Web3 Podcast - How Miguel Piedrafita Shipped 160 Apps By 19 Years Old, Pivoted To Web3 and How You Can Get Started In It Too
In this episode I talk to Miguel Piedrafita (@m1guelpf) about moving all in Web3.
What we discussed
- What is Web3?
- Difference between Crypto and Web3
- Web3 Apps Examples
- How Web3 will change in 5 years?
- What is NFT and what its future?
- Do you regret that you scanned your eyes for World Coin?
- What is better to learn first Solidity or Solana?
- Newbie Web3 Developers Mistakes
- Why Solana is hard for begginers
- How to learn Web3?
- How to find a first job in Web3?
- Social Tokens
- What is DAO?
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Table of Content
Andrey: I would try to introduce you as specific as possible:
- Your name is Miguel.
- You're 19 years old
- You've become very popular in the Web3 scene
- You've completed 160 different web projects and sold two of them
- You're working on an NFT social network called Showtime
- Working on some side projects like Blockchain Pet and many more.
Miguel: Yeah, it's hard to come to this point. I start something new every weekend I feel like, but it's about that.
Andrey: Nice. Pretty impressive for a 19-year-old. I don't know how you have time and do all this stuff. Maybe you're like Elon Musk or something.
Miguel: I don't think so. I'm not in university or anything so I guess that makes it easier. I can just dedicate all of my time to this and to doing good work.
Andrey: Makes sense.
Miguel: I have a few things to focus on.
Where Miguel is now
Andrey: Are you in London right now or where are you?
Miguel: No. I am in Madrid but now I will be in London this weekend.
Andrey: You're now starting university. I remember you had a dream to go to UK and study there.
Miguel: I tried that and then I just went to university. It was the full Corona season. No one was there. The campus was empty. The classes were online so I ended up dropping out because there was really nothing to do there so I now work full time.
Andrey: You still can go to the UK based on some travel visa or something.
Miguel: Yes. I'm from the EU so I can basically go to... UK is no longer in the EU but you can move through Europe without any issues so I don't need a visa or anything to go there. There's this NFT conference in London this weekend and I was invited to speak, so I'm going there.
Would you start learning Solana/Rust or is it better to focus on getting very good at Solidity?
Let's say you're learning Web3. You've done about six projects and are still learning. If your time is limited, would you start learning Solana/Rust to jump in that ship that expands your knowledge, or is it better to focus on getting very good at Solidity? Do you think Rust for smart contracts has potential and demand in the market?
That's pretty easy for our front-end developer. We are used to trying out new libraries every time, and getting started with building Web3 apps with React or Vue is like using a new library. So definitely try that out. Get started with that and then once you have an app, you can then start going into the whole smart contract area which is a completely different thing. But I would say, do one thing at a time. Don't try to learn two new things at the same time. Don't go to Rust, and Web3, and Solana. Even with Solidity and Web3, figure out the whole Web3 part first. You can make web apps. You can look at the code of some apps that already exist. Try to figure out how that works and then you can go into smart contracts or Solidity.
There are a bunch of existing protocols or applications that already have smart contracts. If you want to build something related to taking loans in crypto, you can use the Aave protocol for that which they already have some smart contracts for. All the existing projects have smart contracts. You see this thing called Uniswap that you've been seeing people use, you can try to build a front end for Uniswap. There's documentation out there for most, if not all, smart contracts out there.
Andrey: Got you. Here in this discord, as well as for many people who just want to jump into Web3, there are too many resources and people just don't know where to start. I suppose many questions will be like this about the start and how your past was and so on, so just be ready for questions like this.
What Was your motivation to join DeepALTR compared to other offers and was the contract made in MSPaint?
What caught your interest?
Miguel: Okay. This is a joke. The other day I tweeted that since everyone apparently wants to hire me, I would be open to joining any company that wanted me as a vibes intern, which is a position with no salary and no responsibilities. Yes, that's a joke. The DeepALTR team was one of the people who posted a "contract" made with MSPaint that I just signed as a joke. That's basically the joke. That's not really a question, but sure.
How would Web3 change in 5 years from now?
If you were to make a prediction, in five years time, how will Web3 have changed and how will it change the world?
Miguel: I would say right now, the computing power of blockchain is pretty limited. That's part of the problem that we see with gas being that high because gas basically represents the operations that a smart contract has to do. Also, there are limits to what you can be on the blockchain. You cannot be a back end for a game that has 100 players at the same time or something like that. It's pretty limited in what it can do. You can do math on it, you can do a little bit of string manipulation. It is not recommended to do big for loops or stuff like that, just to make it clear how limited that is.
The teams are working on ways to solve this problem so, in five years, I definitely believe we'll have a blockchain powerful enough, hopefully, to do anything that we can do right now in Digital Ocean VPS. I feel like in five years, we'll see Web3 grow a lot not only in finance, but in all the other spaces. In the social space, people will make even games, just regular use of the blockchain as a merchant for many more things.
What is Web3?
What I consider to be Web3 is more a culture and a way of doing things than any of the technology that we have available right now.
But I do feel like it "will change the world" a little bit just in the sense that we are used to doing things that are considered acceptable.
Similar to how I feel like a few years ago, people didn't really care that much about online privacy, for example, or at least people didn't care as much as they do now. I feel like for example, owning your data or having the applications that you use be in a public ledger for some kinds of apps will be a thing that people will care about more than now. Owning things, having things be more transparent, are the things that Web3 brings. I think we'll see as more apps adopt it, hopefully, big apps soon, we'll see people starting to get used to that.
Is Web3 is a culture?
Andrey: Yeah, definitely. You made an interesting statement, that Web3 is not this next generation of the internet as everyone is saying it is. You're saying it's a culture.
Miguel: Yeah. It's a culture that has technical principles in a way. Similar to how Web2 was "a revolution" based around cookies in a way. We didn't really have state on the internet and now we have state and all these things. I feel like Web3 does have the technology point that we didn't have the blockchain and now we have the blockchain. But all at the same time, it is mostly about culture and about a certain way of doing things that blockchain is the best way of doing that but doesn't necessarily. As blockchain evolves as new technologies appear, that's not the defining point. The defining point for me is this cultural aspect.
Andrey: Can you talk a little bit more about what you think about this cultural aspect, what it's like? Is it communities helping each other or what exactly do you mean by this?
Miguel: It is a pretentious way to put it but I feel like we are in a different way trying to achieve what the first people who were building the internet were trying to achieve. If you read all these articles about people saying, "The internet is going to be a fad. The internet is not going to be a thing," a few years ago, the things that they critique are that it's like a utopian view of things where these people wanted all the information to be open to everyone, communities to actually make things more demo democratic and stuff. I feel like the principles haven't changed. It's just that for some reason, some people do not like the technology that comes in this way and other people have just given up on thinking that this is ever going to be possible.
But I feel like those views are kind of like the same thing. We want users to own their data. We want privacy to be a very important thing. We want things to be more democratic, more open, more decentralized in a way. We want to build new services that can allow us to do what all these new services allow us to do, kind of like Facebook, Twitter, Google, all these things, but we want to build them in a way where the user is in control and also build a bunch of things that were impossible before related mostly to financial stuff. For me, those are the really important cultures. It's just a new version of those ideas that helped build the original version of the web. I don't know. We are trying again so maybe this time we'll get it.
Andrey: You made a very interesting tweet. You made the analogy about your teachers. When there was innovation in your school and they got these Chromebooks, some teachers are old school and don't want to adapt to innovations. They started copy-pasting PDF and saying, "You need to do the same thing with Chromebook that you've done with the book. Just read from it." But other teachers, more modern teachers, adopted new technologies and they tried to use all these new tools and new platforms to learn to make it make sense to use Chromebooks. Otherwise, there is not much difference between books and Chromebook if you're just using them as books.
Miguel: Yeah. That was inspired by mostly seeing people that are just building Web3 apps that just got into Web3and are trying to build Web3 apps that are just like, "Oh, we are building a note taking app for Web3, or we are building whatever." There was a guy who made a community course and then made the tickets or the subscription to the course be an NFT. Don't get me wrong. It's cool. I'm open to everyone experiencing new things. But that's not really building anything new in a way. As I said, if you are building an app that can replace crypto with Stripe and nothing will change, the app will continue to work, that's not really building for Web3. That's just building an app with crypto, which is a different thing.
Again, I love everyone who is experimenting and doing new things. I don't want to gatekeep this. Obviously, the way that you learn is just either rebuilding something that you're familiar with or rebuilding something that someone has already built. There's nothing wrong with that. But I do think that especially in Web3, with all the things that I'm seeing new people build or even old people build, it is important to keep into account that this is a new paradigm.
Let's say we are going to build a Web3 blog ❌ The wrong way: How do we build likes in Web3? How do we build comments in Web3?" ✅ The right way: How do likes work in Web3? What is the intent of likes and how do we reveal that in a better way?
You cannot go and say, "We are going to build a Web3 blog, then we are going to see, how do we build likes in Web3? How do we build comments in Web3?"
In my opinion, that's the wrong way to go about things. I had this anecdote in the thread where I mentioned that there was actually a Web3 blogging platform called mirror, which is really awesome. I was talking to one of the engineers and someone in the chat mentioned, "There should be some kind of liking functionality."
The question that he proposed was not how can we build likes on Web3 or how can we build likes in the blockchain? He was like, "How do likes work in Web3? What is the intent of likes and how do we reveal that in a better way?" The system that he came with was you would basically stake tokens to like an article in a way, and then the yield from those tokens or the interest generated by putting those tokens in a bank to put it in a Web2 way would go to the author. He would have a passive stream of income from the article without people losing their money and being able to withdraw at any time.
The system is cool but the point here that I'm trying to make is not about the system. The right question to make is what is this thing that I'm building? What is this function and what can we use to recreate that function in a better way? And not really like, how do we build this in Web3? I see the whole X in Web3 or X with crypto similar to the Uber for X thing where it doesn't end up working most of the time, or it is a bit unnecessary. NFTs are cool, crypto is cool. People are just using it as a password today and just trying to add NFT into anything, regardless of if it makes sense or not. That was basically what that whole thing was about.
Andrey: You mentioned that there is crypto and Web3, and if you're making crypto like adding just the crypto payments, it doesn't mean that your website or the app is Web3, right? What do you think is an interesting topic?
What is the difference between Crypto and Web3?
