Witnessing The Start of DeSci | February 2022
I flew out to Denver, and met Vitalik in the flesh. probably nothing
Welcome to my February Newsletter!
This issue will likely be way longer than my other ones, but that’s because February is a month that I’ll remember for a long time. There were so many: things I learned, people I met, and memories I made. I hope you enjoy reading!
If you’re new to the newsletter, welcome!
I’m a 16 y/0 web2 + web3 + neurotech developer currently trying to build the future of neurotech R&D funding with NeuraDAO.
As I go on a journey to try building the future, I would love to have you be a part of it!.
Witnessing The Start of DeSci
If there’s one word to describe my February it would be transformative. This past month was about the beauty of meeting people in person and rapid iteration.
A quick rundown of my February:
Went to ETHDenver (Was at the first in-person interaction with DeSci and Vitalik)
Rebranded MiruDAO to NeuraDAO
Rapidly iterated on NeuraDAO based on feedback
Going to ETHDenver!
TL;DR: There isn’t a great way to summarize such an experience. What I can say though, is that I met so many people in ETHDenver, talked to loads of people from the DeSci (Decentralized Science) community, learned a lot, and was lucky enough to land a spot at the table with Vitalik.
A couple of months ago, I applied to be flown out to ETHDenver as a “Padawan,” sponsored by PadawanDAO. Thankfully, I was sponsored and bought my plane tickets the night I got the money.
Before leaving for Denver though, I realized that this would be the first time NeuraDAO (then it was called MiruDAO) would be going public. We wanted to make sure that when talking to people about NeuraDAO, it was easy to follow up on the conversation and that people remember us.
As a result, we had to rebrand to make sure our brand clearly aligned with who we are and our mission. Thankfully, we were able to rebrand quickly. If you want a more in-depth update on NeuraDAO, check out our Twitter and newsletter.
Every Day in Denver
I landed in Denver on the 16th, and left on the 21st. I was there for 5 days and each day was a new lesson learned, and many new people met. The energy every day was incredible, and I didn’t want to leave. It’s a lot to summarize, so I’ll be breaking down what happened day by day.
Day 0 (February 16th)
Landed in Denver at around 6 pm with Anush (also working on NeuraDAO), and went to a PadawanDAO mixer where I tweeted this. At the mixer, I met a lot of cool people, and it finally started to sink in that I’m actually in Denver. After that, I had wings at around 1:30 AM (didn’t eat anything all day lol).
Day 1 (February 17th)
This was my first full day in Denver. I went to the Castle (ETHDenver’s main venue) for the first time and was amazed by the number of people and things to do at the venue. It was a 6 story building with booths and people on every single floor. It was insane how many things there were happening throughout the castle, not to mention in the city.
We also worked on NeuraDAO’s rebrand midway through the day as we didn’t want MiruDAO on some of our stuff but NeuraDAO on the other stuff.
Day 2 was a great experience, however, I didn’t do much the first day other than talk to some people I met in the venue and got the lay of the land.
Our intention for being in ETHDenver was to spread the word about NeuraDAO, get feedback, and meet people in the DeSci community.
We didn’t do any of that. However, I believed that tomorrow would be better, and it was.
Day 2 (February 18th)
This day was one of the best days I had in Denver. We switched up our strategy, instead of waiting for people to hit us up to meet up, we decided to go to every DeSci Discord and see who was in ETHDenver and see what they were doing.
Anush and I had heard about some DeSci people in the castle on the 6th and ran all the way up the 6 floors to talk to them. It was one of the best conversations that we had up till that point and we were so happy about it. We started to feel like it was worth it to come to Denver.
Afterwards, there was a DeSci talk which almost all of the DeSci community attended, where afterwards there was a large DeSci mixer in the same building. That day, I felt like I pitched NeuraDAO 30+ times, and met over 50 people. Needless to say, I was super happy that I met so many people working on things similar to NeuraDAO and got so much support and feedback.
We also found the AlgoRanch, which is a cafe temporarily rented out by Algorand and turned into a coworking space with free coffee (I had so much coffee in Denver btw).
Sidenote: These events were some of the first-ever in-person DeSci events. This movement didn’t really exist (collectively) before ETHDenver. However, now it’s like a large community full of scientists and people who want to make a change with Blockchain. I still can’t believe that I was part of it.
Day 3 (February 19th)
We had brunch with Vitalik (founder of Ethereum)! There were loads of insights dropped in that brunch which I’m still debriefing.
Quick Insights from Brunch
NeuraDAO will be writing way more about what we learned in ETHDenver, but to give you guys a small taste:
DAOs don’t market enough. The DAOs who are actually making a difference and are mission-driven are rather quiet compared to the other ones.
DAOs need to focus on improving 4 things: Tokenomics, Governance, Onboarding, and Collaboration. These are the main needle-movers in what will make a DAO successful.
Move away from token-based voting (1 token = 1 vote) for more sophisticated DAOs. The economic incentives here make people treat the tokens more as securities and these tokenomics favour dollars rather than contribution.
Other than the brunch, we met more people, went to a DeSci dinner, worked more on the rebranding and tried to fathom what we just did a couple hours earlier.
Day 4 + 5 (February 20th-21st)
These last two days were as the conference started to wind down and people started to go home. Although Denver felt like a high that would never end, as people started to leave the city, we started to reflect on the great times that we had the past couple of days.
After reflecting, we decided that we couldn’t leave Denver without seeing some of the mountains.
After meeting some people for the last time, we decided to head over to the mountains and see them for the first time. Although we got there kinda late, we still were able to see the mountains and look over the city at night.
The next day, the Padawans had brunch together as a group for the last time and we hopped on our flight.
A Happy Ending
Although leaving Denver was pretty sad, the learnings, memories, and friends made during my time there was worth it. After coming home, I realize that the value that I got from Denver after reflecting was insane. Hopefully, I’ll be able to go to ETHAmsterdam in April to do it all over again!
I had a lot of fun in February, but now I have to be heads-down and grind again. Here’s what’s coming up for March:
Finishing up the rebrand
Publishing loads of content with NeuraDAO
Will be trying to learn something new every week and posting about it on Twitter
Trying to hustle into ETHAmsterdam, will let you guys know how that goes!
Thank you for reading my (very lengthy) February newsletter, I hope you enjoyed reading and that I see you soon!