[VenturePunk #2] How to Thrive in Web3 During Crypto Winter
Web3 in the Face of Uncertainty
Picture this: you’re a year from the all-time highs of the last bull market. Fraud at a massive scale is uncovered in (albeit more centralized side of) the industry. You anticipate regulators, who don’t know the difference between CEX and DEX, are coming for all of our throats. Prices, which were recently at a slow but steady climb, are now coming down violently.
It’s as if someone cast Meteora on the whole industry.
Crypto Winter. Let’s talk about it. If you’ve recently entered the industry, quit a full-time job in pursuit of web3 fully, or if you were considering either of these - how do you weather the storm?
First off, we know it can be petrifying. Going through your first Crypto Winter can be tough. Having been through three cycles of it, here’s my advice:
Take a deep breath.
No seriously, calm down.
web3 is in its nascent stage as a technology (forget about as an industry)
Each growth cycle starts because we, as a community, discover a new amazing use case for web3. The hype grows incredibly as people rush to further elaborate and give their own spin to that use case… until we inevitably lose track of what’s important. Aaaaand ultimately prices plummet for a little while.
That is, until the next killer use case emerges!
So how do you keep yourself sane and survive the bear market, and how do you do it while also positioning yourself for success in the web3 ecosystem? Here are 4 lessons I’ve picked up along the way.
1. 👩🏾🎓 🧑🎓Learn as much as possible (and don’t stop!)
The best way to future-proof your career is to make sure you have a comprehensive understanding of the technology.
If you’re fresh into the industry, read the white papers of all the major protocols, build things on top of them, join the community and attend (or watch the recordings of) as many events as you can.
Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you, and learn from them. Find a mentor in the space - reach out to leaders of various protocols/projects directly. Join their Discords and ask questions.
Web3, and blockchains in general, all work differently at some level… which is to say each one has its own strengths and weaknesses (why else would there be so many?). Grok what things make them unique, what the trade offs are, and why.
Now let’s say that you’ve been in the industry for a while. Is all this advice still relevant?
Of course. It’s just as important to keep up with all of the new developments as they happen. Whether it’s a new L2, a social graph protocol (Hello, Lens!), large updates to the EVM (EIP-4844 or EIP-4484 anybody?), ways to build contracts (Diamonds?), improved tooling, or just killer new marketplaces for goods and services. You need to keep your knowledge fresh.
This has the added benefit of keeping you excited and engaged with the technology, as well as ensuring you don’t become irrelevant. Staying up to date with the trends also allows you to be able to better predict which technologies/protocols will succeed and which ones will fail (spoiler alert: a fair amount will fail).
Which leads into the next point:
2. 🫂Interact with people in the space
Build your network. Go to meetups, online chats, Twitter (especially Twitter), Reddit, Telegram, Discord, and anywhere else you can think of. Talk to as many people as you can, learn about what they do, what they like and don’t like. You can’t predict the future, but you can put yourself in a good position to capitalize on it when it comes.
Right now the industry is still pretty small and it’s filled with a lot of wicked smahht people. Very few of the most successful projects are built by a single person, so you could be the missing piece that makes a successful one shine.
Be patient. This is a marathon, not a sprint. It might take awhile to really figure out what niche you want to fit into, but you will figure it out. Think about what facet of a decentralized internet fascinates you the most and seek out people working on those problems.
3. 🛠️ Buidl often
Build things on top of protocols, learn about the shortcomings, report them. Contribute to open-source projects and/or build a portfolio of work to show people. If you want to work with a certain protocol, prove that you understand how it works and what it’s good at by actually using it. If you want to work with a certain team, prove that you’re a good fit by contributing to their project.
If you’ve been in web3 for awhile and already have ideas for your own cool projects, start it. Like now. It doesn’t matter if it’s a decentralized twitter clone, or a dapp that allows users to bet on the weather. Anything you build on Ethereum (or any other blockchain for that matter) will be a valuable addition to the space. We don’t know what works yet and what doesn’t, so every project is important.
And that’s not to mention the most important part about doing it right now: the projects built during every bear market are the same projects that cause the following bull market. I mentioned it in the last section, but I’ll reiterate it here: your career will be better positioned to capitalize on the future when you build right now. Whether that means working on a project that’s ginormously (sic, bruh) successful next bull run or having the required experience to join another team that is.
4. 🤑 Forget about prices
You might have heard this one before, but it really is the most important piece of advice. A lot of people come into this industry for the money, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. But if your only focus is on price action, you’re going to be blinded to the actually useful projects that have long-term impact but little short-term gain.
Imagine the landscape: it’s late 2018 and you’re still holding your bags left over from the peak of the 2017 bull market. You once felt like royalty; you now debate getting a second job at McDonalds to make ends meet (not seriously, but still). Every day is different, but only in name– each one filled with computer screens and fixated on price charts. This obsession is bundled with a lot of pain. How can you focus on your career and cool projects this space needs, if you’re too focused on price?
I went through this, to some degree, for a while. Eventually I sat down and reevaluated my beliefs about what the ecosystem provided and if it lost any of its luster. Was I there for the price? Was I there for the tech? It wasn’t long before I came to my senses and realized that nothing intrinsically changed. Web3 is the future and it will have its time in the sun again.
I mean… I was right.
Ask any veteran of this industry and they’ll say the same thing: this is just how crypto works.
This is your chance to ignore price, for a while, as you build the next great protocol/platform/product in web3.
You got this. Now get to it.