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Spectrums of Optimism & Idealism

The web3/crypto/blockchain space gets its fair share of criticism. Some of it is deserved; some of it is not. Some of it is well-reasoned; some of it is basically unhinged.

I don’t typically join online/Twitter debates (Don’t worry. This post is more of a meta post than a rebuttal to some argument). There are plenty of other people that will do it “for me.” I believe that my efforts will have more impact if I instead focus on building/creating/showing.

That doesn’t mean that I ignore criticism. It’s helpful to figure out how and why my beliefs differ so I can adjust as appropriate and to better understand the world around me.

Some of the most interesting concerns to think about are the ones that I share with web3’s fiercest critics in the macro sense (climate change, wealth/opportunity inequality, & distribution of power to name a few), but disagree about blockchain’s role in helping combat (or exacerbate) those same issues. How can I share their aspirations for the future, but also be their online mortal enemy?

As is the case in many debates today, it’s not really about having access to the same information. Disagreements are more about the informational filters and lenses that we apply.

While there are many factors and in different contexts we all land somewhere different, the four quadrant plot that I’ve been thinking about most recently is made up of optimism vs pessimism on the vertical axis and pragmatism vs idealism on the horizontal.

I’m on record as believing optimism is humanities’ true super power. Humans had to believe that they could do better every step of the way to get us from stone tools to modern technology. We had to believe that not every other being was an enemy, so we could work together to build things beyond any of our individual capabilities.

None of us has a never-ending supply of optimism. As we are disappointed or burned by the world, we all tick down a few notches (hopefully the world and fellow humans give us a boost every once-in-a-while). We should practice empathy with those whose core disagreements with our views trace back to their pessimism of the world, technology, or any system. There’s often much to be learned from the source of someone's pessimism.

Pragmatism and idealism are a little tricker. I believe the “right” spot on the spectrum is constantly changing, and of course, differs across contexts. I have deeply held values that I want to see in the world, but reality often requires finesse, incremental progress, and tactical acceptance of the “how things are” to effect change. 

I peg many web3 critics further out on the idealism spectrum than I assess myself. The hopeful note here is that when/if web3 proves it’s value in practice, the gap will naturally close. Or more likely, at least shift to another frontier of debate…


  • We’re creating a process and infrastructure for community members to define and submit Ceramic Schemas for new types of content/use cases on the Geo Web. The Geo Web (and almost all the tools/networks we integrate with) are intended to be open and permissionless. Since the Geo Web isn’t a monolith, we need to build up the coordination tools, so that in this case, new schemas aren’t just published in isolation, but can be reused by others and integrated into spatial browsers.
  • Our work continues on the point-anchored AR content demo and our streaming payment infrastructure implementation. Nothing to show yet, but soon!


  • Raid Guild is a web3 development collective and one of the true pioneers of DAOs. They’ve been cranking out client projects, contributing to public goods, and advancing the whole space for years. They started running regular “cohorts” last year as an web3 onboarding ramp for Web 2.0 developers, designers, writers, PMs, and anyone else who is interested (and that isn’t afraid to put in the work). We’re super excited to be sponsoring Raid Guild Cohort Season IV that kicked off today. We’re providing several bounties focused on partial common ownership education and Geo Web use cases. 
  • We put out the call for technical contributors all the time, but the door is wide open for non-technical contributors as well—community management, design, marketing, writing, memes, anything to help advance the ecosystem. Just join our Discord and introduce yourself. We’ll find a fit from there!

On Deck

  • Supporting Raid Guild Cohort Season IV
  • Releasing demos!
  • Making the transition to L2 along (along with new bells and whistles)

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