KOL’s Journey: How to Become a Crypto Influencer

I never intended to become a KOL, and the term itself feels a bit cheesy.

People often have a negative view of influencers and the influencer economy. I understand why, as the crypto world is filled with scammers who exploit their followers, ultimately causing them harm.

However, not all KOLs are scammers. Money is not my motivation for posting on Twitter. I initially started posting out of boredom during the bear market in 2022.

Now, I’m bored again, so I asked on Twitter what to write about next. The most popular suggestion was to share insights on becoming a KOL, how to grow an audience, and the secrets of crypto KOLs and marketing. With over 100,000 followers on Twitter, I see this as a great opportunity to share something different.

In this article, I’ll briefly share my story, provide tips on growing your audience, and discuss popular monetization models, including pricing.

Do You Want to Be a KOL?

When the market crashed in late 2021, I was working at a Korean CEX. Suddenly, the crypto market became unusually quiet.

For months, I went to the office just to scroll through Twitter, with nothing exciting happening. Worse, my boss was pitching the CEX, so there was hardly any real work to do.

This was my second bear market, so I knew a new bull market was on the horizon.

The bull market of 2020-2021 started with DeFi, but few understood how it worked. Most traded on CEXs, not knowing how to use MetaMask. When DeFi summer hit, those with basic DeFi knowledge reaped huge rewards. I started yield farming YFI on Curve early on, with APYs reaching a staggering 10,000%. What a time…

My plan was to keep researching to find the next opportunity early.

I initially wrote on Twitter to take personal notes and prove my understanding of the topic. That’s why my Twitter name is “DeFi Research.”

Tip: If you think you truly understand a concept, try writing it down. You’ll find it much harder to explain clearly on paper than in your head.

Still bored, I wrote a large research piece on the roadmaps of 25 DeFi protocols to identify common trends. I spent a week on this single post.

I feared it might flop. After investing so much time in an article, you really want it to succeed.

I got lucky; the post quickly went viral. DeFi Edge, Miles Deutscher, DeFi Dad… many DeFi influencers interacted with it. It remains one of my top 5 liked posts (244k views).

I had only 300 followers then. Soon, my follower count surged, reaching about 3,000 from that post—a 10x increase!

Tip: Quality content matters on Twitter. Viral posts can be accidental, but sustained growth requires insightful and unique content, which takes time and effort. Some posts will fail, but successful ones attract quality followers.

I continued to study and share content on tokenomics, stablecoins, and SBTs weekly, quickly reaching 10,000 followers.

Tip: Consistency is key. Once you gain momentum, keep it up. Otherwise, Twitter’s algorithm will “forget” you, and your posts won’t appear in others’ feeds.

The first milestone achieved, the first 10,000 followers are the hardest. After that, you can cover a broader range of topics. Next, I’ll share more tips on growing your audience.

Why Write on Twitter (Even if You Don’t Want to Be a KOL)

Two other reasons prompted me to start writing on Twitter: my girlfriend and Naval Ravikant. Naval completely changed my perception of “success.” He shared his success tips in his famous “How to Get Rich (without getting lucky)” post.

The post was great, but the book is more detailed. You can read his book here.

Interestingly, as an experiment, I wrote a viral post about how I got rich through crypto, which earned me thousands of followers.

In short, Naval teaches people to pursue wealth, not to become rich. By arming yourself with specialized knowledge and leveraging the internet, you can create wealth, vastly broadening career opportunities.

This specific knowledge is very specific and creative, driven by curiosity and passion. You can apply it through coding and media, creating software and media that work for you even while you sleep.

But here’s the unexpected part for me:

“If you can’t code, write books and blogs, make videos and podcasts.” This will ultimately allow you to apply “specific knowledge with leverage and get what you deserve.”

In the attention economy, having an audience is an advantage.

Our attention is limited, while information is infinite. With so much information vying for your attention, your attention becomes more valuable and harder to capture.

For crypto projects, capturing your attention can mean the difference between success and failure of the protocol, with technical features being secondary.

If this isn’t an attention game, what is it? Valuations are largely driven by attention, and crypto remains 99% speculative.

