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Elnaz Sarraf

Elnaz Sarraf

1 month ago

Why Bitcoin's Crash Could Be Good for Investors

More on Web3 & Crypto

Max Parasol

Max Parasol

7 months ago

What the hell is Web3 anyway?

"Web 3.0" is a trendy buzzword with a vague definition. Everyone agrees it has to do with a blockchain-based internet evolution, but what is it?

Yet, the meaning and prospects for Web3 have become hot topics in crypto communities. Big corporations use the term to gain a foothold in the space while avoiding the negative connotations of “crypto.”

But it can't be evaluated without a definition.

Among those criticizing Web3's vagueness is Cobie:

“Despite the dominie's deluge of undistinguished think pieces, nobody really agrees on what Web3 is. Web3 is a scam, the future, tokenizing the world, VC exit liquidity, or just another name for crypto, depending on your tribe.

“Even the crypto community is split on whether Bitcoin is Web3,” he adds.

The phrase was coined by an early crypto thinker, and the community has had years to figure out what it means. Many ideologies and commercial realities have driven reverse engineering.

Web3 is becoming clearer as a concept. It contains ideas. It was probably coined by Ethereum co-founder Gavin Wood in 2014. His definition of Web3 included “trustless transactions” as part of its tech stack. Wood founded the Web3 Foundation and the Polkadot network, a Web3 alternative future.

The 2013 Ethereum white paper had previously allowed devotees to imagine a DAO, for example.

Web3 now has concepts like decentralized autonomous organizations, sovereign digital identity, censorship-free data storage, and data divided by multiple servers. They intertwine discussions about the “Web3” movement and its viability.

These ideas are linked by Cobie's initial Web3 definition. A key component of Web3 should be “ownership of value” for one's own content and data.

Noting that “late-stage capitalism greedcorps that make you buy a fractionalized micropayment NFT on Cardano to operate your electric toothbrush” may build the new web, he notes that “crypto founders are too rich to care anymore.”

Very Important

Many critics of Web3 claim it isn't practical or achievable. Web3 critics like Moxie Marlinspike (creator of sslstrip and Signal/TextSecure) can never see people running their own servers. Early in January, he argued that protocols are more difficult to create than platforms.

While this is true, some projects, like the file storage protocol IPFS, allow users to choose which jurisdictions their data is shared between.

But full decentralization is a difficult problem. Suhaza, replying to Moxie, said:

”People don't want to run servers... Companies are now offering API access to an Ethereum node as a service... Almost all DApps interact with the blockchain using Infura or Alchemy. In fact, when a DApp uses a wallet like MetaMask to interact with the blockchain, MetaMask is just calling Infura!

So, here are the questions: Web3: Is it a go? Is it truly decentralized?

Web3 history is shaped by Web2 failure.

This is the story of how the Internet was turned upside down...

Then came the vision. Everyone can create content for free. Decentralized open-source believers like Tim Berners-Lee popularized it.

Real-world data trade-offs for content creation and pricing.

A giant Wikipedia page married to a giant Craig's List. No ads, no logins, and a private web carve-up. For free usage, you give up your privacy and data to the algorithmic targeted advertising of Web 2.

Our data is centralized and savaged by giant corporations. Data localization rules and geopolitical walls like China's Great Firewall further fragment the internet.

The decentralized Web3 reflects Berners-original Lee's vision: "No permission is required from a central authority to post anything... there is no central controlling node and thus no single point of failure." Now he runs Solid, a Web3 data storage startup.

So Web3 starts with decentralized servers and data privacy.

Web3 begins with decentralized storage.

Data decentralization is a key feature of the Web3 tech stack. Web2 has closed databases. Large corporations like Facebook, Google, and others go to great lengths to collect, control, and monetize data. We want to change it.

Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Alibaba, and Huawei, according to Gartner, currently control 80% of the global cloud infrastructure market. Web3 wants to change that.

Decentralization enlarges power structures by giving participants a stake in the network. Users own data on open encrypted networks in Web3. This area has many projects.

Apps like Filecoin and IPFS have led the way. Data is replicated across multiple nodes in Web3 storage providers like Filecoin.

