoning interest in technology, Eric decided to pursue finance in college, seeking a fresh perspective outside the tech bubble. He recalls wondering if the industry was oversaturated and if he would get access to high-value jobs in the marketplace.

In going to college and taking courses, Eric realized that STEM was the most important undergraduate education he could possibly have, and his passion for technology soon resurfaced. In his opinion, the finance-related curriculums offered in business schools were too simple and rudimentary.

Eric realized that the theoretical aspects of computer science, particularly cryptography, were intellectually stimulating and extremely gratifying. It just so happened to be a specific discipline where the prerequisite for a lot of the knowledge was actually pretty easy to grasp and catch up on.

Eric could cover the first year quickly by just focusing and concentrating on the cryptography path. His fascination with cryptography grew, and he immersed himself in research, often losing track of time as he delved into the subject.

This deep dive was the precursor to his eventual venture into the blockchain space.

The Birth of Injective

Eric’s journey took a significant turn in 2017-2018 when the crypto and blockchain space began to gain traction. His research in cryptography led him to explore the practical and real-world applications of theory, specifically diving in further into a cryptographic primitive called verifiable delay function.

Eric’s initial interest was in building a product that other people would use in an open-source way in the real world. As Eric reminisces, the concepts he continued to look into were very groundbreaking and exciting.

This exploration inspired the creation of Injective, a decentralized on-chain exchange mechanism designed to address the limitations of existing decentralized exchanges built on chains like Ethereum.

Although there were existing solutions, they were extremely rudimentary, difficult to use, and not secure. Further, Eric faced problems with addressing an adjustable market at the time.

With his co-founder, Albert Chon, they came up with a solution to utilize the exchange mechanism to address the problems they were facing.

However, the initial development of Injective was challenging. Eric and Albert faced numerous engineering roadblocks and had to be extremely economical with their resources. Eventually, their perseverance paid off, and Injective began to take shape.

Injective Today

Eric explains that Injective has evolved quite drastically away from the initial idea of solely creating a decentralized order book exchange. But, although Injective has evolved, it actually never deviated from its larger mission of what it was trying to do and what it was trying to offer.

Today, Injective has evolved into a comprehensive layer 1 blockchain optimized for financial applications and with a thriving community and ecosystem. The chain facilitates billions of dollars in trading volume and supports numerous applications on its decentralized ecosystem.

At the time of publishing, Injective has reached over $33B in cumulative trading volume and over 700M transactions on-chain. A lot of value is entrenched within the Injective ecosystem.

As Eric explains, the product and tech stack have evolved drastically since the initial concepts six or seven years ago.

Once Eric and Albert completed Binance’s incubation program, while they had $500k to begin working on the protocol, it was the peak of 2018’s crypto winter. As Eric remembers, acquiring venture funding to progress and scale up was very difficult.

DeFi wasn’t even a term back then, so people were not particularly interested in financial applications or financial utilities in an on-chain fashion. DeFi started to pick up sometime in 2020. That’s when Eric and his team built the initial demo to test applications and got a seed funding round.

Fundraising and Sustained Growth

Injective started to progress quickly after that. But by then, Eric had planned for years of runway and longevity and prepared for the worst. Using resources conservatively paid off in a big way.

He has been able to scale the company consistently at its current pace, achieving significant results in a time when his competitors “burned through their treasury.”

Eric reveals how the Injective ecosystem has raised a little more than $56M, helping to ensure that the network is operational for the next five to ten years.

Storytelling is everything that Eric Chen was able to master. Being able to capture the essence of what you are doing in 15 to 20 slides is the key. For a winning deck, take a look at the pitch deck template created by Silicon Valley legend Peter Thiel (see it here), where the most critical slides are highlighted.

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Eric’s Vision for Injective

Eric’s vision for Injective is grand. He envisions a future where Injective plays a crucial role in the global financial system, integrating with major financial institutions and addressing critical issues like the T-plus-2 settlement problem.

Eric’s goal is for Injective to become the backbone of financial transactions, ensuring efficiency and security. He sees a time when some of the most critical staff within financial systems will utilize an Injective network, one way or another.

For instance, the New York Stock Exchange, NASDAQ, CBOE, any type of exchange house for securities derivatives, etc., will sell on top of Injective one way or another via different venues.

As Eric opines, given the cyclical nature of a lot of these rapidly growing technological trends, crypto will have a strong spiking interest that will also taper over time. At times, there might be an overzealous allocation of capital or interest and then a plateau period when it starts to come back down.

Lessons Learned and Future Outlook

Eric’s journey with Injective has been anything but smooth. The early years were marked by financial constraints and the challenges of navigating the nascent crypto industry. However, these hardships instilled a sense of resilience and prudence in Eric and his team.

Eric and Albert learned to plan for longevity, always preparing for the worst while striving for the best. Looking back, Eric believes that the tough times were essential for their growth.

These experiences taught them the importance of being economical and making sound decisions, ensuring the sustainability of their venture.


Eric Chen’s story is a powerful example of how a global perspective, a passion for technology, and a resilient mindset can lead to groundbreaking innovations.

Injective is not just a creation of Eric’s technical expertise but also a testament to his ability to navigate challenges and envision a future where technology drives financial transformation.

As Injective continues to grow, Eric’s journey serves as an inspiration to aspiring entrepreneurs in the tech and crypto spaces.

Listen to the full podcast episode to know more, including:

  • Eric Chen’s upbringing across different countries has given him a unique, globalized worldview.
  • Growing up in Hong Kong, Eric’s early interest in computers was fueled by the challenge of accessing cutting-edge technology.
  • Despite his initial academic foray into finance, Eric’s passion for computer science and cryptography redirected his career path back to tech.
  • The creation of Injective was sparked by groundbreaking cryptographic research and the need for improved decentralized exchanges.
  • During 2018’s crypto winter, Eric and Albert operated economically, prioritizing long-term sustainability over immediate growth.
  • Injective has grown from its original concept to a robust infrastructure for financial applications, facilitating significant trading volumes and transactions.
  • Eric envisions Injective becoming a foundational layer for global financial systems, solving critical issues like T-plus-2 settlement delays.



For a winning deck, see the commentary on a pitch deck from an Uber competitor that has raised over $400M (see it here). 

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Neil Patel

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