That’s why I support Polkadot adopting influencer marketing. I believe it’s the most effective way to spread information to native Web3 users. Polkadot’s problem is poor execution.

Since crypto is heavily driven by narratives and sentiment, crypto companies want to collaborate with influential individuals.

As Edgy said, this leverage makes it easier for individuals to get jobs and deals, reducing reliance on a single income source.

In short, Naval’s book explained everything to me:

  • I was bored but curious about crypto, so I started researching, which helped me build specific knowledge.
  • Since I can’t code, I chose to write to grow my audience and gain influence.
  • As my audience grew, I found multiple ways to monetize.
  • For me, crypto is like a game. (As a teenager, I played Lineage 2. Gaining followers on Twitter is like leveling up in the game, and money in crypto is like Adena, the in-game currency. Being a KOL is like being a hero in Lineage, expanding your influence.)

Tip: What are you truly curious about? Long-term, you need curiosity to stay motivated.

Monetization Models

Before sharing tips on gaining followers, I want to explain an important reason to become a KOL: making money.

This is a major concern for many KOLs. Monetization is harder than attracting an audience and followers.

A few months after I started writing, I quit my 9-to-5 job. It was the best feeling ever.

I went to a café, opened a Notion sheet, and listed all popular models KOLs use to make money. My first idea was to find investment opportunities for VCs while learning about great protocols in the crypto space. Long story short, I ended up with a blog, pitch deck, Instadapp ambassador position, and my KOL marketing agency, Pink Brains.

Besides salary, I have at least five income streams (including airdrops).

Note: This Notion sheet is self-made and hasn’t been updated for a year. So, it’s incomplete and has many typos.

Here are the most popular monetization models for crypto KOLs:

Paid Posts:

Simple but can harm your reputation.

One bad collaboration with a dubious crypto project can ruin your reputation, so ensure the project is credible. Accounts with fewer than 10,000 followers rarely attract mainstream projects, while larger accounts get overwhelmed, making research time-consuming.

Compensation varies by private negotiation, KOL’s reputation and influence, and KOL’s knowledge of other rates. For KOLs with fewer than 20,000 followers, post prices typically start at $500, but for those with tens of thousands of followers, post prices can start at $3,000-$5,000. Mainstream projects carry less reputation risk, so fees are usually lower.

Compensation changes with market trends, whether bullish or bearish.

Blog Sponsorship:

Sponsored sections in blog articles. Prices range from hundreds to thousands of dollars, depending on subscriber count. A 150-word sponsorship in a blog article is expected to be over $1,000.

Featured Blog Posts: One well-known KOL I know charges $15,000 for a dedicated blog post, but usually, a blog post is much cheaper.

Paid Subscriptions: Unpopular because it limits KOL growth. You can earn more from the above two methods. For instance, my annual pre-tax income from paid subscriptions is $13,000.

KOL Private Investments:

Increasingly popular among KOLs. Projects like this model because KOLs voluntarily engage without paying fees for posts.

Investment amounts typically range from $1,000 to $20,000 per KOL.

Better terms than most VCs regarding unlock periods and valuations.

Requires you to post about the project, usually a few tweets per month.

High earning potential. Previously considered almost risk-free due to short unlock periods and low valuations. Now different due to low circulation and high FDV tokens being constantly sold.

Advisor/Ambassador Roles:

Both have minimum monthly posting requirements and are long-term. Compensation usually in project tokens, while paid posts on Twitter use stablecoins. Compensation varies, but typically $5,000-$10,000, even $15,000 monthly.


I like referral models that benefit both parties. Airdrops fit well. Another common one is CEX rewarding referrers with a portion of fees from new users. Income varies.

Dumping Tokens on Followers:

Buy tokens, then recommend them to your followers. Very common, even among “most respected” KOLs on Twitter.


KOLs have even more monetization avenues, such as becoming representatives for DAOs; the upper limit of your monetization ability depends on your creativity.

Finding profitable models takes time. It took me nine months and over 40,000 followers on Twitter before landing my first blog sponsor. Instead of posting paid content (except for one post for PancakeSwap V3 launch), I started a KOL agency, Pink Brains.