Miguel: Yeah. This is mostly subjective. In my opinion, I do feel like crypto is more related to technology by itself, the whole blockchain thing. Web3 is this new movement or this new generation of applications that use blockchain technology to put the user first, all these other things that I talked about just a few moments ago. I feel like, for example, if you take my application that I had for like three years, the sites that I built a bunch of years ago, I'm not going to make it so that you can pay with crypto instead of Stripe or alongside Stripe. That definitely has crypto. That's pretty objective. I wouldn't say that it's Web3 though. That is not a Web3 app in my opinion, obviously. It's more of the focus, the way that you use the technology, all those things. I would say that for me is the difference between Web3 and crypto.
Examples of Web3 apps
If you would give an example, you're game an example of the crypto app which just has the crypto payments as Web2 app.
What would be some good examples that you think are pure in the definition of Web3 app or apps? Maybe a couple of them that you really think
Miguel: I feel like an easy one is Uniswap which is one of the most unknown crypto apps in a way, apps that use the blockchain, which just allows you to exchange any kind of token for any other kind of token and uses some really smart function to do all of that without centralizing or having an order book or all those things. One that I like more is this application.
Mirror, that I mentioned. It's Mirror.xyz. It is a decentralized blockchain platform so there's not really a server. The content is not necessarily put on the blockchain, it's put on a project called Aave, which I saw there were some questions about so I will talk about afterward.
But they have done a really good job too of integrating all of these technologies, putting the user in control. They also have some really cool features. It's a blockchain platform that you can embed NFTs into. You can also embed a crowdfund. There are Web3 blocks that actually, the best way to get it, at least for me... I was talking with the founder, and basically, one thing that he mentioned that really stuck with me was Kickstarter, if you think about it, is just a block with a crowdfund at the end. We want to build these blocks, the crowdfund, the NFT embed, all these blocks that then people can go and put anywhere.
That's what they are trying to do. For me, I really, really like their team. It was one of the first applications that I used when I was getting into Web3 and getting into crypto. I really, really like it and I feel like it's a great example of how to build a Web3 app that might be more similar to Web2 apps being like a blockchain platform still, but how to do it right. How to actually find the right metaphors and the right ways to like how does this look in Web3?
Do you think Torrent is Web3?
Miguel: I actually don't know if I would say Torrent is Web3. Maybe. I feel like Torrent isn't necessarily Web3. You could build an application that uses Torrent under the hood that is Web3, I guess. I wouldn't say Torrent is Web3 the same way that I don't know if I would say the blockchain is Web3. The blockchain is like infrastructure that you can build on top of. More like the protocols or the apps are Web3. Not necessarily the technology.
Andrey: Yeah, because the idea of Torrent was that everyone can share everything in a decentralized way as much as it could be in the times.
How can I join the Gen Z Mafia?
I'm also a 19-year-old builder.
Miguel: As a backstory, Gen Z Mafia is a really great community that I'm part of. it's kind of all the, all the cool Gen Z who are like in Silicon Valley funding startups or making great projects. It's a community for those kinds of people. If you want to join, there is a submission process. I think you can go to genzmafia.com. There's a form there to fill then someone will review applications. I honestly have no idea who takes care of that but someone does, and then you will get either accepted or rejected. Hopefully, accepted, but that's how you join.
Andrey: Age is a requirement, right? Otherwise, it doesn't make sense, or not really?
Miguel: I would say probably you have to be Gen Z to join. That's the whole thing. I am not fully sure, but I would only recommend Gen Z people to fill in the form just in case.
I have a beta for my Web3 project. How do I get early adopters?
Miguel: That is a great question. I've seen in Web2, it's pretty easy at least to... Not pretty easy, but it's easier. There are platforms where you can just throw in your project and people may check it out. You can launch it on Product Hunt. You can use BetaList before it's ready, all these things. Web3 is a little harder just because if you put something on Product Hunt, people may not know what it is about. In general, crypto Twitter is really, really strong. People sometimes do threads for, "Show me what you're building," or something like that, and you can post it there. There are some great Discord and Telegram communities. I would especially recommend the Cabbage Patch community which I am by the way a moderator on.
Cabbage Patch is a bit of a crazy name. It has its story but whatever. It's a small community. I feel like there are like 500 people there but people are not really active so it's a single thread. There are not multiple channels in Telegram again, but you can actually follow it pretty clearly, which is something that I really like about it. There are no more than 20, 30 messages a day and you can just ask questions as you are learning Web3 or share your project. There are some really smart people there that can help you out. That's basically the community that onboarded me into Web3 in a way and also probably one of my favorite communities in this space. That's what I would recommend. Also, this is a great Discord. Probably post it here. There will probably be some people interested in learning about that. I think there's a promotion channel, so yeah.
If you'd want to start a new Web3 project today, what's the stack you would use? TypeScript, Next.js?
How about the Hardhat or others? If you need the backend serverless like AWS Lambda or Heroku or others?
Miguel: Yeah. My personal stack of choice, I use Next.js for the front end. I obviously use Tailwind for all the styling, then I use ethers.js which is basically the library that you use to interact with the blockchain. Then for the smart contracts, I usually use Hardhat as a developer environment. If none of that last part makes sense, that's fine. That's basically not necessarily a framework, but a developer environment similar to how Next.js allows you to if you want to rewrite a react component, you can just drop it on the pages directly and it will make that a page. Hardhat basically allows you to have a smart contract that then you can write tests for or deploy from the common line and all those things. It's a really great tool.
Then if you need backend, clarification on that, you may think that in Web3 apps, the backend is the blockchain and that is correct. But the thing is, reading data for the blockchain is usually not very optimized in a way. You can emit elements from the blockchain, but you have to look those up and all those things. The blockchain is not great for quickly reading information. So what most apps do, what Foundation, OpenSea, Showtime, all these apps do, is they have a backend where they just cache or crawl the blockchain and then put things in a database just so that when you perform a request, you can really quickly return data. The role of the backend in Web3 is more of organizing data and just caching data in a way for easy retrieval.
Andrey: There is no golden rule. It's just you use whatever you're good at. There's not much of a difference with Web2, I guess, but just for smart contracts, there are some good things that can make your life much easier like the Hardhat stuff that can just save you tons of time. Otherwise, you need to check the entire network yourself.
Miguel: Yeah. I feel like pretty much most of the apps that I've seen used Next.js on the front end, I have no idea what they use on the backend and they use Ethers. Those are the most popular choices. If you are used to a stack, I think Peter was here before, he uses a single index.html file for everything. You can build a Web3 using that. The stack doesn't really matter. You don't have to learn a completely new toolset to get started. Just use whatever you are familiar with and go build something. Just get started. After that, once you have more experience with what this whole Web3 thing is, you can decide if you want to move to a different stack or if you want to keep with your own thing. But start with what you're used to and that will make starting way, way easier.
Andrey: You have a really good article on your blog about how to learn crypto and you didn't just jump into the entire smart contracts. You just started with front js for Mirror, I guess, and you did it step by step to adapt these new concepts.
If you are familiar with Next.js, great. Go build a Web3 app in Next.js. If you have never touched frontend in your life and you have only built backend stuff, there are probably some cool backend things that you can do with the blockchain. Just try to incorporate something related to crypto or Web3 with whatever stack you're already comfortable with, and that will probably make it much easier for things to make sense.
I thought smart contracts (Solidity) replaced Web2 backend entirely. Correct me if I'm wrong.
Miguel: We already went about this. I would say, as I mentioned at the start, the blockchain is a bit limited in functionality right now in the sense where you can do really complex data operations. If I right now wanted to build, I don't know, the backend for World of Warcraft, I am definitely not going to be able to do that at all. Because as I said, if you do a for statement with 100 iterations, that's probably going to be too much for the blockchain in its current state, just because there are limits to gas in the block and all this technical stuff that you don't really need to understand. Depending on what you're building, smart contracts can replace the Web2 backend entirely. If you're building something related to finance, that's most likely the case depending on how you want it to be.
For Showtime, for example, NFTs are in the blockchain but we do use a backend for likes and comments, and all those things, because eventually, it will make sense to put those things on the blockchain. Right now, it's just a waste of space for everyone and a bunch of time and making things more complex. The end goal is to do that. Right now you have to be a little clever and decide what goes in there and what doesn't. Even if you put everything on-chain, it does make sense to have a backend sometimes to optimize the reading of data and to be able to... I don't know.
If you go to someone's profile in Showtime, we are not going to crawl through the blockchain to find all their NFTs. We just curate our database and that will return in milliseconds instead of taking minutes. There's still like a place for a backend, but eventually, I would say, in like five years, maybe, maybe a little less, the goal is to see if it makes sense, which again is another disclaimer, Web3 is great, blockchain is great. It doesn't make sense to put literally in on a blockchain. You do have to think, "Does this make sense at all?" It's like with everything, when there's a new tool and you want to try to use it for everything, and then you slowly figure out what that tool is better for, blockchain is the same.
It comes with great benefits. It also has some drawbacks. You do have to be mindful of, does my Product Hunt clone make sense on the blockchain? In my opinion, probably not, at least not in this current state. It doesn't need blockchain at all. You can maybe find some clever things to do with NFTs, but you probably shouldn't move the whole database to the blockchain. But yeah, for apps where it does make sense to put things on the blockchain, the end goal is to get there and for smart contracts to replace back end entirely as a source for information at least.
Andrey: Yeah, I agree because many people might just use crypto technologies for everything that they can, but it doesn't really make any sense. Same with Web2 I guess. You can't just use all tools for everything. You just need to make the tools that make sense to use for this particular program.
Please tell us about the wallet you are building. What does 2.5 mean? Please tell us more.
Andrey: The story is yesterday you tweeted that you decided to build a wallet and the secret name is Web 2.5, right?
Miguel: Yeah. Again, the context for that is basically, like you were saying, I tweeted yesterday that I'm building a wallet. That's the latest break that I started. The code name for the wallet is Web 2.5. I'm going to tell you guys what it is. I haven't tweeted about it yet so I will probably do a thread today. Do not really share it out of here. This is alpha, so do not share it until I do. But the idea here is as I was saying, the blockchain is not powerful enough right now to handle some things that you will eventually want to be there. Still, if you believe that it will, at some point, get that powerful, which I do, as we have already established, you would want to build your existing apps today in a way where when the blockchain gets to a stage where you can use it that way, you can seamlessly import data.
For example, on Showtime we have comments. People can comment on NFTs. This is data that maybe at some point would make sense to have on the blockchain. It's just not great to have it right now mostly because it would just be a waste of transactions and gas and all these things. The issue is, if someone tomorrow creates a decentralized commenting platform or protocol, we cannot just import all those comments into the system basically because that would require the protocol to show them those comments are currently in our database. We can right now make up whatever, just go into the database, create a comment, then when we import those comments, that comment would be pulled in as if the user had posted that. We cannot import our content into any blockchain or decentralized protocol that comes up for that probably in the future.
