DeFi, Opinion

The Roaring 20s

Why crypto culture is powering the next Roaring 20s
David Hoffman David Hoffman Oct 4, 20216 min read

Dear Bankless Nation,

I recently read an article titled: Blockchain Bros and Crypto Socialites Came to Party from TheCut.com which was both a ton of fun to read and also a great commentary on the state of crypto-society.

A lot of people thought this article was lampooning crypto culture, but I thought it was awesome.

Here's why.

For one, I happened to be at the party highlighted in the article (and it was a lot of fun). It was hosted by Delphi Digital and Yield Guild Games at a venue in Brooklyn the week of Messari Mainnet.

Little did the party-goers know, but renowned artist Disclosure would make an appearance on the DJ at 11:00pm that night.

The article was written by a crypto-outsider who came to investigate what the whole social side of crypto is all about and give their perspective on what it means to be a crypto socialite. Usually, crypto-outsiders don’t see the same perspectives as crypto-folk, and come looking to confirm an already negative bias…but not this time.

Some of the people featured in the article (but not by name, only iykyk) were pplpleasr, Coin Artist, Ameen Soleimani, and G-Money.

This piece was a genuine account of the current state of IRL crypto culture, and when you read between the lines and integrate some positive projections about the future of the industry, you get a pretty powerful outcome.

Crypto is reigniting the Roaring 20s, one hundred years later.

The Roaring 20’s Begin

Just to be clear, this industry is currently “making it up as we go” when it comes to the IRL version of our culture. Crypto did a complete metamorphosis in 2020, starting with DeFi summer and BTC and ETH setting new ATHs, and who we are and how we manifest IRL meaningfully changes every time crypto goes through one of these transformational periods.

It’s not like we just “picked up where we left off” pre-COVID. This year has been crypto’s first real introduction towards having the IRL culture it’s ever had. It’s also not coincidental that crypto started infiltrating IRL society after NFTs have taken center stage as NFTs and culture go hand-in-hand.

And as I’ve said roughly an infinite amount of times on the podcast, crypto culture is tight.

But also, crypto culture is online, and most people aren’t used to the level of online-ness that our culture requires.

BUT…conference season is definitely back on (see you at Permissionless in May - 30% off for premium subs!), and now that NFTs have started to onboard people in ways that DeFi never could, our IRL events have taken a completely new shape.

NFTs truly are the missing piece from crypto that makes crypto ‘cool’. Normies don’t care about the insane yields from the latest DeFi protocol, or how ultra sound ETH is, but digital art and collectibles with price tags… now that’s cool.

While the above article did a fair job illustrating both the optimism and excitement that crypto people have for the future we’re creating, there was definitely an air of exuberance, indulgence, and… well, a huge top signal.

Welcome to the roaring 20’s again old sport.

So, a broader question: are crypto-parties the top, or the start of a new cultural paradigm?

In my mind, we’ve found ways to make wealth generation sustainable.

The 1920s But Sustainable

At the tail end of the First World War, the 1920s saw a surge of new mainstream consumer technologies make it into the homes of everyday Americans, after years of rationing for the war. Electricity became integrated into homes, the radio allowed for culture to propagate more effectively, and individual automobile ownership started to trend upwards.

And of course, the stock market was booming from a combination of tax cuts and a low-interest rate environment.

The economy of the roaring 20’s funded lifestyle and culture never before thought possible… and sadly in the end it all came crashing down. So, perhaps not the best metaphor to use?

But there are meaningful differences between the stock market of the 1920s and the crypto markets of 2020s that point towards true sustainability in the value and wealth being generated.

Cultural Sustainability

One of my favorite ideas comes from Chris Burniske, who said that crypto offers platforms for the economic viability of all cultures. In other words, all DAOs, NFT artists, social tokens, DeFi apps, or anything with a community that can be economically viable now has an economic foundation to achieve that viability.

Think of your favorite crypto community. It likely has a token, and thanks to that token, the community is economically sustainable. Thanks to that token, the values that comprise the community have the generative energy needed to push that community forward. The more value that is created by these communities allows the communities to expand.

Some communities have grown so large that they are expanding into the real world, and are now at the phase of exporting their culture and values to real-world society.

And that’s the significance I saw in the Blockchain Bros and Crypto Socialites Came to Party article. We, as an industry, have found ways to become economically sustainable.

We’ve outgrown our internet-nativity, and have set our sights towards bigger aspirations.

We are now expanding our reach into the real world.

We’ve gone from URL to IRL.

FOMO into our culture

One way I see crypto going mainstream is by generating a society of socialites that market how incredibly fun being a part of crypto-culture is. There’s a lot of really cool and interesting people out there that are not yet crypto-people… and I want them for #teamcrypto.

Crypto used to be a niche corner of the internet. But now in 2021, it’s finally become the cool new part of the world that we’ve always hoped it would be.

In March, I published The Digital Culture Revolution, which told a story of disenfranchised generations who don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel and feel outcast by current institutions of the world. The number of fellow Millennials and Zoomers that reached out to me after reading to tell me they particularly resonated with the commentary on young people’s despair in finding their place in the world was countless.

Now, crypto as an entire industry is carving out its own place in the world, and it’s starting with injecting itself into mainstream culture.

So, not only is crypto-culture extremely entertaining, but it is also in direct opposition to the current status quo. Whereas the legacy cultural and institutional leaders of the world are entrenched, crypto culture is inclusive.

Where the previous world is extractive, the crypto-world is generative.

Perhaps hosting IRL events and parties is one of the best ways our industry can market itself towards those who need one last push to get over the edge.

Not only can crypto support you economically, but we can all be IRL friends too! Not only are we at the cusp of a new frontier of money and finance, but also we are in the beginnings of an entirely new foundation for society.

That’s the whole point of this whole crypto revolution thing, right?

First, we generate a bunch of wealth, and next, we share it! Why are all crypto people incessantly trying to get their friends and family members onboard this revolution?

It’s because we know that once crypto takes over, it’s going to bring a lot of wealth with it. And if we don’t share this wealth generation event with as many people as possible, it simply won’t impact the world the same way as if it had.

The whole point of this crypto thing is to change society.

Now that conference season is back on, crypto parties are just another tool to market how awesome crypto culture is.

Bankless Nation—the roaring 20s are back, and crypto is leading it.

Happy Monday.

- David

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