Humans of the Open Web Sandbox: AVB
The Humans of The Open Web Sandbox is a series that provides a small background behind the contributors engaging with the NEAR ecosystem through The Open Web Sandbox. This edition’s character profile is AVB. So, who is AVB and what does his journey to the Open Web Sandbox look like?
Extroverted, early adopter
AVB has some experience with Ethereum cycles. In the early crypto days he began working in tech spaces, attending meet-ups and co-working with other crypto enthusiasts. While living in Melbourne Australia, AVB founded the Ethereum-Melbourne meetup. This got him involved in the blockchain community: meeting, learning, and developing a deep interest for the industry.
AVB grew up in Venezuela. As a young adult he decided to move to Australia to leverage a law degree whilst working overseas on a student Visa (a surprisingly difficult venture). Moving from a politically divisive and socially cynical country equipped him with an industrious approach toward Australia, Melbourne, and his education.
AVB loved reading and learning new things; at university he was part of the Spanish and South American club and the law student society. With a self-proclaimed untiring social battery, he was happy with the environment he had created himself.
However, with ambitions in making the world a fairer place by becoming a legal servant, he soon realised that a large part of the legal system is for either those who can afford it or those who have committed a direct crime against the state, whilst for the majority of cases it is too expensive to even bother.
AVB believes that those who don’t get distracted by constant flows of information can focus on creating alternative content and structures; a large part of these people he believes find themselves in crypto. This is what AVB enjoys about the industry at large, people are often to some degree contrarians, especially those early crypto adopters. After some experience in the early Ethereum ecosystem, AVB worked as a freelancer in startups, marketing, and product. In 2020 he completed a course in product management, working in the area ever since.
While working in product management, AVB dedicated a considerable portion of his week volunteering to create content for the NEAR ecosystem. But this was only temporarily viable. He saw a gap in how the ecosystem could engage people, increase exposure, and reward contributions. With the launch of the Open Web Sandbox (OWS), AVB was finally able to start earning for his work and pursue his passion for the crypto space by working on OWS’s rolling opportunities.
In his eyes OWS created pathways from people to projects, and distribution channels from projects to people. One month into being a proactive OWS contributor AVB was offered to start his own guild: Silicone Craftsmen.
AVB transitioned from attending events as a listener of information, to attending them as a contributor of information.The guild developed in May and launched in June, offering product and UX services to NEAR projects. You can also check out their Twitter and Podcast here.
Realising the importance of blockchain takes time
Blockchain increasingly became a solution to problems in ABV’s mind. “The first thing to do is to be able to identify a problem and determine how it could be solved”. Then, AVB claims it is about understanding if and how technology can potentially help with that.
As he explains his experience in Venezuela, what clicked to him with blockchain was that while government institutions and lawyers are the top-down writers of rules in society (through democratic election of course), blockchain allows a complimentary layer that challenges these top-down structures, not necessarily in principle but at least in method. An example he uses is the enforcement of contract law through the current retrospective legal structure, in comparison to smart contracts and the prospective methodological framework this technology enables.
AVB is confident technologies like smart contracts are going to create types of value we do not yet know about or understand. The paradigm shift that we will witness he claims will be like that of the first iPhone. This brings forth an interesting point, while pioneering technologies like Ethereum might have pragmatic pitfalls, their most enduring role is to instigate a paradigm shift that gets the innovation ball rolling toward a new, never imagined direction. AVB believes that what we are doing right now in the blockchain space might become useless in retrospect, but it is part of a larger process of innovation and experimentation that will eventually ground us in technology that will benefit the larger part of society, rather than just the communities currently directly involved.
The sentiment for AVB at this stage of the process is to foster a sustainable economy for the people inside of the ecosystem first, so that they can increase utility in the ecosystem for the future. This might result in wacky projects or crazes, but he thinks they are all part of a process. An example of this are some NFTs that are currently popularising. ABV is excited about the future of NFTs and was an early adopter of them on Ethereum. He sees the current NFT trend as part of long term growth for NEAR — similarly to what he saw with the growth of Ethereum in 2017. He also highlights the MetaBUIDL hackathon by NEAR as indicative of the growth of the ecosystem — similarly to what happened with Solana earlier in the year. He likes to compare the value of NFTs, specifically the current and unexpected craze for EtherRocks (an Ethereum project from 2017), to the historic value we give to stamps, coins, and other collectibles. If we step back from the hype, AVB explains how we can see another more practical role these crazes can have on the ecosystem: NFTs are utilised to stress-test level 2 solutions at scale. DAOs is another one of these technologies. Once we get organised with DAOs with a social purpose he says, it will change social structures for the better.
Looking ahead for OWS and NEAR
So what role does AVB play in all this? Seeing the amount of work to be done and the stakes that it has is what gets him excited. Running his own guild and delivering on the broader vision is how he hopes to contribute to the NEAR ecosystem. He is excited to collaborate with other guilds and have conversations like this one to try and proliferate the message to as many people as possible. For now, this means collaborating with more projects through OWS. On a personal note, AVB hopes to highlight to people in the space that self-improvement, health, meditation, careful media platform selection, and journaling are some important details he advertises to maintain long term mindfulness and focus.