First You BUIDL Then You HODL?

Aaron Fenton
7 min readJan 18, 2022

2021 Was The Year Of Web 3.0 And The Metaverse

2021 saw 2 strong waves of NFT mania, the rise of the alternative L1, multiple top signals, and least we forget the 1 trillion% APR #megaponzi. Some crypto VCs existed long enough to be labeled “the villain” and a multibillion dollar corporation changed its entire name potentially because a weird crypto game moved the Filipino economy. Yes, we can say “I WAS THERE” and many of us can refresh our portfolio tracker to show us a number that would make our parents think we may eventually move out, but what are we ACTUALLY looking at here? Is this just another narrative for whales to “pump their bags” or are we truly at a revolutionary point in our existence?

This article is very much an opinion piece about what one crypto enthusiast can see unfolding in front of him and it IS a revolution. From projects that promise a future where your NFT earns you a passive income from a game to protocols that reward stakers with fair and sustainable returns for trusting them with their funds. This very much looks like the beginning of the custody transfer of value from financial and data banks back to the earners themselves and I for one am shilling this future.

P.S click every single link in this article for a ton of gems…WGMI

A Little History Of A Real Bear Market

Granted, many of the participants in the market have been onboarded to cryptocurrency in the last year and may have been REKT in may 2021 or even thought that December was the bear market others have been dreading but believe me, this is nothing.

At the end of 2017, Bitcoin began to make international noise and this was the moment I personally entered the fray. Big-eyed and full of optimism I watched as TRON soared from $0.03 to $0.25 within days, Litecoin bulldozed its way to $300, and dreams of becoming the first hundred thousandaire in my family before 30 looked as if it was about to happen. What times we had, naiive hopium was in full flow.

Within 3 months it was all gone, ALL OF IT, EVERYTHING. POOF, VAMOS, disintegrated into crypto dust as the ever-present Mcdonald’s meme became more appealing than to refresh my Blockfolio account. This wasn’t just me, it was everybody in numerous WhatsApp groups we’d spun up hunting down “quality” ICOs and “private investment rounds”. That was just the beginning of the bear market, this was the despair stage.

The 2017 ICO crowd that still participates today will all agree that you know you are truly in a bear market when nobody talks about crypto anymore. The air of negativity has disappeared because the air has disappeared. Forget CNBC having obscure discussions about Bitcoin’s price action, the dedicated cryptocurrency media outlets literally flat-packed and went on an indefinite sabbatical.

That is it, when there is no talk, the bear has destroyed all sentiment, that IS a bear market. There is no dip to buy, only a crater of unrealized profits, sucking up to bosses for the comments made about their insignificance when your portfolio was off to the moon. Something is left, however, glimmering under the dirt for those determined souls that are still looking to build a smarter and fairer future. That diamond is the knowledge that this technology DOES ACTUALLY WORK.

Getting In On Ground Zero

Fast forward to today, many of those determined souls from the 2018 bear market head some of the most successful projects in the industry. Kain Warwick at Synthetix played a huge part in the Defi revolution, which spawned the likes of now blue chip lending protocols like AAVE and Curve. How about Anatoly Yakovenko and Raj Gokal bringing Solana to the market in 2018 when nobody cared and yes those very same WhatsApp groups that had access to private rounds would have picked up SOL for $0.04 -$0.20. More notably Brian Armstrong who initiated then progressed with Coinbase throughout the bear market and when it finally went public in April 2021, gifted employees with shares worth around $25,000 each while simultaneously walking into billionaire status.

Listen to this AMA with Kain Warwick on the Bankless Podcast

Also, check out Anatoly on the FTX podcast

The biggest lesson to come of the 2018 bear market was clear, if you really want to win in this industry, you must immerse yourself at ground zero and do not leave until your contribution is complete. Kain, Raj and Anatoly are obvious examples of those that won the game of financial freedom via crypto but countless nameless developers, thought leaders, investors that stuck around to build this seemingly limitless market ALL benefited from their dedication and efforts.

