In 2011 my brother told me about Bitcoin, but I was too busy traveling to look into it.
In 2013, he asked me to help him mine Bitcoin, but I was too busy building my business to look into it. Instead, I simply agreed to pay some of the electricity bills.
In 2015, he urged me to start a crypto-based business with him, but as I hadn’t taken the time to look into it, I didn’t understand the value proposition.
In 2017, my brother passed away and I was forced to look into it.
As I attended to his belongings, I began to see what he saw. I began to understand the importance of what Satoshi had set out to do. As I dove deeper down the rabbit hole I slowly realized the value of blockchain’s immutability. I spent months reimagining my then current startup through the lens of decentralization and entered the crypto scene. Unfortunately, in 2018 when we were pitching VCs in silicon beach and NYC, or attending conferences in Puerto Rico and San Fran, trust in new projects was dwindling.
The industry was coming down from the 2017-2018 ICO hype. And while our project was not a ponzi, it didn’t matter. We would only be able to raise a small round. Knowing it wouldn’t be enough, we declined the funds and shelved the project. It was a great idea, just bad timing.
In early 2019, I shifted my focus back to Volum8, designing and developing web2 solutions; brands, apps and websites. Even though we were building groundbreaking products, winning awards and helping companies grow, something was missing.
For the next year and a half — aside from ‘buying the dips’ and reading the headlines — I had nearly lost touch with the undercurrent of crypto. And deep down, I knew it was where I belonged. The web2 world of websites and apps didn’t carry the same promise for innovation and I knew I had to learn more about the emerging aspects of crypto; DeFi, NFTs, DAOs, etc. The space was moving faster than ever before, making it more difficult to catch up.
So in Q3 of 2020, after a mild Covid depression, I dove into the world of crypto with no intention of ever coming back out. This time, I wasn’t there to pitch. I was there to further my knowledge on what had changed and understand the landscape as completely as possible.
I devoured content at an exhaustive rate. I subscribed to every podcast and youtube personality, cut my DeFi teeth on ethereum and bsc, joined an uncontrollable stream of telegram channels, reviewed smart contracts, explored numerous P2E games, maxxed out my discord servers, researched every L2 and L1 alt, followed prominent CT personalities and FOMO’d into every new NFT mint. I watched my social feeds change from sass ads to the latest I[X]O and was determined to learn from every rug that caught me off guard.
I felt like I had just returned home.
At the beginning of 2021, I spoke with my team to see if we were ready to transition to the wild west of web3, and never look back. To my delight, I wasn’t the only one ready to go. Several of our team members had already been working on tokenomics, NFTs and smart contract development. After a few months, we had a plan, set it in motion, and made it official.
Personal feelings aside, the “why” behind this decision was simple…
Web2 brought us (mostly) open access to information. It created new avenues for commerce, operational tools, social platforms and more. The caveat is that web2 still relies on intermediaries, similar to our financial ecosystem. The outcome is that we don’t truly own anything and are dependent on services (and providers) that retain control over our digital lives.
Web3 changes this. Or at the very least, it provides a viable alternative that we have yet to realize collectively. It is a paradigm shift, and those who understand this know that we are but a minority, albeit rapidly growing. There is still so much work to be done. In this space is where companies like mine thrive; at the edge of innovation, creativity, and technology. It is full of opportunity and as opposed to web2, it has only just begun.
For me, the answer to “why,” is: because it’s required. If we want to take part in building a better future and putting technology to good use, then we need to make the shift. And while I sometimes feel our move to web3 was somewhat late, that’s only because of my early exposure. The truth is that we are still early.
In closing, I’ve written this to premise the changes I’m about to make to my social accounts. I’ve also written it to urge my colleagues to consider the same decision. And if you’re curious, my DM’s are open.