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DAO Punks Cohort_4 - Week 1

Origins

Wassup! I’m Eureka John.  First of all, thank you to all the DAO Punks for allowing me to participate in the Cohort_4. It is an honor to be included.

In order to understand my crypto journey I will start out with some of my seemingly chaotic and multi-faceted background. I grew up in a chaotic household. My well-meaning parents adopted 6 kids they saw on an evening local news program when I was 9 years old.  The program was called Waiting Child and the premise was to give adopted children forever homes.  There were six kids that were going to be split up into different homes if they were not adopted together. My well-meaning parents saw this and applied to the program. A few months later, they were accepted and we suddenly had nine kids in our family. This was in addition to our already three boy family. As a result, my parents were not prepared and became pretty unavailable. Our house was extremely chaotic and I was basically just coping during my childhood years.

My older brother rebelled and became a punk rocker in the 80’s. He had the mohawk, the combat boots, the studded jacket, the attitude, and the consistent gang of punk friends that came seeking shelter from the streets around our house because we had a halfpipe.

My brother on the left. Circa 1987

This had a huge influence on me. I fell in love with the anti-establishment skateboarding lifestyle and dove into the skatepunk scene in my neighborhood. I spent as much time in the street and as little time at my house as possible unless it was to skate the ramp. I had a negative view of authority and I found my cause in anti-censorship.  Anything that seemed to stand against censorship and central authority was immediately appealing to me.  In middle school it was the skaters vs the preps.  In high school, I created an underground newspaper called The Blunt Bureau to poke fun at the authorities in charge of the school, make fun of the jocks, and tell dirty jokes. I was given long-term suspension but managed to graduate somehow. In my early 20’s I became obsessed with religion (ironically enough), and specifically the rebellious early Church persecuted by the Romans. This led me to study Religion in college and landed me at Union Theological Seminary in NYC afterwards for graduate studies where I learned Greek and Hebrew. This is also where my name Eureka John came from. Eureka is derived from the Greek word Eurekos, which means to discover something. Again, the Early Church was censored and persecuted for expressing any source of authority over that of the Roman Empire. In Seminary and afterwards, into my 30’s, I created and ran a pirate radio station called brandnameradio using an FM transmitter I built and the internet radio technology through the open source rss protocol at the time.  This was mainly a technical experiment for me, but also focused on artists who did not have the clout or funding to get on a large label. I aspired to give them airtime, but eventually was unable to sustain the radio station due to paying expensive licensing and royalty fees that never went to the artists I played on my show. To remain on the air, I was paying for the privilege of playing bands like Madonna and Metallica even though I was not playing any of those mainstream bands on my station.  The Austin Chronicle did a little article with me in it about this issue in 2007. Afterwards, I created some skateboarding zines and formed an electro-punk band called Laserz (which was terrible, but I had fun).

So in sum, finding outlets for my creative energy has always been a priority.  However, I also had to pay bills, so I found a job in the manufacturing industry on a sales desk. My family had a small manufacturing business and I worked for them for a while, and then quit to find work elsewhere due to economic downturn and family politics. I ended up at a propane hose plant and before I knew it, 16 years working in that industry and had flown by and I found myself devoid of creativity.  I had lost myself for the monotony of making money to pay bills, and most of my days had become wearing khaki pants and golf shirts, small-talking in trade show booths, and getting obliterated at night.  It was completely soul-sucking.

2018 was the first time I heard about crypto. At first it was scrounging around trying to find a way to support my by then full-blown alcoholism by using crypto trading as a way to score extra beer money. Due to medical issues and depression, in 2019 I decided I really needed to quit drinking and do something to change my life trajectory. I channeled all my anxious energy into researching crypto and riding my skateboard. I started to understand that crypto and blockchain was about way more than number go up so you can cash out. I found my way into alternative finance systems though Aave and Compound and finally began to understand the meaning of a decentralized operating system and decentralized finance built on Ethereum.

So I decided to take the full plunge into the lifestyle on October 24, 2020 when I flipped on the YouTube switch to my own channel I called Eureka Street Crypto Hub at the time. There was no “Hub” about it.  It was just me. Alone. In my awkward thoughts and curiosity about something that no one else around me gave two shits about. I had a Bankless newsletter subscription at the time so I received the BANK airdrop, which led me to go into the Discord server. There, I finally met some like-minded people and my real community-focused crypto journey began and where many of you met me.

What is DAO Punks?

I own a DAO Punk NFT, and I love it.  However, I think being a DAO Punk is much more than being a holder of an NFT.  When you go to daopunks.io, the first thing you see on the landing page is “We blaze trails.  We build bridges. A better world awaits. DAOPunks lead the way”  Below that in big red letters is says “Corporate Punk to DAOPunk” and the mission statement below of:

DAOpunks’s mission is to enable humans to liberate themselves from the soul-sucking drudgery of default world work and lead them to the rewarding, expansive freedom found in meaningful DAO work.

DAOpunks blaze new trails, leading others to fertile promised lands, where they find opportunity, meaningful work, community, and untold abundance. We build the bridges. We blaze the trails. With openness, we invite others to join us. Together we go further. A better world awaits. DAOpunks lead the way.

DAO Punk | Crypto Native #107

Part of the mission statement that really resounds with me is “enable humans to liberate themselves”.  A huge part of web3 and crypto is decentralization and personal sovereignty.  Neither of these is achieved through a centralized authority or power structure.  Liberty is achieved through both individual drive and community support.  Going back to my origin story above, I grew up around punk rockers. Being punk was ingrained in my upbringing.  I literally had no choice but to become familiar with being punk.

