Why Do We Build? - The Daily Gwei #100
Celebrating 100 days of Daily Gwei's by breaking down the meaning of our work.
As you’ve probably noticed, today’s newsletter is the 100th issue of The Daily Gwei! I originally started this newsletter because I really wanted to write more long-form pieces but I kept putting it off (thanks Instant Gratification Monkey). So I figured, what better way to motivate myself than to make a promise to 1000’s of people that I would write and publish something every week day? Well, it worked! As of this issue, I have published 100 unique pieces about Ethereum in a row - something that I am extremely proud of. Of course, I couldn’t of done this without the amazing support of all of you so I want to extend a heartfelt thank you for being loyal readers and I hope that you’ll stay with me for the next 100 issues!
Since today is a special occasion for the newsletter, I want to attempt to answer some questions that I get asked frequently: Why do we build? What’s the purpose? Who are we building for? How do we know if we’ve succeeded? These are all very important questions to consider and attempt to answer.
First, I think it makes sense to define what we are actually building. Ethereum is a decentralized, permissionless and censorship-resistant global coordination machine or, in other words, it’s what the cool kids like to call a “blockchain”. Due to these properties, we’ve seen a Cambrian explosion of unique and paradigm-changing applications from decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs), to decentralized finance (DeFi) to the recent emergence of “seamless finance”. The hope is that these applications can bring about a better world and more fair world than the one we have right now.
At the heart of the Ethereum economic nexus is ETH - a trustless store of value asset that powers the entire Ethereum economy. ETH has many uses ranging from use as a collateral asset within DeFi, use as gas to pay transaction fees, use as money, and, in the future, use as a staking asset in Ethereum 2.0’s proof of stake network. On top of this, it also acts as a way for people to keep their wealth safely stored outside of the governments control. Obviously this is something that Bitcoiners tout as BTC’s killer use-case but I believe it applies equally if not more-so to ETH. This isn’t a very popular opinion but it really doesn’t matter - the beauty is that no one can stop me from using my ETH however I want to.
Okay, so why do we care to build these applications on Ethereum and who are we building them for? Well, in the idealistic sense, we are building an open and decentralized parallel financial system that hopes to bring forth a world where everyone can go bankless. That’s a nice little sound bite but unfortunately the sobering reality is that today these applications and systems cater mostly to speculators who are chasing dreams of 100x gains on DeFi tokens and 1000% APY’s which are obviously unsustainable. To bring the bankless revolution to the rest of the world, we need to move passed speculation as the dominant use-case and I believe the way we do that is to just keep building better applications. My mum isn’t going to be speculating on random tokens on Uniswap, but she would love to simply hit a button on a mobile app and start earning an out-sized yield on her dollars (without a bank). This may seem like an incredibly basic application for us hardcore Ethereans but it is still revolutionary for those not deep in this space.
The final question - how will we know if we’ve succeeded - is a rather tough one to answer. Different people in the ecosystem have different measures of what “success” means to them. Some want to build applications that enable people to trustlessly exchange assets (DEXs), others want to build global and decentralized communities (DAOs), while some simply want to be part of something greater than themselves. Sometimes people get burnt out by the intensity of this ecosystem - just think about how crazy the mini bull market aka food ponzi mania was for many people from both a mental and physical health standpoint. It’s exhausting and those that are in this space to actually see the bankless revolution take place were disappointed by it all - and I don’t blame them for feeling this way.
In saying all of that, the one thing that all of these people have in common is that they want to create a better world for themselves and others in any way that they can. They want to feel like they are meaningfully contributing to the world and they’ve decided that building or being involved with Ethereum is the best way to do it. It is a noble goal that I & many others that I know share in earnest and are working towards at a rapid pace.
That, my friends, is why we build.
Have a great day everyone,
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All information presented above is for educational purposes only and should not be taken as investment advice.
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