Transcription Episode 34

Hi everyone and welcome to another episode of Living on Blockchain. Today we are speaking to Raghu Mohan. He’s the OG himself of the Web3 space, even though he is a little uncomfortable with that nickname that I have sort of given him.

But honestly, he’s probably one of the most understated, humble, real builders in the Web3 space. He’s been there from the start and he’s seen so many startups from the ideation to, you know, scaling journey. I have immense amount of respect for him and I was just very happy at the prospect of being able to interview him.

I do believe that this was a very, very insightful conversation and a lot for everybody to take in from. So let’s go ahead and deep dive right in. Hi Raghu, thank you so much for taking all the time to speak to us.

How are you doing today? Doing good and thanks for having me. I don’t know what I’ve done to be on podcasts and things like that, but always a pleasure speaking to you. Always like selling yourself short, you’re so humble and that is sort of a little bit of a rare breed in this space, but you’re one of the like, you know, you’re movers and shakers of this space.

You’re doing so much, but we’ll get into that in a bit. But first, let’s like, you know, let’s start with a bit of an intro as to how you got into Web3. Tell us a little about that.

I got into Web3 by accident. That is probably the best way of defining this whole journey for me. But I think this was back in 2016.

I just finished my stint with a tech company called Udacity. It was a dream come true when I was a part of Sebastian Trant’s first CS101 that he did from Stanford. And I said, if he ever is hiring in India, I’ll go work for him.

And he was and I went and it was a lot of fun. I was a first hire and learned a lot about scaling a new market for the Silicon Valley, you know, Unicorn back then, their paid user account here. And I think at that time, you know, as it is with most jobs, you know, spend enough time in a job and get to a seniority, every job becomes a sales job.

So that’s basically what happened with me. And I wanted to kind of, you know, figure out what I wanted to do. I had spent most of my time before that with startups.

So I knew that at some point, I will do something along those lines. And this was when I was like, well, let me apply my trade of being a growth marketer and a content strategist and, you know, that sort of, those sort of roles in for consulting with other startups would probably need that right now. So I started consulting with a few dev houses, a few communities, a few early stage startups, and someone came along and said, Hey, can you write white papers? I was like, sure, I can write white papers.

And then they asked me, do you know what an ICO is? And I was like, yeah, I know what an ICO is. And that got me into it. And you know, six white papers later, I was completely red pilled into this entire space.

I was clued in with most things that was happening at that time. And one thing, you know, really kind of stood out, which was the lack of developers and engineers in this space. I always looked at Web3, crypto back in the old days, as it was called, you know, as an engineering movement.

And this entire potential, you know, multi trillion dollar market was held together by a shoestring of engineers. And that I thought was a big enough problem to solve. And, you know, I had done a lot of good work in the developer side of things during a previous stint with a company called Hackera.

And when I scaled their developer community from like 3,000 developers back then to about 900,000 developers by the time I left. Today, the platform has 6 million developers on it. So I’m very proud of the time that I spent there.

It also taught me how to evangelize new stuff to devs. And India had all the devs that you can ever want, right? So that’s what I started with kind of ended up being this thing called Lumos Labs. And yes, that’s pretty much how I got into it.

And I think the main intention kind of bungling along the way, while writing those white papers was, I think the conversation for Web3 should kind of move from profits and trading to wealth and job creation, which I thought was something that would do my country a lot of good. And that’s what I do for a living. Yeah, this is awesome.

You know, you totally sold yourself short and very humble in the beginning. You know, you’ve been associated with such big brands, Udacity and then Hackera. So, you know, I think they did community before community was a thing, right? Like, even though it was not Web3 or crypto as you said, but they’ve been fantabulous, absolutely.

So you know, what was like the first white paper that you actually wrote? Because you mentioned that, you were completely in the game. Not very proud of it, but I wrote the new FaceVision white paper. That was a lot of fun.

But I really thought that the concept was great, right? Like an incentivized ad network for brick and mortar retail. Kind of, it made a lot of sense from a crypto use case standpoint, but then what you write in white papers in the real world are very different things. Yeah, that’s true.

Yeah. Okay. Very interesting.

No, but I do agree with you. It’s a very use case, you know, very understandably good use case for especially for crypto, you know, that the incentivizing ad networks. So, no, I do understand.

And I agree with you here where you know, what gets written in white papers and what gets executed are like two different realities all together. You know, you tend to listen to, we’ve been on so many panels together, etc. And I listened to you talking, you talk with a lot of fervor when it comes to building for the country, right? And nowadays, there are a lot of people who are moving out of the country because of the policy that is kind of coming.

