A Draft Syllabus For The Rabbit Hole

(image) The most common complaint I hear from friends and colleagues who are interested in the crypto/web3 world is how hard it is to “get smart” on the topic – for a neophyte, there’s just so much noise and precious little signal. Sure, you might dive headfirst into crypto Twitter – but the experience is both jarring and unproductive (ditto that for crypto-related Discord servers).

I’ve been exploring crypto for enough time to have developed a point of view on a handful of people and resources I trust to help me make sense of what is an increasingly fractious and confusing space. Below is a first draft of what I hope will evolve into a more polished “syllabus” of sorts for smart folks interested in getting smarter. This is purposefully not complete – the list could have been much, much longer. Please comment, email, or hit me up on Twitter with additional suggestions, and I’ll incorporate them as I can. And one caveat: I’m reading in this space with an eye toward crypto’s impact on tech, society, and governance. This list is *not* created with an eye toward investing in either currencies or NFTs. There’d be an entirely different set of resources for that task!

Most of these resources are newsletters – I’m a newsletter fanatic. The ones below I almost always open when they land in my in box.

Cobie

The trend of pseudonyms is strong in crypto, and Cobie, whose real name – I think –  is Jordan Fish, is yet another example. His essays are dense, cogent, and much praised in crypto circles. I’m particularly fond of his recent post “Wtf is web3“.

Jarrod Dicker

Jarrod is something of a unicorn in the media/crypto/VC space, in that he’s a recent operator at a high level (WashPo, HuffPo), a founder in the crypto space (Po.et), a respected writer on media/web3 (his Darkstar Mirror site is a must read), and now a major force in investing as lead of crypto for TCG.

Messari

A respected early research firm in the space, most of the links require a subscription, but have good info before the jump. I find the roundups at the end of the daily newsletter very good as well.

Li Jin

I’m relatively new to Jin’s writing  – but she’s been a force in the VC world for some time. This piece, with Katie Parrott, is a fine example of her work, which tends to be accessible to new folks in the space.

Packy McCormick

This guy is the deep dive guru for startup analysis, and he’s gone all the way down the rabbit hole on crypto/web3 in the past year or so. It takes A LOT to get through his sometimes 5-10,000 word pieces, but I grok all of them, and read many. Favorites: The Laboratory for Complex Problems, Discord, Imagine a PlaceStatus Monkeys, The Great Online Game. Oh and like so many writers, he’s started a VC fund as well.

Vitalik Buterin

Dude’s the godfather of Ethereum, so everyone watches what he says. Follow him on Twitter, he posts his essays there.

Balaj Srinivasan

Srnivasan is perhaps the most evangelical and articulate of the crypto power elite. I don’t agree with a lot of his philosophy, but he’s very smart and a must read/listen (worth searching for his name in your favorite podcast app).

The Generalist

This multi-author newsletter is not all about crypto, but it’s worth a perusal. I learned a lot from its MetaMask deep dive.

Chris Dixon

Chris has been writing about this space for what seems forever, and was one of the first to define and popularize web3. And with his perch as point on crypto for a16z, his views matter even more.

Fred Wilson

Wilson has been blogging his thoughts as a VC forever, and he still blogs several times a week, covering a pretty broad waterfront in a folksy, short form voice. When he covers crypto/web3, where he’s an OG’s OG, everyone pays attention.

Katie Haun

Another must follow on Twitter, and worth listening to any pod she’s on. Was a lead on crypto at a16z, recently started her own fund.

Decrypt

This industry news site was started a few years back by pal and Wired OG Josh Quittner.  I use their daily newsletter as a way to navigate ongoing coverage. You might also check out CoinDesk and Coinbase’s in house organ.

Forefront

I appreciate the format of this newsletter – good summaries, good pieces. I can’t figure out what the company behind it is all about, but the links are consistently strong.

The Block

A finance/defi-focused outfit, its newsletter has good set of newsy items.

Real Vision Crypto Briefing

I don’t read this as much, as it often drives you toward a subscription product or videos I don’t have time to watch, but the news summaries and lead items are often good.

Casey Newton/Platformer

I’ve followed Casey’s work on tech since he started, lately he’s been doing a lot of good analysis on web3/crypto.

Ben Thompson

He doesn’t cover crypto that much, and he’s got his quirks, but I read Thompson’s stuff almost daily. One of the must reads on tech more broadly.

Azeem Azhar’s Exponential View

Like Thompson, Azhar has a much broader view of the world than just crypto, but he’s been focusing in on it of late. Plus, all his other stuff is great context for what’s happening beyond web3.

Will Wilkinson

For one reason: He wrote the excellent Is Crypto Bullshit? Oh, and related, don’t miss Max Read’s Is Web3 Bullshit? 

Again, if you have input on this brief list, and especially if you have additions, please add to comments!

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