Welcome and thank you for reading and sharing S3T. I'm fascinated by the emerging discipline of change leadership and what good things happen when we help people master the change leadership skillset. Each week I share the latest insights and essential perspectives via the S3T newsletter & podcast to empower your journey as a change-maker. I hope this edition gives you max value in the coming week! Thank you! --Ralph Perrine
😎️ In this edition of S3T:
- Closer Examination: Now that the hoopla is cooling down, its time to look at 2 longer term implications of crypto ETFs: The Talent Market and the Future of Privacy and Human Rights.
- Defining Change Leadership: a S3T Learning Segment (from the Change Leadership Learning Series) offers a clear vision for the kind of leadership required in the 21st Century and how it can help you raise your game.
- Guided Drawing Exercise: Here at the beginning of the year, everyone is spending time selecting and defining goals - both personal and organizational. But we might want to spend more time learning the mindset that makes goals achievable.
- 3 Top reads this week: Political explainer on Deficits, Growth and Interest Rates | Managing expectations around GenAI | Protecting Your team from Groupthink.
🔊 Listen to this edition on the S3T Podcast (and forward to a friend!)
🔎 Closer Examination: Long term implications of crypto ETFs: Talent & Human Rights
Charts and headlines are cooling
After rejecting Crypto ETF applications for 11 years, the SEC was forced by court rulings to change course and approve the applications last week. These historic approvals allow top tier traditional finance firms to offer their clients exposure to crypto via Exchange Traded Funds.
A week later the general response seems muted. The price of Bitcoin hasn't moved far either way from the mid 40's. Some investors are leaving firms that refused to offer crypto EFTs to their clients.
But 2 implications shape the longer view...
Implication #1: the ETF approval and the socialization of crypto as a bona fide investment is helping to validate crypto as a career path. Increasing numbers of talented technologists are joining the ranks. More details below.
Implication #2: the ETF approval marks a key milestone in the mass adoption of a decentralized currency not issued by governments. This in turn means that an important lever for the future of human rights and privacy just took another giant step toward long term viability.
These are covered in more detail below.
Implication #1: Talent & the next round of Financial Innovation
New kinds of crypto ecosystems are being built, many offering the ability to earn crypto in exchange for contributing to their ecosystem. While Ethereum continues to be the 900 pound gorilla in the space. The sheer number of other entries - over 9,000 according to Electric Capital - is mind-boggling.
Electric Capital’s latest report on the crypto talent market tracks the number of developers working on the top ~150 blockchains. Highlights:
- 22,411 monthly active crypto developers
- The number of long term (and more experienced) crypto developers is steadily rising - good sign for the future of these companies.
- Not so good sign: US-based crypto/web3 developers have been in decline since 2018 and the US is only nation experiencing such a decline.
- Sharp increase in multi-chain: more than a 1/3 of crypto developers now work on or support more than one chain.
Some examples of the diverse kinds of new platforms and ecosystems that are emerging:
- Sweatcoin allows you to earn crypto by walking. Note: Sweatcoin originally started with a virtual "currency" that wasn't actually tradeable for other crypto assets, but now has launched a true crypto currency exchangeable with other crypto. You can exchange Sweatcoins for other crypto assets, spend it via the Sweatcoin marketplace, or donate it to a wide variety of non-profits.
- Hivemapper is creating a decentralized competitor to Google Maps. Get paid for running a dash cam and helping to build the map.
- Aave Lens Protocol and DeSo are emerging Social Media platform toolkits for building decentralized social apps. These apps are not owned by a centralized entity (like Facebook, Twitter/X etc). They don't own your content, friends or social profile - you do, and you can take it with you. And finally they don't rely on ad-revenue 0r algorithms designed to induce doomscrolling addiction.
Crypto headhunter Scott Fletcher notes that crypto executive hires have doubled since the collapse of FTX in Nov 2022. In this Scoop interview Scott unpacks how this job market is evolving
Implication #2: Crypto and human rights
The ETF approvals mark a key milestone in the mass adoption of a decentralized currency not issued by governments. This in turn means that an important lever for the future of human rights and privacy just took another giant step toward long term viability.
This is a sensitive issue, one that makes good people go to extremes (on either side). Let's talk about why decentralized currencies/assets (which we often refer to as "crypto") have an important connection to the future of human rights.
