I’ve recently been thinking about writing, and how important it is: both for the one doing the writing and the ones doing the reading. I usually only commit ideas to written form when I come to some sort ahá moment. However, I noticed that most of the writers I admire (historical or contemporary), often share half-baked ideas or intuitions. With this in mind, I want to start putting out less structured thoughts. Here’s my first attempt!

EthCC[6] Reflections

After 4 years without going to a crypto event (I’m not counting ETHLatam because I didn’t go there purposefully), last week I was in Paris for EthCC[6].

It was energizing to be back! Now that I’m not in crypto full time, my life had become a little slower and more peaceful (which is good in general). Spending a week with builders and old friends gave me a boost of input to think about and motivation to continue contributing to the global crypto movement.

I met lots of new people. Some “newcomers” really impressed me and I’m glad I had the chance to chat in person (people are very different online vs in face-to-face conversation). I took my sabbatical year off crypto right in 2020, a.k.a. the DeFi Summer. Some of the now legendary projects like Yearn, Curve and Sushiswap were launched during that period! I only learnt about most of DeFi retrospectively, and to my great surprise. I almost couldn’t believe that so many of the promises of smart contract tech were being realized. You guys built a fucking amazing global permissionless financial system while I was away. Thanks for that! :)

That said, I also kinda missed the “good old days” where you could walk the aisles of any crypto event and it was full of founders. This time, I felt most of the big project founders were either not in Paris, or only doing private meetings (except for Patricio, founder of POAP, who showed up religiously every morning – that guy’s a beast). I’m not really complaining, this is a natural part of a maturing industry, but it did make me a bit sad.

I have the feeling that the crypto industry has gone from an “explorers” phase to a “settlers” phase. This means more normies joined the space for work. This means less crazy experimentation (although some are still very much doing it) and more laying the foundations for growth. This also means some people “forgot” (or never learned) the core values of our community’s ethos, of cypherpunk origins. Which in turn means some projects and initiatives are more boring and obvious to me. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but I could tell from the conversations and reasons people are now joining the space that this is a new stage. By the way, if you’re building crazy things feel free to reach out for help.

This “growing up” of the crypto/blockchain/web3 space was more of a discontinuous jump to me. And it has also led me to the following thoughts…

United Protocols

I guess not specifically related to any conversations I had in EthCC, but certainly inspired by what happened that week, I’ve been thinking about how crypto can evolve to the next stage as one of the tools for creating the next world order.

Balaji S., Vitalik, and others (1, 2, 3, 4) have been thinking and writing about Network States as an interesting possible new paradigm, somewhat enabled by blockchain tech. We’ve seen DAOs grow from toys to organizations coordinating hundreds of people and billion-dollar treasuries. We’ve been hearing this for quite some time now:

First they ignore you,
then they laugh at you,
then they fight you,
then you win.

For many reasons, it’s clear we’re in the “then they fight you” phase. I believe the next step is to increase inter-DAO coordination to fight back, and I propose the creation of a new coalition of the most powerful DAOs: The United Protocols. So we can actually win. The age of the Protocols has come!

Similar to the United Nations, but for the Network age, United Protocols would be a forum for dialogue, cooperation, and coordination among the most powerful DAOs, Network States, and blockchain-based protocols. From my experience (mainly with the Decentraland DAO, but I’m a lurker and talk with members in others), all of us seem to be struggling to solve many problems with significant overlap.

Some common problems all Protocols need to solve, and I think would benefit from more crosstalk:

  • Technical challenges and standard creation in the use of blockchain tech.
  • Regulatory issues and lobbying coordination.
  • Governance research and community involvement.
  • Robustness, or how to make the protocol persist in time.

I propose the following rules for DAOs/protocols to join the United Protocols:

  • $10M+ assets in treasury (not counting native tokens)
  • Each network must select an ambassador through their own governance mechanisms.
  • Required yearly meeting of all ambassadors to discuss common struggles, coordinate and share good practices and strengthen alliances.

Sounds kinda crazy, but I think many DAO participants, delegates and founders will nod when they read this. If the prospect of a yearly DAO/Protocol ambassador summit sounds cool to you, send me an email to unitedprotocols@maraoz.com and let’s make this happen.

Some things I’d love help with are: build a website, contact protocols, define the rules for them to join the coalition, write a manifesto, and organize the first UP summit.

That’s it for this one! I’d also love to hear your thoughts on my writing half-baked ideas.

Want to stay in touch? Subscribe to my newsletter!

Additional Resources and Further Reading


Cover photo by MidJourney. Thanks to Moni, Lemu & Martin for early feedback.

Comments and Discussion

Email a private comment