As the cryptocurrency space, NFTs and wider web3 ecosystem grow, more people are building their own web3 projects that expand the use cases for existing technology that we have today. It just so happens that many of these projects include community building as web3 users seek to create and build successful online communities that gather like-minded individuals together.
But when it comes to community growth, many groups that focus on web3 technologies are still looking for the best platform to bring together their community members (whether through the creation of DAOs or otherwise). Existing social media platforms and community-based platforms like Reddit and Discord simply haven't had all the tools that web3 enthusiasts need to effectively build strong web3 communities.
In our third episode of "Work in Web3 with Trust Machines," Console co-founder Chris Castig discusses how to build thriving communities and community management in the ever-evolving world of web3 as well as how he got his start in the web3 industry.
We have highlighted a few key Q&A moments from Castig's interview with Trust Machines Global Head of Talent Acquisition, Olga Etkina. The full video can also be found below.
Introduction to Crypto and Blockchain
Etkina: How did you get into web3?
Castig: I've been a serial entrepreneur for a while. My last company was called One Month and we were education company [that we started up] with two people and went through Y Combinator. Before that, I was at General Assembly, which was another education startup in in New York City, and I was a developer for about five or six years.
I like to say that I got into web3 with Napster, LimeWire [and BitTorrent]. It's how I discovered P2P, peer-to-peer systems [where you own music], and you can share it with people directly. So when I saw Bitcoin in 2013, it just clicked for me that, you know, this is basically music, file sharing, or money. And then web3 was this leap [where I thought,] "Okay, now, this is file sharing for the entire Internet." And so, I was just super excited when when I started seeing people building applications using this technology and so excited to build a company inside of it.
Defining the Web3 Space and Console's Origins
Olga: Tell us about Console.
Castig: Console is chat for web3. First off, it kind of assumes that you know what web3 is. To me, web3 is a user-owned internet. It's an internet where we own our own data, and we can communicate and connect with people [in many ways, like sending] Bitcoin transactions to each other and trusting that [we can do all that without a middle man]. Or, it's sending chat messages to each other and feeling secure that you cryptographically own those, and that you can communicate safely.
So it's kind of doing what Bitcoin did for money, but Console's doing that for decentralized social media and chat.
How Console is Building Web3 Communities
Olga: What is your vision for communities on Console?
Castig: For any community online, [Console is] something that unites you generally around a topic or mission. It's a place for exchanging information, which is a type of value with each other. Today, that signal is eroded largely by a lot of spam, trolls and scams, and not having these trusted relationships. And I think we can do better.
Olga: What do you think are some of the important factors that are must haves in communities?
Castig: There's a whole ecosystem of people building and yet, it's shocking to me that still to this day, there's no native chat app or community platform [where] you can use these trillion dollar assets of Bitcoin and NFTs. What a lot of communities coming to Console are really excited about is the ability to use [these assets] natively, to sign in with your wallet with one click and immediately see all your on chain data, your NFTs, [and then] to be able to select that as your avatar. [That way, you're able to] token gate and group people together.
One community that we're working with (they haven't launched yet) are bringing together all the full coiners. Anyone who has one full BTC in their BTC wallet. That's something that you could just never do before, because no other platform allows you to natively read wallet addresses and stuff like that. So I think there's like a whole world that you can open up and how you connect people, and I love bringing on communities and working with them one on one in the early days.
Debunking Common Misconceptions about Community in Web3
Olga: What are some of the misconceptions that you've seen about community growth in the web3 space?
Castig: [One misconception that] really kind of drives me nuts sometimes is that a decentralized community should be leaderless, and that's just simply historically not true. Even Bitcoin had Satoshi, right? And if you look at Linux or any any project that seems like it was chaotic, [there was still] some kind of leadership at the top. And then generally, that leadership can step back and the organism can run itself. The internet had Tim Berners-Lee, and now it's just this wild thing.
So a lot of people will try to start these decentralized organizations and they'll be like, "Why isn't it working?" But I think there does need to be some leadership. It doesn't necessarily need to be one central person who has all the control, but these are the kinds of things that we're really good at working with communities on that Console.
Work with Web3 Communities at Console
Olga: You're hiring a tech lead for your team. I'd love for you to tell us about what you're looking for and what your vision is for this role.
Castig: The goal would be to bring someone on [who won't just be able to code with us da to day], but who can also help manage and lead the team doing code reviews. I think it would be someone who can really help define the direction we're going and help scale that team. We're looking for somebody senior with eight to ten plus full stack dev and management experience, and who would be excited to be at a fast-paced, growing startup.