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Students Are Key to Crypto Mass Adoption

Exploring the Value of Student Clubs in the Web3 Revolution

As a student, I have always been afraid of not being able to match up to industry professionals. For many of us, it’s painfully obvious that entering the workspace represents a drastic change from a safe environment like school. So, it’s natural to think our involvement in a multi-disciplinary and technical space like the blockchain industry might invite some skeptical side-eyes and scoffs for being “just a student”.

In fact, having served as president of a local blockchain club in Singapore for almost two years, I can only say that my journey has been on an exponential trajectory. It has been so interesting being involved in the student blockchain ecosystem, and from my experience, the fears about not measuring up are far from the truth. Ever since my involvement in the club, I have been working to elevate the student blockchain space in Singapore, promoting cross-collaboration between other local university clubs. This eventually led to my involvement in CollegeDAO, which supports the student blockchain ecosystem not just in Singapore, but across the globe, with 100+ blockchain clubs in our network.

Image from the CollegeDAO Events web page

Having seen the difference between web3 ecosystems in the U.S. and Asia, it’s exciting to see the gradual shift towards expanding and developing web3 across APAC (Asia-Pacific). My experiences culminated in one of the busiest weeks of my life — the week of TOKEN2049.

Cross-Collaboration Around the World

In the span of one week, I co-organized the first ever Schelling event in Asia at my own university — the new ‘edu’ concept is meant to highlight public goods in web3 in a student institution; I participated in a hackathon with the co-organizers of a student hacker house and won a prize; I was involved in hosting an event which brought together both industry and student leaders; and last but not least, I met many new people I’m now fortunate to call friends.

Co-organizing for Schelling was a whole new experience for me. I have done my fair share of events in the past with the student club, but nothing at this scale with 26 speakers across 10 panels and workshops. All of this was achieved by me and my co-organizer (Paige from OKX Ventures) in the span of two months. It was constant stress, week after week, but I would do it all over again.

Schelling represented my deepest desire to surround myself with people that cared about the web3 ecosystem, and it was a great feeling for me to be a Schelling point (pun intended) in bringing everyone together from the most wholesome corners of the web3 space, in a part of the world that doesn’t seem to talk about public goods in web3.

Public goods panel discussion at Schelling

As for the hackathon, my involvement had more to do with the students in the student hacker house than anything else, because they represented the students that I wish I could surround myself and BUIDL with. Students flew in from all across the globe — Tsinghua, Malaysia, Cambridge, Berkeley — but the common thread was that they were all part of their own local blockchain clubs. I had a similar experience in a hacker house in Bogota at my first ever crypto conference — Devcon, but there was something special about seeing people flying in to Singapore, a place that I am familiar with and one that represented a very different focus than the developer-centric students that flew in.

Singapore has always been a struggle for me. As a person that roots myself deeply in concepts like web3 ethos and the philosophies of positive-sum relationships and open source contributions, while also striving to become an entrepreneur and chart a path for myself, I find myself constantly struggling against the current. Students in Singapore don’t want to take the risk of entrepreneurship — even in the web3 ecosystem, the vast majority are focused on the financial side of the blockchain space. Seeing the student developers at the hacker house spend the days and nights before the hackathon submissions, huddled together and coding was a special sight for me, and all that effort culminated into all six projects from the hacker house winning a prize, my own project and a student team from my own university among the winners.

The Underrated Potential of Students in Web3

It is clear to me that students are a hugely underrated part of the web3 ecosystem. Student clubs represent clusters of early sprouting talent that organize themselves into tribes of people who feel like outcasts — students who rebel against the paved road of the corporate world and want to seek some fulfillment in their life by pursuing their own interests — and web3 seems to be the perfect Schelling point for these people. Where else would you find intrinsically motivated students who go out of their way to integrate themselves into a completely new ecosystem that demands them to be interdisciplinary, grounds them in a virtuous ethos, and encourages proactive participation beyond financial compensation?

This may not feel as apparent in the U.S., where established club entities are supported by their faculties like Blockchain at BerkeleyPenn Blockchain, or Blockchain at Michigan, but in Asia, especially in APAC, the seeds have not been cultivated yet. Students are the most undervalued asset in web3 because, in the fight for talent, it is only a matter of time before these students are lured back to their charted paths in web2 industries.

This TOKEN2049 week has been an absolutely amazing experience for me, not because of the glitz and the glamor but because of my conversations and observations with the people around me who genuinely seemed to care about the web3 space. This is just what happened in the span of a week in Singapore, but there are already sparks across the globe which are embodied by CollegeDAO — the largest community in the student blockchain space. Students are the key to mass adoption in web3, and the unlock to onboarding the next generation for the industry.

Author Bio

whales is the current Core Team Lead of CollegeDAO and has been actively involved in the student blockchain ecosystem, previously serving as the president of the SMU Blockchain Club for two consecutive years.

Editor Bio

trewkat is a writer, editor, and designer at BanklessDAO. She’s interested in learning about web3, with a particular focus on how best to communicate this knowledge to others.

Designer Bio

Chameleon is a designer and creator in the web3 space.

BanklessDAO is an education and media engine dedicated to helping individuals achieve financial independence.

This post does not contain financial advice, only educational information. By reading this article, you agree and affirm the above, as well as that you are not being solicited to make a financial decision, and that you in no way are receiving any fiduciary projection, promise, or tacit inference of your ability to achieve financial gains.

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