Do you have a take on that? You put me on the spot. Shut up. No, but this is like the very obvious question.

It’s right there. Like, you know, even I’m actually on your side, I do feel that the other places that people are kind of, you know, moving to, they are very, I don’t know, they’re very transactional, you know, and there is something special about building while you’re sitting in your home country and you’re building for a global audience. But I do know that, you know, you would have some thoughts here.

So do, you know, do it in Japan. Sure, let me put this in the most nuanced way possible. So some background would help here.

I’m, I come from a defense family. My father is still serving in Air Force as an M.R. ship. And, you know, a lot of the whole patriotism beyond, patriotism for the land is something that I’ve kind of always seen as a kid.

And I’m very proud of where I’m from. I also know the potential of the country when it comes to innovation. I was also one of the very early team members at your story.

I was like the second full-time editor. There would be days where five stories used to go out because we didn’t have enough writers back then. And I’ll never forget some of the things that I’ve seen, right? Like Sachin and Binny Bansal from, you know, Flipkart standing outside Higginbothams in Bangalore, handing out pamphlets to people saying, hey, go buy the same Flipkart.

Bhavish Agarwal coming to our office and installing the Ola app on our phones. You know, those type of stories, I thought was very inspiring. I feel like we as a country have a massive chip on our shoulder.

There’s so much that we can improve and we have all the talent in the world to do it. And I think like at startups in my day job right now is evaluating, you know, startups to kind of take in to build a strategy, which I can touch upon later. And the one thing that I’m always looking for is what’s the chip on this founder’s shoulder, because this will make them kind of, you know, go through words.

And India as a country, it’s got a lot of it. Crypto and Web3 seems to be a chip on the shoulder kind of movement for a lot of the people who are tired with how the Web2 world essentially works. And it seems like a great marriage for our founder ethos that is prevalent in India.

And also the, you know, the fact that Web3 itself kind of resonates with that same mindset. It just feels like such a great opportunity for India to kind of take full position. And we’re already seeing that if the most used network outside of Ethereum is an Indian-built project, that should give you a sense of the kind of headstart that we have in this space.

And I really want India to win in this. Now, when it comes to moving abroad, you know, it’s mainly kind of coming from regulatory uncertainty, you know, I am pretty pro regulations, because at least then I know what I can’t do. Exactly.

Yeah, that is what I feel as well. Yeah. You wouldn’t be like all of a sudden, like with ethics, at least that was my perception.

What did happen was like overnight, we were out of business, right? So when that RBI order had come in, like we couldn’t serve our customers and users anymore. And that is like the worst case scenario, at least if the policy is there, you know what you can do and what is beyond that effort. So you kind of think ahead.

Correct. And I wish it comes sooner, right? Like at least, and then most of my friends who have moved out, they’re very clear about the fact that the second we know that there’s clarity and regulations will comply and come back is just, you know, the hassle of living in the unknown, something that scares a lot of founders and I empathize with that. But again, like, it’s, we can’t miss out on this, not again, right? Like we missed out on the tech wave, we missed out on the hardware wave, we almost missed out on computers before that, you know, here, we’ve actually got a start.

And I really think that we can’t let this go down. But again, it all comes from the fact that I’m stupidly patriotic and I want to do something about it. Oh, yeah, no, it’s good to be patriotic.

I mean, even I feel very strongly about this. I feel like we are from India and we should be building third. And we should be adding, you know, reserves here rather than sort of moving abroad.

And obviously, that causes like immense brain drain in various ways, because it’s like a ripple effect, right? It’s not just a founder that’s going to be moving out. It’s like an entire, you know, hoard of people who will be moving out to be following the founder. So we don’t necessarily want that at all.

But having said that, and keeping that aside, now with you know, with this kind of prohibitive sort of taxation that has come into place and yesterday, I think I was reading in the news that our finance minister kind of made a comment about how, you know, crypto is primarily, you know, the fear is that it will be primarily used for terrorist funding and for money laundering. Don’t you think that the environment is becoming increasingly restrictive for like the founders to continue business here or for Indian users to be Looks like it. And, you know, again, like I have a lot of empathy for the regulator as well.

It’s not the regulators stay at pace with technology. And this is expecting them to do so generally will result in half-baked regulations as well. So I think they should take time.

But also, you know, I think they’re letting the media off pretty easy here. The sensationalism around anything crypto in India is so big, it’s more, it does more harm than good. With respect to the taxation, I honestly don’t have thoughts because per se, it doesn’t affect me.