A huge part of punk rock is the anarchy symbol. The Sex Pistols wrote the popular song “Anarchy in the UK” and toured all the unpopular cities in middle America bringing punk rock to a latchkey kid youth culture. Bands all throughout the 80’s punk scene like Exploited, Black Flag, Fear, Dead Kennedys, Circle Jerks, Bad Brains, JFA, and many others freely used the anarchy symbol. Every city with a skatepunk scene and skateable drainage ditches had anarchy symbols spray painted on them.

What did all this mean? There was no central authority that declared a punk movement.   The very meaning of the word mean “without ruler”.  In Greek, the word anarkhia is broken down into “an” (no/not) "archia" (ruler). So literally the word means without ruler. If you want to stretch that to decentralized, well, I am personally ok with that. Lol. However, many people see the anarchy symbol and see it as chaos or social disorder.  Some philosophers such as Thomas Hobbes see anarchy as without government, so as a result it must assume that there is no governance.  I do not personally share this view.  In nature, we have seen that there is an underlying force that all natural beings fall into such as the Fibonacci sequence, for example. In native tribes, we have seen communities thrive without a specific central authority figure at the helm.

As a personal experience, I have seen DIY skateboarding communities build amazing concrete structures in ditches that many have enjoyed. They are a constant work in progress and reveal a story of mistakes and successes by building out in the open.  (We see this in our open source developer communities) In many cases, some of the best concrete skatepark builders had their start making DIY spots.
New types of tricks are born out the blemishes of the imperfect.  Most of the DIY builders are anon and prefer to stay that way.  You can visit the spot, and most of the time, you are welcome, but you need to respect the spot and the builders. There are rules, but no rulers. Don't leave trash. Don't move stuff around. Don't wax stuff that's not yours. If you begin to come on a regular basis, get to know the other locals and help build. Over the years the DIY spots come and go. The transitory nature of DIY spots is both the beauty and the curse of them. You fall in love with them, and then once you feel at home, they get bulldozed. You just have to love DIY spots for the imperfect creative mess that they are.  DIY spots are a community.  DIY culture is one of the reasons I still skate.  DIY is punk.

Bringing this back to DAOs, We are now experimenting with decentralized communities built with code at the center that we call decentralized autonomous organizations.  Working in a DAO is working in a community. As illustrated above with the DIY skate spots, working in a community also means there are rules to follow to be a part of that community. Part of the DAOPunk ethos is blazing trails. Get out of the established structure. Liberate yourself from the drudgery of soul sucking work.  Join the community.  Build something meaningful with others that everyone will enjoy. Use that experience to become a better person and a stronger community.

Becoming a DAO Punk

I think I have come to the conclusion that I am unemployable. I have been making the transition to becoming a DAOPunk for a couple of years now. Starting in the BanklessDAO, in the AV Guild and Podcast Hatchery, I found my way into making DAO contributions. I am not the best team player, but I forced myself into working as a team to create content. In Crypto Sapiens, I became the primary audio/video editor and now Co-Founder.  All of this was happening while I was working in the propane hose plant. The more work I did in the DAO, the more I could not stand working at the hose plant. That job was meaningless.  It was solely to pay bills, and my wife and family could see the draining effect it had on me vs the glow I had when completing podcasts and videos for bDAO and Crypto Sapiens. Then, I found my way into JournoDAO and that’s when I found my calling to become a web3 journalist. I may not have the traditional journalist writing investigation skills, but nothing about working in web3 is traditional. Looking back at my origin story though, my dysfunctional upbringing, my underground newspaper, my radio station, my skate zines, and my band, it was all starting to make sense. There is no better way to fulfill my calling than to become a DAOpunk web3 journalist in a decentralized community.

I have volunteered for tons of projects and cut my teeth on lots of free work to build my skills.  I finally started getting some paying non-web3 podcast producing gigs.  This has allowed me to take the brave step to quit my propane hose plant job. I formed an LLC for contract work called Eureka Street Creative, LLC. Between the non-web3 gigs and my web3 work, I am barely able to squeak by and pay my bills. I would like to focus completely on web3 contributions as my sole source of income, but I am not there yet.  This grant is giving me a couple more months to be able to solidify some web3 work. 

Week 1 as a DAO Punk Cohort_4 Member

I received the news of receiving the DAO Punk grant on my way home from ETH Denver. Currently, my sources of web3 work are Crypto Sapiens and De University of Ethereum.  Crypto Sapiens received a grant from Optimism, but we have not yet received any money. However, soon that will allow us to pay our contributors in something besides a paltry amount of BANK tokens and will increase my web3 income some. De University of Ethereum has thankfully been some consistent work in the web3 world, but it is far from enough to sustain my family and bills, much less save or invest.

ETH Denver allowed me to really flex some of my newfound on-the-scene gonzo journalism skills and showcase the footage I got on the Crypto Sapiens audio and video platforms. I got to interview some really cool people and projects including two that have already published. with Unlock Protocol and Aavegotchi. I am already receiving some inquiries into other web3 journalism gig opportunities including an Edge City event at SXSW here in Austin called the Unrestricted Intelligence Summit. I will let you all know how that goes. Hopefully all of this will culminate into something sustainable for me and my family and allow me to do work that I love, and that contributes to the web3 ecosystem as a whole. I will keep you update on the progress of this next Saturday, March 16, 2024.

 

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