The shame and pivoting of crypto

It’s amazing how industries change so quickly, crypto being an example.

I was reading this in reference to Friends With Benefit (FWB):

YouTube started out as a dating website, Twitter was launched as a podcast network and Amazon famously began as an online bookseller. There’s a long history of pivots in the tech world, and Friends with Benefits (a.k.a. FWB), a decentralized online social club that the New York Times once described as a “V.I.P. lounge for crypto’s creative class,” appears to be in the midst of a major rebrand—one that in which the word “crypto” is barely mentioned at all.

:toilet: Crypto + toilet in the same sentence seems appropriate

Crypto’s reputation is in the toilet, and while much of that stems from the numerous financial scams that have decimated the space during the past year, there’s also a cultural component at work. In the wake of the outsized hype that sprung up around NFTs and “crypto art,” thrusting folks like Beeple and projects like Bored Ape Yacht Club into the spotlight, a general aversion to all things crypto has taken root amongst artists and musicians, including many of those who were initially curious about the technology’s potential.

:money_with_wings: And their financial aren’t looking great:

FWB has specifically grappled with both growing member unrest and staggering financial losses, including more than $440K alone on the 2022 edition of FWB FEST. (That’s a loss of nearly $900 for every one of the 500 people in attendance, despite the fact that they each paid approximately $900 in Ethereum to attend.) FWB claims to have more than $18 million in its treasury—at least some of which certainly stems from a $10 million investment round (at a $100 million valuation) that venture capital firm Andreesen Horowitz led back in 2021—yet apparently that’s only enough money to keep the operation going for another 12.7 months.

I’m logging here partly in frustration—I kept pushing back against web3 in favour of the creator economy.

I am also logging partly as a way to refuse to forget that this happened. During a time when everyone else has quickly moved on and forgotten their involvement in web3, I want to make sure that we don’t forget.

FWB are cleaning up their brand by removing crypto, but they are not the only ones, so many companies and individuals are or have done the same too. And as they do, they hide away from the facts that people were hurt and lost out financially.

Of course, people are allowed to make mistakes, I can understand why many people got caught up in it. It is the lack of accountability and understanding of the problems this caused people that gets to me. People everywhere were used as pawns, pressured into things, and marketed excessively with FOMO.

In most circumstances, it is brushed under the carpet, no announcement made, no efforts to care for the people that originally hustled…and if announcements were made, they were in spaces that end up getting deleted or not searchable and barely shared with the people. They were done in a way that they hoped people wouldn’t see it.

And if I reference it back to ‘community work’, I do think part of our role is to have integrity and to seek out ways to support and help our members genuinely.

When we make decisions for our community, we need to protect them and to make sure that we have their best interests at heart.


In my mind we’re starting to see the ‘trend economy’ emerge at scale - that is, companies that live and die by the flavor of the moment. First it was web3, now it’s AI.

You could make the case that this is the economy at large (driven by trends), which is true. But our current social media driven age has exponentially increased the pace at which these trends rise and fall. Sure, you can make a lot of money, but as you mention with FWB, you can lose a lot of money too.

I’m not saying there isn’t value in these technologies or movements by any means. What I am saying is this hyper focus on the trendy opportunity will keep leading us back here again and again.

Additionally, from a community standpoint, I thought web3 was mostly toxic. The underlying ideals were good, but ultimately it kinda played out how things with people often do: sadly, deceptively, and a fight for power and money.

I think you hit the key here.


Well said, @rosiesherry. Thanks for sharing this.