Diving into web3

A few weeks ago, I decided to reevaluate what I was spending my time on, and crypto naturally emerged as a potential new area of focus. I have been interested in crypto for 4-5 years and optimistic about the long term prospects of the technology, but from afar, I personally struggled to see the substantive use-cases where I would want to contribute.

After immersing myself in crypto for a few days, I had a newfound excitement for the space that I had not previously felt. I am not going to rehash why crypto is important for the future, rather, I want to share a few of the reasons that crypto is exciting me:

  • My interests are much clearer after a few months of exploration: I have previously written about the difficulties I have had figuring out what I was actually interested in. During this time, crypto was just another technology to me. Intellectually it felt interesting, but I can't say that I had any sort of internalization of why I should personally care about it. Now, with a clearer North Star to create systems and infrastructure to facilitate mutually beneficial connections between people, I have a clearer directive for exploring the space with a specific purpose in mind. Further, crypto feels like a unique opportunity to unlock new possibilities within this space.
  • Web2 did not feel aligned with my newfound interests: I have spent the last few months trying to build "Waldo", an idea that took many forms, but was mainly focused on surfacing and connecting the right people at the right time. As I have iterated on Waldo, it has felt increasingly unlikely that what I want to build is feasible given the structure of web2 - data stuck in silos and not owned by users, oversaturation of products and ruthless competition for user attention, and poor incentive design (free products) that is widely accepted as status quo. I wanted to explore what might change in a web3 world that was more open, decentralized, and incentive aligned.
  • More and more interesting people are focusing on crypto: As a heuristic for leading indicators of future progress, I like to consider where people that I find interesting are spending their time. Over the past few months, I have observed more and more of these people declaring that they were beginning to focus on crypto full time. These things are natural in a monster bull run and yes, as was the case in 2017, many people are just looking at crypto as an opportunity to get rich quickly. But it feels like more and more smart people are seeing the potential in crypto and dedicating themselves to building a web3 future.
  • A wave has started, and I want to ride it: Waldo often felt like I was pushing a boulder up a mountain. Making something meaningful is hard, especially when it feels like you are fighting headwinds. I have always wondered what it would have been like to be around silicon valley as the internet was unfolding, and it feels like something similar may be happening with crypto. It has become more clear to me that the proliferation of web3 is inevitable, and I want to understand what new use-cases it will unlock to increase human potential.

In my first week+ of exploring, I allowed myself to mostly wander freely, optimizing for discovery. This has been great, and has helped me get exposure to wide-ranging topics and a preliminary sense of the areas I want to focus (DAOs and social tokens), but moving forward, I want to split my time between:

  1. Understanding the fundamentals of web3: Crypto is complicated, evolving, and dynamic. To truly be able to add value, I want to develop a sound basis of understanding. Borrowing an analogy from Elon Musk, knowledge is like a semantic tree, and I need to understand the "trunk" before I eventually make my way to the branches and leaves.
  2. Find projects to get involved in: My initial intuition tells me that the spaces I am most interested in are DAOs and social tokens. Now, I want to dive deeper within each of these to get a better sense for the people working in these spaces, what is working well and what is not, and what are the most exciting projects being worked on. Hopefully, this will involve talking with smart people in the space and getting the opportunity to understand how they are thinking about things.

I am sharing these thoughts in response to a few pushes I have received in recent conversations to share more and bias towards shipping something. I am not sure what exactly this will look like, but this post feels like a good step in that direction. If you or anyone you know is interested or willing to chat more, I would love to talk!