I don’t, you know, trade or I don’t invest in crypto in that sense. Right. And whatever the taxes that I’m happy paying, it pays my dad at that level.

So I’m okay with contributing. And, but yeah, I can see how this affects us in the short term. All I can ask for is clarity.

Once there’s clarity, we work with it. Yeah, that’s a good take to have. I think that is the kind of policy that, you know, I’ve taken as well that, you know, as long as there is clarity, that’s a good thing.

And then, you know, you kind of were on the side of caution and you make sure that you’re complying, you know, being compliant everywhere. And then you can serve your end user better as well. Right.

There is not that instability kind of goes away from the user’s mind as well. That’s true. That’s true.

Yeah. And like, again, the conversation is all about crypto being an asset and things like that. It’s such a powerful technology.

And I mean, the kind of cool stuff that people are building with it that I see every day, which is insanely useful. I’ll give you an example, right? Like this decentralized video communications tool. If you hear the founder’s story as to why they’re doing it in a peer-to-peer manner, they’ll tell you because their cousin sits in a tier two village, internet broadband connections are not that great.

And centralized solutions like zoom basically have a longer ping rate because their data centers are sitting somewhere far away. If the same thing was peer-to-peer network topology is shorter and I would be able to have the same kind of quality that I’m having on broadband, but at lower bandwidths. So his cousin who’s living in like a tier two city can consume online content and learn better, even though they don’t have access to best facilities.

So I think that’s inspiring as hell. And this is the sort of stuff that should be spoken about more. And I’m not saying it doesn’t happen in crypto.

It’s all, it’s there. That’s the worst people also. And point is that, we should stop that, but at the same time, at the cost of all of these cool things that are doing it and really encourage that more of that building side of things that perhaps is not being spoken about at all.

That is what is kind of missing in this entire startup story. People kind of tend to focus so much about the funding aspect and the big numbers and the IPL ads and the flamboyancy is kind of associated with web 3 and crypto, but people aren’t really talking about why, why is this product or platform being built? And what is like the story behind it? Like, I feel that is completely or at least missing to quite an extent from the conversation, the discourse that we have. It’s too non-controversial.

It doesn’t get you enough page views. And trust me as a former journalist, I know this. But I think there is a great disservice being done every time we speak about the next big sensational scam that happens and forget the thousands of great things that are happening in this space, which is good for the community, good for the country.

And I hope that changes. It is changing a lot. It’s not 2017 reporting was bad, but now it’s a Yeah, very bad.

Now it’s getting a little better. Yes, I’m glad to know you’re not talking about better things. What are the kind of projects or platforms that you’re really excited about currently? Like you don’t have you come across thousands of pitches on a weekly basis.

So tell me a few of them that you know, really got you excited. Thousands of pitches weekly, I don’t see that those are polygon numbers. You’ll get there then, it’s an aspiring number.

But maybe your hundreds, at least you guys are incubating and you’re helping so many projects and everybody seems to know about you guys and is connected in some way or the other. But there must be some projects that must have caught your eye. They’re doing something exceptionally different.

Yeah, so I have to be a little diplomatic here. I love all the projects. But my personal thesis for projects that I like to be involved in are around infrastructure and community.

I think infrastructure projects are a no brainer in the sense that anything that provides dApp infrastructure that allows it to scale a lot to internet demand. That I think is generally pretty powerful. I’ve had the pleasure of working with people like Biconomy, you know, people like Covalent and you know, these are kind of projects that I really, I really think are fundamentally needed for the space.

If you know, products and economies are to be built on top of them. And I think I understand that space a little bit as well. You know, because of, you know, the past work that I’ve done.

I really think that community organization by learning incentives is also really, really good. Part of the endeavor at BuildersTribe is also something that we want to be able to build this community of mentors and investors for, you know, the three startups. And how do we align incentives within that? So organization and delivery, it becomes more efficient in that sense.

So these two areas are super interesting for me and, you know, projects along these come. You can’t just build an infrastructure project out of, you know, by launching a token. You really need to kind of understand, you know, the base level workings of, you know, layer 1s, layer 2s, protocol layers on top of them to be able to, you know, launch such a project on which others can build.

So I think we’re still early there and I’m seeing a lot of good projects coming from that side. Decentralized file storage, for example, it’s criminally underrated. Today the cheapest file storage and compute you can buy are from decentralized options and not enough people are thinking about it.

