Letter from the Editor, Probably Nothing | Dec 26, 2021

Letter from the Editor, Probably Nothing | Dec 26, 2021

Pairs well with champagne or eggnog

This post first appeared in the weekly Developer DAO newsletter, here.

With the newsletter team taking a well-deserved break this holiday, I thought I’d share some personal thoughts on where we are and where we’re going. Everything to follow is my own personal view, and may or may not reflect the views of other Developer DAO members - core team included…

We maintain a pretty enthusiastic tone here in Probably Nothing. It’s easy to do! We get to chronicle the measureless talent and potential within the organization, and our sponsors want to be involved with an eagerness that sometimes makes it feel like the whole world supports our mission. But many of us are also noticing a groundswell of anti-crypto/anti-web3 sentiment. So, I’m hoping to plot our coordinates in the movement without getting too bogged down in debate. Maybe that way every 🟢dev will feel more equipped when a concerned netizen goes off at the New Year’s party.

My own observation is that these critical voices are mainly well-meaning but a bit uniformed, and amplified by a few influential figures (Hi, Jack 👋). The prevailing concerns are mainly environmental impact, centralization, commodification, and scams. Most of us can agree that these are all things worth caring about. If that’s the conversation you find yourself in, I recommend acknowledging the concern and trying to shift the discourse in a more constructive direction. Sure, you can share some examples of how their [very valid] concerns are being addressed by Web3 thought leaders. e.g. environmental impact -> Proof of Stake; commodification -> hybrid solutions like Snapshot that don’t require any spend at all. But let’s zoom out…

Instead of just defending the tech or expounding on the potential, I’d start with mobile phones. A lot of us have a love/hate relationship with them. There’s no question that smartphone tech is invasive. Most people simply don’t have the patience to be privacy-cautious on an Android or iPhone, and governments and large corporations exploit us for it. There’s also plenty of room for environmental and human rights concerns thanks to dependencies on rare earth minerals and cheap labor. On the other hand, mobile tech is letting billions of people leapfrog traditional internet access. Why is that important? People in the most remote parts of the world are enjoying unprecedented access to education, markets, and community!

Web3 offers a similar proposition. Yes, the VCs are on to us. Yes, this technology can be used for nefarious purposes. But as with all paradigm-shifting innovations, to overcome the risks we must focus on empowering the masses to use the technology for good. That’s where Developer DAO comes in.

Our genesis tokens are called Devs for Revolution. One must look no further than the DAO’s mission to understand why: “Developer DAO exists to accelerate the education and impact of a new wave of web3 builders.”

Education is not in itself revolutionary, but in Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Paolo Friere lays out a framework for revolutionary education, and he offers this warning:

“There's no such thing as neutral education. Education either functions as an instrument to bring about conformity or freedom.”

We’re not here for the tech giants hoping to monetize our every interaction, or for the governments that would put our every transgression on the blockchain. We’re here to develop new buidlers who will make vital services more available; who will make instability more navigable; who will make our lifestyles more sustainable.

We can’t control what bureaucrats and oligarchs do with the blockchain. What we can do is foster a generation of Web3 developers that harness this revolutionary technology for public benefit. To their credit, the leadership at Developer DAO makes a point of focusing not just on education but also on the DAO creating public goods. This vision, in my opinion, justifies all the optimism and enthusiasm.

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While we sip our wintery drinks and await the release of $CODE, keep this in mind: the next season in our DAO doesn’t just bring new governance mechanics. It will open up our community to a much larger audience, eager to participate and impressionable to our collective values. With that in mind, I hope we can all recharge this holiday, and come back ready to work towards the revolutionary potential that got us excited about this crazy experiment in the first place.