But the new tech stack and ideology raise many questions.

Giving users control over their data

According to Ryan Kris, COO of Verida, his “Web3 vision” is “empowering people to control their own data.”

Verida targets SDKs that address issues in the Web3 stack: identity, messaging, personal storage, and data interoperability.

A big app suite? “Yes, but it's a frontier technology,” he says. They are currently building a credentialing system for decentralized health in Bermuda.

By empowering individuals, how will Web3 create a fairer internet? Kris, who has worked in telecoms, finance, cyber security, and blockchain consulting for decades, admits it is difficult:

“The viability of Web3 raises some good business questions,” he adds. “How can users regain control over centralized personal data? How are startups motivated to build products and tools that support this transition? How are existing Web2 companies encouraged to pivot to a Web3 business model to compete with market leaders?

Kris adds that new technologies have regulatory and practical issues:

"On storage, IPFS is great for redundantly sharing public data, but not designed for securing private personal data. It is not controlled by the users. When data storage in a specific country is not guaranteed, regulatory issues arise."

Each project has varying degrees of decentralization. The diehards say DApps that use centralized storage are no longer “Web3” companies. But fully decentralized technology is hard to build.

Web2.5?

Some argue that we're actually building Web2.5 businesses, which are crypto-native but not fully decentralized. This is vital. For example, the NFT may be on a blockchain, but it is linked to centralized data repositories like OpenSea. A server failure could result in data loss.

However, according to Apollo Capital crypto analyst David Angliss, OpenSea is “not exactly community-led”. Also in 2021, much to the chagrin of crypto enthusiasts, OpenSea tried and failed to list on the Nasdaq.

This is where Web2.5 is defined.

“Web3 isn't a crypto segment. “Anything that uses a blockchain for censorship resistance is Web3,” Angliss tells us.

“Web3 gives users control over their data and identity. This is not possible in Web2.”

“Web2 is like feudalism, with walled-off ecosystems ruled by a few. For example, an honest user owned the Instagram account “Meta,” which Facebook rebranded and then had to make up a reason to suspend. Not anymore with Web3. If I buy ‘Ethereum.ens,' Ethereum cannot take it away from me.”

Angliss uses OpenSea as a Web2.5 business example. Too decentralized, i.e. censorship resistant, can be unprofitable for a large company like OpenSea. For example, OpenSea “enables NFT trading”. But it also stopped the sale of stolen Bored Apes.”

Web3 (or Web2.5, depending on the context) has been described as a new way to privatize internet.

“Being in the crypto ecosystem doesn't make it Web3,” Angliss says. The biggest risk is centralized closed ecosystems rather than a growing Web3.

LooksRare and OpenDAO are two community-led platforms that are more decentralized than OpenSea. LooksRare has even been “vampire attacking” OpenSea, indicating a Web3 competitor to the Web2.5 NFT king could find favor.

The addition of a token gives these new NFT platforms more options for building customer loyalty. For example, OpenSea charges a fee that goes nowhere. Stakeholders of LOOKS tokens earn 100% of the trading fees charged by LooksRare on every basic sale.

Maybe Web3's time has come.

So whose data is it?

Continuing criticisms of Web3 platforms' decentralization may indicate we're too early. Users want to own and store their in-game assets and NFTs on decentralized platforms like the Metaverse and play-to-earn games. Start-ups like Arweave, Sia, and Aleph.im  propose an alternative.

To be truly decentralized, Web3 requires new off-chain models that sidestep cloud computing and Web2.5.

“Arweave and Sia emerged as formidable competitors this year,” says the Messari Report. They seek to reduce the risk of an NFT being lost due to a data breach on a centralized server.

Aleph.im, another Web3 cloud competitor, seeks to replace cloud computing with a service network. It is a decentralized computing network that supports multiple blockchains by retrieving and encrypting data.

“The Aleph.im network provides a truly decentralized alternative where it is most needed: storage and computing,” says Johnathan Schemoul, founder of Aleph.im. For reasons of consensus and security, blockchains are not designed for large storage or high-performance computing.

