It's getting late on a Saturday afternoon in Denver when I lean back and take in the full weirdness of what I’m doing. I’m seated at a long plastic folding table against the wall in a windowless room, a Discord server open on my laptop. Pizza crusts and empty potato chip bags are piled up around me, evidence of the feverish hours I’ve spent hacking together a project with a trio of blockchain developers. I’m not a programmer, just a journalist with a law degree. Yet somehow I’ve gotten swept up in creating my own DAO—a decentralized autonomous organization, a favorite concept among the starry-eyed proponents of Web3—and it’s supposed to launch tomorrow.
No doubt you have questions. So do I. Like: What happened to me? Three days ago I was a crypto skeptic who could barely figure out how to buy ether. Now I’m speaking in complete sentences about multisig treasuries and quadratic voting. The devs have almost integrated our site with non-MetaMask wallets, and I’ve just dropped $85 for a domain on the Ethereum Name Service despite having no clear use for it. And rather than feeling exasperated or baffled, I seem to have caught the same thrill, however fleetingly, as everyone around me.
I am among the estimated 10,000 people who arrived in Colorado a few days ago for this year’s ETHDenver conference, the biggest and oldest event in the world of Ethereum and Web3. Most of these folks came here to be among their people. I came to try to understand them. And I think I finally do.