Shi Khai, WEI

Posted on Jan 03, 2022Read on Mirror.xyz

Why I am still in crypto

I picked up my first Satoshis in 2017, largely out of curiosity, and forgot about it until it went on a parabolic run, only to crash in the new year. But I truly took the leap into crypto, or Web3, full time in 2018 with LongHash Ventures. We started off as an accelerator, found our footing in a few ecosystems, and then launched our own fund in 2021.

In these few years, the rosy picture of crypto utopia I initially had has gone far beyond being vandalized. It has been shredded, spat on, trampled, and then somehow, like graffiti transforming cities, emerged as its own form of beauty. Among the scams, speculation, pointless parties and unfulfilled promises, some pulled through to give us glimmers of Web 3.0.

So in this new cycle, I do not wish to be complacent. We should examine why we are still here. This is not meant to be purely rational justification, or factual exploration. It is simply a rambling from my personal experience.

My first instinct is the most irrational one: it feels right. To me, crypto or Web3 has never been just about the tech or money, it is a movement that resonates with a generation. Although the tenets of self-sovereignty, transparency, and openness have been brandished so much they sound trite by now, it truly resonates with me. In a time where it is easier to point fingers at institutions, or “the system” (like capitalism), crypto offers an option for us to create alternatives, and prove that they work. Most will fail, but it empowers, or even compels us to try. You could create banks, governments, non-profits, memes and collectives with its own rules, all enforceable by code.

And it is that potential that evokes in me this sense of adventure. “Only in crypto”, I’d say, while succumbing to the latest meme coin, or ape-ing into the latest LBP or NFT collection. Crypto is fun because it adapts and grows faster than anyone can follow. It challenges me to keep up, and also dream up new ways things could work. By nature, everything in crypto is experimental. How do you value memes, or games with player owned economies? Or a virtually indestructible information storage system? Or irreversible uncensorable ways to interact? What I do know is - value is being created, and it is being distributed at an unprecedented pace to whoever contributes or puts in the work to find it.

And people know it, both intuitively, and rationally when they look at financial gains. I think that is why crypto or Web3 induces a cult-like frenzy. Not all of it is healthy, so to speak, because financial gains also attract scams and over-speculation or undue risk-taking. But there are enough builders, writers, thinkers, gamers, investors, and users to create a world moving critical mass. I remember attending meetups and conferences, or nowadays hanging out on Discord servers, and sometimes feeling… at home. It used to be a weird sense of imposter syndrome, but now I realize it is feeling that I belong. In crypto, more so or more often than on corporate/ political/ random internet platforms, I feel valued, heard, that I am making a difference, alongside strangers I enjoy hanging out with. In this strange corner of the internet, you can find your tribe, and literally create a new future together. Or at least try.

If you want to make money, there are countless ways to do it, arguably safer or easier. If you want to pursue a moral mission, arguably things like sustainability or charitable organizations are more direct ways to do so. But if you want to be in awe every day at the sheer concentration of audacious mind-bending experiments with world-shaking implications, in an environment open to all, there is no place I’d rather be than “in crypto”.

Cover photo credits: Photo by Intricate Explorer on Unsplash