As a result, large data sets are frequently stored off-chain, increasing the risk for centralized databases like OpenSea

Aleph.im enables users to own digital assets using both blockchains and off-chain decentralized cloud technologies.

"We need to go beyond layer 0 and 1 to build a robust decentralized web. The Aleph.im ecosystem is proving that Web3 can be decentralized, and we intend to keep going.”

Aleph.im raised $10 million in mid-January 2022, and Ubisoft uses its network for NFT storage. This is the first time a big-budget gaming studio has given users this much control.

It also suggests Web3 could work as a B2B model, even if consumers aren't concerned about “decentralization.” Starting with gaming is common.

Can Tokenomics help Web3 adoption?

Web3 consumer adoption is another story. The average user may not be interested in all this decentralization talk. Still, how much do people value privacy over convenience? Can tokenomics solve the privacy vs. convenience dilemma?

Holon Global Investments' Jonathan Hooker tells us that human internet behavior will change. “Do you own Bitcoin?” he asks in his Web3 explanation. How does it feel to own and control your own sovereign wealth? Then:

“What if you could own and control your data like Bitcoin?”

“The business model must find what that person values,” he says. Putting their own health records on centralized systems they don't control?

“How vital are those medical records to that person at a critical time anywhere in the world? Filecoin and IPFS can help.”

Web3 adoption depends on NFT storage competition. A free off-chain storage of NFT metadata and assets was launched by Filecoin in April 2021.

Denationalization and blockchain technology have significant implications for data ownership and compensation for lending, staking, and using data. 

Tokenomics can change human behavior, but many people simply sign into Web2 apps using a Facebook API without hesitation. Our data is already owned by Google, Baidu, Tencent, and Facebook (and its parent company Meta). Is it too late to recover?

Maybe. “Data is like fruit, it starts out fresh but ages,” he says. "Big Tech's data on us will expire."

Web3 founder Kris agrees with Hooker that “value for data is the issue, not privacy.” People accept losing their data privacy, so tokenize it. People readily give up data, so why not pay for it?

"Personalized data offering is valuable in personalization. “I will sell my social media data but not my health data.”

Purists and mass consumer adoption struggle with key management.

Others question data tokenomics' optimism. While acknowledging its potential, Box founder Aaron Levie questioned the viability of Web3 models in a Tweet thread:

“Why? Because data almost always works in an app. A product and APIs that moved quickly to build value and trust over time.”

Levie contends that tokenomics may complicate matters. In addition to community governance and tokenomics, Web3 ideals likely add a new negotiation vector.

“These are hard problems about human coordination, not software or blockchains,”. Using a Facebook API is simple. The business model and user interface are crucial.

For example, the crypto faithful have a common misconception about logging into Web3. It goes like this: Web 1 had usernames and passwords. Web 2 uses Google, Facebook, or Twitter APIs, while Web 3 uses your wallet. Pay with Ethereum on MetaMask, for example.

But Levie is correct. Blockchain key management is stressed in this meme. Even seasoned crypto enthusiasts have heart attacks, let alone newbies.

Web3 requires a better user experience, according to Kris, the company's founder. “How does a user recover keys?”

And at this point, no solution is likely to be completely decentralized. So Web3 key management can be improved. ”The moment someone loses control of their keys, Web3 ceases to exist.”

That leaves a major issue for Web3 purists. Put this one in the too-hard basket.

Is 2022 the Year of Web3?

Web3 must first solve a number of issues before it can be mainstreamed. It must be better and cheaper than Web2.5, or have other significant advantages.

Web3 aims for scalability without sacrificing decentralization protocols. But decentralization is difficult and centralized services are more convenient.

Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin himself stated recently"

This is why (centralized) Binance to Binance transactions trump Ethereum payments in some places because they don't have to be verified 12 times."

“I do think a lot of people care about decentralization, but they're not going to take decentralization if decentralization costs $8 per transaction,” he continued.

“Blockchains need to be affordable for people to use them in mainstream applications... Not for 2014 whales, but for today's users."

For now, scalability, tokenomics, mainstream adoption, and decentralization believers seem to be holding Web3 hostage.