And on the other hand, on the community side of things, I think we’re seeing elements of that with gaming guilds and, you know, some DAOs. But again, these, I think they’re like really early and feels like a hype cycle at this point for the most part. But first principle thinking in these projects, there are a few that I get to meet every week and couldn’t be more excited for them.

Yeah, you know what you said about file storage? I think there is a wrong kind of concept that is there in people’s head that, you know, when you kind of store anything on blockchain, it becomes very costly. And then there are these, you know, wonderful storage apps and platforms that are being built in a decentralized way that are actually, as you said, they’re cheaper. But this is something that is, I think, maybe because of the Ethereum gas fee aspect, I don’t know how did this kind of got built up, I think last weekend, or I think I was speaking at this college fest, which was for VIIT, I think.

And then they were also kind of, you know, talking about how storage, the co-panelist was sort of not sure about how, you know, how this is going to be cheaper. And he kind of had this opinion that, you know, it would be, it would cost a lot if you are kind of storing, obviously images would, you know, cost a lot. His entire notion was that anything being stored on blockchain would, you know, be far more costly.

So this is something that is, I think, it’s a concept which is just sort of gotten embedded in people’s head, which might not be completely correct. I mean, it is not completely correct. Like decentralized storage and storing on an L1 are two different things.

And that difference, you have to go and like explain to people, but we should urge them to… That is exactly what I was trying to do that. But like on that particular event also, I was trying to explain to him that, okay, it’s like, it’s different when you’re storing it on Ethereum. And it’s different when, you know, you’re looking at other L2 solutions and it would be one of the cheaper options that you have.

But I think that it’s, we are just so still so early, you know, people look at Ethereum as their go-to for everything. And now there are so many wonderful, you know, layer two solutions as well. And now people are also building like layer zero solutions.

Do you have like an opinion on that? About how early this space is? Both, take a vote. Yeah, I mean, definitely it’s quite early, right? Like most of the times I’ve had the benefit of spending some time in this space. It’s very important to kind of go and reread the whole construct at the base layer, right? Like consensus distributed versus decentralized.

All of these things, it’s good to reinforce it in your mind because I come from a web 2 world myself. And I think anyone who’s not a 17, 18 year old is natively web 2. And the true native web 3 guys are the people who are experiencing the internet in this way for the first time, right? And that, I mean, I don’t blame them. And being able to sit down and read these things, spend time with them and kind of unlearn a lot of the things, a lot of what the way it was done back in the days is going to be crucial before these nuances become sorted out, right? And as far as new innovations in file storage specifically or distributed compute specifically, I think we are still very, very early.

I’m super excited about players like Akash, scaling the network layer itself and relay chain ecosystems like Cosmos and Polkadot, again, are super excited. There’s a really different take on how decentralized ecosystems can be built with rather than being multi-chain. There’s this cross-chain conversation that’s going on, which is all connected by this one relay chain that I think intuitively feels like it may work out better given the amount of security risks that are there with this whole bridges that people are building between chains right now.

Not to mention their efficiencies as well. Again, I think it all boils down for the sake of keeping this conversation rather from going too technical. I think it’s still really, really early and I feel the markets have given us a way to do these fun experiments and kind of feel upwards while we figure out what really works.

Very bullish about, generally quite interested in the D-Web and have the fortune of working with a few companies in this space. So I’m quite excited to see what happens. I love how bullish you are on the infrastructure aspect because obviously that is the foundational aspect and people at times kind of glaze over it because it gets too technical.

But I love what you said that we move upwards and figure out basically because we are still in the iteration phase as an entire sector. We’re just sort of figuring out and everybody’s tinkering trying to see what really works. Correct.

Yeah, I mean, never a better time to enter the space. Strongly urge everyone listening to this to give this a shot. Absolutely.

You know, I feel like the cult leader on most days that I’m always asking people to join Web3 and you know, at least give it a shot. Like it’s some new exciting cult, but it can be really exciting. You know, there’s another exciting thing that you sort of insightful thing that you’re going to point it out.

And this is something that I have been saying a lot that, you know, people who are coming in from Web2 and into Web3, you know, there is no problem that they would as such face. The only problem that, you know, they will face are also people who are originally in Web3 that, you know, they have to unlearn a lot of things. There’s so much happening every day.

You have to unlearn so many, you know, ideas that you might have held. And, you know, there are better ways to do things. I think that is going to be the key difference of the people who are going to make it in Web3.