The answer to that would be to have the user sign with their wallet or their private key, every comment that they write. We would save the signature and then when a decentralized commenting system comes around, we can just say, "Oh, we have this signature that proves that the user was the one that clicked the post button after writing this thing, then we could import all those comments or whatever thing that it is into the blockchain. The issue with that right now is that it is very annoying. How that would work is the user would have to have their wallet open every time, either in using rainbow on their phone or using MetaMask, and then each time they perform an action, on my end, you’re scrolling through Instagram, and then it's time that you click the like button.
If the button pops up that you have to scroll to the bottom, click sign, it would be really slow and really annoying. Basically, what I'm trying to do is a wallet that instead of focusing on what current crypto wallets focus on, which is your transactions and holding your money and all those things, it just takes care of these signatures and allows me to say, "I give permission to this application to showtime.com to automatically sign any signing request that has this structure, and it would be like the structure of a comment signature. That way, you can just browse around. Each time you click the like button, behind the scenes, we can go to your wallet and say, "Hey, can you sign this?" and the wallet would say, "Oh, sure," then it signs it.
Maybe you have a list of things that you have signed that you can check. But basically, that allows you to build apps that I call web 2.5, in a way where we are still using a backend and we're still using a centralized database, but we do store signatures for the actions of the user so that eventually when we want to put things out of this database, we can verify the source of all our data. That's basically the idea. I'm sorry if that was a little bit boring. It's a bit technical, but that's basically what I'm building. That's what I think we'll see a bit more of in the future.
Andrey: Why do you call it a wallet?
Miguel: I said it will eventually not be called a wallet. I call it a wallet because it is close to a wallet. It is closer to a wallet than to any other thing. If I really quickly want to explain what I'm building, it's easier to say, "Oh, I'm building a wallet," than it is to explain this whole thing, then I can go on and explain this whole thing. But yeah, it's mostly just for simplicity and also to hype up people, and it seems that it works so.
What do you think about Worldcoin's usage of ZK Proof?
Miguel: I'm going to have to go into a bit of a rabbit hole for this one. I'm not sure who here is familiar with Worldcoin. Worldcoin is a product that was recently announced by Sam Altman and a bunch of BC funds, that basically aims to create a global currency and basically to give a little bit of that currency to any human being. Then the way that they do that is they have these orbs, which is a hardware orb, like a sphere, where you scan your eyes to get issued some Worldcoin. It sounds bad. When it launched, everyone was really, really hating on it. I actually took the time to learn about it. I did have a friend that worked on the team that actually was leading one of the teams from Worldcoin so I knew about that. I actually got my iris scanned for that and made two threads about what I thought about all of that.
Andrey: Do you regret you did the scan or not?
Miguel: I regret that I got so much hate for defending this thing. I definitely do not regret the scan at all, and I'm really, really hopeful about the project and really, really hope it succeeds. That is the Worldcoin part. The ZK Proof part is a little bit more complicated. A ZK proof or zero-knowledge proof basically is a cryptographic proof similar to a signature where you basically can prove something without leaking any details about it. In the context of Worldcoin, how that works is when your eyes get scanned, that creates a photograph. Then what the orb does is it hashes that photograph in a way where you have this hash that belongs to the iris, but you cannot get the Iris back from the hash then you put that hash on the blockchain.
With a ZK Proof, for example, I can prove that my iris was scanned without revealing which of the hashes is mine basically. This is what it allows you to do. As for what I think of Worldcoin usage, I feel like even though some people didn't really understand its usage, as I was saying, people were really hating on it, it is a bit scary but it is, in my opinion at least, secure. Sure, I am taking a photo of my iris, but that photo is getting only hashed and then immediately deleted. I saw Edward Snowden comment on it saying that building a global database of irises was not a great idea, which I totally agree on.
I would say having basically a list of hashes of iris doesn't really matter just because that means that you only can get any kind of information if you actually have a photo of the iris of someone. Even with that photo, the only information that you can get is whether they got scanned by the orb or not, so that's not really any kind of personal information I would say. I would say that actually, the usage of all these cryptographic technologies makes it really smart. The part of the project that actually has me excited about it, I would say, because any other implementation of this would be really, really bad for privacy, but making it in such a way where you can prove and use the system without actually even revealing which of the hashes is yours makes it a secure and privacy-preserving.
Andrey: Just to clarify, you don't recommend scanning eyes but you like the system.
Miguel: I wouldn't recommend scanning eyes in a system where you are just going to save the photo of your eye. I feel like it's not great to be giving people photos of your eyes for permanent storage. I will say though, that in this system, it is actually pretty secure and I definitely don't regret scanning my eye. Once it is available for more people, I will actually encourage people to go scan their eyes, which sounds weird, but yeah.
Andrey: Cool. Let's scan our eyes. Let's go to the next one. There are three questions about Worldcoin.
What are 3 small-cap altcoin projects that intrigue you nowadays in terms of the problem they are solving or the solution they are building? (Not FA)
Miguel: As it says, first of all, this is not financial advice at all. I would also like to preface this by saying I'm going to answer about three projects that excite me that have coins, not necessarily three altcoins, just because like, first of all, I don't really like the word altcoin. I feel like it's a little bit derogatory in a way. Also, I really strongly dislike speculation of any kind. I actually don't really invest that much in any kind of project just because I don't like the whole coin go up coin go down thing. So again, I'm going to reply based on the fact that I like the project, not really that I have looked at all altcoin. With that said, one of the programs that I really like is R wave, which is building a blockchain or a structure similar to a blockchain, but for files.
The idea of R wave is that you can upload a file to R wave and it will be stored there forever. Actually forever. It will be publicly accessible. It's like CVN that you can have files in a decentralized way as well so that the storage is not centralized, and also it will not expire. It will not go down. Your file will be there until the end of time. At least that's the objective of the project. I've used it before. I feel like most NFTs are starting to host their files on R wave. Mirror actually uses under the hood for storing the articles. That's how they store such big amounts of data in a decentralized way. It is a really cool product that I really like. That's one. I'm going to go a little faster.
The other two would be ENS, the Ethereum domain system. They actually just announced that they are going to be launching a token or a coin. It's just really cool. The idea is basically if DNS, the domain system that we're all familiar with, is centralized but it's still useful, it masks IP addresses. So instead of having to type Google server's IP address, I can just have google.com. The ENS system does the same thing for a wallet. So instead of having to type 64 random characters, that is my wallet. I can just type miguelpf.eth, that will go to my wallet. It also allows me to define an avatar, a name, a description, kind of define parameters about me similar to TXT records, then those can be queried from apps or from within the blockchain.
It basically is attempting to build a global identity so that when I create an account on Showtime, if I own the Miguel PF ENS, I can just create an account and my username will be miguelpf.eth across all projects in Ethereum. So I don't need to go and reserve usernames for everyone so that they don't have to all have this information. Part of the thing about Ethereum and having a global computer and a global database that everyone can trust is that we can reuse data. Everyone has their own implementation of the same thing. There are no accounts, but I can just have this identity, this ENS, and then I can use that on every project, which is really cool.
Miguel: Yeah. It's reusable. It allows you to specify a bunch of things. You can use my ENS to send me Ethereum tokens. You can also use it to send me Bitcoins, for example. If you have a Bitcoin address, you can link into your ENS and you can link even dogecoin addresses. Again, you can link avatars, descriptions, names, your Twitter username, all these things, and then that data will be available to any Ethereum map in a standardized way that they can read to. That's really cool. Another project that I would be excited about, I'm actually going to pass just because I cannot think of any other projects that have a token, which is the point of the question. I'm going to leave it there with those two.
Andrey: Cool. The last question from Yessy.
What do you think about bridges? For example, what's your thesis of the future of L1S seven to one distribution, whereas multi L1 future.
Miguel: Again, context on that for people who are just getting started with crypto, the Ethereum network has what we call layer one, which is the actual Ethereum main net, which is what you're probably using. Then there are L2s which are layer twos, with our other networks that are built on top of the Ethereum network. So for example, there's this thing called optimism, which is in a way faster, and also the transaction fees which are easy for most people are way cheaper. What it does is it has its own blockchain system with minors and stuff. Then every X block gets published into the Ethereum layer one so that this network still runs on Ethereum, still has all the securities that the Ethereum network has. It's still secure and secure by the Ethereum network. It's just built on top of it.
So yeah, I do feel like with the things that we are seeing, networks like these, layer twos, are probably going to be what most people will be using. We've seen, especially lately, that gas fees aren't really great. Eventually, the vision for Ethereum for the core members is to just add a bunch of technical changes, sharding, all these sorts of things. Basically, having the Ethereum network be the baseline for all these other networks, we can be more optimized and faster and more usable, and more user-friendly to build on top of that. Bridges are what allow you to move from one network to the other. For example, if I want to move some Eth to Optimism, I can use a bridge that will get a hold of my Ethereum. I will send the Ethereum to the smart contract and then it will create Ethereum or send Ethereum to me in Optimism.
Bridges are definitely necessary. It's a kind of infrastructure that we're still figuring out, but I think we'll see a lot more of that in the future as people continue to move to layer twos, especially with all the gas things, which I would say for now is the primary concern of people. Etherium moving to proof of stake with Ethereum 2 in Q1 2022 will fix part of that, but with Solana and other networks coming along, people really don't want to pay for even four dollars of gas. So it is important that we have side chains and roll-ups and all these layer twos, and we are going to need bridges to move from and between those. So I definitely think we'll see way more of that, and it's an interesting area to work on for now.
Andrey: Yeah, because they're solving great problems. The Ethereum network versus their fees is very pessimistic so these guys created Optimism, a low fees network.
Miguel: Yeah. Bridges are definitely a crucial part of the infrastructure for this new world that we are trying to create where everyone uses roll-ups on all these things on top of Ethereum but still keeps all the security from it.
Andrey: I heard that the Lightning, as I understand it, is L2 for Bitcoin. Am I right?
Miguel: Yeah. It is kind of a different system just because Bitcoin doesn't really have smart contracts and these things do, but the idea is basically the same. You have a system that can execute transactions or deploy my contracts and do all those things and then at the end, or every whatever blocks, you just create a proof that all those blocks are genuine and publish that proof back to Ethereum, back to the L1, so that you can still trust that all of that is verified by the security of the Ethereum and gives the functionality and is connected in general, but also you can do things more optimally.
Andrey: There was news that El Salvador, the country, started using Lightning as the currency if I'm not mistaken.