Interestingly, I’ve earned more through paid posts than through our KOL agency, with less effort. However, I’m more focused on growing Pink Brains than just making money.

How to Expand Your Audience

This topic could fill a blog post on its own, and you can find many relevant threads on Twitter, like Edgy’s. Here are my personal tips simplified:

1. Start with a Niche:

Begin by focusing on a specific niche or even a single protocol, then become an authority in that field. Write guides, share updates, engage with the core community, and offer your insights.

Ensure genuine passion drives your efforts, not just a sense of obligation.

Expand your scope as you grow: from a single protocol → similar protocols → DeFi → cryptocurrency → beyond.

2. Leverage Your Strengths:

Identify what you excel at—whether it’s on-chain trading, creating memes, or hunting airdrops. Ideally, combine multiple skills to make yourself indispensable.

For instance, CC2 Ventures shares airdrop guides while actively participating in those airdrops.

3. Provide Value First:

Initially, offer value to your audience without expecting immediate returns. Write guides, share insights, and build connections with like-minded individuals.

Monetization will follow, but rushing into paid posts prematurely can hinder long-term growth.

For example, ELI5 of TLDR grew to 13,000 followers by commenting on popular posts.

4. Use Ticker Symbols Over Hashtags:

Avoid overusing hashtags, as it can make your posts look like spam. Instead, use ticker symbols relevant to the tokens or projects you discuss.

5. Consistent Branding:

Choose a compelling profile picture and stick with it. NFT avatars like Pudgy Penguins can attract community members and boost your follower count, though some NFTs can be pricey.

6. Experiment with New Content:

Yesterday’s success might not guarantee tomorrow’s. Stay ahead by evolving with crypto trends, reshaping your content continuously.

7. Tag Experts Sparingly:

When mentioning experts at the end of your posts, avoid over-tagging the same individuals repeatedly, as it can be off-putting.

8. Avoid Meaningless Posts:

Thoughtful engagement is an art form that requires intelligence and expertise. Prioritize quality over vanity metrics to attract valuable followers.

9. Use Writing Tools:

Tools like Typefully can aid in composing posts, improving grammar, leveraging AI for brainstorming, and tracking data. Analyze what type of content resonates best with your audience and adjust your strategy accordingly.

10. Engage Authentically:

Respond to comments, join discussions, and show appreciation to your followers. Community building is a two-way street.

11. Explore Other Platforms:

Start building your audience on platforms like Farcaster, Debank, or Lens, where competition may be less fierce. Once you have a stable fan base, bring them over to Twitter.

12. Avoid Shortcuts:

There are no quick fixes. Avoid engagement-bait tactics like like-for-like exchanges, as they distort engagement metrics and can harm your influence in the long run.


Ultimately, success hinges on your unique insights, writing skills, and consistent effort. It took me two years to reach 100,000 followers.

Unfortunately, growing a following is more challenging than ever, with fewer newcomers in Crypto Twitter. The Twitter algorithm favors recommended features over direct account follows.

I recommend following Alex to understand changes in the Twitter algorithm and how to adapt for audience expansion.

How to Pitch on Twitter

A side effect of becoming a KOL is enhanced sales skills, not just due to a larger audience.

I receive dozens of DMs daily but can only respond to a few. Unfortunately, I can’t reply to every message, as it’s time-consuming and many are not meaningful.

Most KOLs face this. The primary reason for non-response is lack of mutual engagement: if I’m not following anyone who follows you, you might get passed over.

So, whether you’re a KOL, developer, researcher, company employee, or business developer looking to connect on Twitter, gaining followers is essential.

I receive many sales pitches daily, teaching me how to pitch. Here are some tips:

  • Keep it concise; long messages may get skipped.
  • Introduce yourself, state your purpose, and emphasize your value.
  • Avoid putting links in the first message, especially Calendly links!
  • Be persistent yet polite.
  • No reply? Your pitch may not align with my needs; please don’t take it personally.
  • Nothing’s worse than a Calendly link in the first message!

In conclusion, this is just my journey; yours will be different.