What do you think? I mean, isn’t that true for any new technology? And I still remember when I joined your story, the reason why you would join a startup is because you didn’t get placed from college. Today, it’s such an acceptable thing to do. And, you know, the people who unlearned what it was to going to a job and spending the next 35 years doing the same thing versus building something that is insanely useful and owning a part of it to create wealth.

You know, that was an unlearning that the early entrepreneurs from India had to do and show that it could be done. And it then becomes a norm. Your early winners are always the people who are open-minded enough about change and kind of having that why not mentality as opposed to, you know, having a, oh, everything seems to be working fine.

Why does this need to change? Right. And I think this is true for Web2 guys. And quite honestly, it’s a lot harder to do here because even today, solutions are more scalable relatively than Web3 solutions.

And I can give you a developer’s perspective, right? Because if I had taken up a job and especially this was back in the day when hyperledger fabric and quorum and all of those private chains were a big deal, right? I spoke to a developer who’d been working on these chains for some time. And he told me that, look, man, if I had spent the same time in a Web2 company, at least I would have worked on something at scale, something in production. I’ve spent the last three years just doing POCs, right? And that isn’t taking me anywhere.

And I think that unlearning and that being open-minded enough in Web3 is a lot harder to do given how advanced Web2 still is in most contexts of company building or product building, right? And it is going to be hard, but the people who have accepted that, hey, this could be a new way of doing something a little more efficiently, it’s going to be a lot harder. And I’m going to have to unlearn a lot of the things that I grew up thinking were the norm. Those are the people who I seem to have a better chance at building something of significance.

And it’s always been true. I’ve seen three waves, right? Mobility was the first one that I saw where everyone was kind of migrating from desktop web apps to mobile apps. Then cloud became like a really big conversation as opposed to kind of housing all your data in a server farm which you own inside your office.

And then third bit is this Web2 to Web3 side of kind of things. And I think the guys who made it in the early days were the people who kind of came in and had a, why not? And let me see how I can learn this ground up that much. It’s hard to do, but I think that’s a fundamental prerequisite to build anything of significance in this space.

You know, this is like, this can only come from somebody who’s seen these multiple ways, like your perspective, as I said, you know, in the beginning, that you’re kind of one of the OGs and you’re selling yourself out here because you’ve seen the way Web2 has, you know, kind of scales. And now you know, you’re coming from that perspective that, okay, in Web3, it’s a lot harder. And this is a new perspective for me as well because, you know, when I hear you saying it, I am completely in agreement with you, but I never really thought of this myself.

That because in Web3, everything is so early, like people are still iterating and figuring out what kind of does work or at least even fits. You know, Web2 people have a better chance of unlearning and sort of, you know, growing because that is the scale at which it is at. It’s such a wonderful perspective.

Like I never really thought of it like that way. You know, I keep thinking about it like, okay, I’m running into a wall while scaling because things are different, but I never thought about how, you know, it might be easier for the Web2 guys to actually unlearn and, you know, sort of scale. So yeah, that’s a very interesting perspective to have.

Yeah, you are very uncomfortable with that whole OG thing that, you know, people say. Don’t be. You’ve done so much.

Experience matters. You’ve done so much and, you know, you know what you’re talking about and that kind of, that is what I’m saying, that there is so much hot air in this space, especially that, you know, there are a lot of people who kind of, there are a lot of builders, but there is a lot of hot air as well. And, you know, you are somebody who’s actually seen and scaled in Web2 as well as now you’re in Web3 and you’re such a facilitator here.

So it, I don’t understand, like, why would you not be okay with that kind of being the OG? You are. You’ve helped us. Not really.

Until I’ve contributed something fundamental in this space, I don’t think anyone is an OG. And with that mindset, I think there are only like a handful of us who are, you know, who can call themselves that and also like OG is like original gangster, right? I don’t know. Yeah.

Context. That is what I know as well. But you are the original gangster of Web3.

You were early. So, you know, you started off earlier than most. So obviously I would still perceive you like that.

And, you know, it’s okay if it makes you uncomfortable, go and do it. Like a few years down the line and then you’ll be like, you know, Tarasa was right. I ever feel like that I’ll call you and tell you that.

But, you know, you are too like humble that way. But okay. Now, tell me about Builders, right? Because, you know, it’s such a wonderful, you know, community that you guys have built.

You and Parin and, you know, we kind of talked about it when he was here on the podcast as well that you guys were actually sort of evaluating your first cohort at that point. And yeah, so it has, it’s been quite a journey. And now I think you guys are doing something in the metaverse as well, correct? Yeah.

