I arrived in California on a sunny day in August 2017. Since then, I've experienced the valley to the fullest extent - meeting people, intellectual conversations, pure hustle, conferences, the culture, randomly spending the day in SF, and attending every meetup that seems mildly interesting.
A whole new world in front of me. Having spent the last few years within the crypto ecosystem, there were a lot of people to meet and catch up with.
Over the course of my first two years in the valley, I volunteered at three crypto/blockchain conferences, attended a lot of hackathons, mentored at a couple, and finally won my first hackathon at Berkeley.
Moreover, I had the chance of meeting some cool people and learning a lot through conversations I've had.
Silicon valley is known for two things - startups and the culture, and I was keen leveraging the opportunities to further my knowledge.
I firsthand experienced the culture within the valley - be it people talking crypto, fundraising or tech. While people talking about raising money does sound interesting, I quickly learn't that theres so much more that goes beyond just money. People trying to solve problems, and actually affect change matters so much more.
The cryptocurrency market experienced a multi billion dollar expansion during 2017. General sentiment and enthusiasm surrounding decentralized systems and their growth was extremely positive.
This took a turn when the market started contracting and the SEC cracked down on crypto projects raising money.
It goes without saying that prices are the least important aspect of the ecosystem. The amount of innovation and new kinds of products and protocols popping up is a much more accurate metric that tracks activity in the space.
There have been several narratives that have gained steam.
While some of these narratives do hold a good amount of value, I think of blockchain/crypto as a paradigm shift comprised of several shakeouts and bubbles.
While theres a good amount of discussion over the feasibility of each concept, I think that with time, protocols with true value proposition will experience tremendous growth.
Each shakeout results in getting rid of a certain projects/protocols/methodologies. Simultaneously, a new design pattern or technology takes hold of the mantle and establishes itself as a standard.
Currently, we are on the verge of seeing some interesting projects go live or gain momentum
Whats more important is playing the long game, and creating solutions to real problems, laying down the infrastructure.
Haters gonna hate, potatoes gonnna potate ¯_(ツ)_/¯
The web 2.0 movement catalyzed the social web, while the web3 ecosystem is yet to mature in terms of available infrastructure. On a fundamental level, tokens and cryptoeconomic incentives bring economics into the internet. Bitcoin was the first experiment involving incentive structures, and we now have a bunch of other projects trying to emulate the same, with additional capabilities.
I'm interested in the following through 2019
Having spent two years, spending countless hours over deciding on how to cold email people, and trying to achieve technical sophistication, I've laid out some key takeaways.
It goes without saying, my experiences over the past two years wouldn't be possible without the amazing people that I've met and interacted with, had intellectual conversations, and have gained valuable knowledge from. Be it pointing out something cool, asking me to look into the lightning network, making valuable intros, or giving me feedback on my projects, I've gained a lot and if theres one thing I can do, is pay it forward - Cory Levy, Woodrow Levin, Phil Francis, Haseeb Qureshi