Miguel: Yeah. Basically the analogy, for example, Lightning, let's say that I want to pay you different amounts for like a month, I can send you a new transaction every time that I want to pay. Let's say, I want to pay $1 every day in Bitcoin to you, I can send you a dollar every day or I can just group all those payments and at the end of the month say, "Hey, I sent 30 transactions," but I'm just going to say once that I sent all those transactions. That's basically the idea. It's obviously more secure than that so that I can just not say it and it will not have happened, but that's how it works basically.
Andrey: Got it. I suppose if the entire country started using this for their currency, it kind of makes sense, even for a small country, but it could be revolutionary if other countries also start looking at this small country and start to use it. So it's definitely next level.
Miguel: Yeah. It's definitely infrastructure that we need to continue scaling. Visa actually, the credit card company, is actually building a new layer two network on top of Ethereum to handle payments, so it's definitely, I feel like, the future of these things becoming more user-friendly. At least for most use cases, we will just have layer twos that allow us to do all these things in a much more optimal way.
Andrey: Yeah. The next question, again, from Javi.
How do you make decisions on what to focus on and what to work on?
I think every single week comes with new opportunities, projects, ideas, progress on Showtime, learning new things, reading a lot, meeting new friends and chatting with cabbages, making interviews, traveling, your Twitter girl, and of course the Discord universe. How do you choose what to prioritize? I think you're done more than 200 projects but how many more are ideas to revisit in the future? I bet it must be mind-blowing. How do you organize your ideas?
Andrey: So productivity. How do you make decisions and choose which one to choose to focus on?
Miguel: I'm still figuring this out. I've been figuring this out for years and I still don't have a great answer to this. Lately, at least, I'm embracing chaos a little bit. So for example, the wallet project basically started because it was 5:00 AM, I couldn't sleep, and I had this idea. Then I said, 'I'm not going to be able to sleep until I build this,' so I may as well build it, then I started working on it. So most things are just I think of something and then I just go to my computer, sit in there and try to build it. I'm also working on Showtime. I'm figuring all of that out. I've been having lots of ideas every day for years now and I obviously don't have time to build every one of those. I wish I did.
How do I decide what to focus on and what to work on? I just go with the flow, go with what I feel. I feel like maybe at this point, I have developed a good intuition as to what is a good idea in the sense of what would people like? What would I be interested in building? For example, the wallet thing, I literally just made a tweet that said I'm building a wallet and everyone really, really wanted to see that. I guess I was successfully measuring what people want to see. It's such a problem that is really interesting to me, something that nobody's working on this whole web 2.5 thing. So I feel like I've just gotten good at subconsciously filtering out what ideas are the best to work on along the years. Mostly just embracing the chaos and natural instinct.
For any other person, my recommendation would be if you have plenty of free time, just try to work on as many things as you can. If you don't, as I assume is the case for most people, filter for something that is small and you can get out, I would recommend. This whole 'make a hundred of whatever and you will get good at it'. If you want to learn how to write better, write 100 blog posts. If you want to be good at not only figuring out which ideas are good or which ideas are bad but also building projects, just build 100 of them. For that, you have to optimize for the smallest thing that you can make, ideally, that is also interesting to you. But I would say that most ideas that people have are interesting to them, at least that's been my case. Just find something that excites you and that you could finish in a weekend and then go and do that, and then next weekend you can try another thing. That's my advice.
What are your thoughts about metaverse (Blockchain, not Facebook)?
What do you think about those who say that probably sooner than later, a big chunk of people on this planet will be living a life that's really close to 100% digital-only when not sleeping?
Andrey: Let's give some context. What is metaverse in terms of blockchain?
Miguel: Metaverse is the context of Facebook, Facebook recently announced that they are focusing on the metaverse now, which for them seems to mean spacial worlds, kind of like in a video game. The Ethereum understanding of the metaverse is more of... Actually, let's not go there. My personal definition of the metaverse, I would say, for me, the metaverse is not a place. It is not a project. It is not a website. For me, the metaverse is a moment. Similar to how in AI we have these... I actually don't remember what it's called. It's like a scaling point where the... I blanked out on that one but there's a name for the moment where an AI will pass human knowledge. I'm thinking about the word again.
Andrey: Do you mean conscious or intelligence, or what do you mean?
Miguel: What did you say? Sorry. Actually, the singularity. That's the name in AI when an AI will be smarter than a human in general. Not only on one specific task but on all tasks. That's not really a place or a thing. That's a moment in time. For me, the metaverse is the moment in time where we go more digital in a way. As they were saying, people start living a life that is more digital than physical. I will also say, I feel like a bunch of people on this planet are already living in the metaverse. The definition of metaverse for me would be the point where most people actually start living like this. That doesn't really need to have anything to do with crypto or Web3 because I feel like most teenagers already spend most of the time on TikTok and all these things.
It's just a point where the digital things start to take over the physical things. Not only in use but also in social importance. So for example, the moment where you actually prefer to have a video call with your friends rather than meeting in person or something like that. Which makes sense, I guess, for gaming. Some people prefer to go play video games at home with their friends rather than actually going to a place and playing together. That's my personal definition of it. It of course varies. For some people, it's some kind of spacial world where they can just go in. That's also Facebook's vision. Those are some thoughts on the metaverse, I guess.
Andrey: Because Facebook also, in their latest presentation, shows that there will be a lot of VR stuff and you can play video games, and they're focusing on this also.
Miguel: Yeah. They are really trying to become relevant again with this metaverse thing. I feel like they really like to popularize. I don't know. In my opinion, they saw that the median age of the person on Facebook is getting really old and they are scared of that, so they are trying to bring new people in and have people spend time on Facebook services because now we are making online worlds. So whatever appeals to children because we try to make video games and that type of thing work out. But yeah, we'll see how that develops.
Who are the people that inspire you the most right now?
On Twitter or Discord and how can we follow them?
Miguel: This is a double-sided question because first of all, there are the people who inspire me the most but tweet things that are too technical for anyone to understand, even me sometimes, which is probably not that helpful to this group.
Andrey: I think it would be relevant because the question was those who inspire you, not what is relevant to them.
Miguel: Yeah, definitely, but I also try to give answers that actually make sense in this context. I would say for people that inspire me in the technical sense, there's a project called Rari Capital where it's like a protocol for crypto lending I think they do, something related to that, that processes billions every month, and that is built mostly by teenagers. Every person in that team is way, way smarter than me and I really admire them. There's also the Paradigm team. Paradigm is one of the best crypto PCs in the world.
Andrey: Sorry, can you spell the first project because maybe no one knows it.
Miguel: It's Rari. It's Rare but with an I. The Rari Capital team really inspires me. Also, the whole Paradigm team. Paradigm, again, is a crypto PC. One of the best. They also backed Showtime, I guess, so I'm not completely impartial to them. But they have a research team that I believe are actually the smartest people in crypto. All the smartest people in crypto are actually in that team. We are talking about the people who made the papers that enabled Uniswap to exist. Uniswap, again, is an exchange for a token that is completely decentralized and doesn't have an order book. They have been just innovating and innovating and coming up with new ways, new primitives, new protocols. They are really, really smart. Those two groups of people which include many people in there are probably the ones that I would recommend.
Incidentally, the Paradigm blog, which is at paradigm.org I think, does a great job at explaining cryptos concepts in a way where you can actually understand what they are explaining, which may be a little bit too advanced for someone who is just like getting in, but for me, some of the things are still way above my head. It makes me understand what they are talking about, which is really helpful. So that's a resource that I would recommend reading. Then also, obviously, Vitalik Buterin, the founder of Ethereum, really smart guy, obviously. He also has a blog where he writes about technical stuff and non-technical as well now, in a way that is really clear. These are not resources to understand Web3. They are resources to learn more in general that I really enjoy and I feel like they might be accessible for people, so that's definitely a recommendation.
Other than that, people that inspire me who are less technical and more on a personal level, and more in a friendship kind of way, I recommended before the Cabbage Patch. The way that that group started is with a bunch of people that call themselves tech optimists, a group that I ended up being a part of, which joined together to create cool things. One of the things that they created was this Cabbage Patch group. All these cabbage people, I guess, are my Web3 friends The people who got me into this whole thing, and the people that I've been building with since day one. I really, really like them and also enjoy being with them, and also, they really inspire me. So I will also recommend everyone to go follow those people.
Andrey: Cool. I guess I will try to get the text version of this interview and we will put these things.
Miguel: I will. If you ping me, I will give you a list of Twitter usernames later.
How did you start programming?
How old were you? Do you remember your first program or the game that you wrote?
Miguel: I started programming at 10. I have been interested in computers for a while, but everything that I had been trying to learn was too complicated for me. I downloaded on my ebook a university textbook about C++ and it was way over my head for me being 10. Then I discovered HTML and I was like, "Actually, you don't have to really learn that much to build this." So I started making small websites, mostly going through the internet and right-clicking view sourcing stuff to figure out how it worked. My school had a bunch of web pages, an index, a list of pages that the students would visit. I would go in there and try to change things, play with the CSS and all those things, and try to figure out how they worked. Then after that, I learned PHP and I started building apps.
For the first program or a game I wrote, if we don't count HTML things because there wasn't really anything interesting there, and HTML is not really a programming language anyways, after running PHP, one of the first things that I built is for whatever reason, I decided that I wanted to build a licensing system. I have no idea why I thought that would be interesting in any way. I had no use for it. I just decided I wanted a system where I could create licenses for staff and then have an API to verify them. Keep in mind I had no idea what an API or even JSON was at that point, so I built this thing that-
Andrey: You were 10 years old, or was that after?
Miguel: No, I feel like I was 11 at this point, but I had no idea what JSON was. I basically came up with my own custom format to expose data on this API. I just made a small system that allowed me to add things to a database and then having a URL that had a license code, and then seeing if that was a valid license or not. That was probably the first thing that I built.
Andrey: Crazy. 11 years old building licenses. Insane, man.
Miguel: Yeah. I have no idea why I thought that was remotely interesting, but that's what I did.
Andrey: But for what? For software licensing or just-
Miguel: Yeah, software licensing. I had no software to license. To this day, I don't know why I chose to do that.
Miguel: Good idea to learn at least the programming language. Cool. The next question from Yogi.
What do you think about $MATIC Tokens? Will that have a future or should I move to Arweave or Solana?
