Crypto elite, hippies of the digital age

In the 14 years since the birth of encryption culture, the most important thing in the encryption circle is controversy. Optimists such as Musk see cryptocurrencies as a more advanced form of transaction, while pessimists such as Charlie Munger have publicly stated that they "hope that cryptocurrencies have never been invented."

No matter how the pros and cons argue, it is undeniable that crypto culture is subtly affecting the development of the mainstream world, and the digital shock is stronger now than ever before.

For a time, the encryption technology headed by NFT became the new favorite of brand marketing. The battlefield of the clothing war between Nike and Adidas shifted from cotton to strings. LV and Gucci rushed to release NFT to land in the metaverse. This is a mixed technology It is not the arrogant Wall Street elite, but the "crypto elite" scattered around the world.

This is a new elite group supported by virtual assets.

You can easily identify the financial elite in the crowd: the hair is combed into a standard 37-point oil, a custom Tom Ford suit, and a Patek Philippe that truly interprets time as money…

▲ Picture from: NYmag

Similarly, there are traces of the line of a qualified crypto elite: a pixel wind NFT avatar, with the suffix “.eth” after the name, and a DAO organization that only people in the circle understand in the personal profile, don’t forget to also To add the trending Yat link (a string of emoji just for you)…

Unlike Patek Philippe, this outfit is not a splendid office building or an exchange, but Twitter, Reddit or Discord.

Social Account = Resume

Before the popularity of NFTs, the avatars on social media were only a window for people to show their individuality and style. From this, there were also some "avatar analysis" that had the same effect as constellations: those who like animal avatars are very loving, and they love to use them. The self-consciousness of taking selfies is strong, and those who often change their avatars should be very idle…

Most of these general statements with a strong Barnum effect are unfounded, but if a person uses well-known NFT series avatars such as Cryptopunk and BAYC (Boring Ape Yacht Club), you can probably analyze that he is very rich.

Rather than NFT avatars, crypto elites prefer to call these "unique digital collectibles" Avatars, their "avatars" in the virtual world.

NFT series works with explosive potential often adopt a limited sales strategy. For example, BAYC only released 10,000 ape-man heads with different images, which makes each ape-man unique.

"The New Yorker" mentioned in the article "Why Bored Ape Avatars Are Taking Over Twitter" that NFT Avatar is the projection of personal image on the Internet, and it is also a proof of recognition of community culture. To some extent, it has become a kind of Status, status symbol.

Is the NFT avatar the Swiss watch of the crypto elite? On some levels, the two do have a lot in common. They are just as expensive, as scarce, and most importantly, as popular with the rich.

But unlike Swiss watches with sophisticated workmanship, you will find that the most well-known NFT avatars often have an advanced aesthetic that is contrary to the mainstream. The uncertainty generated is because the crypto elites yearn for "individuality" more than the "beauty" that follows the rules.

In the opinion of Jimmy Chang, product manager of Aave (a decentralized financial company), an expensive NFT avatar can send two signals: one, I am rich; two, I have accepted the advanced concept that you can't understand yet.

Noah Davis, director of NFTs at Christie’s auction house, believes that the social platform is the LinkedIn of the crypto elite. If you want to prove that you are an expert in this field, there is nothing more convincing than using an NFT image as an avatar.

If a crypto person is using the image of a real person, I would instead doubt the authenticity of his identity.

Just like choosing a pair of leather shoes carefully before entering a bank job, putting on a randomly generated NFT avatar before stepping into the crypto circle is a recognition of the value consensus of the circle, and it is also a pious baptism before entering the "worship of digital religion".

.eth, a business card belonging to crypto people

For the crypto elites who have been in social networks for many years, nicknames are no less important than their real names. In addition to making it easier for more people to remember and understand you, a good nickname can even make people "play money" for you.

▲ Vitalik Buttern did not use an NFT avatar, he did not need an NFT to prove his "uniqueness"

The ENS (Ethereum Name Service) domain name is a popular nickname choice in the crypto circle. You will find that crypto elites, including Vitalik Buttern, the founder of Ethereum, all add ".eth" to the end of their nicknames. See It looks a bit like a website domain name such as ".com" and ".tv".

In fact, an Eth domain name such as Vitalik.eth is not a valid website, and pasting it into Chrome's address bar won't take you anywhere magically, because it's based on a link that uses encryption technology, and an Eth domain name actually leads to The address of the Ethereum wallet.

The address of Ethereum is like the card number of a bank card. Through this "card number", you can initiate transfers and transactions to it. More complicated than a bank card, the address of Ethereum starts with 0x and consists of numbers and letters. 48 Bit strings have almost no readability. If you accidentally type a mistake or miss a character during a transaction, your digital assets are likely to be lost.

