Who is Matthew DC: Life Before Crypto

Due to the length of this post (already at 6 pages), I have broken it down into several parts. This post is Part 1 of an ongoing series I am writing to introduce myself and my crypto journey in a way that will hopefully help to demonstrate what I bring to the table and how I can help improve ARK moving forward.

This is me! Get used to this face, you’re going to be seeing a lot of it, lol.

Out with the old, In with the new!

Nice to meet you! I’m Matthew Cox, but you may know me as Matthew DC or GreXX depending on how we met. I’m 36 years old, I have 3 kids, I’m happily married, and I just moved back home to Michigan from Hawaii.

If you aren’t aware, I recently left 17 years of federal service to join ARK full time as Chief Strategy Officer. I will get into what that means to me and some of my initial goals in a separate post, but as I plan to use my personal blog more to express some of my thoughts and ideas, I thought a proper introduction was in order.

This post will serve as a brief introduction to who I am, some professional background, and my crypto journey that led me from Bitcoin noob in 2010 to C-Level executive in one of the top projects in the industry today.

Professional Background

My personal journey started when I joined the United States Air Force in May of 2001. Over my 17 year career, I spent all 17 years assigned to a 3-letter agency that you all know very well (and most likely despise, lol). While I won’t comment at any point on my employment there or any of the work I contributed to, I will tell you that I enjoyed the work, but the politics of it all can be tiring.

During my 17 years I served in various job roles and accumulated professional and formal education in the fields of Signals Intelligence, Protocol Analysis, Network Engineering, Intrusion analysis, Incident Response, Project Management, and general organizational management and supervision. I have a formal degree in Intelligence Studies and completed 2/3rds of bachelor’s degrees in both Cybersecurity and Communications that maybe I will complete at some point if I find time.

During my time with the Government, I served in a wide range of leadership roles where I managed everything from 4-man teams to Directorate level organizations consisting of over 100 personnel conducting daily intelligence and cybersecurity operations. I have served in positions with job titles in Signals Analysis, Protocol Analysis, Intrusion Analysis, and spent the first roughly 12 years as a technical analyst managing small teams before moving to more supervisory and leadership positions for the last 5. My most recent position was serving as the Section Chief of Cyber Defense Operations for the site where I worked.

I have also served as a technical training instructor and have over 10,000 podium hours of instruction for a formally accredited (ACE) curriculum where I also contributed to extensive curriculum development efforts in areas related to electrical engineering, modulation, multiplexing, signal theory, error detection & correction codes, and taught topics on encryption, network topologies, and network protocol analysis.

Side Hustles

In addition to my technical background, I feel like I’ve always been an entrepreneur at heart. I have had multiple side businesses throughout the last 20 years and was constantly drawn to the business side of things. I built my first commercial website at the age of 13 (yes, that’s around 1995), for the Health Department of the State of Illinois. My grandfather was the director and offered to buy me a Sega Dreamcast if I would build them a website. In retrospect, I may have undersold my first deal but you live and you learn. It was simple HTML at the time (CSS wasn’t in use yet), but I would say it started my career and love for business.

I ran a web design business in the early 2000s for fun. I once built a website about ceiling fans that I then sold for $3,000 (10x ROI due to ad revenue) just to win a bet with a friend. While running my web design business, I also worked as a freelance writer, editor, and helped ghost write several books. I also contributed to a few now-defunct blogs about tech, gaming, and other various areas and this experience really began my love for writing, just not necessarily writing for everyone else.

In 2015 I co-founded a cybersecurity training company in Colorado that was licensed to teach certification courses from companies like CompTIA. We did night and weekend classes for working professionals to help them get started in the industry. We got licensed by the state of Colorado to accept funding from the state to teach as part of their work training program for those leaving the military or on unemployment. Being involved in the small business community was a great experience and if you ever get the chance, Colorado as a whole, but specifically the Denver and Colorado Springs areas are amazing places to live and work!

My more recent and probably more well known position was as the co-founder of Crypti where I served as Director of Communications and by necessity at times, Community Manager. I will get more into that experience later.

I say all of this to show you that my background in tech and business is wide reaching and I have experience in many areas. I also want people to understand that while Bitcoin was my first introduction to blockchain, my interest in encryption, cryptography, and many of the principles at work in blockchain goes back much farther.

Conclusion

This is the first post in a series introducing my background and what I hope to bring to the table for ARK. In this post, we got into the basics of my professional background and my life prior to crypto. In the next post, I will talk about my Bitcoin journey and the genesis of Crypti.

As always, thanks for reading!