Yancey Strickler on the promise of crypto

The co-founder of Kickstarter writes about how paying too much attention to the scammy aspects of crypto risks overlooking the potential benefits of the blockchain

Few words are as divisive as “crypto.” Say it and half the room walks away out of principle, a smaller group hisses in disgust, and a last group leans in, some closer than feels comfortable if you’re honest. Hearing someone explain crypto can feel like being trapped in a bewildering dream with no way out.

The politics associated with it are no simpler: It’s simultaneously hyper-capitalist, with an extreme focus on market prices, and quasi-socialist, offering communities of people programmatic distribution of ownership and voting power.


Crypto is seen as a scam machine. Any Very Online person is routinely exposed to the latest crypto duping, with its freshest scams gleefully aggregated in Web3 Is Going Great, each incident dumber than the last. Even the stuff that isn’t a scam seems tasteless at best, and idiotic to most people. Few look at a Bored Ape and see six figures of value. They see six degrees of delusion.

Blindly dismissing any project that touches a blockchain because it shares the same plumbing as crypto is like missing the forest for the logging industry. So long as everything that touches a public ledger is vilified as a scam and part of some dystopian future, the number of responsible people and teams who feel inspired to thoughtfully explore projects that see beyond the constraints of our Web2 systems will be limited.

To change that, we need a better way to talk about this space. We need to distinguish between crypto as a specific set of experiences and products, and the wider possibilities that can and will emerge from shared public ledgers. With time and maturation, different categories of products and use-cases can emerge.

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