Well, not Builders, right? But yes, I can touch upon both projects here. So Lumos was the project that kind of worked on the developer side of things. And I actually moved away from Lumos because my heart was primarily with startups.

And we tried doing the whole Builders tribe thing within Lumos back in the day. And look, when you’re taking money from a chain, you are kind of subservient to the mandate that you onboarded. And you can’t really back for the fund there.

So that’s something that I learned the hard way. And that was one of the reasons why we started Builders tribe separately with Parin. Lumos still works on the developer side of things and Kavya runs it, who was my co-founder there.

And she’s probably a much better leader for that company than I was. And, you know, so her view, her vision for the developer ecosystem is this large metaverse that kind of facilitates almost real-time conversations with people who are custodians of new technology and people who want to adopt it. And I really think that I’m very excited for what’s to happen there.

And, you know, I support it in an advisory capacity right now. Builders tribe was our take on what would an incubator look if it was decentralized, right? And we spent a lot of time kind of doing this. And I have some experience of having done accelerators for Web3 specifically.

I, you know, it was very clear for me that a serious Web3 founder does not have the time for a cohort-like sit down and, you know, learn things for three months and then figure out what happens next, right? The second big thing that we learned is, you know, the space changes almost every week, every month and there’s a new paradigm there. And there’s no way in which a centralized set of people can have the network or consume the knowledge to be able to meaningfully support people working on the frontier. So in the whole Web3 way, what we did was we put together a large community of people who have done this zero to one journey before, which is an entrepreneur, founder, early employee, which is early investor who’s seen this journey kind of pan out across multiple companies and some funds who are sitting on a lot of collective intelligence on, you know, the bets that they took on spaces and how it actually transpired.

With this, what we have now is a large community of people whose incentives are already aligned to help a startup. What BuilderStripe does is we evaluate startups and we’ve been blessed with good deal flow because of that, you know, just actually because both Parin and I are slowly turning into dinosaurs into this space because we don’t get the players that come to us. And, you know, we’ve been around.

So we know the channels where these startups are. So we get a lot of access to them. And then, you know, we filter them on a very first principles founder driven basis, which is that does the founder have conviction about the play? Does the play itself need to be decentralized? And is this the right person to do the job? And based on these very fundamental filtering, we then expose this tribe to these startups that we have filtered.

While doing this, there is a service fee that we collect in the form of network allocation. And most of it is redistributed back to the tribe based on the founders consent and the key members in the tribe help the startup. So that way you’re already kind of invested in the success of the startup.

And your mentorship and your investment is definitely going to be more thought out than what it would be if we were controlling the entire operations. And so far, I think we’ve spoken to about 600, 650 startups. I mean, 650 projects over the last seven months or so.

And 14 of them are working with us right now. Pretty selective about who we work with. And six of them have gone on a very close to going public as networks right now.

And it seems to be working at some level. Now the point is to be able to scale it without the operating team being involved. And that’s what most of the time.

That is like the challenge for any scaling company. Like that is exactly where I think we are as well. You know, how do you sort of scale this without the core team being involved in everything? Yeah, I mean, that’s the Web3 way.

The community owns and runs the organization as opposed to people. And this gives it equitable redistribution of wealth. And at the same time, insane scaling capabilities because your limit is how big the network can get.

And if you can solve for coordination with this, then you’ve built a new paradigm. And that’s what I’m very excited about. I mean, that’s what gets me out of bed too.

You know, sit in the slot the way we do right now. Yeah, no, that’s a good, that’s a tremendous problem to solve. As you said, it creates a whole new paradigm for your particular platform for others to learn from it as well.

So, okay, you know, now moving on to, you know, some trends as such in this space. Now, you know, NFTs have kind of have so many use case scenarios. You have like a take of any kind of a favorite NFT project that you’ve seen or played? Uh, look, I think fundamentally, I look at NFT as gating and access mechanism more than the fact that it’s, I think a very good friend of mine from Ishita from Woodstock Fund, right? Like she says that it’s actually more important that it’s non-fungible than the fact that it’s a token.

And that really stuck with me for a really long time. What do I want to make non-fungible? And my identity, my characteristics, my capabilities, my talents, if I could organize like-minded people based on, if I could make that non-fungible, then I can organize a lot of people with the same characteristics or at least the same beliefs. And I think the best NFT projects are the ones that have caught onto this.

You know, sure, the speculation drives a bit of short-term growth in the volumes and things like that. But best NFT projects that I’ve seen, I mean, like for example, I’ve been lucky enough to know a few Bode poolers. And I asked them, this is worth so much money.