Much like crypto's past.

But stay tuned.

Langston Thomas

1 month ago

A Simple Guide to NFT Blockchains

Ethereum's blockchain rules NFTs. Many consider it the one-stop shop for NFTs, and it's become the most talked-about and trafficked blockchain in existence.

Other blockchains are becoming popular in NFTs. Crypto-artists and NFT enthusiasts have sought new places to mint and trade NFTs due to Ethereum's high transaction costs and environmental impact.

When choosing a blockchain to mint on, there are several factors to consider. Size, creator costs, consumer spending habits, security, and community input are important. We've created a high-level summary of blockchains for NFTs to help clarify the fast-paced world of web3 tech.

Ethereum

Ethereum currently has the most NFTs. It's decentralized and provides financial and legal services without intermediaries. It houses popular NFT marketplaces (OpenSea), projects (CryptoPunks and the Bored Ape Yacht Club), and artists (Pak and Beeple).

It's also expensive and energy-intensive. This is because Ethereum works using a Proof-of-Work (PoW) mechanism. PoW requires computers to solve puzzles to add blocks and transactions to the blockchain. Solving these puzzles requires a lot of computer power, resulting in astronomical energy loss.

You should consider this blockchain first due to its popularity, security, decentralization, and ease of use.

Solana

Solana is a fast programmable blockchain. Its proof-of-history and proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus mechanisms eliminate complex puzzles. Reduced validation times and fees result.

PoS users stake their cryptocurrency to become a block validator. Validators get SOL. This encourages and rewards users to become stakers. PoH works with PoS to cryptographically verify time between events. Solana blockchain ensures transactions are in order and found by the correct leader (validator).

Solana's PoS and PoH mechanisms keep transaction fees and times low. Solana isn't as popular as Ethereum, so there are fewer NFT marketplaces and blockchain traders.

Tezos

Tezos is a greener blockchain. Tezos rose in 2021. Hic et Nunc was hailed as an economic alternative to Ethereum-centric marketplaces until Nov. 14, 2021.

Similar to Solana, Tezos uses a PoS consensus mechanism and only a PoS mechanism to reduce computational work. This blockchain uses two million times less energy than Ethereum. It's cheaper than Ethereum (but does cost more than Solana).

Tezos is a good place to start minting NFTs in bulk. Objkt is the largest Tezos marketplace.

Flow

Flow is a high-performance blockchain for NFTs, games, and decentralized apps (dApps). Flow is built with scalability in mind, so billions of people could interact with NFTs on the blockchain.

Flow became the NBA's blockchain partner in 2019. Flow, a product of Dapper labs (the team behind CryptoKitties), launched and hosts NBA Top Shot, making the blockchain integral to the popularity of non-fungible tokens.

Flow uses PoS to verify transactions, like Tezos. Developers are working on a model to handle 10,000 transactions per second on the blockchain. Low transaction fees.

Flow NFTs are tradeable on Blocktobay, OpenSea, Rarible, Foundation, and other platforms. NBA, NFL, UFC, and others have launched NFT marketplaces on Flow. Flow isn't as popular as Ethereum, resulting in fewer NFT marketplaces and blockchain traders.

Asset Exchange (WAX)

WAX is king of virtual collectibles. WAX is popular for digitalized versions of legacy collectibles like trading cards, figurines, memorabilia, etc.

Wax uses a PoS mechanism, but also creates carbon offset NFTs and partners with Climate Care. Like Flow, WAX transaction fees are low, and network fees are redistributed to the WAX community as an incentive to collectors.

WAX marketplaces host Topps, NASCAR, Hot Wheels, and cult classic film franchises like Godzilla, The Princess Bride, and Spiderman.

Binance Smart Chain

BSC is another good option for balancing fees and performance. High-speed transactions and low fees hurt decentralization. BSC is most centralized.

Binance Smart Chain uses Proof of Staked Authority (PoSA) to support a short block time and low fees. The 21 validators needed to run the exchange switch every 24 hours. 11 of the 21 validators are directly connected to the Binance Crypto Exchange, according to reports.

