This is an experiment.
Before I got into crypto, I was a writer. It’s probably more accurate to say that before crypto I was a student and a teacher. In February, 2020, when I first got into DeFi and fell down the rabbit-hole (shoutout RabbitHole, for the 50 $aUSDC I earned completing one of their early quests), I had recently completed an MFA in Creative Nonfiction at Columbia University. I was teaching CNF to college freshmen, on a one-year teaching fellowship, and life felt simple. I didn’t really know what a token was, Covid-19 was mostly still a rumor, Synthetix was the only place to really yield farm, and I wasn’t incredibly old (30) yet.
Writing has never really been my job. On the rare occasions I was paid to write, the money usually came in $50 increments for a book review, or maybe as a $20 Starbucks gift card as a reward for getting an op-ed published in my University’s newspaper. But I come from a family of writers, I grew up reading voraciously, and my manner of thinking has been shaped fundamentally by a process of essaying, of drafting, researching, and revising a text. I spent four years in college, and three in graduate school, learning what it means “to try,” (from the french verb essai-) to craft long-form creative essays.
The summer of 2021, I had to make a choice: continue to pursue a career in academia - apply for a PhD, or go for entry level associate professor jobs - or else find work teaching middle or high school english. I couldn’t afford to live in NY on the fact-checker’s salaries offered by glossy magazines, and was discouraged looking at my older peers trying to scrape out a living as freelance writers. Unlike many of my friends who were pursuing the dream, against all odds, I don’t come from family money and have always paid my own rent, and supported myself. Facing the seemingly impossible task of paying off my student debt on an adjunct’s measly teaching stipend, its not surprising, looking back, that I was attracted to DeFi’s promise of a radical, new financial system.
It wasn’t just the dire economics of trying to be a writer, though, that accompanied my dive into crypto. I realized that I didn’t want to turn something I loved - writing - into the way that I made money. The minimum wage pay wasn’t worth the cost of alienating myself from an artistic craft I’d spent years practicing. Writing listicles wasn’t going to satisfy my curiosity, and anyway, I’d already done plenty of that in the broke years post-college.
Instead, in June of 2021, I quit my teaching job, moved back to Boston to live with my parents, and took a red pill some anons on the internet promised would change my life.
i decided to take crypto seriously.
I started writing long-form threads on Twitter about Historical NFTs, and studied every new DeFi protocol I could get my hands on. I hunted for new airdrops, and shared my findings on twitter and telegram, where I’d been invited to a group chat called CTAWM (shoutout Lindyape, for all you’ve taught me). Slowly, I realized exactly how bad of a trader I really was compared to my competitors in each new pool2 ponzi. If I wanted to find an edge, I had a lot to learn and so I got started, and applied myself to the task in earnest.
Even as I’ve moved away from writing and teaching, I’ve found that the early success I had in the crypto space came, in part, from applying my experience as an academic -as a researcher, writer and analyst - to DeFi and NFTs. For example, my first official paid gig in crypto came from the Historians DAO, where I was hired by Ash and Dave from Proof of Beauty to contribute verdicts to their project, $HASH, which combines generative art with a living, decentralized archive. Learning to read Etherscan reminded me of pulling out primary source texts from archives deep in the stacks, down on the lower levels of Butler Library’s basement. I became just as obsessed with on-chain analysis as I had been with archival research in school.
In October, 2021, I founded Information Token. IT would grow far beyond the initial goal I had to experiment with collaborative research. Today, IT is a successful token-gated DAO, with over 100 members and a floor price of 50 ETH. Through Information Token, I’ve learned about venture, token economics, and incubation. I have contributed to the launch of two projects - VeDAO & Velodrome - and invested in numerous seed deals. Slowly, I am learning how to be a better leader, and the DAO has provided me with a new home in an industry that can be overwhelming and alienating without friends and collaborators.
Today, I feel really lucky to have gainful employment in crypto contributing to a number of projects that I care deeply about. Some I can talk publicly about, like Information Token & Velodrome, and some are still in stealth.
Since June, 2021, I have focused my efforts almost exclusively on studying, investing in, and building with crypto. I’ve gained a lot of deeply esoteric, specific DeFi knowledge, and strangely enough find myself operating as some sort of public NFT collector.
My only disappointment about the entire experience is that through it all, I have not published any writing. This is a source of shame for me.
Writing Token aims to change that, to connect my work pre-Gabagool to my life and interests now.
I am launching this experiment with 1000 ERC1155 tokens, minted on Mirror.xyz as Editions, and priced at 0.05 ETH, or a current USD value of $61.43.
This NFT is completely distinct from Information Token DAO.
Please consider purchasing and collecting this NFT if you are interested in supporting on-going experiments with writing, tokenization, token-gating, and publishing + privacy.
Please do not purchase this NFT if you cannot afford it, I have no expectation that these NFTs will mint out soon.
I plan to use Writing Token as a core, organizing element connecting my interest in crypto with my writing practice. Expect more information about my Writing Token experiment in the coming weeks!
Thank you for taking the time to read this announcement, please reach out on twitter if you have any questions!