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Regen Diaries Manifesto

my personal journey navigating a career in regenerative economics, web3, and other controversial topics...

This post was originally written in early January 2024.

Welcome to my new series: Regen Diaries

You might be curious as to what a “regen” is. Well, it’s a play on the word “degen” (short for degenerate), a popular meme in crypto communities. A regen stems from the same degenerate crypto shit, but we tell ourselves we’re doing it for the planet.

Now, is it embarrassing to publicly share my regen status? Probably. But through my regen journey, I’ve gone so deep down the rabbit hole that I genuinely believe there’s something here that could heal the earth -  potentially in a more effective way than our current systems.

So, I’m dedicating this next year to testing that hypothesis. Regen Diaries is my collection of personal stories as I attempt to build a career in Web3, explore the people & projects pioneering this movement, and share my experience navigating this space. 

Who is this for?

I originally started writing to update my friends and family about what I’ve been up to. But I slowly started realizing that it was getting really complicated to explain because I’m not even fully sure what I’m doing. These writings are for anyone who personally knows me and is simply curious about what I’m doing and why I’m dedicating so much of my pivotal career-building years to crypto... They’re also for anyone interested in exploring what the “hype” surrounding this technology is all about.

Genesis of the regen 

Look, I’m no stranger to the very valid criticisms of crypto. While I continued to write my monthly reflections during the latter half of 2023, I didn’t post them publicly. I’m navigating a lot of very controversial topics—regenerative economics, effective-accelerationism, emerging markets, cryptocurrencies… I was nervous to share when I still didn’t have a full grasp of it all. 

But, I’ve come to realize that I don't know if I’ll ever have a full understanding if I’m “doing the right thing.” And I don’t claim to. The decisions I make in my career are in alignment with what I think is the best path for me at the moment. As I learn new information, I’ll adapt. As things change, so will I. Regen Diaries is just a reflection on my experience as I navigate through this new frontier. 

Where we left off…

Over the past year, I've been exploring this industry and encountered people, projects, and movements that I truly believe can push humanity forward in a positive direction.

Since the last time I’ve updated my Substack, I’ve been up to quite a bit. 

  • In September, I participated in the Funding the Commons Berlin residency program. I lived alongside 30+ people from all around the world who were exploring the impact of blockchain for funding public goods. This experience was incredibly eye-opening. Gave me a whole new understanding of this technology and why it’s uniquely equipped to align capital in effective, impactful ways. 

  • I spent the month of October at the Traditional Dream Factory, a web3 regenerative co-living village in Portugal. They experimented with using different web3 principles, like decentralized ownership and transparent governance to preserve, protect, and regenerate the land. I spent my days harvesting veggies and learning how to improve the biodiversity of existing natural ecosystems and the quality of life for present and future generations. I’m so curious about the IRL impact of this technology - and TDF was a great playground for testing these ideas.  

  • In November, I went to Istanbul for the Zuzalu and DevConnect crypto conferences. That’s when I discovered the vast scope of this movement. I interacted with people I admired in such casual ways. Not to name drop, but I chatted with Vitalik over breakfast, received direct support and feedback on a project I was working on from Juan Benet, and engaged in some deep philosophical discussions with Kevin Owocki. It was clear that they’ve been deeply researching these ideas for years and were making decisions from a place of alignment and intentionality. I’m so inspired by people who do what they do because they want to solve the problem - not because of the external validation they can receive. That was my key takeaway from meeting them and the other faces behind this movement, helping me understand the immense disruption this technology can enable.

Quick moment on the Soapbox

During this season, a lot of things aligned for me. I was born during what is arguably the "best time" to be alive. We now have mass improvements in our life expectancy, health, and access to opportunities compared to our ancestors. However, a major exception to all these world-changing improvements is climate change.

We now live in a world with more humans than ever before. With unprecedented technological innovation and growth. And with a planet that is increasingly warming at the highest temperatures in all of recorded history.