Miguel: Yeah, for context here, the MATIC token is the native token to what we call a side chain which is kind of another layer too, but this one doesn't directly put the verification back on Ethereum so it's not really backed by Ethereum. It's still one of my favorite networks. It's called Polygon. I really like it because basically, it's inter-compatible with Eth. Anything that you write in Solidity for Ethereum like smart contracts, you can just deploy without any changes to Polygon. Also, gas fees are like AWS >
I really think that Polygon has a future, especially now that they have this network. They are trying to figure out ways to turn it into an actual L2 where they push all this stuff back to Ethereum. It's definitely my network of choice for developing stuff. Some people are going to Solana. I don't really like Solana for reasons that I will go into later maybe, but I do really like Polygon and would recommend anyone that is figuring out, "Where can I start building things? I want to play around with the network. I want to deploy smart contracts but I don't want to pay Ethereum gas fees for all of that, because it's really expensive."
Just go to Polygon. They literally give you some free MATIC tokens when you get started so that you can get started without paying anything. That's what I would recommend for everyone. I definitely think MATIC and Polygon have a future and I would not recommend anyone to move to Solana from there or even Arweave which is a completely different thing. It doesn't really fit there. As I mentioned, it's a blockchain for files that I really like, but it's not something that is comparable to Ethereum or Solana, or Polygon.
Suppose you need to start Web3 all from scratch, how will you do it now? Specifically asking about the learning path.
Miguel: As I mentioned, I would say whatever stack you're familiar with, whatever thing you are familiar with, just make a new app with whatever stack and figure out how to include something Web3 related in that. That's how you start learning. That will probably make you discover a bunch of things about blockchain and smart contracts, and how to interact with those. Once you have that knowledge, you can go into more complex projects. You can try to learn how to write smart contracts. There is a great resource for this called Crypto Zombies. You can just Google Crypto Zombies and it will appear there. It is like a Solidity from scratch course which is really cool.
There's also Buildspace which was recently launched. It's a YC-backed company trying to bring Web3 learning to the masses, and they have some pretty good courses. I haven't taken them myself, but I heard from friends who did and they do manage to teach the basics of Solidity pretty well. I would recommend those two resources if you're trying to learn Solidity. I would still encourage anyone, before going into smart contracts or building anything from scratch, to go build a Web3 app with whatever stack you're comfortable with to learn the basics because it will probably be way easier that way.
Andrey: You personally haven't done any courses. You just started by doing, right?
Miguel: Yeah. I feel like I don't really learn that well through courses. I just like to throw myself into a situation where I don't know what is going on as I was mentioning. I feel like a skill that a lot of developers have is debugging. Knowing what to Google, knowing when something doesn't work, how to make it work.
So I basically learned by debugging. I throw myself into a situation where I just like go blind into a tool that I want to learn and then try to debug my way into learning that tool if that makes sense.
Andrey: The next question is from Pieter Levels.
Where do you think NFTs are going?
I want to be a believer but a lot of it seems without intrinsic value and pumping like shitcoins. What will be the future of NFTs and how do you think they will evolve?
Miguel: First of all, I would like to definitely agree with you. Like I said before, I really dislike speculation of any kind, and I feel like a lot of NFT projects, especially once you are a little bit more inside crypto Twitter, you basically ignore all the animal adjectives 10k about the projects. But from the outside, that's all that you see. It's not great branding but I do also really dislike the whole shitcoin NFT projects and get creating artificial scarcity from stuff. I'm extremely bullish on NFTs though. I actually have a thread going more into detail about this that I wrote yesterday. But the thing that people need to understand about NFTs is that NFTs are not about other projects. NFTs are not about art at all.
I believe that as we continue to build more non-money-related things on Ethereum, we will see more use-cases for NFTs. As I was mentioning at the start, I really feel like one of the most important things about Web3 is the users owning their data because if the platforms own the data, we can't have interoperability, we can't have all these open gardens of protocols and applications. That can only happen if the user is the actual owner of their data. The difference here would be owning the data means, for example, you have a blog and you own the data if you host that blog yourself and you are the owner of that database, in Web3, owning the data means that the data is still on the blockchain, which is decentralized, so no one really owns that. You basically are credited as the owner in a way. There's an open interface as to what being the owner of something means.
Then if you are marked as the owner of something, you own that thing, like an NFT. Everyone agrees since the blockchain is a database that everyone can agree on, that you own that thing. So for me, NFTs will definitely get bigger in the art space as well, but that's not what I'm really excited about. I'm really excited about people figuring out new use-cases and rebuilding apps on the blockchain that have nothing to do with money. Another thing that I mentioned in this thread is DeFi or decentralized finance is like the big giant I guess, of crypto where it can seem like most of the things going on with crypto are related to just money and lending and all these things.
At its core, Ethereum is just a global database, a decentralized database that everyone can trust and rely on, so that definition doesn't really include money at all. Money is just one of the first use cases just because the banking industry is really outdated. People are still using mainframes with COBOL or whatever. It was due for an upgrade then they made this global database that everyone can trust. Money is definitely one of the first things that would come to mind for such a system, but it is not the only thing that can be done as Ethereum has proven with smart contracts. I feel like more and more, we'll see more projects that have nothing to do with money at all being built on the blockchain. I feel like NFTs play a big role in that because, at its root, it's a standard for owning any kind of data.
How did you switch from Web2 to Web3? What was the story behind it? What motivated you to switch?
Andrey: I remember you were building these many, many Web2 projects, a social network, and some others, and after a while, it was quiet, or maybe at least for me. Afterward, bam, you are a Web3 guy. So how did you switch? What was the story?
Miguel: The story is pretty funny. I knew about crypto for years. I had read the Bitcoin white paper as I feel like everyone at this point kind of has heard about Bitcoin. The thing is, I just had the outsider view of this whole thing where you just see coins go up, coins go down. As I said, I really dislike speculation. I don't really like any of that so for years, I never looked into it. Then there was one specific weekend where everyone in my feed started talking about NFTs. This wasn't mainstream. It was just that all my friends from Gen Z Mafia started talking about NFTs that weekend. That was also the weekend where the Cabbage Group, the Tech Optimist people, actually made a 3D Cabbage and tried to sell it as an NFT. That was their big moment.
I think they met on Clubhouse but I'm not completely sure about that. They had decided, "Let's try to build something cool. Let's have fun and try to sell our 3D Cabbage. That seemed really cool. I was in a telegram group with some of the people who had started that so they invited me to join them as a "core team" because there's not really a team. It's just a group chat of friends. From that, that group happened to be full of really OG people in crypto. There was Alex Masej who is actually my boss now. He started Showtime. In general, there were a lot of really smart crypto people in there so they actually kind of crypto pilled me. I got to see all the awesome things crypto could be outside of just coin go up, coin go down. I started looking into it more then after a while got a job at Showtime.
Andrey: It was maybe like six or eight months ago or something.
Miguel: Yeah. I "joined" crypto in February and I joined Showtime in May. That was in February then I slowly became more and more interested in crypto. For me, I had worked on a lot of things my whole life and I always try to like work on the thing that excites me the most. Crypto is just full of unexplored problems. You can basically work two steps in any direction or mix two things and you arrive into a territory that has never been explored before and you get to decide what you can build there. I built a bunch of things that I felt no one had built or at least I hadn't seen anyone build in Web2 before. When I built Blogcast, no one was really building this whole article to audio thing. After launching Blogcast, six months after that, everyone started doing it. I feel like that's a pretty common thing.
If I'm not wrong, you made this whole Google Sheets to website too, then after a bunch of months, everyone was building that. So I feel like that's pretty common in Product Hunt culture for whatever reason. I feel like I built a bunch of things that were kind of unique, but it does feel like it is much harder to come up with a completely original concept that is also interesting in Web2, whereas in crypto, for me, I have literally thousands of ideas and most of those are things that no one has really thought about before or considered or tried building before. That's really, really exciting for me, the idea of I get to go in, build things that no one has really thought about before. I'm the first one to learn about this. Maybe the first one exploring this space. Then after that, I can just go back, tell everyone what I learned, tell everyone where I know.
I feel like people at this point kind of consider me an expert in crypto. At least here I am giving an AMA, and I got here this year. It's not that hard to become an expert in crypto because there are unlimited things to learn and no one has time to learn all of them. So you can just go deep into some part of crypto, summarize that for everyone and summarize what you learn, and share what you learn. It's really easy to be an expert. It's really easy to find problems that no one has tried to solve before then when or if you solve those, for me, that's really exciting. That's what I really, really like about crypto.
What mistakes do you see newbie Web3 developers keep doing over and over again.
Andrey: Mistake number one, as I said before, don't try to learn a bunch of things at the same time. Don't try to start completely from scratch. Incremental learning. Go slowly. Start with something that you already know and go from there. Also, don't build on Solana. I've mentioned a few times already that I don't really like Solana. The tech is decent, I would say. I would also say that writing smart contracts for Solana is way harder just because Rust is a complicated language, even more than Solidity. But also, the culture of Solana is all messed up. Culture in all these things for me is really important. Even if Ethereum has some of the whole pump-and-dump NFT project, let's all get reads together, all the shitcoin stuff, if Ethereum has some of that, most of Solana is that, in my experience.
I have not seen a single NFT project in Solana that wasn't either a clone of something or was just really clearly speculation of, "Let's all get together. Let's raise the floor," or whatever. It's I guess a personal opinion but I don't really enjoy that culture at all. I don't want a bunch of people trying to trick other people into making them richer. I want people who are passionate about technology, passionate about innovating, willing to have fun, and I just haven't seen anyone at all on Solana do that. This is based on intuition mostly.
There is a Solana conference next week and I have some friends that are going to go to that one mostly just to actually verify if these assumptions are true, because I'm not the only one who thinks that. They are just going to go there and see, is this true? Are there actually people that are excited about the technology that powers Solana or is it just people trying to get rich or trying to do whatever? I will report back on that, I guess. But in general, I really don't like the culture. It's a little bit more complicated. The only reason why people are using it I feel like is because it's really cheap gas. Come build on Polygon instead and join the Ethereum community which is really welcoming and really cool. That also answers the next question, I guess.
Andrey: Yeah, because the question was about Solana but also about other chains but you mentioned Polygon is the best for you. The chain that solves similar problems that Solana does. Got it.
Would you recommend new makers to Web3 to start off with some of the more mainstream chains such as Ethereum where there's more competition or something more cutting edge that allows you to ride the potential wave?
Would you rather fight 50,000 small chickens (Solana), or 1 chicken the size of a Tesla Cybertruck? (Bitcoin)?
Miguel: I would say 'ride the potential wave' is not a thing that exists when building. It is a thing that exists when investing. If you invest early in something, you can probably get richer, but I don't think there's such a thing for building unless your plan is just to rebuild things that already exist on Ethereum in other places, also known as cloning and not a really great thing to do unless you have permission by the way. I would say, there's no competition on Ethereum for new things. As I said before, there are a million ideas to be built in any direction in crypto. It's really, really easy to come up with something unique. Even if you are not coming up with something unique, if you're building something that tries to solve the same problem that another problem does, the great thing about Ethereum is everything is composable. Everything is open. If you actually make a better project, people can literally switch instantly. There's no data lock-in. There's no window lock-in.
