Crypto Caterpillar Turbo Mode

Why open source software is accelerating innovation in the world around us
Sep 20, 20213 min read

Dear Bankless Nation,

If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.

Nowhere is this African proverb more true than in crypto.

The reason why this industry moves so fast is that it’s a collaborative flywheel. We build off each other’s success, and when one of us progresses forward into the frontier, they bring all of us with them—kinda like these caterpillars.

Caterpillars in the rainforest move faster in a group then as individuals.

Because they’re moving as a holistic body, their aggregate speed is faster than any individual part. The caterpillars on the bottom are crawling on the ground, and then there are also caterpillars that are crawling on top of them.

The caterpillars on top are going 2x the speed as the ones on the bottom, because the progress of the bottom caterpillars works its way up the stack to speed up the progress of the top caterpillars. Once the caterpillars find themselves at the back of the swarm, they take their turn in the fast lane on top.

Crypto innovation is occurring in all directions at once. Like ants scouting for food, once someone ‘finds something’ or ‘unlocks’ a new primitive, the entire industry benefits, and the frontier of innovation expands for everyone. Once one of us finds something, the entire industry is capable of receiving the tailwinds of the discovery.

This is also why it’s damn-near impossible to keep up with everything in crypto. Just like a cycling peloton, no one person can stay in the front for very long. It’s too tiring, and your discovered successes are tailwinds for people behind you.

What's a peloton? A beginner's guide to road cycling | Cycling Today  Official

Open-source software is built on the shoulders of giants. Once code is open-sourced, it represents a building block for all other developers to use and build from. All contributions to the open-source ecosystem allow other builders to build faster, since they don’t have to start from scratch.

Progress is ‘locked in’. Foundations are built.

In our episode with Cathie Wood, we discussed how the future is closer than it seems because so many different paradigm-breaking industries are approaching their peak point of rapid innovation. Importantly, progress made in all of these technologies helps each technology progress even faster.

Open-source software is crucial to this phenomenon, and a large part of ARKs success is because they open-source all of their research and allows others to use it.

The crypto industry is inherently open-source (you can’t publish anything to Ethereum without contributing it to the commons). This makes the crypto industry inherently collaborative. Rather than privatizing innovation and progress, the crypto-industry democratizes it. Rather than keeping the spoils of victory for private ownership, the crypto-industry shares progress with the whole world.

This is why the future is just around the corner. Innovation is only going to accelerate. As our crypto onboards more users and more builders, they all contribute to the pace of innovation. Our caterpillars are only going to get faster and faster.

This is also why we are watching crypto split into different focuses. The NFT world is its own domain, with its own unique community members. Many NFT people just don’t care about DeFi; they use it, but they don’t build it. Likewise, many DeFi builders just don’t have the time to keep up with NFTs.

They appreciate the economic activity, but they don’t care about cute penguins.

We’re also on the cusp of unlocking an entirely new arena in crypto-gaming (stay tuned for our podcast episode with Crypto Gaming Investor Arianna Simpson next Monday).

It’s hard to comprehend how fast all crypto will accelerate, especially as it’s already layered on NFTs, which is already layered on DeFi. These are all caterpillars crawling over each other; every new layer makes the whole unit go faster.

This is also why Ryan and I love the “going west” metaphor.

Hitch your wagon to the wagon train. We can go further when we collaborate, and Ethereum is inherently a platform for collaboration.

Where are we going?

To the frontier of innovation.

And we’re picking up speed. Soon, our wagons will turn into rockets, and we’ll be hitting escape velocity.


- David


Not financial or tax advice. This newsletter is strictly educational and is not investment advice or a solicitation to buy or sell any assets or to make any financial decisions. This newsletter is not tax advice. Talk to your accountant. Do your own research.

Disclosure. From time-to-time I may add links in this newsletter to products I use. I may receive commission if you make a purchase through one of these links. Additionally, the Bankless writers hold crypto assets. See our investment disclosures here.

Account Light mode Log Out