How do you know that you have made it to the top? It’s when the government comes after you and serves you with a subpoena. It happened with all the big tech CEOs like Mark Zuckerberg, Sundar Pichai, Jack Dorsey, and Tim Cook. And it happened with Do Kwon, the co-founder of the Terra blockchain.
On September 20th of last year, Kwon was a guest speaker at a crypto conference in New York. Just as he was about to go on stage, he was approached by someone representing the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and was served with a subpoena for a certain financial application built on top of the Terra blockchain that the SEC didn’t like. His response? Suing SEC back on the grounds of an improper serving of the subpoena and citing that the decentralized nature of crypto projects, where the project is controlled by the public, means it can’t be regulated by the archaic regulatory frameworks currently in place.
Regardless of which camp you support in this debate, it has to be admitted that Terra is big enough to warrant the SEC’s attention, which is also a testament to its widespread adoption and success. But, how was Terra able to succeed in this crowded market of blockchains? What was their unique value proposition? How were they able to drive adoption early in the project? This post evaluates the go-to-market strategy of Terra to answer all these questions, and many more.
But first, below are some quick primers on a couple of topics that will be used in this post. If you already know all about stablecoins and the basics of Terra protocol, feel free to skip ahead.
It’s the winter of 2018. Crypto markets have crashed and even blue chips like Bitcoin and Eth are down up to 90% from their all-time highs. One after another, projects that had launched to much fanfare with big promises are shutting up shop. And your Thanksgiving dinner is really awkward after your uncle sarcastically asked, “So… how is your Bitcoin investment doing?”
As other projects were folding, there was one that had the conviction and gumption to keep building. Launched in Feb 2018, OpenSea continued to diligently pursue its vision of becoming the ‘eBay for cyptogoods’. And the persistence paid off as it went on to become the most popular NFT marketplace and was recently valued at $13.3 billion. This writeup is an attempt at analyzing what led to OpenSea’s immense success as a product and where it can go from here.
What do you do when you find yourself struggling, deep down a rabbit hole? You embrace it and start a newsletter of course!
Early last year, I got sucked into the web3 world. I started reading whitepapers, following web3 focussed Twitter accounts, dipped my toes in DeFi, bought NFTs… and before you know it, got convinced of the potential of blockchain and web3. Then, recently, I had multiple conversations with my dad where I attempted to explain to him what blockchain is and what it can do. Kudos to him for being open-minded and inquisitive. But those conversations made me realize how web3 is still in its nascent stages and far from mass adoption.
While one of the reasons is that there are still many technical challenges that need to be addressed. But the other missing piece is for product managers to explore the applications of the technology to create products that people actually need and will use. This is the way to mass adoption.