Thrive Protocol — Founding Story

Daniel Jacobs
2 min readJan 18, 2024

As a child, I felt very alone. So I did stupid things. Over time, people stopped believing in me. I usually shared their disbelief. But a small part of me still wondered…

On my first day of high school, I gathered the small part that wondered, found the school’s wrestling coach, and said: “My name is Daniel and I’m going to be a state champion wrestler.”

He looked down at me. I was short, chubby, and unathletic-looking. The only sport I had ever played was religious school baseball. “I believe in you,” he said.

I didn’t believe him. Few adults believed anything I said in those days. So I looked into his eyes, searching for bullshit. But I couldn’t find any. So I decided to prove him right.

When he asked me to run five miles, I ran ten. When he asked me to stay late, I stayed late and came early. When he asked me to practice anything, I practiced it again and again and again.

My life changed.

I went from not being an athlete to being a state and (age-group) national champion wrestler. More importantly, I went from being lost to being found.

A few years later, I took an economics class for the first time. I learned that value is created when goods and services are transacted for dollars. The concept made no sense to me.

The most valuable moment in my life had been when a wrestling coach I didn’t know looked into my eyes and told me he believed in me. But nothing had been transacted.

I hypothesized that it must be the case that trillions of dollars in economic value, and enormous social and community value exists…

… but humans haven’t tapped into it because we haven’t built the economic systems, community systems, and tech systems to unearth and maximize value.

That thought was so powerful for me that it has motivated everything I’ve done in my work life; eventually it motivated the founding of Thrive.

Our vision is simple, it’s old, and it’s very personal for me: we want to maximize value creation for all people and communities around the world.

We will achieve it by, together, reimagining the economic, social, and community systems that make our world go round. In other words: we will achieve it by believing in you.