Would you ever want to sell it? They told me, you know, pragmatic about it. They tell me, look, I hope the day doesn’t come that I have to, because the value I get out of being a part of this community, because I’m a Bode pooler is more the dollar value that is associated with owning a Bode itself. And that to me is a hallmark of a great NFT project.

The use cases of NFTs kind of being put into, you know, general dApps is pretty insane, right? Like, I don’t know if you guys have checked our developer dApp. I love, I absolutely love, you know, segmented developers and denoted that using NFTs. I think that’s a brilliant use case.

Now, what I’ve created is a very accurate segmentation of a developer audience that I’ve got. And this is a problem that we had in the Web2 world. Not every great coder is a great product guy and vice versa, right? And how do I identify these people when I target them using top-of-the-line method? The NFT is a great answer to do that, develop it out as a phenomenal job of doing it.

Other, I mean, of course, there are BAYC, for example, it sounds like a cliche right now. I like it for the fact that they’ve been able to create this high power community that identifies themselves more than what the society labels them for. And I think this is one part that most of the people don’t get it.

Even I didn’t get it until I met people who held on to their board apps forever too. And that really kind of gave an entire new perspective for me. And anything that I want to be untamperable with and easily transferable, make it easily transferable, right from certificates, invoices and those sorts of stuff.

I think those more mainstream use cases will come up over time. But as of now, a pure play NFT project, I’m looking at what is it getting and what is it organizing? And if that community has inherent value, then the NFT for me also has, is something that is worth holding on. Right, it’s all about the community after all.

I think, you know, community is becoming, it was always supposed to be big. But I think now that, you know, we are at a place in our journey where we really realize that this is what is really moving things along. You know, people used to think on a macro level that, okay, it’s the influencers or the ways that are moving the market.

But ultimately, if you have community on your side, you can yourself be in that position, correct? Yeah, that’s true. It is the power of the crowd over the power of the few, right? Web3 movement. Yeah.

And, yeah, and a good articulation of that power of the crowd is community. They come together on certain beliefs and certain capabilities. Absolutely.

Okay, so now, you know, we’re kind of at the, we’re running out of time, but I would like to ask you, there are people who are, you know, looking to sort of get in this space, right? And, you know, they’re moving, making the transition from Web2 to Web3. What would be the kind of resources that you would point them towards or people? Okay, let me, it depends on what they want to do, right, and what their core skill sets are. If it is on startups, and if you want to kind of start something new in this space.

Actually, even before that, right? Fundamentally, read the Bitcoin white paper. I think it’s a beautiful piece of math that is worth putting the time and effort in trying to understand it. That perhaps teaches the ethos of decentralization.

And I wish I had done that a lot earlier than when I actually got around to doing it, because a lot more things make sense now. And then if you want to be able to build a layer on this immutable network that has been built, read the Ethereum yellow paper. And if you have the stomach for it, please read the entire white paper, because especially if you’re a builder and if you want to build.

It’s a little technical. Yeah, these two resources, I think, provide great foundations to what this world actually looks like. Post that, I think, A16Z Startup School is a good way to understand how ventures are built on top of the Web3 world.

At least it gives you a good framework. But apart from that, a lot of the information is quite fragmented. There’s no one-stop shop, which I can just go and learn.

There’s no textbook for this. And based on this fundamental knowledge, based on some peripheral stuff, the A16Z Startup School things, then post that, I would say, enter the wild, wild west of Twitter and try to beat out the noise and follow the founders of some of the projects that you really like. I think especially if they’re a little more active on Twitter, you can learn a lot passively based on what they’re tweeting and the resources that they tweet.

And also, strangely, Web3 is like, just so accessible. Writing to them more often than not gives you a response. And you could just get on a call with them and try and get your questions answered.

I’d also say work in a Web3-first organization to understand what it is like before, if you haven’t, intentionally starting up. I just generally think that that sets expectations of what you want to do and what you shouldn’t be doing very well before you start your own. So if you’re making that jump, learn the fundamentals first, which is Bitcoin and Ethereum.

And then try to check out some of the organized content streams, especially with A16z Crypto School. And then get on Twitter and follow the founders of companies that do a lot of these projects that you look up to. And I think you would be well and truly on your way to trying and understanding this space better because six years on, I think I’m just starting to understand little bits of it.

And be ready to put in that time because I’m sure if you’re smarter, you’ll probably figure it out a little earlier. But it’s very, very early days. And everyone, most people I know are groping in the darkness.

