If you're new to working in the crypto, getting up to speed can feel daunting. The market and tech moves a million miles an hour. And it might seems like the industry has thrown out everything you know from web2. But I promise it's not as bad as it seems. This post will guide you on how to get up to speed fast.
I've broken this guide down into three separate sections: tech, market, and product. Each one is important in its own right. Depending on your exact role, you might need to go deeper or focus more on one or two. But everyone should have a solid foundation in all three.
It's hard to work in crypto without an understanding of the core technology. The tech is the reason the space is as exciting as it is. Understanding it to some degree, no matter your role, can only help you.
So where do you start? IMO it's still the original Bitcoin and Ethereum whitepaper. And if you want, you can get more technical with the Ethereum beige paper or even the yellow paper. The Ethereum Foundation also has a learning hub that builds off the whitepaper.
From there, Mastering Ethereum is a great resource to get into more of the nitty gritty. You can skip the code examples. What's most important is building a deeper understanding of core concepts. If you do want to write some code though, check out Speed Run Ethereum for some easy, step-by-step tutorials.
It's worth calling out here that I have an obvious Ethereum bias. There's a lot of activity on other L1s, like Solana, that you might interest you. Explore it. But the concepts covered in the resources above (aside from actual code) are universal.
It's important to keep in mind that as an industry, crypto is still early. That means the tech and market are evolving fast. To build in the space, it's not enough to understand the core concepts. You need to know where the space is going. And in my experience, the best way to do that is to
Subscribe to the right newsletters
Follow the right people on Twitter/Warpcast
Join the right communities for you
Attend some conferences
Crypto focused VC funds often write content digging into market and tech trends. These include a16z, Paradigm, Variant, Castle Island Ventures, Multicoin Capital, and Pantera. You can also subscribe to the writing of accelerators like Alliance DAO. This is an easy starting point to stay on top of trends and perspectives.
This is a starting point of options for newsletters to subscribe to. As you hone in on what you're interested in, you'll find thinkers, builders, and company's to subscribe to. Don't feel pressured to keep up with every single post either! You're a builder. No one expects you to spend all your time reading.
Twitter / Warpcast
Newsletters are great, but crypto moves a million miles an hour, and it does it all on Twitter. There's too many people to list out to consider following on Twitter, so here are some guidelines:
Follow the VC funds whose newsletters you subscribed to. Also follow their investing team's personal handles.
Follow the founders and builders of company's you respect and/or care about. Especially follow the lead protocol developers. Some of the things they write about might be over your head, but that's ok. There's a lot of hidden insight captured there that you'll start to unpack. If you need some guidance, here's a starting point:
Follow accounts with quality replies to tweets from people you already follow.
You'll soon have a very vibrant crypto Twitter feed.
Warpcast is an product like Twitter built on the decentralized social network Farcaster. A lot of the best builders and thinkers in the space write there, and do so with a more technical and product focus. I definitely recommend checking it out. You can use the same guidelines above.
As you dive deeper into crypto Twitter, you'll find communities you might want to join. They might be only social, or have a specific focus, but they all align around a belief in crypto. These communities will teach you a lot about the market. Best of all, the friends you make will be your biggest supporters in your building journey.
There are a lot of crypto conferences. You'll see discussions about them on Twitter. It's not always possible to attend conferences, but if you have the opportunity to do so, go!
Your time is precious so focus on going to ones where people you want to meet will be at. That will be the best indicator of what will provide you with the most value. With most conferences, the value doesn't come from the presentations. It comes from the interactions you have with other attendees.
On a personal note, the one conference I try to attend every year is ETH Denver. I find it to be the best mix of people with an actual focus on building.
This is an industry agnostic section. You ramp up in your product the same way you would at any other company - by using it. And everything you might have done in web2 can serve you well. No matter what your role is, there are two things I'd recommend:
Respond to support tickets. Figuring out how to help users will force you to explore every part of the product.
Help with QA. Trying to break the product will help you discover all its limitations and edge cases. Make sure to use different wallets, browsers, and devices to see how the product is working!
Hope this helps as you get started with building in crypto! If you want more suggestions on who to follow, or want to discuss an idea, DM me! And if you found this post helpful at all, share it with a friend!
P.S. For a short time, mint this commemorative Building Crypto NFT!
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