The other night I lay curled up in bed, sobbing. “Now what?” asked my wife.

“Nothing!” I lied.

“Are the Twitter boys being mean again?” she asked, giving me a hug.

“No!” I lied again. In fact, yes: earlier in the day, two O.G. web influencers that I have admired and followed for years had been very mean about crypto.

It started when one of them, a Web 2 guy with 580k followers, tweeted that virtually every project on a blockchain is a fraud. “There’s no value in using those technologies,” he said.

Then the other fellow, one of the original Mosaic developers, tweeted that tech journalists have “a complete immunity to shame.”

As an O.G. tech journalist and co-founder of Decrypt, I was doubly stung, and tweeted back in defense. Surely they remembered being disruptors themselves, back when the ignoranti attacked the infant internet, dismissing it as a money-making fad…

But this only escalated the hostility. “Oh, FFS,” replied the former Mosaic guy. “Cryptocurrencies are 100% a grift that create nothing. Lose me with this bullshit take.”

The Web 2 guy agreed: “I would be astounded if you can point to a single [crypto project] that has any reason to be on a blockchain except to hype it up to the folks already in on the grift.”

I unfollowed them. Who needs to be subjected to hostile opinions that run counter to my own? I already have my wife for that.

Still, their words haunted and shamed me.

Had they been less hateful, I would have told them about the cool crypto thing Decrypt is working on right now.

And that gave me an idea: I will write an ongoing column telling the story of Decrypt’s glorious adventures as we decentralize our company.

Oh, I can hear Dan Roberts, Decrypt’s fearless editor in chief, howling even now. He hates when I say that our goal is to decentralize this site, because it sounds like we intend to make our editorial team disappear. Not true. Not even close. The goal is to find a better business model (and a better way of doing business) that will make our team, and our journalism, even stronger.

Our first challenge is this: We and our advisors are creating a kind of decentralized Associated Press, with the help of a DAO (decentralized autonomous organization) to guide and fund the process. We are building a platform where reputable content creators can stake tokens and distribute their (trustworthy, vetted) content to publishers through a newswire service.

The newswire will work like the AP in that publishers—including Decrypt—will continue to publish on their own sites as well as on the wire service.

IF this thing is to fly—and that’s a very big if, which is why I capitalized and italicized it—we think tokenomics will be key to incentivizing people to participate. And if they pitch in, over time, their collective effort will help us build a decentralized media protocol to make the publishing process more frictionless.

Live by the DAO, DAO by the DAO

This sounds grandiose—and maybe it is. There are 2.7 zillion details that need to be worked out. How do we define a “reputable” content publisher? Who gets to decide? Is this just for crypto news? What is this thing even called? And inevitably: “Wen token?”

To help us work through those questions, we’re looking for people interested in joining our noble project, which you can do by connecting to us via our Discord server. You don’t need to be a journalist, publisher, photographer, illustrator, advertiser, marketer, or PR person. We’re looking for people who are keenly interested in the future of media—and especially how DAO thinking and governance might help us create something far better.

As for this diary, stick with me and I’ll continue to peel back the curtain on this process. After all, that’s the idea of DAOs, right—it’s all out in the open? That means prepare for a lot of behind-the-scenes whining about my beloved co-founder and CTO, the enfant terrible Ryan Bubinski—he says I’m moving too slowly and thinking about all this stuff like a sad, old, ink-stained wretch.

Gosh, it’ll be fun! Or maybe not. Either way, you can blame the O.G. web guys for all of this.

Coming up next column: It’s not called Discord for nothing!

26 September 2021 16:01

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