The most important message in this article is that this opportunity to get in at ground zero is pretty much infinite. It is now, it is in the future and all it depends on is whether or not you are willing to dedicate your skills, your time, and your efforts to improving the space. No different to those mentioned above.

Opportunities To Build Communities And Projects

The most unique characteristic of the cryptocurrency community is that there literally are no communication layers between founders of billion $ protocols and budding degens that have invested $100 they obtained from the bank of mum and dad. For individuals that wish to build and dive deeper into the industry via their contribution, it is as easy as signing up to Twitter, getting onto Discord, and just asking. I cannot stress enough how open and helpful members of the crypto community are in onboarding new participants to the market, it’s pretty heartwarming, to be honest.

Working with some budding projects myself, there are a number of skills that young initiatives seem to be calling out for massively:

~ Social media management

~ Content creation

~ Developers & Programmers (Rust and Solidity in particular)

~ Community management in Discord and Telegram

~ Strategic marketing and branding

~ Artists for NFTs

These are by no means the only roles that up-and-coming projects are looking for but they do seem to be the ones that new protocols desperately need. Again simply send a message on the general chat of projects you’re interested in saying “I really would like to help build this project in any way I can” and trust me, you’ll land somewhere.

What about rewards? Will you get paid? It’s all within the discussion between you and the founders/community management. In many cases, you will be paid in native tokens or in stablecoins, or in IDO allocation but not limited to any of this. In my experience, many solid projects are pretty generous to their contributors and usually are virtuous when it comes to delivering on their promises.

Ecosystems That Are All About The BUIDL

In this cycle, numerous ecosystems have emerged with hundreds of hopeful initiatives all requiring enthusiastic individuals to assist in their success. I personally have been impressed with the progress of the Solana ecosystem. Its adoption, its aim to facilitate “metaverse” like projects, and the number of projects on the blockchain attempting to bring Defi to the mainstream have all been of high interest to the community.

Another budding ecosystem that has recently gotten the attention of the community is the NEAR foundation. At the end of 2021, NEAR received 800m in funding to expand the ecosystem PLUS a further $150m funding round led by 3 arrows capital. It was only earlier on in 2021 when Solana raised roughly half this amount and subsequently blew up both in price and impact. Since the investment, the price of the NEAR token is up more than 90% (at the time of writing) and they are actively reaching out to members of the community to take up careers with the foundation.

An Honorary Mention

I’ve personally had the honor to work with the following protocols that are building unique products in Defi across three different ecosystems. I am massively optimistic on both projects and recorded a great podcast episode with the founder of Hawksight, where we take a deeper dive into what they hope to achieve.


Hawksight makes DeFi accessible to Everyone with 1-click Automated Investments & Yield Farming — on Solana and Terra. Hawksight’s Yield-generating Indexes enable users to instantly and simultaneously invest and earn yield on both Solana and Terra. Hawksight is backed by Solana Ventures, Terraform Labs, and Big Brain Holdings.

You can also join the mission as Hawksight Ambassadors or Early Adopters, both of whom will get exclusive access to new DApp features, and token rewards & incentives

Join the Hawksight Community:

🐣 Website & White paper:

👾 Discord:

💙 Twitter:

📲 Telegram:


Fusotao Protocol is a verification protocol for an order book-based matching system. A substrate-based application chain (appchain), Fusotao holds user assets and verifies matching transactions from off-chain exchange services. Fusotao will collaborate with Octopus Network to ensure blockchain security and enable Fusotao’s interoperability with NEAR or any IBC-enabled blockchain. Noted that Fusotao is granted by NEAR Foundation and has won the Octopus Star Award. At the same time, Fusotao received investment from institutions such as Big Brain Holdings.

Join Fusotao’s community:

👾 Discord:

💙 Twitter:

📲 Telegram:



Aaron Fenton

Crypto enthusiast, Podcaster, Web 3.0 educatooorrrrrr