Commenting on the ETF approvals by the SEC, RedPhone wrote an impassioned thread on X (excerpt below, Read the entire thread here) that sums up the connection between crypto and human rights:
“I'd be lying if I said the approval of a #bitcoin spot ETF didn't make me emotional...
[Crypto is] money backed not by men but by math and algorithms...an infrastructure run not by military might, jail cells and exorbitant privilege... but by incentives...
We've lost so much freedom in the world... there's a camera on every street corner. Our phone's listen in our conversations, our bank accounts can get seized at any moment...
Crypto is one of the only things on earth pushing back... It's the last free frontier on earth... We've built out uncensorable money. But more than that: uncensorable web storage, hosting, DNS, DEXes, gaming, appstores and more...Crypto is our escape...They've hemmed us in IRL, but they can't hem us in online...Satoshi, Hal and Ross showed us a path to freedom...It's our job to protect it ✊”
My intent is not to signal agreement with 100% of what this person says or believes. But I do think there are important elements here for us to keep in mind as we design technology platforms and capabilities, establish data governance, security and technology usage policies in our companies, and as we interact with our elected representatives and policy-makers:
- Human rights and privacy are tied together inextricably. Unfortunately, privacy also is often leveraged for criminal activities. Criminals and governments will always be locked in a pursuit of dominance. That pursuit of dominance however must not be allowed to perversely impact human rights.
- It's up to us collectively to learn and decide where to draw the line between legitimate privacy and human rights on the one hand vs. lawlessness and avoidance of accountability. That's hard to do.
- Governments today have greater surveillance and enforcement capabilities than at any time in history. And, unlike any other time in history, the rise of pervasive centralized networks, robotics, drones, and artificial intelligence is extending government powers even further.
When the US Declaration of Independence and Constitution were written, the framers devoted extensive time, argument and ink to the problem of how to limit government power. We now stand at the threshold of a new era where those old limitations are showing their age. We need to devote more time to considering how to place appropriate limits and guardrails for modern governments empowered with unprecedented levels of real time information and control mechanisms.
Crypto for all of is flaws and misuse, is one very crucial set of capabilities that can be used to preserve human privacy and human rights in an era of when governments are virtually omnipresent and omnipotent.
🌏 Change Leadership: what is it, why is it different, and why is it so vital now?
Looking at the world through the lens of change leadership will give you better ways to: learn, prioritize, execute. empower others, and above all: demonstrate top-tier effectiveness and maximize your impact.
Defining Change Leadership is a S3T Learning Segment that is part of the Change Leadership Learning Series. It will give you a clear understanding of what change leadership is, how it differs from change management, and how it can help you raise your game.
If you recently signed up for S3T, this is a great starting point for your learning journey to become an effective change leader. If you've been a member for a while, here at the new year is a perfect time to reinforce your skills and awareness.
- Leading Change is hard - HBR on why transformation efforts fail.
- John Kotter's 8 steps for leading change - one of the original frameworks for change leadership.
🎯Planning your year: Mindset first, then goals
Here at the beginning of the year, everyone is spending time setting and defining goals - personal and organizational. But we might want to spend more time learning the mindset that makes goals achievable. The right mindset makes a big difference when setting goals and embarking on the journey to learn how to achieve them.
How to think about your goals is a simple little drawing exercise anyone can do in a few minutes of quiet time. It's silly simple but powerful, because it gets you asking the right questions, that are going to help you find the way to achieve your goals...even the ones you worry aren't possible.
Follow the screenshots and see what happens when you do your own version of this drawing!
Recommended Reads This Week
🇺🇸 For the 2024 primaries - James Galbraith dismantles the argument that high debt to GDP ratios require us to cut social programs. "Deficits and high debt-to-GDP ratios are not the problem. What matters is the difference between the interest rate and the growth rate." (Related: US Primary Calendar here)
🤖 Managing AI Expectations - The consensus continues to develop: we were expecting way too much from GenAI. This HBR piece advises cautions experimentation, mindful of two key risks: 1) Productivity gains on an individual level don't always translate to org level gains, and 2) Adverse impacts to creativity, and critical thinking.
🐑 Protect your team from groupthink - Understanding the Common Knowledge Effect can help teams stop burning time on commonly held information and leverage the value of insights that are not as commonly understood.
💬 Final Note
Thanks again for reading and sharing. Hope you are all S3T for a successful week!
Opinions expressed are those of the individuals and do not reflect the official positions of companies or organizations those individuals may be affiliated with. Not financial or legal advice. Authors or guests may hold assets discussed.