Each of us has our own unique life experience, which gives us our own unique prism through which we see the world. As such, given the density of Crypto, when each of us looks at Crypto through our prism, we each see something different. It reminds me of the parable of the 6 blind wise men & the elephant:
A group of blind men heard that a strange animal, called an elephant, had been brought to the town, but none of them were aware of its shape and form. Out of curiosity, they said: “We must inspect and know it by touch, of which we are capable”. So, they sought it out, and when they found it they groped about it. In the case of the first person, whose hand landed on the trunk, said: “This being is like a thick snake”. For another whose hand reached its ear, it seemed like a kind of fan. As for another person, whose hand was upon its leg, said, the elephant is a pillar like a tree-trunk. The blind man who placed his hand upon its side said, “elephant is a wall”. Another who felt its tail described it as a rope. The last felt its tusk, stating the elephant is that which is hard, smooth and like a spear.
As I ran an early social network (Bolt), one thing I see when I look at crypto, is the importance of community (as I’ve written) to the success or failure of Crypto projects. In this post, I try to add context to the concept of community.
What Is A Crypto Community?
Per the graphic below, a Crypto community is all the people (users, investors, developers… ) that drive projects forward:
Putting Community In To Context
Lots of Crypto people, like Steven McKie, have written about the importance of community, trying to put it into context.
In his book “Identity is the New Money”, David Birch argues that both identity and money are changing profoundly, and are converging, such that all that we need for transacting will be our identities captured in the unique record of our online social contacts. In this new world, Birch highlights the 5Cs of money:
Community is so important, that blockchain startup founders routinely brag about their “community size: “Our Telegram group has 15,000 members,” “Our Discord channel has 3,000 subscribers,” , ”We’ve got a combined community of over 100,000 people.”
CryptoMondays: A Decentralized Community With Powerful “Token Economics””
We started the decentralized community CryptoMondays in NYC, on Jan. 8th, 2018, as a weekly Meetup for Crypto enthusiasts to hang and yap Crypto. No content. Just bringing together other people as passionate about Crypto as we are. Our timing was good. Bitcoin mania was peaking. The 1st CryptoMonday was a home run. We started to grow the community immediately, and before the end of the month, CryptoMonday Los Angeles launched.
Our decentralized community grew quickly, as anyone anywhere who wanted could start a CryptoMonday. The only requirement is that a CryptoMonday has at least four co-hosts, and that at least one of the co-hosts be a female.
While we don’t use tokens, we fully embraced the idea of “Token Economics”, which is all about incentivizing community members to behave in a way that benefits the network. We felt that “community status” would be a compelling incentive to CryptoMonday hosts. It worked! Just \ask Michael Amar who co-hosts CryptoMondays Paris (where I’ll be August 27th), or Yair Zehavi who co-hosts CryptoMondays Tel Aviv (where I’ll be Sept. 2nd), or Sheri Kaiserman who co-hosts CryptoMondays Los Angeles (where I’ll be Sept. 17th).
CryptoMondays is now in 25 cities & is the largest Crypto Meetup in the world
Given this experience and my current thinking of community, below are the attributes of the Crypto community I want to belong to.
Six Features Defining the Crypto Communities I Want To Belong To
Most Crypto communities embrace a series of core beliefs including privacy, user data belonging to the users, they’re censorship resistance, and they’re transparent. To these common beliefs, I’d add the five attributes below:
- Making The World A Better Place — I want making the world a better place to be a core goal of any community I join. The biggest promise of Crypto is how it can solve many of the world’s biggest problem, making the world a better place for billions of people.
- Inclusivity — I want to belong to diverse communities that embrace differences as a feature, not a bug. The more the merrier. The only people I don’t want in my communities are people who don’t believe in inclusivity.
- Respect For All Members— In an inclusive community with diverse beliefs, it’s key to have respect for differing opinions. I’m disappointed by all the hate in the broader Crypto community. If we want to make the world a better place, it has to start with respecting others in our own community. In addition, community mindshare shouldn’t be wasted hating the haters. That’s what they do.
- Evolves Efficiently – The only thing constant is change. Any community that wants to grow and engage its members needs to evolve in order to meet the evolving needs and desires of community members.
- Forking Is Viewed As A Feature Not A Bug– A core Crypto belief is the ability to fork. As communities evolve, there are going to be differences in opinion on that evolution. If the community evolves in ways I disagree with, I want the opportunity to fork, and take the work of the community with me. I want everyone in the community to have that right. More people will join a community if they know they can fork it.
- Merging Is Encouraged– The ability to taking two communities, and merge them, such that 1+1=5, will be a feature of communities of the future.
There are an infinite number of attributes that can define a Crypto community. I look forward to adding to the list above as my views on community continue to evolve. But most importantly, I look forward to the communities I join making the world a better place. The world needs us.