Aave is one of the most famous lending and borrowing protocols. If I make a better protocol for that, people can just switch in one transaction. Actually, I could even say, "If you come in from Aave, I'm going to incentivize you to come and go and to give you some tokens for my protocol or whatever if you come and start using it. I'm not going to say that competition is not a problem, but I will say that it's much, much easier to compete on Ethereum if you have the best project. If you're just trying to build a worse version of what someone has already built, it's probably not going to work that well on Ethereum, but also, go build something else. As I said, you can probably find something that excites you that no one has built, or you can build a better version of. I'm actually really confident that you can probably, if you learn a little bit about technology, come up with some unique idea that maybe some people have thought of before but no one has actually dedicated the time to go out and build that seriously.
Andrey: Yeah. It's like the Wild West now.
Miguel: Kind of. Yeah. It's not necessarily a Wild West, but I do see it similar to the first days of the web where there wasn't that much out there in a way, so you could build something like Uber and be actually the first person to build Uber. No one had tried out before.
Andrey: Yeah, because the web started with many use-cases and they tried to put the most obvious one like newspapers, put money on the internet, put whatever.
Miguel: Yeah, but it took a lot longer for people to say, "I think actually, people might let strangers into their houses if they paid them enough, so let's build a platform for that." That took way more time to first come up with and then convince other people that it was worth it. I feel like in crypto, even really small things, like I built this project called onchain.pet which was kind of like a Tamagotchi built on Polygon, which is like an NFT of a pet that you can feed and play with and whatever. Then you have to do that every day otherwise, it dies. That was something that didn't really, at least in the way that I built it, exist before in any way. That's obviously not a project. It's more of a game or a side project, but it did allow me to learn more things about blockchain.
People now know me for the project because no one had built something as simple or good and boring before. The barrier of quality is not that high if you build something cool. So if you're just trying to build something that already exists, and I'm not confident that you can do a better job, maybe try going to a different scene where that doesn't exist yet. I will also encourage people not to do that and try to build something new because again, it is not that hard.
Andrey: Yeah, definitely. I agree with you because, in a Web2 way, it looks like most problems are already done and people just do them over and over again. They add something. But here, it could be like the gold mine of whatever crazy idea you have. Most likely someone already did it in Web2 but most likely if you think about this idea in Web3 and you put it in a Web3 way, probably no one would've done it because there are just not many people doing Web3. 1% of all developers. I don't know. Okay. Let's move on. We finished with Marc's questions and one question from me as well.
What would be your tips and recommendations to people who want to find their first job in Web3?
Most Web3 front ends are maybe 90% Web2, just making buttons, making a design, making things work together, then there's like a 10% that is actually, once you click this button, we're going to submit a transaction. But all the rest of it, you're already qualified for. You just have to learn that last 10%. That would be my advice for finding your first job. If you are good at the front end, try that. If you're good at the backend, again, backends in Web3 are mostly reading data from the blockchain and storing it in a database in a more organized way. You are probably used to doing that for other services. If you have built apps that interact with Twitter, Instagram, and other APIs, you probably are familiar with just reading some data from an external source and storing it on a database.
Sure, the way that you fetch that data might be a little different, or you may have to receive webhooks for blockchain events or whatever, but again, it is not that far off from what you are used to. Just a little stuff that you need to learn. It's more like learning a new library than it is learning a completely new paradigm. You can learn the paradigm eventually, but you don't need it to get started. Finally, smart contracts are a little harder, but also, there is more demand in the market for smart contract engineers than there has been for anything that I've ever seen.
We were hiring for smart contract engineers for I think three months, and we just finally got one person that was qualified, so it's a good bet. Literally, all the startups that I know are looking for smart contract engineers, including Showtime. That's probably a good bet if you want to just make sure that you get a well-paying job and you don't need it right now. You can also start with the front end and then use that to learn more about the space and slowly move into smart contracts. That would be my advice. Also, Andrey runs a site for Web3 Jobs so maybe check that from time to time.
Andrey: Yeah. Thanks. Right now you're at Showtime working as a backend developer. Do you write smart contracts?
Miguel: Technically, my title is Founding Frontend Engineer. I help with smart contracts. We now have a person to do that full-time. I'm slowly transitioning to do more smart contract work, but for now, I mostly do front end and we do have someone to take care of the smart contracts full-time.
Andrey: It's really good advice. Yeah.
Miguel: In my own projects, I do consider myself full-stack or full-stack plus, which is I guess full-stack plus smart contracts. Obviously, learning smart contracts is a really complex subject not to get started, but to actually get to an expert level. It is, I would say, actually pretty easy to get started because the logic is usually pretty simple. It's just harder to actually be great at it, but I'm getting there, I hope. I would say start with whatever you're used to. Probably most of your Web2 experience translates. Learn the 10% the same way you are used to learning new libraries or services or APIs or whatever, and then use that as a gateway for learning new stuff.
Andrey: Yeah, because many people probably thought that the only way to go to the Web3 as a job is only to become a smart contract developer, but it's crazy hard I suppose. If you haven't worked especially as a developer, to find a job as a smart contract developer is going to be very hard and the chances are low, I suppose, but if you're-
Miguel: I will also say by the way, for anyone non-technical listening to this, there are plenty of job opportunities and needs in the space for product managers, designers, UX, QA, the marketing community. Sure, it's Web3, but it is also a regular startup. We are building websites, we are building mobile apps. We still need all the other roles that exist in other non-Web3 companies. If you do some of that, like if you do marketing, probably you need to learn a little bit about how the blockchain works just to be able to market, but after that, apply to jobs. I actually have a friend who does marketing for a crypto startup, and that's a job that exists. There are also project managers, there are QA engineers I guess, all these other people who also have a role in crypto. It's not just frontend and backend developers.
Andrey: There are like 100 categories I suppose. There are many, many jobs. A Solidity developer probably would be the hardest one to go into but you can slowly move to this like you're doing. You can start with the front end if you're already doing it and the job would be probably just slightly different, but not crazy, complex, different where you need to think about smart contracts and all this stuff. But afterward, because you're already inside the company, you can talk with guys who do the smart contract and slowly transit. Because you're already working in the company for them, it will be much easier to hire you and switch you to the smart contract because you're already-
Miguel: Yeah. Also, companies are interested in training people because if you train someone to be a Solidity engineer, you don't have to find one. As I said, it's really, really hard to find Solidity engineers. If you get a job at a crypto startup as frontend or backend or whatever, and you say, "Hey, I think I'm interested in learning more about this," the company is probably incentivized to find resources for you to learn or pay you for your time learning that or whatever. There's crazy demand for this and companies are actually willing to do whatever to get them. If you start as frontend and you say, "Hey, I think I want to learn this," they probably can find a way to have you learn that as part of your job.
Andrey: Yeah. By the way, what actually does a smart contract developer do? Because in my limited mind, it was the guy who writes the smart contracts that's making money-related transactions like taking money, storing it, taking some percent calculation, and sending it somewhere or something like this. But actually, it's much more complex because it depends on the project. The smart contract could be unrelated to the money. It could be related to NFT like taking NTF from one person and sending it to another and stuff like this. Isn't it, or am I wrong?
Miguel: A smart contract is basically just software that runs on a blockchain. There's this language called Solidity where you write logic on, and then you deploy that contract to the chain, and then people can execute it using transactions. It is pretty similar to you are a backend engineer, you work with PHP, and so you just write some PHP functions. We'll have whatever business logic, maybe you work on an agency, and one week you are helping build the backend of a Fintech bank, and then the next week you are building an art gallery. It is the same thing. Instead of writing in PHP, you'd write in Solidity and there are obviously different things you need to focus your attention on, but the idea is the same thing. You know how to learn to write this language. You're helping write backend code for a language.
The fear I have is that the error is much more expensive taking into account the gas fees that are handled in some environments. How do you handle debugging and errors in production?
Andrey: Because when you deploy smart contracts, it changes, right?
Miguel: There is a thing called Testnet which is similar to what I mentioned, like Polygon and Optimism and all these chains. What Testnet does is it's basically a chain similar to Ethereum network where you can get ether for free. For example, I think the most popular Testnet is Ropsten. You can just deploy your contract to Ropsten instead and you can get like 10 ether for free. Actually, you can get unlimited ether for free, so you just use that as a testing ground to play with whatever for free, make sure that everything works. Once you know that it works, you deploy it to either Polygon if you want users to not pay gas fees, or Ethereum main net or whatever. The answer for that is I'm not completely sure if you want to play with your contract or you're just learning. Use a Testnet, as I said. Completely free.
It's just a testing environment that's similar to the test mode in Stripe where you can submit your unlimited payments and it's not real money. It's the same thing. In Testnet, ether is not real money so you can just play with whatever. If you want to learn more about Ethereum and learn more about all these projects, Aave, all these Web3 projects that you don't want to pay to play with, most of those also have a Testnet deployment. For example, in Open C, you can go to testnet.opencorio to view the NFTs that are deployed on Testnet, so you can just play with that. It is like the same system, just that money isn't really there. You can use that to get a little bit more experience and just play around and experiment with the whole Ethereum thing without actually spending any money, which is great.
Andrey: Because it's like the most common problem that you can think of when you start it. You're thinking if you can deploy only once, it's like rocket science. I get only one chance to test it. But actually, there are many services where you can test it.
Miguel: Yeah. It is not like that in the sense that you can also deploy another contract and then you use that. Sure, contracts are immutable, but you can just deploy another one. There are even some things that you can do to make a contract upgradable in a way but definitely would recommend anyone to just start with Testnet. Even when I'm sure that the contract is going to do what I want it to do, what I usually do is I write the contract, deploy it on a Testnet, and then build the front end on the Testnet. That way, I can just test that all the buttons do whatever I want them to do without any side effects. Then after I'm sure that everything is ready, I just deploy the contract to main net and then switch the front end to the main net, which is usually just changing a line of code somewhere and that's it.
Andrey: By the way, can you run a unit test on smart contracts?
You can use what is called fork maintenance, which is when you download part of the blockchain to your computer and then simulate it. You run the smart contract as if it would run on the Ethereum network but on your computer. That does require a bunch of storage because the blockchain is pretty large, but if you're building something big, if you're building one of the biggest protocols like Aave, that's recommended. For everyone else, just use unit tests and then deploy to Testnet and that should be enough for everyone.
