I’ve recently been very excited about developments in crypto and DeFi. Before now I haven’t paid that much attention to the space, but I find myself enthralled. After spending some time doing research, looking into communities, and participating in some, I am slowly trying to work on how to figure out how to communicate these ideas to a wide population, particularly people outside the crypto space who are disenfranchised with the state of the system/status quo today.
I have found the yearn.finance community to be some of the best and most engaged minds that there are. We had this conversation in then yearn Discord where I managed to flesh out my ideas better than I have been able to so far.
So here is a preview of what is to come. This article was originally posted as my humble debut on the Medium stage. I welcome your feedback. If these ideas excite you, I’d love to talk to you about it and hear your perspectives.
The chat started with a conversation about the moral effects of salaries being publicly voted on by a DAO and the other challenges of open organizations in today’s world.
DGDG: Im bullish on open orgs, but compensation is a challenge. How do you enable people to work with almost no friction to how little they can contribute?
Ben: The best work for passion not money.
DGDG: Yeah but it’s naive to think you can build the best products on solely passion imo
Ben: Money is like toilet paper. When you have it you use it, when you don’t it really sucks.
Ben: that’s the whole promise of crypto. That’s what makes it so coercive to the whole fucked up system we live in today
DGDG: ‘promise of crypto’ doesn’t have a concrete solution..
Ben: That’s what makes it fucking cool, because it’s decentralized and emergent.
DGDG: Sure its decentralized
tracheopteryx: Money is critical — we all have to eat (caviar). But it’s just one piece and is often over considered tbh
DGDG: Let’s say YFI grows 10x, and needs 10x engineers. How would we do it? Sure some may help out for passion
Ben: That’s old world way of thinking. you don’t have to grow like that. Our obsession with rapid growth at all cost is stratifying and destroying society.
DGDG: So how would you grow? 100 people helping a little?
Ben: you grow based on how many brilliant people you can attract and how engaged they are and what they accomplish
Ben: You don’t try to get bigger than you want to be, and don’t let the need for growth at all costs destroy your soul and your society/community.
Smaller teams tend to be more passionate, so maybe tons of groups pop-up into collectives doing the same thing with different ways and styles and communities. That’s what DeFi is. Then you have entities like yearn that bring them all together somehow and unify them through engineered superstructures.
CTO: Say YFI grows 10x and need 1/5th the team. How does that go down?
DGDG: hmm maybe, Well lets say we have 100x users using yfi? Then the pools are 100x bigger. Do you think a bottleneck will be customer support, ui, helping people?
Ben: that’s what makes the whole thing so cool. If people can’t get support and the UI is unstable, then people will take their money out, and the pools get smaller and the system naturally become the size that the people who want to be engaged can/choose to handle. It’s a perfect natural process. The entire concept of capitalism/economics is that economies are governed by forces of nature, but the focus does not need to be on growth. Successful natural systems seek equilibrium, not maximal growth… Cancer does that. The other challenge is that the contributors to projects learn themselves how to psychologically protect themselves and get so caught up in their world that they end up miserable all the same as people fighting over their salaries in traditional corporations.
Ben: Fuck corporate structures. Web 3.0 is about redefining everything. Value, structures of human knowledge work, and money. I think it’s actually kind of working… slowly.. I’m working on writing this all into some sort of manifesto, but need a few more weeks to not just sound like a lunatic.
Gabriel: @VLK Ben Give me a break. Organizational structure is about human nature. That doesn’t change quickly. I doubt you’ve run a business.
tracheopteryx: DeFi is going to change how we see projects scale. We are so used to seeing things in terms of single entities: apple, google, Amazon. DeFi can be different: interwoven networks not separate corps. People moving freely between roles across the super network of protocols and projects. That’s a way to scale that we’ve never seen with the potential for 100x efficiency
Ben: I have an MBA with a focus on chaos and complex systems theory as tools for emergent strategic thinking, organizational development and change. I also have 20 years experience working in internet startups in strategy and operations.
Gabriel: And I’ve grown and sold companies for 25 years.
tracheopteryx: It’s not about yearn getting bigger, why does that really matter? What matters is for the geniuses involved in yearn like Andre Cronje, banteg, Klim Kolyvanov, orb, everyone to be able to fully express their gifts.
Ben: I have no doubt you have a lot of experience. everyone here does. that’s what makes it so fucking cool. But maybe things don’t always need to grow as fast as possible, and instead be left to grow in a more natural way without a single leader shaping everything.
Gabriel: You witnessed a Yearn team member express resentment today at the discovery of random bonuses paid to others. That’s predictable and could have been addressed in advance.
DGDG: unfortunately human behavior and basic regulation (taxes, health insurance) etc. are all barriers to be considered not ignored
Ben: yeah. it’s all new. it takes time to learn. There’s going to be a lot of fuckups and hurt feelings. But at this point, human behaviour is heavily influenced/defined by the internet/technology, and regulators actually have no idea about any of this shit and are totally lost. I’m talking 10 years to really get there, not 6 months. The tech community is full of free agents and freelancers and digital nomads who have already figured out how to deal with taxes and health insurance and don’t need or want a company to mommy over them. Most of the best I know work like this, because they don’t want to get tied up in stupid corporate political BS and want to just keep making it happen.
If you’re a smart dev in the industry for a long time, you get to a point where you can pimp yourself out like a mercenary for big quick cash, and spend most of the time working on shit your actually passionate about with people you like, and maybe you have little squabbles over money or technology choice, or idiots who lost out somehow and blame you from time to time. Maybe there’s some fights, maybe people split off and break up and all that, but in the end a lot of brilliant innovation and revolutionary concepts take hold in the wake of it all. That’s where I’m at personally in how I think about life and work. It works well, and I’m in my 40’s and still have all my hair and none of it’s grey.
DGDG: Its interesting how things are changing no doubt, measuring impact will be important.
Ben: Finance is really the simplest part of the whole system of value, it’s kind of just like the circulatory system of real ideas and commerce and trade.
The whole decentralized thing is about finance now. Thing like Emanace that Andre Cronje is working on now seek to take these concepts of DeFi and DAO and abstract them into parts of the value system that are way more complex and have some sort utility value to people. A economy for a gaming multiverse (cards or characters that are forged via some token economy and can move between games) is an experiment in how to take these decentralized concepts and apply them on a social/productive level that is near to the crypto community.
In a successful gaming multiverse economy value suddenly isn’t just about liquidity and debt market making and moving money around anymore. It’s about something people believe in, spend time on, emotionally connect to and feel like it has some real utility in their life in outside of being a YOLO Crypto Degen who hopefully has the brains to grand slam enough to make it worthwhile.
Maybe someday a social media platform will be able to run like yearn, with a win-win focused DAO deciding how to tune objectives of the machine learning algorithms that decide what we see.
Thanks for hearing me out. I’m really trying to develop these ideas and figure out a way to express them in a way that isn’t a “Few Understand” situation.