Why we're here

Originally published on quorummedia.xyz on November 14, 2022.

Writer: Samantha Marin

If you're reading this, I assume you didn't come here to get rich quick. You didn't come here to chase all the pump and dumps or ponzis. You didn't come here to make your money and get out.

You came to build something exciting.

And it's awful when one of those shady schemes—the things you try to ignore when you're building that exciting thing—make it even harder to do what you love.

The events of last week were painful. Watching a trusted exchange (emphasis on trusted, not trustless) go under and take all its users' assets with it was heartbreaking in so many ways.

Not only did the failure of FTX bleed the assets of tons of real-life, normal people like you and I—real people with families and kids and retirement plans and mortgages—but it left a stain on the industry that will take years to walk back.

And in those years of walking back, we could see harsh regulation come through, regulation that we could have had a say in if the FTX implosion didn't happen.

The entire thing is painful and unsettling and uncomfortably bearish in so many ways.

But that doesn't mean we just leave.

Most of us are here because we see a new frontier. Like the pioneers of the early internet saw a new way to share information, communicate, and learn, we in web3 see a new way to own, work, coordinate, pay, and govern. Are we supposed to just abandon all of that progress now?

Absolutely not.

The short-term is going to hurt. The next 2-5 years might not feel good on a collective scale. There will likely be serious regulation, bearishness, shortened runways, market fear, inflation, recessions....I don't even know where to begin.

But that doesn't mean we just stop.

There is so much work to do. God, it sounds so cheesy, I can't believe I'm even writing that! But it's true: there's so much work to do.

I was reading Proof of Stake on a flight two days ago. It's a collection of many of Vitalik's essays, all the way back to pre-Ethereum days. Footnotes elaborate on the jargony parts, and intros by Nathan Schneider pop up here and there. I've read many of the essays before, but having the opportunity to sit and dive deep into each one in book format without the distraction of a million other tabs on my computer was a treat.

While I was reading, I realized how incredible the progress of this technology and the community around it has been, even just since four years ago. From "that's just for drug dealers" to a thriving ecosystem of organizations all working toward a better future. It really made me realize how far we've come.

But it also made me realize how far we have to go.

The path to mass adoption is long, winding, and cold. It's full of beasts lurking in the shadows. Parts of the path are washed out from rain and snow. Other parts cross a desert for miles with no sign of water. Yes I'm being a little dramatic.....but you get the idea.

The point is—it's going to be really damn hard to keep going. It's time to revisit your values. Come back to why you're here. Think about what means most to you and why. Write them down. Do it! It will make them that much clearer to you.

I'll start.

Why am I, Sam, here? Why am I working on DAOs?

I believe financial and career stability shouldn't be limited by geography. In the U.S., we forget how lucky we are that we can walk into a bank and safely withdraw our funds whenever we want. We forget how lucky we are that we can go online and work from home for a big tech company based across the country or the world. We forget that so much of the world doesn't have these inherent luxuries. I believe cryptocurrencies and DAOs give financial tools, stable currency, and career opportunities to people all over the world, not just those in privileged positions.

I believe work should put humans first. DAOs open up the unique opportunity for working in ways that work for humans, not necessarily just for profit. The traditional work 9-to-5, come home to a cocktail and a pot roast days are over. Work needs to bend to fit the needs of the humans doing it, and DAOs are uniquely suited to do that in tons of ways. The async, distributed nature of DAOs makes it possible to work at the time, in the place, and in the way that's best for you, to take on more or less work based on your life circumstances, and to get paid in trustless, global currencies.

I believe transparency is crucial for progress. Without open-source, where would the internet and the products we love be today? Probably not very far. I feel the same way about economic transparency via the blockchain. Even though privacy-preserving technology will probably change some of this, the ethos of open-by-default that web3 has is critical to global progress in tons of ways.

I believe ownership is powerful. NFTs allow anyone to own a piece of the internet, rewriting the playbook for creators. In DAOs, collective decision power gives a unique sense of ownership for members. When you have the ability to change something, when you feel you own it, you take better care of it. How well do you take care of your front lawn compared to the grass in the public park? If you feel ownership, you are going to care for it. That's the power of DAOs.

I believe cryptography is our only way to address the onslaught of AI creation. Artificial Intelligence can already design better than most humans. It can write better than most humans. Pretty soon, AI will be able to design and write better than any being—human or otherwise—we could possibly imagine. Using a combination of NFTs and zero-knowledge-proofs to verify work created by humans is the only way to save human creation going forward. Cryptography allows us to prove a thing is true without revealing the thing. This is how we can address AI creation and the existential threat it poses to nearly any creator, and soon any knowledge worker.

I believe in positive-sum economies. Web3 introduces a unique, positive-sum, all-ships-rise ethos. When using economically-aligned incentives through tokens, collaboration becomes the default mode, rather than competition. And when we make a commitment to put our egos aside and work together, we get that much stronger.

So, why are you here? What do you believe? Tell me! You can now REPLY to this email (I know, technology!) or as always @ me on Twitter, @samanthajmarin, and let me know why you're here.

See you all out there,


Quorum is a metalabel for creators shipping work about DAOs. Check out Quorum’s newsletter, podcast, and Twitter.

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