▲ Tobi Lutke, CEO of Shopify

One of the major functions of the ENS domain name is to simplify transactions. It can convert the original complex address of "0x5591e55A02eE6b5Ad29E2475EaD6335606e7e714" into a simple "xxx.eth", which has become an important business card for you in the encrypted world.

Different from the buyout system that can be permanently owned by ordinary NFTs, Eth domain names have a useful life. Before creation, buyers need to select the required "property" years. The longer the possession time, the higher the price will naturally rise.

Due to the uniqueness of these Eth domain names (no one would want to tie their wallets to others), some simple and catchy Eth domain names have a value space for speculation due to their scarcity.

Like .com domain names, the more well-known and short Eth domain names, the higher the price of speculation. For example, the price of Nike.eth has exceeded 3 million US dollars.

Even on the blockchain, the rich still can't escape the "pretty" business.

DAO, the "private club" of the crypto elite

Decentralization is a topic that the blockchain can never avoid, which has also spawned various new words with the concept of decentralization, such as Web3 and DAO. In the eyes of crypto elites, decentralized Web3 is the future of the Internet, and DAO is the next form of companies and communities.

DAO is also called a decentralized autonomous organization. In short, it is like a company without a board of directors and a hierarchy. The rules and transactions of DAO are recorded in the smart contract of the blockchain, and each member of DAO makes decisions together. Vote to decentralize power.

If you want to join DAO as a member and get voting qualifications, you usually need to purchase tokens issued by DAO or sponsor the organization. These "contributions" determine the weight of DAO members' voting decisions.

Due to the limited number of tokens issued by the DAO organization, the threshold for joining a successful DAO is not low. Write the name of the well-known DAO organization you join in your personal file, and the attention is no less than the big factory badge hanging around your neck when you go to the blind date corner in the park. .

▲ PleasrDAO, who co-owns the same album

Fully transparent and flat management DAOs can schedule organizations and allocate resources in a more efficient way, which allows them to participate in investment, construction and other projects at a faster speed.

PleasrDAO spent $4 million this summer to buy the unreleased music album of the hip-hop group Wu-Tang Clan, which is shared by members of the DAO; FlamingoDAO, which focuses on NFT investment, has participated in hundreds of CryptoPunk transactions; It raised more than $40 million in an attempt to capture one of only 13 copies of the U.S. Constitution in the world (and ultimately failed).

Typically, a DAO is like a chat group with a shared cryptocurrency wallet, acting together through the votes of "group friends".

Derek Edward Schloss, one of the founders of FlamingoDAO, said in an interview that the value generated by the Internet should be managed by an Internet organization, and DAOs are the way to meet this need.

Hippie in the digital age

Passionate about personalized styling and obsessed with the idea of ​​decentralization, the crypto-elite counterculture movement can be traced back to the hippie period.

In the 1960s, a group of countercultural young people gathered in Greenwich Village on the east coast of the United States, dressed in their oldest clothes, using the nomadic and communal lifestyle to convey their distaste for the centralized political world, eager to pass This approach rebuilds closer social relationships.

Hippie was the name given to this group of pastoral utopians by the media at the time.

▲ Stay hungery, stay foolish.

In 1968, Stewart Brand founded The Whole Earth Catalog, known as the Hippie Life Guide, a survival manual that gave young people the tools and skills to use technology as the short-lived hippie movement drew to a close. Revolutionize society.

The impact of this spirit is profound, it has inspired great entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs, important journalists like Kevin Kelly, and countless programmers and hackers.

In 1993, the "Cypherpunk" organization composed of cryptographers, hackers, programmers and other members was established. Cypherpunk aims to break the monopoly of encryption technology and defend the privacy of citizens with digital encryption technology. The development of information technology has made pastoral failures. Utopianism has continued in the digital world, and the anti-mainstream spirit has formed a new liberalism in the digital world.

In 2008, Satoshi Nakamoto, a rising star of cypherpunk, published an article called "Bitcoin: P2P Electronic Cash System" on the basis of hash algorithm, public key encryption technology, electronic currency B-Money and other technologies. Bitcoin based on blockchain technology.

The birth of the second-generation blockchain technology smart contract has brought blockchain applications such as DeFi, NFT, DAO, etc. The value of blockchain decentralization is recognized by more people in this increasingly violent anti-mainstream movement. . The future of the Internet, as defined by cypherpunks, has only begun to take shape nearly three decades later.

Therefore, if you still find it difficult to understand the crypto elite who spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on avatars and nicknames, you might as well consider it as another awakening of the hippie spirit due to techno-utopianism.

Just this time, will the next Whole Earth Catalog be born?

The title image comes from Beeple

Stop talking nonsense.

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