You’re saying that is what I was about to say. I feel like every day I’m just groping in the darkness only. I’ve been around for some years and I feel like I’m still learning.

There is something new and exciting every day. That is what gets me out of bed because there’s something new to learn every day. You go on Twitter and there are people talking about these exciting things that almost seem sci-fi and they have actually implemented it.

And that is what is exciting about Web3. That you can learn so much and you can give back once you do learn. Then you can pull so many up along with you.

Yep. Couldn’t agree more. So it’s wonderful.

I think, yeah, as I said, we are like cult leaders following people to sort of come in and join the Web3 world because I do truly believe that this is the future and you’re going to be doing yourself a favor if you’re going to at least look at it and try to explore it. Because I haven’t heard of anybody who kind of looked and learned a little, went down this rabbit hole and came out and was like, okay, not true. That’s true.

Once you’re in, there’s no going back. The rabbit hole reference is very, very true for crypto. Yeah, you can’t really go back.

You know, you’re in, you’re in. But then that is what I want. I want people to explore it because, you know, that is, we get so much in our own, comfortable in our own echo chambers, I believe, that, you know, we kind of tend to think we’re talking to the same people, right? People who are so passionate about Web3 and they’re builders in this space.

And we kind of forget that there is a large populace who is not even, you know, looking this way. Far from, you know, just hearing the crypto aspect of it. Okay, there is crypto exchanges and there is trading involved.

And, you know, it can be perhaps a way to sort of create an income stream. But there is so much more to Web3 than that. True, yeah, you know, for me, I’m getting to meet a lot of my heroes, you know, from crypto world right now, who are looking at Web3.

And I make it a point to go and like thank them for looking at this space because they bring a sense of traditional legitimacy to this space. I couldn’t be happier that they are in this space. And it’s happening slowly, but surely.

Yeah, no, it’s so amazing. Like Santosh is working on Foundership, right? And I was so in awe of him. He built Explorer and everything.

And I was thinking that, okay, he’s going to come into Web3. And, you know, experience does, you know, matter so much. Like even if you’re coming from Web2, Web1, wherever you’re coming from, but you know, you’re coming from experience, you’ve learned something.

Tech is tech, it might have some iterations. But ultimately when people are coming in and, you know, building amazing things, you can’t help but be, you know, like you feel a little prouder of being in the space yourself. That’s true, that’s true.

And yeah, and also, you know, one thing about Web3 is that I feel like it’s just because of how fast the space moves and how quickly paradigms change. It’s all optimized for very short-term thinking. And a lot of the traditional long-term roll up your sleeves and be committed to the problem for a really long time, right? That’s very, very common in Web2.

And a little bit of that in Web3 is not such a bad thing, you know? And that’s one of the things that excites me most when I see these old players who have been there and done that in Web2. You know, the Web2 OGs, as you’d like to call them. When they enter this space, I’m like, yes, you know, like these guys can really bring in something that, you know, Web3 is missing.

Absolutely. And, you know, I’m looking forward to more. Absolutely, I completely agree.

I think it’s a very exciting time now that so many people are transitioning from Web2 and moving to Web3. And at least looking at it with some interest, I think, as you said, that kind of brings some legitimacy and some credibility to Web3 as well. And I am banking on their experience.

I think that, you know, we have so many young entrepreneurs who are in their early 20s, etc. who are building fabulous products and, you know, trying to scale companies. But then as, you know, scale, there are problems that companies face when you’re scaling that are very different from a company that is kind of bootstrapped.

So this experience is only going to help, I think. I agree. Thank you so much, Raghu.

This has been so lovely. Like, it was just like chatting with you on like any of our calls, but it was so insightful and so lovely. It’s always great to talk to you.

Any parting thoughts before we wrap this up? Thanks for having me on board, Tarusha. And you’ve been around for a while. And I’m always excited when there’s something new that comes out of the oro Pocket and Unifarm family.

And I’m looking forward to what’s in store with what you guys are launching in the near future. So that’s probably my only parting thought. You guys follow Tarusha, follow Morit and check out the cool stuff that they do.

You’re just too kind. You’re very kind. But thank you so much for always being there and letting us vent to you and brainstorm with you.

We are very, very grateful. I’m incredibly grateful that our paths crossed. And I think I’ll always hold you in a lot of gratitude.

So thank you for taking all the time. I know you have a sick, busy schedule. And thank you for speaking to me today.

Thanks for having me, Tarusha. I really enjoyed it.

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