An Antidote For Your Anxiety
When in doubt, zoom out
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When In Doubt, Zoom Out
Last week we saw the total collapse of LUNA/UST and the instant evaporation of billions of dollars. The consensus seems to be that it was a collapse waiting to happen.
In the more “mainstream” parts of the ecosystem, ETH and BTC are both down more than 50% since their all-time highs in late 2021.
The Cryptopunks floor fell below $100K last week, down from ~$400K last September. (It’s ticked back up slightly since then, but I still think this is a fantastic buying opportunity, as does Kevin Rose apparently.)
We have seen a total failure in DeFi projects across the board.
Most NFTs are currently trading below their mint price.
The Ethereum merge continues to be delayed.
Scams, rugs, and cash grabs continue to happen way too frequently.
And large swaths of crypto/NFT land continue to be cringy AF.
Yet, despite all this, I’ve never been more optimistic and bullish about the space.
Because there is a creative energy that is pulsing at an extremely high frequency right now.
Builders are building. Artists are creating. Experiments continue at a torrid pace.
Something is in the air.
It’s hard to explain to people who aren’t here.
During The Renaissance, people didn’t call it “The Rennaisance.” That term came later. But they were aware something was afoot. They felt the energy.
Artists in Florence in 1434 couldn’t explain exactly what was happening, but the feeling was undeniable. Something important was happening. It was an IYKYK kind of feeling.
The same vibes are in the air now.
I know this all sounds pretty woo-woo.
But if you haven’t figured this out yet: vibes matter.
And there has been a subtle but important shift in vibes recently.
This extended current crypto/NFT bear market (which could turn into a legit recession or another ‘crypto winter’) has sobered people up. But in a good way.
There seems to be a renewed seriousness. A greater focus on the long run. An increasing respect for the real artists and creators who keep showing up.
I think this downturn is net positive for the space in the long run.
It will wash out a lot of the bad projects, the scammers, the grifters, the tourists.
Who will be left standing?
The people who are building the future.
And speaking of the future…
If you felt discouraged by the past week, or if you lost a lot of money, or if you don’t know if you’re going to make it, I urge you to zoom out.
Tim Urban recently asked his Twitter audience the following question:
The entire thread is worth scrolling through. But there was one response in particular that caught my attention:
“Every tool that exists today, from hammers to particle accelerators, has been constructed with other tools, and those with other tools, and so on, and eventually all tools were fabricated with rocks.”
To go from rocks to particle accelerators, there was a very slow compounding process that took place over tens of thousands of years.
Our tools allowed us to create better tools
The better tools allowed us to work with new materials
The new materials required us to expand our knowledge to be able to work with those materials effectively
Our newly acquired knowledge allowed us to improve previous tools and more quickly find opportunities to create new tools or to combine disparate tools in new ways
And so on and so forth
As our tools and knowledge improved, this compounding cycle began to accelerate.
It took us tens of thousands of years to go from rocks to particle accelerators, but it only took us 40 years to go from the most primitive internet messaging system to having high-fidelity video calls with people on the other side of the world on two handheld devices neither of which is connected to anything!
Further, the internet went from something that a few science-y and tech-y people proactively interacted with occasionally, to something that has become integrated into the background of everyone’s hour-to-hour life. All in 40 years.
In both of these examples — physical tools and the internet — the earliest versions were very primitive and the use cases were extremely limited.
If you had asked early users of rock tools to imagine the potential for hydroelectric dams, nearly everyone would have looked at you like an insane person before resuming their slingshot practice.
If you had told early internet users that in just a few short decades nearly everyone they know would interact with the internet on a daily and hourly basis, they may have been able to see the vision, but probably would have dismissed it as outlandishly techno-optimistic.
This is all to say, we’re early.
Right now, it’s easy to imagine some of the ways that NFT/crypto might gain adoption. For example, it doesn’t take too much effort to imagine website domains or vehicle titles or crowdsourced self-published novels living on-chain as tradable NFTs.
But, just as with rocks and the early internet, it is a lot harder to conceive of the use cases that just might end up changing the world
The to-be-invented NFT-based solutions that will allow for massive social coordination on a global scale.
The crypto-inspired ideas that will rebuild trust in democracy and government.
The defi and refi solutions that will help solve climate change.
The generative and digital art movements that will make even the most conservative parents excited to hear that their kid wants to pursue art.
We’re in the early years of a multi-decade adoption cycle.
Which begs the question: If you happen to find yourself in the ecosystem in these early days, what should you do?
The obvious answer is to invest for the long run. Think 30 years, which is roughly the same amount of time from the founding of Amazon to now.
Yes, 30 years is nearly instantaneous on a cosmic timescale, but it is a long time relative to a human lifespan.
In other words, if you were an immortal investor, then it would be easy to look at the NFT space now and think “this looks interesting, I am going to buy some ETH and some Chromie Squiggles and some Punks and some Mooncats and some XCOPY and chill for the next few decades to see what happens.”
For humans, however, while that may sound like a good idea, psychologically and emotionally it is extremely hard.
But please, if you believe that we might be onto something here, then do whatever it takes to buy a small collection of assets that you believe in that you simply will not sell.
Maybe 30 years is stretching it, but at least for a decade.
Besides investing/collecting, the other thing to consider doing in this unique moment in history is contributing.
Right now there is so much opportunity for good contributors who can add value.
Those contributors who begin building a reputation now will be rewarded over the years. Not just monetarily, but with friends, with opportunities, with serendipity, and with magic they cannot conceive of now.
The markets may be down, but the vibes are up.
Zoom out, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.
🍣 Salmon Bites
A few quick morsels of fun before I trot into the woods:
1. Twitter Follow I Recommend
@punk9059 AKA NFTstatistics.eth shares really great NFT related data on the daily.
For example, here’s an interesting thread about how many collections tend to “grind lower and crash higher.”
Give them a follow!
2. Artist Spotlight: Emily Xie
Emily Xie is, according to her website, “a generative artist, engineer, and educator living in NYC. She works primarily with algorithms and data to explore the interplay between the organic and the systematic.”
Back in March she released a beautiful collection on Art Blocks called Memories of Qilin.
Here is one output from the collection:
[Memories of Qilin] is inspired by traditional East Asian art. It channels the sense of movement and fluidity found in classical Chinese brushwork, while drawing from the colors, patterns, and forms of ukiyo-e woodblock prints. The series explores elements of folklore, evoking the mythological imagery of dragons, phoenixes, flowers, and mountains. The title references a fabled chimerical beast found throughout East Asian mythology (while the qilin is its Chinese name, it is also known in Korea as the girin and Japan as the kirin) that represents prosperity and luck. Viewers are invited to interpret elusive forms that verge on representation. As with the stories passed on through generations, each piece is imagined, organic, and ever-in-flux.
Here’s another output:
Generative art still kind of blows my mind. The artistry involved in having a vision in your mindseye for something as beautiful and detailed and wide ranging as Memories of Qilin and then writing the code that will produce that vision is pretty dang impressive!
3. Quote of the Week
“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.”
― W.H. Murray
What did you think about this issue of The Monty Report? Please head over to Twitter and let me know. Be sure to tag me - @MontyMedici - in your post so that I see it.
Until next week.
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