Andrey: Let's move on.
What about Optimism?
Andrey: I think it's a reply to a previous conversation.
Miguel: Yeah. As I was saying, one of the great L2s out there is Optimism, which is basically an L2 that works pretty much the same as Ethereum. We learned about Ethereum, and gas fees are cheaper. That's a great L2, I would say. One of my favorites.
Andrey: Don't use Solana and use Optimism?
Miguel: If you are thinking about Solana, you probably want to use Polygon just because the gas fees are much much cheaper. In Optimism, they are cheaper. They are maybe like $20 still. It's cheap compared to Ethereum but it's not cheap in general. Polygon is the one that is actually less than a cent for each transaction. That's the one that is affordable for testing and playing around, and not having gas fees at all.
Andrey: The next one from Sagar.
I have basic knowledge of crypto and I have been learning Solidity. How can I join the DAO as a contributor, for example, Developer DAO?
What do you think are the benefits of joining DAO?
Miguel: Some context on that, DAOs are another one of the great things about crypto. The idea of a DAO is a decentralized autonomous organization which is basically in my company... Maybe it would be easier to imagine an agency where all the decisions aren't taken by a committee or the stakeholders or whatever, but all the users belong to it. Basically, the stakeholders are all its members and all its users, and then those can democratically vote on what the DAO does and control the treasury and all the things. It's like a protocol for an organization where the users democratically vote on what to do. There are a bunch of really cool DAOs. The one that Sagar is mentioning, Developer DAO, I'm not super familiar with but I'm pretty sure it's just like, as I mentioned, the model of an open agency for a Master DAO.
Some that you may have heard about is the Friends With Benefits Community, which is also a DAO. It is a discord community that requires buying some tokens to enter the community, and it's just one of the best communities out there. I probably would not recommend it to people in this chat just because it's pretty expensive to get in these days. The token started being $5 but now I feel like it's quite more than that. It is maybe an investment if you want to do this thing long-term and have the funds, but I probably wouldn't recommend it for most people. But the idea there is the DAO is the community, and then as a community, they work on creating the community and making it better.
There is also, for example, Party DAO, which is a DAO that was formed because we all wanted to make a specific tool. So we said, instead of starting a company for this, we are going to make a DAO where we can just openly crowdfund the project and then hire it. It's more similar to a startup in a way. That's what a DAO is. How can you join a DAO as a contributor? First of all, figure out what you want to join. There are lots. Pretty much I've seen new DAOs every week forming for specific things. Figure out what you want to do and what DAO you want to help with.
Usually, all DAOs have a process of how can I help? One example is there's this DAO called Scribe DAO which dedicates itself to summarizing articles and resources. The way that you participate is there is a queue. You just take an article in the queue, mark it as you're working on this, and then write the summary of that article and you get some tokens or something like that. I'm not exactly familiar with how it works, but most DAOs have a process for how I can contribute to this. You can just follow that.
Andrey: I've heard a lot about DAO. It's like the way before in Web2 or in the normal world, the companies have stakeholders and here you have the actual guys or girls in the community.
Miguel: Yeah. I feel like it's a great model. In my opinion, it's definitely better than the model of a company, startup, or agency. Incentives are much more aligned. The workers or the users actually get a proportional share of value to the one that they generate whereas historically, it's been mostly CEOs or the stakeholders that extract most of the value from the workers, which isn't great. It is, in my opinion, definitely a better model. It also allows for more flexible work times and structure and all these other cool things that come with rebuilding an organization from scratch. But yeah, it's really cool.
Andrey: Cool. More questions.
Does Polygon have a lot of users? DApps usually gets early adopters which already use the underlying blockchain.
Miguel: Yeah. Polygon has been growing in popularity quite a lot recently. I am not sure if I have a statistic as to how many people have used Polygon. I can tell that they are a thousand million transactions, around 39 transactions per second. It is definitely smaller than Ethereum because everything is at this point, but it's starting to grow really big. Right now, for comparison, Ethereum is running at 16 transactions per second around that, and then Polygon is running at 39 transactions per second. There are more transactions, but that also means that it's cheaper, so I wouldn't necessarily trust that to relate to users. Ethereum is definitely bigger, but Polygon is slowly growing. You can probably Google the number of active wallets in Polygon, which is a pretty good measure for how many users use it and find some stats related to that.
New users, especially newbies, value easy to use. How do you think this will affect the apps that use crypto for payments?
Miguel: By the way, before we get into that, someone in the chat dropped a link to some really great statistics on the growth of MATIC and of Polygon, and it seems like there are currently 200,000 wallets with at least one MATIC, which is a good measure for how many users are active. You can also see some graphics for unique addresses which at this point is at around 250K. So it's growing. It's growing exponentially almost in the past few months. I would definitely not have that concern about an application that you build on Polygon not having enough users because it's in Polygon.
Moving on, the ease of use is definitely very important, and that has been the main critique that I've seen for crypto for a while, that it is not accessible. That it's not UX-friendly at all. I think we are finally starting to see people who care about that and want to change that. The Rainbow Wallet, which is actually one of my favorite crypto projects out there that has one of the best UX for not only any wallet that I've seen but also any iOS app. It's really, really cool. I feel like for decentralized apps, you really have to work on building great UX, but I don't really think that is possible. We're starting to see applications that are actually really useful and use blockchain, and even applications that use the blockchain and you probably wouldn't know by looking at it.
For example, again, the Tamagotchi project that I built on the blockchain, the only indication that that uses blockchain is that you log in with your wallet, but you can also log in with Twitter if you don't have a wallet and it creates a wallet for you. You could have never heard of blockchain, you go in there, log in with Twitter, play with your pet, and never hear about that being a blockchain application, I feel like that's the standard we need to achieve for this whole thing. Because when you're building an app, when you're using an app, regular users don't need to care about the backend that Facebook uses. They don't need to know if they use a Mongo database or a SQL database or whatever.
That's, I feel, the angle with most blockchain things. For you to not really have to think about the blockchain at all. We're starting to see that, but again, it's slowly getting there. I feel like this does accept decentralized apps in the sense that they have to really think about it, but it definitely is possible and we are starting to see people do it. This is also why we need UX designers and designers, in general, to join crypto. As I was mentioning before, it is not only for the engineers. Everyone can, I guess, come to have fun so come have fun.
You did this $MIGUEL token just for fun?
Miguel: Yeah. Most of the things that I've made have been mostly just for fun. Aside from Showtime which I also have fun on but I also do because it's my job, any other project that I build, it's for the sole purpose of me learning, experimenting, and having fun. That's what I am for and I feel like there should be more people trying to have fun because you can really learn a lot and also have a lot of fun.
Andrey: Can you talk by the way a bit more about your Miguel token and why you decided to do it? What was the idea behind it?
Miguel: Again, disclaimer, this is not financial advice at all. I would honestly recommend the opposite of getting the Miguel token. The Miguel token is not at all an investment in me. It is just an experiment. I wanted to have a token mostly so that I could experiment with it and build infrastructure around it. The only way to build infrastructure around the token for me was to actually have a token, so I needed to have that. Again, not an investment. It does have value. I think if you have 10,000 Miguel, that's worth about 4K right now, but it's not an investment. Do not invest in me. I feel like every time I talk about this token, I say, "This is not an investment in me," people still think it is.
With that out of the way, as I said, I feel like social tokens are a really interesting topic, and we'll see a lot more social token-related stuff soon. I've heard Tweets was looking into it for the subscription I heard. A lot of big platforms are looking into it. Just in general, it is a great paradigm that no people are really exploring that in Web2. Even just in March, I thought this is something that will eventually get big and I want to play with it in advance when that happens, so I decided I will make my own token. The Miguel token is basically a cryptocurrency that lives inside of Ethereum that has my name. That's pretty much it. It is a token. Anyone can integrate it with everything. You can use it right now mostly to vote on things.
You can go to vote.miguelpf.me for a place where people can create proposals and then people who have Miguel tokens can vote on those. The idea was to have people decide what projects I work on next or what I dedicate my time to next. In general, the hypothesis behind social tokens is that if you give a token value outside of the chain, the market will reflect that value. That's the hypothesis. My test was is it a good value of people being able to vote on what I dedicate my time on? Is that valuable enough so that the value of this token will go up? Again, I feel like I have to really stress this because otherwise, people will get the wrong idea. I would not recommend anyone to spend real money to get imaginary dollars from a random teenager on the internet. That is not a good financial decision in any light. But it is an experiment that I'm still really excited about just slowly building infrastructure on that or integrating it in things that I build. That's what that is.
DAO vs Social Tokens
Andrey: Some companies have entire DAOs dedicated to making some sort of combination of Patreon and some sort of equity so they don't really tell you that you will get the equity, but you need to invest in the person somehow. Have you heard about this?
Miguel: Most DAOs actually have a token. That's how they work. Party DAO, Friends With Benefits, Developer DAO all have tokens. Same for ENS and all the projects they talk about later. Uniswap, all these breaks have tokens, and they use those tokens mostly for governance. Some for other things as well, but mostly governance. It is definitely how things are done in Web3 if you have a big project and you want to decentralize it. You gift your existing users some tokens for your thing and then those tokens are used both on what the project will do next. That's a pretty common thing for both projects and DAOs.
My thing is a different thing. It is a social token. It is not tied to a project or an organization, but to a person. Actually, one of the first people to do this was Alex, the founder of Showtime and my friend. He used his Alex token to fund himself and go into a safe and start a startup. It was his friends. He basically raised money with his Alex token to go travel to San Francisco and fund a startup there, which is Showtime. They are definitely way unexplored and I feel like that's something that is probably really interesting and we'll see many more projects regarding social tokens in the future. I wanted to be prepared for when that happens and play with it myself. That's what the Miguel token is for.
Andrey: Do you think even realistically, if you put the social tokens that you invest in some rising talents but when you invest, this person commits to giving 10% of all money that he will make in the future? Kind of like a start-up investment in the person.
Miguel: Yeah. That's what Alex did. Alex basically said, "I am raising 20K to go to a self-funded startup, and the way that I'm going to raise it is I'm going to sell this Alex token. The people who buy this Alex token will get 10% of my income for the next year." Also, a really well-known artist, Rack, has his personal token and I think part of the royalties for his songs, the streams on Spotify and concerts, and stuff, go to the holders of the token. It is one of the things that all these social tokens are being used for.
Andrey: It's a little bit hard legally to commit and all these documents, but I think if it works and there's trust, it makes sense because people just trust.