While many in the crypto and NFT ecosystems dislike centralization, the BSC NFT market picked up speed in 2021. OpenBiSea, AirNFTs, JuggerWorld, and others are gaining popularity despite not having as robust an ecosystem as Ethereum.

Trent Lapinski

Trent Lapinski

7 months ago

What The Hell Is A Crypto Punk?

We are Crypto Punks, and we are changing your world.

A “Crypto Punk” is a new generation of entrepreneurs who value individual liberty and collective value creation and co-creation through decentralization. While many Crypto Punks were born and raised in a digital world, some of the early pioneers in the crypto space are from the Oregon Trail generation. They were born to an analog world, but grew up simultaneously alongside the birth of home computing, the Internet, and mobile computing.

A Crypto Punk’s world view is not the same as previous generations. By the time most Crypto Punks were born everything from fiat currency, the stock market, pharmaceuticals, the Internet, to advanced operating systems and microprocessing were already present or emerging. Crypto Punks were born into pre-existing conditions and systems of control, not governed by logic or reason but by greed, corporatism, subversion, bureaucracy, censorship, and inefficiency.

All Systems Are Human Made

Crypto Punks understand that all systems were created by people and that previous generations did not have access to information technologies that we have today. This is why Crypto Punks have different values than their parents, and value liberty, decentralization, equality, social justice, and freedom over wealth, money, and power. They understand that the only path forward is to work together to build new and better systems that make the old world order obsolete.

Unlike the original cypher punks and cyber punks, Crypto Punks are a new iteration or evolution of these previous cultures influenced by cryptography, blockchain technology, crypto economics, libertarianism, holographics, democratic socialism, and artificial intelligence. They are tasked with not only undoing the mistakes of previous generations, but also innovating and creating new ways of solving complex problems with advanced technology and solutions.

Where Crypto Punks truly differ is in their understanding that computer systems can exist for more than just engagement and entertainment, but actually improve the human condition by automating bureaucracy and inefficiency by creating more efficient economic incentives and systems.

Crypto Punks Value Transparency and Do Not Trust Flawed, Unequal, and Corrupt Systems

Crypto Punks have a strong distrust for inherently flawed and corrupt systems. This why Crypto Punks value transparency, free speech, privacy, and decentralization. As well as arguably computer systems over human powered systems.

Crypto Punks are the children of the Great Recession, and will never forget the economic corruption that still enslaves younger generations.

Crypto Punks were born to think different, and raised by computers to view reality through an LED looking glass. They will not surrender to the flawed systems of economic wage slavery, inequality, censorship, and subjection. They will literally engineer their own unstoppable financial systems and trade in cryptography over fiat currency merely to prove that belief systems are more powerful than corruption.

Crypto Punks are here to help achieve freedom from world governments, corporations and bankers who monetizine our data to control our lives.

Crypto Punks Decentralize

Despite all the evils of the world today, Crypto Punks know they have the power to create change. This is why Crypto Punks are optimistic about the future despite all the indicators that humanity is destined for failure.

Crypto Punks believe in systems that prioritize people and the planet above profit. Even so, Crypto Punks still believe in capitalistic systems, but only capitalistic systems that incentivize good behaviors that do not violate the common good for the sake of profit.

Cyber Punks Are Co-Creators

We are Crypto Punks, and we will build a better world for all of us. For the true price of creation is not in US dollars, but through working together as equals to replace the unequal and corrupt greedy systems of previous generations.

Where they have failed, Crypto Punks will succeed. Not because we want to, but because we have to. The world we were born into is so corrupt and its systems so flawed and unequal we were never given a choice.

We have to be the change we seek.

We are Crypto Punks.

Either help us, or get out of our way.

Are you a Crypto Punk?

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Emma Jade

Emma Jade

1 month ago

6 hacks to create content faster

Content gurus' top time-saving hacks.

6 hacks to create content faster

I'm a content strategist, writer, and graphic designer. Time is more valuable than money.

Money is always available. Even if you're poor. Ways exist.

Time is passing, and one day we'll run out.

Sorry to be morbid.

