2018 Crypto: The year of TALENT and SHIPPING

Brayton Williams
Jan 24, 2018 · 4 min read

2017 was certainly the year of cryptocurrencies. No one can doubt that.

  • Crypto market cap (from Coinmarketcap.com) went from $18.2B to $610B (33X).
  • Coinbase reached the #1 app on the IOS appstore.
  • Altcoins flourished as BTC dominance shrunk from 88% to 39%.
  • $3.7B was raised by ICOs.

However 2017 was all about the MONEY (and Cryptokitties). Crypto became a real asset class and money flew in. Why? The economy is strong, people have money and everyone is looking for new yields. Crypto was providing those yields and thus more and more money came flocking in. But the price of these assets has started to massively outgrow their true utility and fundamentals. I keep coming back to the recent tweet storm from Vitalik Buterin.

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Don’t get me wrong. Money is great.

If 2017 was the inflow of money. 2018 will be the inflow of TALENT.

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The money inflow we saw in 2017 was almost necessary for our next step of fulfilling the real promise of cryptocurrency. People follow money. We are now seeing designers, UX experts and product people joining the space, which is what I think we were really missing. Cryptokitties was the first example of good UI meets blockchain and I think in 2018 that wave will hit us harder.

How to get a job in crypto has been one of my most asked questions this year.

I asked Taylor, CEO of MyEtherWallet this same question. Her response:

None of this is traditional so if you are hiring or trying to get hired, don’t expect it to be traditional. If you want in or you want to hire, focus on solving problems and finding a good fit where you can make this a better place, rather than focusing too much on resumes or “expertise” level. And stop saying, “well, I’ve only really just gotten into crypto.” I respond with, “okay, well, FYI, no one went to school for crypto soooooooo why don’t you try again by telling me what you CAN do.”

Stand out. With crypto being open source you can start contributing from day one. Add value without expecting something in return and projects will take notice.

As the talent floods in there are 2 things I keep bringing up. 2 changes I would like to see.

Change #1: The crypto OGs need to welcome the newcomers.

When new people enter an industry the incumbents are not always accepting with open arms. Older generations are always bitter with the millennials, gamers are annoyed with n00bs and of course crypto OGs are off-put by the inflow of non-libertarians or non-technicals or non-anarchists. Pete Rizzo of Coindesk recently made a statement after we had agreed on the madness of the industry that stuck out to me — “Depending on when you got into crypto defines your era and people within your era get along. Those that are in different eras tend to have issues with each other.”

I think we see this disagreement amongst different ‘generations’ of crypto enthusiasts everyday in the industry. For 2018 as more and more people are flocking into the industry we need to remember we all have different pasts and experiences but we are all excited by what cryptocurrencies and blockchains can bring to the world. So for 2018 I want to see more people working together, passing less judgement (although bad/scam projects still need to be called out) and continuing the generosity of teaching younger ‘generations’ of blockchainers who are just now entering.

Change #2: People are building. People NEED to be shipping.

Count how many projects that did an ICO have functioning products with users. Not a testnet, a public product with users. If you are like the 20 other people I have asked in the last week, you most likely can’t count past one hand. We need more products out in the wild!

This brings up the question: Why aren’t projects shipping? Outside of normal product timelines (most projects are less than 6 months old and things take time), this is what I have come up thus far:

  1. The building blocks of the decentralized web are very new. Teams are building many things from scratch which takes time.
  2. The teams are highly technical but less product oriented. Thus many are building/experimenting with cool tech but these same people aren’t skilled in end user product development.
  3. What is the rush when you have 10+ years of runway.
  4. Token project market caps are EXTREMELY HIGH and are built on hopes and dreams. A mediocre product with minimal traction isn’t as alluring.
  5. Lambo. Scams. No intention from start to deliver.

Boost VC has always been about backing the builders, but now we are altering that slightly and we are looking to back those who ship. We need to have a high standard put on all those who have raised money from the crowd and keep projects shipping. Shipping > Building.

Shoutout to token projects that are doing just that, SHIPPING.

0x, MakerDAO, Storj, Sia, Decentraland, District0x, SALT, Brave (let me know what other token projects I need to include)

Eric Meltzer has a good newsletter called ‘Proof of Work’ to stay up to date on many of those shipping.

And if you’re looking for great crypto companies to work for, some of our portfolio is hiring — https://angel.co/boost-vc/jobs-at-portfolio-companies.

2018 will be a defining year. The talent floodgates are open. We will soon see what the talent delivers.

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