Five things I've learned in Cryptoland

Thursday 07 April 2016

I’ve recently celebrated my second year working in Cryptoland. It’s been a fun time, and I’ve seen plenty of ups and downs - of markets, coins and communities. Here are just a few of the things I’ve learned...

1. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

Yup, it’s still the Wild West out there. Things are improving from the good ol’ days of 2014 and before, but there are still plenty of scams about, not to mention common or garden overenthusiasm. It looks like speculative bubbles and fraud are going to be a feature of crypto life for some time to come. 

2. Just because it looks too good to be true, doesn’t mean it’s not true

As a counterpoint to that, it’s easy to be overly cynical. This is some amazing technology we’re dealing with here, after all, and there are some people and organisations doing some remarkable stuff. Some people have got so jaded with all the broken promises and failures out there that their default position becomes one of suspicion. At that point, you might as well pack your bags and head back to fiatland.


Happy birthday me. I think I know that guy on the bottom right from

3. Reputation is king. Invest in people not projects.

So, how do you tell the difference? All of this is a good reason to invest in people rather than protocols. Obviously the tech is important, but if you’re going to be pouring time, effort and often money into a project, you’ve got to make sure the people behind it are solid. It doesn’t matter how good the technology is if you don’t have the right people to complete it and drive it forwards. A team who know what they’re doing and are passionate about the project is a non-negotiable. TL;DR: ‘Because crypto!’ doesn’t cut it any more.

4. It’s ok to say no. It might even be smart.

It’s easy to end up with fingers in a lot of pies. And when you’re working with people all over the world in decentralised communities, you can find your boundaries get tested pretty thoroughly. There’s no way you can do everything (believe me, I’ve tried, and the results weren’t pretty). Pick your key projects and focus on them. To paraphrase Parks and Rec’s Ron Swanson: ‘Don’t half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing.’ Except it will probably be something like 10 things rather than 20 things… And take a break sometimes. Future you will thank present you for it.

5. Keep an open mind.

There are a huge number of cool initiatives going on in crypto, and a huge amount of misinformation. It’s easy to become tunnel-visioned and close yourself off to new ideas for one reason or another - often because of the propaganda. Take another look and make up your own mind. Unless it's something like Paycoin.

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