It’s not too late to “break in” to crypto – Hacker Noon

I receive a lot of emails from crypto enthusiasts asking for advice on how to “break in” to crypto.
And I totally get it! After all, crypto is a highly technical and multi-disciplinary field that moves at a breakneck speed. 
Having been on the other side, I know and empathize with the struggle of trying to “break in”. I’ll tell you a secret though: there is an opportunity for anyone who is passionate and dedicated to become as much an “expert” as anyone else in space. That’s why we’re building a training program for enthusiasts of crypto to become experts of crypto.
But what gives me the clout to create an experts program that promises a pathway to being at the top of the field? Well, to answer that I’ve got a story for you, one that’s full of the nitty, gritty truth about passion, dedication, and just plain figuring things out.

How I “broke in” … and more importantly, why

I first heard of Bitcoin through the grapevine in 2013 during my time at Andreessen Horowitz. I was told it was a big deal, so naturally, as any curious venture capitalist would be, I was eager to learn more. I stayed late at work one night, downloaded the Bitcoin Whitepaper, and spent the night reading it. And I have to admit, even though I made it to the end, I honestly had no idea what to think of it. 
“Why was everyone freaking out about this?” I thought.
So I set it aside. I went home and got on with my life. “I’ll come back to this later when I have time,” I thought. 
A few months passed and I continued hearing chatter about Bitcoin: developers on HackerNews bantering about it in endless comments, people on Twitter tweeting sound bites of mythical sounding predictions, and even journalists were latching onto the phenomenon producing articles with headlines like:
“Bitcoin is a fundamental breakthrough in Computer Science.”
“Bitcoin reimagines how the financial system can and should work in the Internet era.”
“This is the distributed trust network that the Internet always needed and never had.”
… and so on.
“If it makes so much sense to everyone, why doesn’t it make sense to me?” I asked myself. At that point, I knew I needed to make a more serious attempt at figuring out what I was missing. 
I blocked off an entire weekend to figure this thing out once and for all. In preparation, I scoured the internet and bookmarked any articles that talked about Bitcoin. When the weekend finally rolled around, I just sat there and read, hoping for enlightenment. Before I knew it, Sunday at midnight had arrived and I was nowhere closer to that enlightenment. 
But, there was a nagging feeling that told me I had to keep going at it anyway.
So I did the same thing the following weekend…and the weekend after that. In everything I read, I’d discover something else I didn’t know. So then I’d go read about that. Before I knew it, I was hopping around the internet like a rabbit, going from reading about “trustless” money to economics, cryptography to finance, even philosophy to history. 
I had suddenly found myself in an infinite web of subjects and concepts and topics, all being crammed into my brain while I tried to make sense of how they connected, and what it all meant.
The more I learned, the more it made me think of things I had never thought to question before. For example, I grew up assuming our accepted financial system was the only option. I never questioned it. And frankly, living in America, I never really needed to. But for the first time in my life, I was running across the works of intelligent people who were deeply examining the system with very logical and relevant challenges. 
As I continued deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole, I had a gut feeling deep down inside that all of this information was going to be important. It was a feeling I couldn’t explain in words, but also couldn’t deny — something about it just felt right. 
You know when you have those moments? When you’re struck by something that can only be from your gut and you’re motivated to a specific action? That was me in this moment.
Frankly, everyone arrives at crypto with different motivations. Some have lost trust in the central government and see it as a way to creating trustless money. Some have lost trust in financial entities (like banks) and see it as the opportunity to build a trustless financial system. Some have lost trust in internet giants and see it as a chance to reinvent the internet. Despite differing specific motivations, a common theme emerged — loss of trust
Paradoxically, my developing interest wasn’t sparked over the loss of trust, but rather from beginning to feel uneasy about having too much trust
For the first time in my life, I was forced to recognize my state of oblivion and acknowledge that I needed to look under the covers to really understand the systems that our society operates within, whether that be financial, economic, or social. I began to question how each of these systems worked, the power structures within these systems, the authority of various actors in these systems, and the incentive structures in these systems.
Through all this questioning, a major realization was taking hold: one of the biggest potentials of crypto was going to be its ability to break down some of the entrenched, ineffective, and corrupt systems we have in place today and re-imagine them from the ground up. To do things more openly, fairly, and effectively. 
All along, I had been approaching crypto as just a technological breakthrough. But I realized that it doesn’t stop at the technology, it merely starts there — it’s a movement. A revolution. 
I fell in love with the idea.
But falling in love with an idea as vague as this, and actually making something out of it are two very different things. I was eager to do something but had no idea where to start. Even though I had spent weeks immersing myself in this world, I didn’t have a clear vision in mind for what I wanted to do in it.

