I was a stranger to the crypto world until April this year. I kept on hearing things like "it's a scam," "what problem does it even solve," "it's a bubble", etc. So why would I even get in?
Except I have come to realize that this is not the case. The crypto world actually turned out to be the most exciting and innovative space I have ever been in.
I learned A LOT, and in this post, I will try to explain my journey and recommendations.
Going down the crypto/web3 rabbit hole
I first started with crypto in April. Back then, I was trading some coins and tokens on exchanges. I didn't know much about crypto at the time; it was internet money that I could potentially make some good returns on. Slowly, I became interested in different cryptocurrencies, like why there were so many and how the price changed; I began to discover crypto Twitter with these questions in mind.
That's when I got interested in NFT's. People were making millions on these jpegs, and all the projects seemed like they were going up. So, I wanted to buy one too.
I didn't have a crypto wallet yet, I was using a centralized exchange platform, and you can't buy an NFT from there (at least not yet). So I set up a crypto wallet and figured out how to buy an NFT. I learned about an NFT marketplace and found a camel avatar with polkadot skin, wearing a suit — love at first sight. 😍
It took me some time to figure out how to buy it, but in the end, I finally bought the camel NFT, and guess what? That was my first "aha moment".
Let me tell you why:
- I now actually owned something on the internet
- I could see the entire transaction and the backend code (smart contract)
- It was such an easy end-user experience (once you pass the onboarding stage)
I was amazed because the first two, ownership and transparency, were truly unique features for the tech world that I was familiar with. The end-user experience was a bonus.
At that point, I decided to dive deeper into the technology and understand what blockchain, web3, nft -basically what all the buzzwords meant.
Something called Web3
In short, web3 is described as the decentralized web; it's still a term under construction. In web3, instead of centralized entities owning and controlling the servers, individual contributors provide the infrastructure.
Here's what got me excited about web3:
- It's primarily open-source, which creates a boost for innovation. In the open-source world, each problem only needs to be solved once. People can then re-use the same code.
- It's creating a decentralized web. Web3 is changing the way the internet is controlled and governed. Today the internet is controlled by centralized cooperations. It has a client-server architecture. A few companies own the servers, which creates a point of centralization. This environment gives the service providers complete control; for example, they can remove users or change the platform. Along with this, the centralized companies own the data and content which users put on their platforms.
- It creates ownership in the digital world, meaning you can own digital goods just like physical goods. No one can take it away from you. It's exciting because, in the real world, we own many items. You probably own the t-shirt you are wearing right now. However, owning stuff in the digital world just wasn't a thing.
Building in Web3
I saw web3 as a new ecosystem creating an environment for developers and creators to experiment, maximizing innovation over profit. That's when I wanted to learn more about the technology stack, especially coming from a software development background. So I started the #100daysofCode challenge for web3. I also used: #100daysofWeb3. Today is day 50—time flies.
I found some great resources and included them below. With them, I created my own token, dApp, NFT collection, and even an NFT game.
Along with starting my developer journey in the space, I learned about communities called Decentralized Autonomous Organization's(DAO's). It's like a real-world community with shared goals that has tokens for governance and incentives. I saw a new DAO being formed called Developer DAO. Eager to learn more about the web3 world, I minted my NFT to join the community. The community aspect of the web3 world was not something I was familiar with, and I suddenly found myself on a Discord server with web3 enthusiasts. Many people were here learning in public and helping each other on the way- I was at the right place. Now the community is forming and I'm very excited to be part of the DAO experiment.
The Dark Side
As optimistic I am about the space, I agree that there are some downfalls. First, the space is very new. Most of the definitions are not even clear yet and the regulatory piece is just being built out.
Here are some of the challenges I faced and lessons learned:
- The onboarding experience and false information - I didn't know where to start. Most articles, podcasts and videos were too advanced for my knowledge; they had too many buzzwords, which I had no clue off. Additionally, I realized that there was too much false information about the crypto world. It was challenging because I had to verify the information from various sources. I put together a collection of resources to give you a head start.
- Some people are in it just to make money - Many decentralized projects become centralized ones, and with such little regulation, there are also many rug pulls. Make sure to do your own research before getting onboard with projects and communities.
- Anonymous projects and people - This is both a curse and a blessing. Being anonymous allows people to do stuff and get away with it. It also means that underrepresented groups can finally have their voice heard. It's best to be cautious, especially when investing money into projects.
🙌 Overall, I believe that the benefits of web3 outweigh the downside. It's a different architecture and is being built right now. I'm still here, choosing to dig deeper and ask more questions.
How to start in the web3 world?
This is a basic introduction based on my experience. Get on web3 twitter you will find some great advocates for the web3 world.
1. Start by doing
Without using the tools, it's challenging to make a case on why this stuff is essential or even how it works.
Now, I am not a financial advisor and by no means suggest that you go ahead and buy an NFT. But here are some things that you can do:
- Setup a crypto wallet- Metamask is one of the most popular wallets on Etheruem. Phantom is another on Solana.
- Interact with dApp's(Decentralized Applications) - You can exchange some cryptocurrencies, vote in governance proposals with your tokens, lend your assets etc. An application called RabbitHole has some challenges for you to get started in the crypto world.
- Join a DAO-DAO stands for decentralized autonomous organizations. A DAO is like a real-world community that has a common goal and governance mechanism via tokens. Come and join us at Developer DAO. We're a community of web3 enthusiasts where you can learn, build and create connections in web3. Check out Developer DAO on Twitter for more details.
2. Read, research, repeat
There is so much to learn and too many myths! False information is one of the main challenges in the crypto world.
Make sure to spend some time and do your own research. Here are some great content that can help you.
- Look into the blockchains and protocols websites to get more information. Here is the Ethereum webpage where you can find many resources from the Ethereum whitepaper to coding guides.
- Use Web3 by wesley. A curated overview of the web3 world. I highly recommend bookmarking this. It has most of the resources I have included here and many more.
- A comprehensive guide of web3 resources by Sam. It aggregates the best web3 resources on Hashnode.
- My favorite podcasts: Bankless, The Defiant and Real Vision.
- Consensys Web3 Report: introduction to the web3 world and trends in Summer 2021.
Now that you have a basic understanding of the web3 space, it's time to start building.
Here are some of the amazing resources which have guided me:
- Buildspace: Learn about web3 by creating projects. There are different projects that you can sign up for and its all free.
- Nader Dabit Youtube: Tutorials, tech talks and many more.
- Defining the Web3 Stack: great to understand the technology stack
- The Complete Guide to Full Stack Ethereum Development: with React, Ethers.js, Solidity, and Hardhat
- Cryptozombies: learn to write smart contracts in Solidity or Libra.
The web3 world may or may not live up to its promise; I sure hope it does! It's fair to say that I'm hooked to the promises and fundamentals of the space. And the culture!
If you have any questions, drop them below or feel free to reach out to me from Twitter!
Also, about my camel NFT, it didn't go up in price. But that's okay, it onboarded me to the web3 world, and I still think it's pretty cute. 🐪