In today's digital age, you need to optimize how you create content for your organization. Here are six content creation hacks.

1. Use templates

Use templates to streamline your work whether generating video, images, or documents.

Setup can take hours. Using a free resource like Canva, you can create templates for any type of material.

This will save you hours each month.

2. Make a content calendar

You post without a plan? A content calendar solves 50% of these problems.

You can prepare, organize, and plan your material ahead of time so you're not scrambling when you remember, "Shit, it's Mother's Day!"

3. Content Batching

Batching content means creating a lot in one session. This is helpful for video content that requires a lot of setup time.

Batching monthly content saves hours. Time is a valuable resource.

When working on one type of task, it's easy to get into a flow state. This saves time.

4. Write Caption

On social media, we generally choose the image first and then the caption. Writing captions first sometimes work better, though.

Writing the captions first can allow you more creative flexibility and be easier if you're not excellent with language.

Say you want to tell your followers something interesting.

Writing a caption first is easier than choosing an image and then writing a caption to match.

Not everything works. You may have already-created content that needs captioning. When you don't know what to share, think of a concept, write the description, and then produce a video or graphic.

Cats can be skinned in several ways..

5. Repurpose

Reuse content when possible. You don't always require new stuff. In fact, you’re pretty stupid if you do #SorryNotSorry.

Repurpose old content. All those blog entries, videos, and unfinished content on your desk or hard drive.

This blog post can be turned into a social media infographic. Canva's motion graphic function can animate it. I can record a YouTube video regarding this issue for a podcast. I can make a post on each point in this blog post and turn it into an eBook or paid course.

And it doesn’t stop there.

My point is, to think outside the box and really dig deep into ways you can leverage the content you’ve already created.

6. Schedule Them

If you're still manually posting content, get help. When you batch your content, schedule it ahead of time.

Some scheduling apps are free or cheap. No excuses.

Don't publish and ghost.

Scheduling saves time by preventing you from doing it manually. But if you never engage with your audience, the algorithm won't reward your material.

Be online and engage your audience.

Content Machine

Use these six content creation hacks. They help you succeed and save time.

Merve Yılmaz

Merve Yılmaz

7 days ago

Dopamine detox

This post is for you if you can't read or study for 5 minutes.

Photo by Roger Bradshaw on Unsplash

If you clicked this post, you may be experiencing problems focusing on tasks. A few minutes of reading may tire you. Easily distracted? Using social media and video games for hours without being sidetracked may impair your dopamine system.

When we achieve a goal, the brain secretes dopamine. It might be as simple as drinking water or as crucial as college admission. Situations vary. Various events require different amounts.

Dopamine is released when we start learning but declines over time. Social media algorithms provide new material continually, making us happy. Social media use slows down the system. We can't continue without an award. We return to social media and dopamine rewards.

Mice were given a button that released dopamine into their brains to study the hormone. The mice lost their hunger, thirst, and libido and kept pressing the button. Think this is like someone who spends all day gaming or on Instagram?

When we cause our brain to release so much dopamine, the brain tries to balance it in 2 ways:

1- Decreases dopamine production

2- Dopamine cannot reach its target.

Too many quick joys aren't enough. We'll want more joys. Drugs and alcohol are similar. Initially, a beer will get you drunk. After a while, 3-4 beers will get you drunk.

Social media is continually changing. Updates to these platforms keep us interested. When social media conditions us, we can't read a book.

Same here. I used to complete a book in a day and work longer without distraction. Now I'm addicted to Instagram. Daily, I spend 2 hours on social media. This must change. My life needs improvement. So I started the 50-day challenge.

I've compiled three dopamine-related methods.

Recommendations:

  1. Day-long dopamine detox

First, take a day off from all your favorite things. Social media, gaming, music, junk food, fast food, smoking, alcohol, friends. Take a break.

Hanging out with friends or listening to music may seem pointless. Our minds are polluted. One day away from our pleasures can refresh us.

2. One-week dopamine detox by selecting

Choose one or more things to avoid. Social media, gaming, music, junk food, fast food, smoking, alcohol, friends. Try a week without Instagram or Twitter. I use this occasionally.

