While her actual day-to-day job is similar to her work at Uber, her coworkers share far more enthusiasm about their industry. “Everyone implicitly believes in what we are doing, especially from a standpoint of empowering people on the internet to be able to capture the value that they’ve given to platforms,” she said. She loves seeing artists get compensated for their work, particularly when NFT prices are high; a few months back, she onboarded a 3D artist in India to the platform who recently made $200,000 selling his work as NFTs. “Just knowing how little illustrators get paid in the tech industry, especially if you don’t live in America, that is so awesome to see,” she said. Crypto's speed and intensity can be tough to keep up with, though, and she admitted her work-life balance is definitely worse. “I almost feel like I’m a rat on cocaine working in this space because there’s so much happening,” she said, noting that many people in the industry seem to think about crypto while they sleep. There are other downsides: Especially in the early days, she heard stories about crypto culture that didn’t feel inclusive toward women and people of color. And she’s concerned about the environmental costs associated with the technology.
“I almost feel like I’m a rat on cocaine working in this space because there’s so much happening.”
Raihan is also currently finishing an MBA program at the University of Southern California, and he said that fellow students from traditional consultancies or traditional tech companies often ask him how to switch. “There’s a shared sense of ownership and possibility [in crypto], whereas with a legacy company you know who the CEO is and who the CFO is and you constantly have to go upwards,” he said. For some, the chance to redefine good management and collaboration is part of the appeal: “It’s really up to web3 folks to be good stewards of the working culture, the participatory culture.” Beyond his business background, Raihan has experience in fragrance design, artist management, and consulting for record labels, and he said his belief in web3 is rooted in artist empowerment, especially those in the Global South. “I realized this was very much a viable lane for artists to escape the existing rights and management ecosystem to build something of their own,” he said. He notes that he doesn’t see himself as working full-time in crypto, but rather using crypto as a tool to improve other industries, like music, art, and writing. “If you think about crypto as an ecosystem, [the question becomes] how do we imbue whatever you’re already doing with this technology?”
Clayton, 36Clayton didn’t go to college: He started his career in San Francisco writing for Thrasher before working as a publicist, co-founding a record label, and managing artists. Through it all, he became disillusioned with the music industry. “A lot of the systems and processes that you have to go through to be in music at a major-label level are kind of at odds with the things that I hold to believe,” he said. “It became very evident that music was thought of as a commodity in a lot of those buildings and it was one that needed to be brokered and maximized in terms of its returns.” Most of his friends still work in that world—but he’s optimistic his work in crypto might lead to something better.
“Crypto is probably the only thing in the world that gives me hope, honestly, I’m being dead serious.”