Getting down to the real work of figuring it out

I considered the industry leaders that I looked up to, like Nick Szabo, Vitalik Buterin, Andreas M. Antonopoulos, to name just a few. They seemed to have a clear vision — whether it was smart contracts or a world computer or trustless money — while I was hopelessly lost. I wished I had their clarity.
But wishing wasn’t going to get me anywhere. Neither was sitting around, reading an endless number of whitepapers, books, and blog posts. I knew that I needed to stop reading and start doing. To put my knowledge to work. To solve a real problem.
As I’m sure I don’t need to tell you, that’s easier said than done.
At the time, I had recently graduated a coding bootcamp and was looking for my next endeavor with crypto, but had no idea how to apply my newfound skills as a web engineer within that space. I remember peeking into the Bitcoin core repo one night and thinking, “No way, I’m not smart enough for this. This is genius level shit. Maybe I should just stick to web development.” 
At times of uncertainty, I have found that talking to mentors can be immensely helpful in clarifying my thinking, and in speaking to one, he told me that if I truly believed in crypto, I should look at Coinbase. “They’re the most trusted crypto company out there, and you’ll learn a lot,” he said.
And so I did.
A few weeks (and many interviews) later, I found myself silently screaming and jumping up and down as I got off a call wherein Coinbase extended me a full-time offer. Looking back, I’m thankful for every day I had at Coinbase; they took a chance on me, giving me an opportunity to learn and contribute. Coinbase was my platform to “break in” and fully immerse myself in this world I had spent so much time studying and thinking about. Observing and contributing to the inner workings of the world’s most trusted cryptocurrency company was an unforgettable learning experience that I knew would serve any future goals I had. 
And so when I eventually left Coinbase in early 2017 and ventured out on my own, I had an entirely new knowledge base, and felt more strongly than ever that crypto was developing into a massive movement that could revolutionize all sectors of society. But what would this revolution look like? What problem could I tackle? What problem did I care to tackle?
Moreover, I felt like I still had so much more to figure out, and new concepts were continually grabbing my interest and time.

Shit, where did all these ICOs come from?

In the meantime, I was so busy learning and writing that I wasn’t even paying attention to all the hype around me — i.e. the ICO boom. Everywhere I looked, new projects were springing up and raising millions of dollars with nothing but a website. Somehow we had gone from dreaming about more open, fair, and efficient financial, economic, and social systems, to being bombarded with scammy ICOs, ideological debates, and pure hysteria.
It was disheartening, to say the least.
I wondered what the hell was going on. Was this really the end result of a movement we all thought would change everything? Greed, hype, and manipulation?
After months of disappointment, it dawned on me that there was a much bigger problem at play, and this problem wasn’t specific to crypto. The ability to have a sound discourse about any topic was becoming nearly impossible. The internet had become a place that was no longer about sharing knowledge and information, but was instead concerned with promoting agendas and opinions.
Something was deeply wrong. I realized that I had lost trust in what people were saying on the internet and we needed to fix it.
I also realized that for the first time, I felt what everyone else was feeling — a profound loss of trust.

Fixing trust on the internet

This is why TruStory was born. 
At TruStory, we want to make it easy to identify what is true and what isn’t. To give people a platform to agree or disagree on facts, rather than opinion. To give people a sacred space where the individuals of that platform make decisions collectively rather than the owners of that platform or another outside source, like a government. We’re doing this through a social network that crowdsources fact-checking, just as Wikipedia crowdsourced facts, starting with facts in crypto. 
We have a small team of crypto experts that is responsible for the vast body of knowledge that gets curated and validated on TruStory. We want you to join us and become one of these experts.
 Why are we asking you to join us?

An opportunity for you to break in

I’ve been on the other side; I know how daunting it can be to not know where to start.
There is a massive amount of information to learn and a plethora of things to do in crypto, but it’s hard to navigate without much structure or purpose. As you saw from my journey, it took years of wandering around in crypto before I figured out my place. If I had some sort of guidance or a structured process for learning, I would’ve gotten to this point much sooner.
You may be in the same spot I was in a couple of years ago, looking for ways to “break in.” But sitting on the sidelines wishing you could get some time on the court doesn’t get you time on the court — you need to roll up your sleeves and put in the work to make it happen.
That’s why we want to give passionate and hard-working enthusiasts who genuinely care about crypto an opportunity to “break in”. We want to give you a platform where you can not only accumulate knowledge, but also where you can disseminate your knowledge to the rest of the world, and get credit for it. Just like Coinbase was a stepping stone for my career in crypto, we want to give you the same step up.
We want to take a chance on you.
Regardless of where you are in this journey — beginner, intermediate, or expert — you’re welcome to join us.

The TruStory Experts Program

What are you going to get out of this? Let’s see:
Primers on the industry
You can read all the articles and whitepapers you want, but at some point, all the concepts need to be connected together. We’ve assembled the best resources to give you the foundational knowledge needed so the rest of the concepts make sense. Everything from Medium posts to podcasts to YouTube videos.

Hands-on experience
Reading about knowledge is useless without applying it. Through validating and curating content, you’ll be able to apply what you’ve learned and it will go from being like a foreign language to something very natural.
Breaking in is impossible without a brand. By curating and validating content on TruStory, you earn tokens which serve as your reputation on the platform. They symbolize not only how much you’ve won, but also your mastery on a particular topic, such as stablecoins. These can, in turn, be used to signal your understanding of crypto or your contribution to a project.
A high-caliber peer group
The most important thing when you’re embarking on a journey is the people accompanying you on the adventure. We have a tight-knit group of people who are intrinsically motivated by crypto: the technology, the legality, etc. Every aspect except speculation. Being with other intellectually curious people is inspiring on its own, but greatly accelerates your learning as well.

What would make you a good fit?

  • You are fascinated by crypto and it increasingly consumes your attention.
  • You are curious and love devouring information (Twitter, Wikipedia, Subreddits, etc).
  • You are eager to put your knowledge to work by contributing in a meaningful way.
  • You believe in our mission and get frustrated by ignorance and misinformation online.

Do you need to be an “expert” to join?

No. At least not in the traditional sense.
Who we call an “expert” is simply someone who is well-versed with a subject because of compounded knowledge — knowledge that took a sustained effort over many weeks or months to acquire. It’s a consequence of having spent a lot of time reading, thinking, and obsessing about something. 
That’s exactly what you’ll get to do with us. All we need from you is genuine curiosity and an ambition to change the world for the better. We’ll give you the rest.

Join us

What are you waiting for? Sign up now! 🙂

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