This next decade is a pivotal moment for humanity. Unless we make drastic changes, there might not be a habitable planet for us to live on. The good news: throughout history, humans have consistently demonstrated the ability to overcome and persevere. This time is no different.

Perhaps this is my naive techno optimism talking, but I don’t think all of our technological progress happened by sheer accident. I view technology as a tool that we can leverage to propel humanity toward a much brighter future. But this doesn't just happen automatically. It requires us to be extremely intentional about what we are building and how we are building it.

Luckily, we don’t have to rely on sheer willpower to get there. We can design systems that incentivize humans to better coordinate around shared goals for more efficient problem-solving. We can design structures that prioritize impact over profit. And we can live in a society that is aligned with one self, one another, and our planet.

Okay, getting off the soapbox now…

A lil disclaimer

I want to acknowledge that I’m still learning. Although I have a clear understanding of my “north star,” the road to get there remains highly uncertain. 

This technology changes rapidly every day. My career is insanely volatile. The intangible solutions make me second-guess whether any of this will even move the needle. And to top it all off, I'm still trying to get a grasp on this whole "adulthood" thing.

The reason I’m sharing my story is because it’s a bit lonely navigating this path. There’s no blueprint in front of me for how others crafted careers in this field. And even within the crypto industry, people interested in this specific vertical are few and far between. 

Transparently, I don’t like to write. Or more specifically, I dislike polishing and editing the word vomit I dump into my notes app to create a grammatically correct, well-written piece that I'm proud to share publicly.

Ironically, both my brother and dad are gifted story tellers. My brother has this little notebook full of self-written screenplays, ranging from a whole three-part series of comedic series to dramatic thrillers. He has a special gift. My dad, on the other hand, would write me birthday letters each year as a child. The way he writes conveys so much raw emotion and talent, that reading the letters years later still makes me tear up. He too, has this special gift, and in return, I have a hand written story of the first 18 years of my life. 

Growing up, we’d joke that I didn’t get the “writing gene.” I was a STEM kid, and the mere thought of writing an essay made me want to cry. My head is a jumble of thoughts, and there’s so much I want to say. But when I try to articulate it onto paper it never sounds quite right. It didn’t sound witty and creative like my brother’s. Or articulate and clever like my dad’s. Unless my writing sounded like theirs, I considered it a failure. Striving for perfection deterred me from even writing at all.

Now that I’m an adult, I could go the rest of my life without ever writing again. I don’t have writing assignments for classes, and I code for my job. But, if my brother, dad, and my scrappy notes app have taught me one thing, it's that capturing moments through words is the most special gift of all. 

I want to write because I think I have an interesting story to tell. I’m navigating life on my terms, pioneering a new industry and ways of working that (as far as I know) have yet to be explored. As I navigate my own career path, my twenties, and an ever-changing world, I hope that my writings serve as a grounding force. Something I can look back to, reflect on, and maybe share with others along the way. After all, writings are such a special gift. :) 

A few asks: 

  1. Interest in what I have to share is the best gift of all. Subscribing, commenting, and any engagement with my writing is so helpful, warms my heart, and reminds me I’m not speaking into an empty void. 

  2. Seeking mentors. A big hurdle is the lack of structure. I’m looking to chat with entrepreneurs, web3 aficionados, or anyone who is deeply motivated to build a better future. I’ll come prepared with questions and would appreciate any advice you share.

  3. Content recs welcome. If you have books, podcasts, articles, subscriptions, etc. that you recommend, please send my way. Bonus points if I can read it on a Kindle.

The Road Ahead

The saying goes, "The road to hell is paved with good intentions," - and hopefully sharing my journey with others will prevent me from steering too far in the wrong direction.

I don’t have all the answers - or any answers for that matter. But Regen Diaries is about finding out, learning, and growing along the way. Whether you’re interested in Web3 or just curious about my path, thanks for being here.

xoxo, Sophia

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