  1. One week all together

One solid detox week. It's the hardest program. First or second options are best for dopamine detox. Time will help you.


You can walk, read, or pray during a dopamine detox. Many options exist. If you want to succeed, you must avoid instant gratification. Success after hard work is priceless.

Raad Ahmed

Raad Ahmed

3 months ago

How We Just Raised $6M At An $80M Valuation From 100+ Investors Using A Link (Without Pitching)

Lawtrades nearly failed three years ago.

We couldn't raise Series A or enthusiasm from VCs.

We raised $6M (at a $80M valuation) from 100 customers and investors using a link and no pitching.

Step-by-step:

We refocused our business first.

Lawtrades raised $3.7M while Atrium raised $75M. By comparison, we seemed unimportant.

We had to close the company or try something new.

As I've written previously, a pivot saved us. Our initial focus on SMBs attracted many unprofitable customers. SMBs needed one-off legal services, meaning low fees and high turnover.

Tech startups were different. Their General Councels (GCs) needed near-daily support, resulting in higher fees and lower churn than SMBs.

We stopped unprofitable customers and focused on power users. To avoid dilution, we borrowed against receivables. We scaled our revenue 10x, from $70k/mo to $700k/mo.

Then, we reconsidered fundraising (and do it differently)
This time was different. Lawtrades was cash flow positive for most of last year, so we could dictate our own terms. VCs were still wary of legaltech after Atrium's shutdown (though they were thinking about the space).

We neither wanted to rely on VCs nor dilute more than 10% equity. So we didn't compete for in-person pitch meetings.

AngelList Roll-Up Vehicle (RUV). Up to 250 accredited investors can invest in a single RUV. First, we emailed customers the RUV. Why? Because I wanted to help the platform's users.

Imagine if Uber or Airbnb let all drivers or Superhosts invest in an RUV. Humans make the platform, theirs and ours. Giving people a chance to invest increases their loyalty.

We expanded after initial interest.

We created a Journey link, containing everything that would normally go in an investor pitch:

  • Slides
  • Trailer (from me)
  • Testimonials
  • Product demo
  • Financials

We could also link to our AngelList RUV and send the pitch to an unlimited number of people. Instead of 1:1, we had 1:10,000 pitches-to-investors.

We posted Journey's link in RUV Alliance Discord. 600 accredited investors noticed it immediately. Within days, we raised $250,000 from customers-turned-investors.

Stonks, which live-streamed our pitch to thousands of viewers, was interested in our grassroots enthusiasm. We got $1.4M from people I've never met.

These updates on Pump generated more interest. Facebook, Uber, Netflix, and Robinhood executives all wanted to invest. Sahil Lavingia, who had rejected us, gave us $100k.

We closed the round with public support.

Without a single pitch meeting, we'd raised $2.3M. It was a result of natural enthusiasm: taking care of the people who made us who we are, letting them move first, and leveraging their enthusiasm with VCs, who were interested.

We used network effects to raise $3.7M from a founder-turned-VC, bringing the total to $6M at a $80M valuation (which, by the way, I set myself).

What flipping the fundraising script allowed us to do:

We started with private investors instead of 2–3 VCs to show VCs what we were worth. This gave Lawtrades the ability to:

  • Without meetings, share our vision. Many people saw our Journey link. I ended up taking meetings with people who planned to contribute $50k+, but still, the ratio of views-to-meetings was outrageously good for us.
  • Leverage ourselves. Instead of us selling ourselves to VCs, they did. Some people with large checks or late arrivals were turned away.
  • Maintain voting power. No board seats were lost.
  • Utilize viral network effects. People-powered.
  • Preemptively halt churn by turning our users into owners. People are more loyal and respectful to things they own. Our users make us who we are — no matter how good our tech is, we need human beings to use it. They deserve to be owners.

I don't blame founders for being hesitant about this approach. Pump and RUVs are new and scary. But it won’t be that way for long. Our approach redistributed some of the power that normally lies entirely with VCs, putting it into our hands and our network’s hands.

This is the future — another way power is shifting from centralized to decentralized.