Miguel: I feel like part of the point of a social token is that it's not necessarily backed by money, but it's backed by trust and by reputation. I don't know. If whatever creator makes a token right now with his name, what they call the ragged where they basically remove all the liquidity and run away with all the money, that would hurt their reputation, I would feel like, especially if their fans invested in it. I feel like that's the idea for smart tokens. They are backed by reputation and they are backed by identity. It's a similar thing to what BitClout is trying to do in an open way. This is not locked to BitClout. This is an open standard that any project in Ethereum or outside of Ethereum can integrate. It's more like an open protocol thing but it's a pretty good analogy, I would say, to how a BitClout works.
Andrey: The last two questions. First, you already partially answer this.
What kinds of applications around social tokens do you anticipate we will see in the next year?
Miguel: I feel like I've talked a bit about this. l feel like we'll see more creators actually in a race. We've seen a bunch of DAOs where they say, "Oh, we want to build this thing," then people will create a token. They will use it to crowdfund for the project then the users will get tokens in exchange for the crowdfund and use them to vote in the direction of the project. That's something that is actually pretty common with Ethereum already. People actually use Mirror for this. Mirror has, as I mentioned at the start, a crowdfund blog that will do just this. Will allow you to raise funds and get a token in exchange so that you can get a DAO or a project started.
I feel like we'll see more creators do this as Alex did. They say, "I'm going to be an indie maker. I am going to need some funds for that. You can invest in this and I will give you a percentage of my MRR and/or I will also allow you to vote on what I build, on what I do, on what directions I take." I feel like no one in the makers' space has really explored this idea of, "I'm going public as a creator, and I'm going to build whatever you guys tell me to do." It doesn't need to be successful because my expenses are paid with you guys' money, but if it is, you will get a percentage so you are incentivized to help me build this.
Web3 projects work that way. No one in Web2 has tried that before. I feel like someone probably from the WIP Chat community or like indie maker Twitter will do that in the next few months because it is a really interesting experiment that I would probably have done if I didn't have a job right now. I feel like that's a given. That's something that someone will do. Probably someone in this chat is taking notes, but yeah. More than that, just more development and more tools around all of this.
Andrey: Yeah. The closest that I can think of is the Kickstarter campaign but more in the product, not in the person.
Miguel: Definitely, I would say this implementation makes it easier for people to actually vote and have a direct financial interest because if it is a worthy project, it's really easy. You can just say, "I am going to code in the source of this worthy project that I'm building that 10% of all the income will go to a treasury that is controlled by the token." You can do that. That's a trick code that you can write. Even if it's a Web2 project, you can with rotation and then you can have decentralized voting for things. Kickstarter, for example, does not include voting. I guess they have some kind of poll system but it is really interesting. You also create a market around your token.
If I didn't get to invest but I see, "This is a product that I actually think will be really cool," I can say, "I'm going to buy this token," and maybe I get it for more than what other people originally paid. But it enables a market for people to support you and people are really aligned with you winning and all those things, it's a really, really interesting thing that is similar, I guess, in a way to just doing a Kickstarter for, "I'm going to build whatever. Give me money." But it allows you to do it in a way where incentives are more aligned on where there's more tooling around all of this.
Andrey: The second question from the same guy.
Would love to learn about the long-term vision for Showtime and social protocols that you all are building.
How does it compare to DeSo?
Miguel: First of all, I have no idea what DeSo is, so unless you drop a link by the time that I'm finished with this question, I will probably not be able to answer that part. But for Showtime, Showtime started being the Instagram of NFTs. That was the original vision. We are a social platform for NFTs. After that, we built this whole completely cashless marketplace, meaning you can create an account on Showtime. Without even having a wallet, you can create an account with your email, then you can click a create button that we have and create an NFT in a similar way to how you would upload a picture to Instagram or post a tweet. Really, really user-friendly.
Without having to pay for gas or even, again, have a wallet, you can create this NFT that you can then list for sale on Showtime and sell it and make money in NFTs without having to understand anything that I just spent the last two hours talking about. That's what we are moving towards now. A way to onboard all these new users that are going to be coming into NFTs before they have to learn anything. The most accessible way to learn and start doing NFTs and investing in NFTs. We are probably going to launch a marketplace next week. Maybe don't tweet about that yet. Wait until next week. But that's the vision right now.
Then long-term, we want to both work on new ways to align the incentives between artists, collectors, and supporters of artists. I, unfortunately, cannot be more specific than that because that's something that we are actually rebuilding and we are going to be the first who work on something like that so I cannot spoil the thing. We also want to, at some point, decentralize the whole social protocols so that it is not specific to Showtime, but anyone can build their own client and the data is on the blockchain open for everyone. As I mentioned, sure NFTs are on chain, but all the comments, likes, your avatars are mostly still on a database and so long term, we want to decentralize that into an actual thing that is fully on chain and decentralized, and anyone can participate and stuff, but that's long term.
Miguel: Related to the DeSo part which they just sent a link to, the blockchain that BitClout is based on, I actually had no idea that they had opened up the blockchain that they created for everything. I would say the thing that I don't like about DeSo I originally didn't like about BitClout is that instead of relying on open protocols and open networks like Ethereum, they've decided to make their own, which is starting from scratch when there's this whole ecosystem of compatible products that could benefit from your thing and you could benefit from. I don't really like it personally.
It's like Spotify now adding podcasts, but instead of using RSS which they also support but they also have their own system for podcasts that doesn't include RSS at all, and you have to use Spotify to use or otherwise, the podcast will not be available. It feels kind of the same way and that really goes against the whole blockchain values of openness and stuff. Sure, you can build on top of this blockchain, I would imagine, but it's still not great. So I don't really like this on BitClout for those reasons. As for how it compares with Showtime, they are completely different things, I would say. Showtime is an app protocol eventually. This is a blockchain. They are different things.
Creators going public and tokenizing themselves through social tokens is similar to a human IPO.
Andrey: Do you know what a human IPO is? Because I don't.
Miguel: Yeah. Human IPO is a website where I think they use Ethereum, I'm not exactly sure that they use Ethereum, but what it allows you to do is to... I'm looking at the website page. I'm pretty sure that they do use Ethereum basically because they are talking about NFTs, unless they have built their own thing. Maybe they don't. Basically, Human IPO is like the Web2 version of this whole thing where you issue shares of yourself then I guess people can vote or get some percentage of your... I'm honestly not sure.
Maybe it's just like speculation, but Human IPO is the version of that that works with the non-decentralized Web2, no crypto at all version of that, I guess. I guess it is similar. It's just like social tokens. Since they are extendable and intercompatible and all those things, they have much more potential in the sense that anyone can build any application for any social token, and then you would be able to use it for any other social tokens. Anything I build for the Miguel token, you can just use it for your own thing, whereas with this Human IPO, I assume they will have an API or whatever, but you have to build things for these things specifically.
Andrey: That's basically it. Anything you want to share in the end as words for Web3 people?
Miguel: First of all, thank you all for staying here and listening to me talk about crypto for two hours and 30 minutes. I feel like most people would probably get bored of me talking about technology to them for any amount of time at all, so that's really helpful. I really, really love to talk about crypto. Thank you all for listening. I hope you learned something. I hope this was useful. Just, in general, Someone dropped the link to the Cabbage Patch telegram group up there. Definitely join that. I would recommend everyone join that. It's a great place to share what you're building, ask questions, all these things. As I said, the community is really, really welcoming. They helped me get started with all this crypto stuff and I'm sure they will be lovely to all of you as well.
Other than that, you can follow me on Twitter. It is the same user as I have in Discord and there also is a link for my profile to keep up with all this stuff that I'm talking about and I'm working on. I have a bunch of threads in the last, if you scroll, a bit for the past few days about all this. The future of NFTs and why crypto is not only about money. Things that you may find interesting. What else? Also, if you have a cool idea for a crypto project and you would like some help, I do have to be mindful of my time because I already mentioned I'm working on way too many projects, but I've been trying this thing where I join some people just as an advisor because I do feel like I have more experience and connections in the space than most people that might be getting started.
It is not like a real advisor job. I mentioned at the start, the joke with the vibes intern thing where I just join as a vibes intern, which is a position with no salary and no responsibilities at all, then maybe I just drop by when you're brainstorming and help out with that and stuff. If you are building something cool, you are open to DM me. Again, I reserve the right to react to that basically, because I already have too many things going on, but if it's something cool like if you're [inaudible 02:24:23] or something, I would probably help. My DMs are open for everyone here. Feel free to drop by and let me know if you have an idea or if you have a thing that you would like to build. If you are doing the Human IPO but in crypto with social tokens, let me know as well. I'd definitely love to help with that, either set that up or just in general invest in that probably if you're cool. Go check Andrey's job board.
My twitter handle @m1guelpf. You can also go to miguelpiedrafita.com to see a list of my projects and stuff. I do have a crypto-only blog, which you can access at m1miguelpf.blog that is actually powered by Mirror. So if you've been wondering, what is this whole thing, Mirror thinking about how a decent blog looks like, you can go in there and read a bunch of crypto-related articles. I feel like that's all from me.
Andrey: Cool. Thank you so much for your time. It was very interesting to talk to you. It was our first AMA. I asked people who they wanted to see on the AMA session and people mentioned you. You're doing a really good job of debunking the myths of all this crypto hype stuff and you're the evangelist of Web3, so I really appreciate that you took the time to participate in this AMA session.
Miguel: Yeah, definitely. I am doing my best to make crypto appeal to as many people as possible. Just wagmi I guess. We are all going to make it. That's one of the memes on crypto. The two biggest memes on crypto Twitter are GM, Good morning every morning, people tweet that every morning, and then wagmi, which stands for we are going to make it. We are all going to make it. Wagmi everyone. I hope you learned something.
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Learn more about Miguel
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/m1guelpf
- Crypto Blog: https://m1guelpf.blog/
- Blog: https://miguelpiedrafita.com/
- Cabbage Patch: https://t.me/joinchat/HknkPGJxBMxoVxBa
Links mentioned in this podcast
- Showtime: https://showtime.io/
- Gen Z Mafia: https://genzmafia.com/
- Mirror https://mirror.xyz/
- World Coin: https://worldcoin.org/
- Blockchain Pet: http://onchain.pet/
- Rari: https://rarible.com/
- Poligon: https://Polygon.technology/
- Buildspace: https://buildspace.so/
- Crypto Zombies: https://cryptozombies.io/
- Hardhat: https://hardhat.org/
- Optmism: https://www.optimism.io/
- Paragigm Blog: https://www.paradigm.xyz/writing/
- Uniswap: https://uniswap.org/
- Solana: https://solana.com/
- Web3 Jobs: https://web3.career
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