An engineer turned VC’s perspective on the state of development in the Ethereum ecosystem

The power of hackathons & hacker houses / communities

Communal building events are the lifeblood of the crypto ecosystem. You cannot replicate being able to jam in real-time with people on seemingly impossible ideas — and then, working feverishly in a constrained period of time to attempt to make them come to life through code.

People always ask how devs are. But what are they excited about & building?

Being both a builder and a VC gives me the unique opportunity to see founders’ activities from three very different vantage points:

  1. What devs are building
  2. How these devs are pitching their creations to VCs
  3. And what are VCs actually funding
  • Privacy and data protection
  • Enhancing NFTs through financialization, ancillary data, etc
  • Derivation of core DeFi primitives
  • Lowering the barrier to entry for the next 1bn users of crypto
  • Unlocking social & community using new incentive and governance designs
  • SCALE — infrastructure to scale everything: companies (DAOs), networks, and tech stacks

Old theoretical ideas are now finding practical implementations

Another common theme throughout the conference and hackathon was applying old theories and ideas to new problems. This is the basic premise underlying the development of zk-proofs, and their implementations around coordination. It was also the main thesis behind my team’s hack for the DeFi track.

New innovations in developer tooling & what is still missing

If you are building anything to help scale crypto in a meaningful way, I want to talk to you! There is still massive room for growth, especially within dev tooling. That being said, it is mind-blowing how far we have come from the inception of smart contract development in 2015.

  • Insurance products
  • Applied AI for attack vector detection
  • Black swan simulation tests
  • Standardization stacks for common state flows
  • “Front-running-as-a-service” for anomalous transactions
  • Much stronger logging and tracking system for on chain protocols in general

Open-source and community can be your best friend (if you let it)

Web3 is changing our experience with technology in almost every way imaginable. This is a truth that extends from the end user all the way down to the developer enabling the experience.

  1. A highly engaged community in the building process = greater long-term success. While it’s easy to assume that leaving everything open-source risks greater inefficiencies, it’ll only continue to become clear just how inconsequential individual contributions are in comparison to the efforts of the collective. Creating with a community not only builds a better overall product, but makes it much easier to see what is coming next.
  2. Open source is a survival mechanism. If you don’t conform, you will be left behind. Nobody is saying you can’t be protective before launch or create proprietary software, or that you can’t profit off of what you’ve made. But, ultimately the rate of innovation will far outpace your own contributions. You either need to accept the fact that people will fork and build off of you (and find a way to capitalize off of that), or fail. I highly recommend watching this movie to understand why.

Some closing thoughts: Blood in the streets, time to build



Blockchain. Economics. Governance.

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