Lucas Martin Calderon is the Founder and CEO of Pentestify, which is an automated Post-Deployment Smart Contract Security Detection-Remediation Solution, engineered for DeFi Resilience. Lucas also is the Co-Founder & Technical Writer in Blockchain for Web3 Security News and an Author & Instructor on Blockchain Security at EC-Council. In September 2022, Lucas participated in the third cohort of the DeFi Talents program. We were very happy to have him as one of our great Talents!
A few weeks ago, Lucas sat down with Web3 Talents Community Manager Marcel Grimm to discuss his career, how he got started in Web3, why he joined the DeFi Talents program and the advice he has for people looking to start their career in the Web3 industry.
Thanks for taking the time to talk to us about your professional life and your experiences with DeFi Talents, Lucas. For everyone who does not know you yet, how did your professional journey start and what do you currently pursue as a profession?
My professional journey began as a software engineer at Deutsche Bank, in the heart of London’s financial district. Though it was a role many would covet, my entrepreneurial spirit led me to accept a unique opportunity at STATION F, the world’s largest startup incubator in Paris, as my team and I got accepted. This choice marked the start of my journey into the transformative intersection of artificial intelligence (AI) and smart contract security in ways that I could have not foreseen. This was equally around the time where I got awarded SuperNova Under 30, by Nova Talent, in the realm of cybersecurity and computer science in Spain.
Born from this pursuit was Pentestify, my brainchild and current primary focus. As the founder and CEO, I’ve dedicated myself to creating a pioneering platform that automates the detection of smart contract security vulnerabilities using cutting-edge AI models. With esteemed partners such as the University College London and global tier-1 banks, Pentestify has rapidly evolved into an industry-leading SaaS solution in the blockchain security space.
My international upbringing and education, spanning France, Germany, Spain, and the UK, have indubitably shaped my unique perspective on technology. I’ve always championed a growth mindset, which has been instrumental in my public learning approach, fueling my constant desire to broaden my horizons and master new skills.
As my career progressed, I found myself at the intersection of various ventures, from co-founding Web3Sec, a globally recognized blockchain security news aggregator newsletter, to launching zkToro, a DeFi protocol designed to enhance social trading while preserving user privacy, which I believe will undoubtedly pioneer the field of privacy-enhancing quant trading in the upcoming years.
Besides your professional steps, why did you then decide to apply for the DeFi Talents program and why would you recommend others to apply?
In the world of smart contract security audits at Pentestify, where vulnerabilities are tackled manually and automatically, a pattern emerged – our primary clients hailed from the dynamic realm of decentralized finance (DeFi). This inspired a dual mission: mastering traditional Finance through an online MBA and delving deep into DeFi with DeFi Talents. This proved the pinnacle choice, not only for their expertise but for the community’s contagious energy.
Yet, this journey encompassed more than personal growth; it ignited a desire to master the art of crafting successful online courses, a skill I’m keen to incorporate into my work developing a blockchain and smart contract security bootcamp at Pentestify. The interviews and networking at DeFi Talents have been invaluable in expanding horizons and connections, enriching my path toward securing blockchain innovations.
As I navigate this fusion of Finance and DeFi, DeFi Talents stands as a guiding star, illuminating a future driven by decentralized financial possibilities, while equipping me to steer through the intricate waters of secure blockchain solutions.
Thank you so much for these wonderful words, Lucas! We really do appreciate hearing such positive feedback from our prior Talents!
But as your journey continued, You won a bounty at the hackathon in Paris. Please tell us more about it and how could DeFi Talents help you achieve this success?
Securing the third prize at ETHGlobal Paris was a thrilling milestone for us, recognizing our DeFi protocol, zkToro (formerly HedgeHog), designed for pioneering social trading in the crypto space. While still in development before approaching venture capitalists, this innovative endeavor holds promise. DeFi Talents played a pivotal role in expanding my DeFi horizons. Expert interviews and community interactions showcased the potential, reaffirming our belief in the idea’s impact. Notably, DeFi Talents also fostered connections – a key team member joined via its social media platform, underscoring its power as a catalyst for collaboration and growth.
As you mentioned you constantly desire to broaden your horizons and master new skills. What are your next steps?
In the future, I aim to further solidify my reputation as an authority in the DeFi security and AI fields, not just as the CEO of Pentestify, but also as an influencer, speaker, and thought leader. I plan to attract venture capital for zkToro to foster a thriving platform for quant traders and connectors, all while maintaining Pentestify’s pivotal role in securing the future of web3. I have started to do so already for a year now, having been invited to the world’s leading blockchain security and AI summits as a speaker and expert panelist, like the DeFi Security Summit or DappCon, or asked to speak as a guest lecturer in the world’s best universities in Spain and the UK.
My mission isn’t only about individual success, but also about nurturing a robust and secure DeFi and blockchain ecosystem. I intend to support other startups in the sector, driving innovation and security in the fields of blockchain and AI.
Ultimately, my story is a testament to the power of continuous learning, adaptability, and the courage to take risks. As the DeFi and blockchain landscape continues to evolve at an unprecedented pace, I remain committed to learning, innovating, and paving the way for the future of web3.
Thanks for taking the time to share your journey with us, Lucas!