Web 3's Tourists vs Purists

Balancing Tourists and Purists in Web3

Abloh's Tourist vs Purist

The concept of "Tourists vs Purists" was introduced by renowned fashion designer and creative director, Virgil Abloh. This phrase is used to describe the two different approaches to fashion and design.

On one hand, you have the "Tourists." These individuals are drawn to the latest trends and are more concerned with making a statement or standing out from the crowd. They often don't have a deep understanding of the cultural and historical significance behind a particular style or aesthetic, and their fashion choices are motivated by the desire to be trendy or fashionable.

On the other hand, you have the "Purists." These individuals are deeply invested in the history and cultural significance of a particular style or aesthetic. They value authenticity and staying true to the roots of a particular tradition, and they may view tourists as superficial or lacking in depth. Purists are dedicated to preserving the cultural and historical significance of a particular style or aesthetic, and their fashion choices are motivated by a desire to stay true to the roots of a particular tradition.

Abloh himself was known for straddling the line between these two perspectives. He incorporates elements of both tourist and purist styles in his designs, embracing the idea of remixing and reinterpreting existing styles. Abloh recognizes the value in both the historical significance of traditional designs and the energy and excitement of contemporary trends, and he seeks to incorporate elements of both into his own work.

Web3 Tourists and Purists

The concept of "Tourists vs Purists" can also be applied to the world of DAOs and NFTs. In this context, Tourists are drawn to the latest trends and buzz surrounding DAOs and NFTs, bringing energy and excitement to the space. However, they may not have a deep understanding of the underlying technology or the cultural and historical significance of decentralized systems. Purists, on the other hand, bring a depth of knowledge and commitment to the space. They are dedicated to building and preserving decentralized systems for the long term, but may not be as open to new and innovative ideas.

To ensure the growth, success, and lasting impact of DAOs and NFTs, it's crucial to strike a balance between Tourists and Purists. The excitement and energy brought by Tourists must be channeled in a productive way, while preserving the commitment and knowledge of Purists. This can be achieved through education, community building and collaboration.

One way to encourage collaboration and open-mindedness is through education and outreach. By educating Tourists on the underlying technology and significance of DAOs and NFTs, they can gain a deeper understanding of these systems and be more invested in their long-term success. This education can also help Purists gain a new level of energy and excitement, as they see the impact their work is having on a wider audience.

Another way to balance Tourists and Purists is through community building and collaboration. By bringing Tourists and Purists together and encouraging them to work together, it is possible to create a space where new ideas can flourish and sustainable systems can be built. This collaboration can also help Tourists gain a deeper understanding of the technology and significance behind DAOs and NFTs, while Purists can gain a new level of energy and excitement.

Bulls and Bears: Balancing Tourists and Purists in Web3

The Bull and Bear market cycle is treated as inevitable by Purists but does it have to be that way? The metaphor comes from Financial Markets but DAOs and NFTs are art, culture and the humanities. We should be skeptical when they are getting overly financialized. It would be better for the long term health of web3 to have steady sustainable growth and it’s mission we should all work toward.

During Bull markets we swing too far to the Tourist side, ignoring the fundamentals and cheering that numbers go up. I jumped into Ohm after long-term crypto veterans promised me on podcasts and through tweets that it’s totally normal to have 100,000% APY and this was a 2016 ETH moment not to be missed. They jumped into the forks which were obvious rugs because if you got in early you could make money on the pump not the fundamentals. I should have known but they should have known too. The role of the Purist during frenzied growth should be promoting caution, fundamentals and patience. 

During Bear markets it feels like we only have Purists left to talk to. We can use this time to go deeper and educate each other on projects, history and discuss what are the qualities of the authentic projects that emerged from 2022. We should also be extra accommodating to new people entering the space. People entering web3 for the first time in 2023 are here for the promise of decentralization not the get rich quick schemes. We should be recruiting people at a natural honest pace. We should be pulling people from outside of web3 into our DAOs when there is a good fit.

Things I’m working on: Purple, BuilderDAO & Art Haus

Purple is introducing crypto natives to the power of building an on-chain Treasury through a daily auction. A Treasury that can only be accessed by Proposals and debate around them in a decentralized style. Exchanging knowledge around the Noun’ish DAO which of course was pioneered by Nouns DAO, one of the strong DAOs emerging from the aftermath of 2022. The cost of a Noun is so luxurious that even people deep in crypto treated it as a novelty until recently.

Purple was built with nouns.build by BuilderDAO which has the power to bring this Noun’ish power to the far corners of the globe with a place for both Tourists and Purists working together. BlvckHvnd launched and received a grant from BuilderDAO is “a path breaking esports DAO building a gaming culture where competition and community go hand and hand.”(zora) These are the kinds of projects that can draw new people into web3, in a sustainable way, around something they love. It can teach them about the new forms of human organizations being experimented with via DAOs. 

Art Haus is a collective arts patronage DAO. Our focus is on curating great artists, funding their art and then jointly releasing NFTs (through Proposals).  Its early members include people who are deep into Nouns but a lot of the energy is around introducing new artists to the Noun’ish DAO or NFTs entirely. Purists who are hoping to spread the gospel in a sustainable way by showing the value proposition of art DAOs and there community.

Things I’m working on: CharmVerse

While I may resemble an on-chain Governance maxi in my projects, I believe DAOs are going to be a very very big space with room for many types of Organizations. If anything I feel there is not yet enough experimentation happening. DAOs allow us to speed run new types of human organizations with lesser downsides in the case of failure. We need many DAOs to blossom to learn what they’ll be best at. While CharmVerse is fortunate to have a number of crypto-native DAOs using our platform we often think about the next 1000 DAOs. DAOs that have members who create a wallet only after joining their first DAO. They may arrive to their new CharmVerse space with nothing but a gmail address. Our tool needs to be flexible for the needs of an infinite amount of organization types and familiar to people coming from Notion and Airtable. It is exactly in these kinds of DAOs do I expect the relationship between Tourists and Purists to blossom. New ideas paired with experts and scholars of what has worked best. I look forward to onboarding more traditional organizations and showing them the DAO concepts that are most relevant to them.


Whether you're a Tourist or a Purist, it's important to remember that we're all working towards the same goal. By embracing both perspectives, we can build a decentralized future that is truly equitable, transparent, and secure. So let's work together to build a decentralized future that benefits everyone, not just a select few.

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