The Download: Evan Neal, Co-Founder, Key Consulting

Evan Neal is a serial entrepreneur working to simplify cryptocurrency for the non-expert user. Evan began his work in cryptocurrency and blockchain during the earliest stages of the technology. His work has always focused on enabling investors interested in cryptocurrency/blockchain to participate in the benefits of these technologies without having to become experts themselves.

He began mining Bitcoin in 2012 and was featured in the Raleigh News & Observer in 2014 for his role as a crypto-mining pioneer. He co-founded the first open source Ethereum mining pool in 2016 and formed Durham-based Merito, Inc., in 2017 to build and manage a software platform that paid gamers for utilizing their computers to mine crypto.

In 2018 Evan formed Merito Alpha I, LLC, a company that focused on mining and investing in cryptocurrency. He recently served as Chief Strategy Officer for ZebPay, the Mumbai-based cryptocurrency platform he helped re-launch in early 2020. Evan believes that the evolving landscape in cryptocurrency/blockchain offers new opportunities and is participating in this new entity to help make those strategies available to interested investors.

Most recently, he has launched Key Consulting to help individuals and businesses invest in or work with blockchain and cryptocurrencies.

  1. What is in your pockets?

I just carry my iPhone, two debit cards and my ID.

  1. What exciting thing has happened recently for you or your organization?

I had the great opportunity of working with ZebPay, the first large-scale crypto exchange in India, for the last two years. It was great to spend time in India, specifically Mumbai and Hyderabad, and I met a lot of great people there and learned a ton personally. It was a really interesting story, because when I joined ZebPay there were just 50 people. At the time trading crypto was actually illegal in India. There was a ban on trading and I think three months into my time there the Supreme Court of India ended up overturning that ban.

It was just a crazy 24/7 working environment. I got really close with my colleagues there and we grew the company from 50 to 200 people in a little under two years. The crypto market has been an exceptional space to be in.

  1. What is your favorite coffee spot?

I enjoy the coffee specials at Namu in Durham. They have an exceptional outdoor space. It’s really nice to take meetings there or just meet up with friends or family.  It’s a great place.

  1. What keeps you up at night?

The crypto market volatility. Being in the crypto industry is always a stressful environment. It operates 24/7 and while you’re sleeping, other countries are waking up and things are happening. Specifically, today, the market’s down dramatically. I get an email every morning at 6 am from a product called CoinTracker with an update on the market. When I’m going to bed at night, one of the last thoughts I typically have is, “What’s that reading going to be like at six in the morning?”

I personally believe in the future it’s going to stabilize, but it might take 10 years or more to get there. At least for now, the crypto market keeps me up at night.

  1. What is your favorite restaurant or happy hour?

Namu. They have the coffee shop and they have the Beer Garden, with an exceptional variety of North Carolina alcohol, beer, and cider. It’s really a Zen experience to be back there in their garden.

  1. What is next for you or your organization?

My main focus is building a new business called Key Consulting. Crypto is an extremely technically difficult thing to be involved with.

I am working with a business partner at Key Consulting to help individuals and businesses with the logistical and technical challenges of investing in or working with blockchain and cryptocurrencies. Our primary focus right now is helping people securely store their crypto. You can use exchanges such as Coinbase, Voyager and Kraken to store your crypto, but there’s a big saying in the industry, which is “Not your keys, not your coins,” and there’s a history of people or exchanges ending up losing significant amounts of other people’s money.

With Key Consulting, I’m trying to empower people to be able to store their own crypto and that’s something that’s difficult to do properly. Another part of the business is helping people who’ve lost access to their crypto to recover their crypto. Setting up your own wallet is a complicated thing to do properly. It seems basic, but unless you’ve had that experience of doing it a hundred times, you can end up making a mistake, and it’s gone.

I’ve had a wealth of experience that I’ve refined over the last eight years and crafted a procedure that we go through to create a new wallet and make sure it’s backed up and secured properly. We’re helping you store your keys safely.

About Brooks Malone 83 Articles
Brooks Malone is a NC CPA and Partner with Hughes Pittman & Gupton, LLP, and leads the Technology practice group. Brooks is also listed contributor to the National Fast Trac Tech Curriculum that was funded by the Kauffman Foundation. Brooks was named one of the 40 Under 40 in May 2005 by the TBJ, received the Outstanding service to Entrepreneurs Award in 2008 by CED, and named to the Leadership Raleigh Hall of Fame in October 2011. Brooks is a graduate of North Carolina State University and is active at American Underground and Raleigh Founded.