Cryptonatives: Griff Green

You may know him as the guy discussing decentralizing all the things while wearing a Santa suit at Burning Man.

We’re honored to have had the opportunity to chat with Griff Green, co-founder of Giveth, Commons Stack, and General Magic, on the latest and greatest installment of Cryptonatives. Welcome, Griff!

PWN: What do you think defines a cryptonative?

GG: I think a cryptonative is anyone whose default financial system is crypto. If crypto's easier for you to use than the traditional finance system, then you're a cryptonative.

PWN: What are some of the main issues facing cryptonatives in today's financial ecosystem? What issues have you faced and how are you mitigating these?

GG: The hardest thing is always interacting with the traditional finance system. It’s trying to figure out how to convert crypto into cash or funds in your bank account. It's really hard in certain countries that are especially strict (Germany, for example), where you have to show in a bank that you’re receiving some kind of payment to do normal things like rent an apartment.

Another challenge facing cryptonatives that perhaps not many people talk about openly is having the ability to keep your spirits up when tokens crash. It's like this endless cycle of euphoria to just despair, you know? We had a nice euphoric couple of years – like 2020 through 2021 – and now we're making our way through the despair years.

A way that I’ve gotten through some of the challenges I’ve faced is just through continuously building. I do my best to remember what the potential of this technology is while putting aside the whims of the markets, since the prices will always go up and down. As long as you make sure that you have enough stables set aside for your own personal life and you make a strong line between the money that you need versus the money that you can play with, then you're good.

It's when you start mixing these things that things get challenging. And especially for most cryptonatives who have been living out the cryptonative lifestyle for the last few years, they're doing okay financially as long as they haven’t gambled too hard.

PWN: In 2022 and beyond, how is Giveth pushing the envelope on what DAOs can accomplish in society?

GG: I really think DAOs are our solutions to making something better than governments. I know that my goal is to build systems that are better than governments for solving the same problems.

We first have to look at the problems governments are currently solving. The reason governments are so sticky and basically control every square meter of this planet is because they provide public goods – they coordinate around things that markets can't coordinate effectively around. So we need to look at how DAOs can start solving those problems.

Giveth’s thesis is basically that when governments fail to provide value that society demands, people start nonprofits. And nonprofits are effectively the seed of the evolution – it's about building systems that work better than governments at providing the same services governments provide. I think DAOs are uniquely positioned to do that because they can use the services that governments provide. Nonprofits traditionally don't have revenue models, but they are creating value. So if they're creating value, then they can have economic models, and DAOs can start bottom-up economies that can reward people through issuance and create demand for the token that they issue for accessibility and to control how the services are distributed.

And that's our overall goal: To start economic models for nonprofits. If those are successful, they can be more successful than government services. That's where we hope to push DAOs forward.

I think DAOs can eventually replace governments, but it won’t mean that the United States DAO will be created someday. Instead, you’ll have an incredible number of DAOs that are competing to provide public services. There will be thousands of them, just like you have in a free market for private goods.

PWN: Tell us about an eye-opening experience or top memory from one of your crypto camps at Burning Man.

GG: I also consider this to be crypto work, as surprising as that might be. The effort of my Burning Man camp, DECENTRAL, is to create a beautiful cross-pollination between the burners, burner culture, and the tools that the cryptonatives are bringing to the field. We host these really fun interactive “fishbowl” panels, and that's our main service to the community. Burners get to talk to crypto experts and actually engage with the community.

The coolest thing about Burning Man is that it's much more than just a festival – it's an economic experiment. There is no money at Burning Man (except for ice as it is mandated by the state). You walk into a bar, you order a drink, they give you the drink, and you say thank you. It's a complete gift economy. I think it’s important for people in crypto to experience this economy, as most people in crypto only have experience with one form of economic system: Capitalism. And if that's the case, I worry we’re just going to use blockchain to build hyper-capitalism.

There's nothing wrong with capitalism, and there's nothing wrong with the gift economy. But just having a second point of reference for how an economic system can evolve is key. And although Burning Man’s gift economy may not work at scale (for a nation state), it works during that one week of the festival, and there's this expectation that if someone's giving to you, you're probably going to be giving to someone somewhere else later. The most interesting part is that it's innate. You feel it when you go out at Burning Man and you start receiving some of these gifts – you just need to give back.

Griff Green’s DECENTRAL banner (Image credit: Cointelegraph)

PWN: Do you have anything else you would like to share with the interwebs at this time?

GG: If you're raising money for any nonprofit cause, or if you're a cryptonative and you want to donate to a nonprofit, Giveth is the way that you can do so. We've created a donation mining system, you could say. For example, if you're mining Bitcoin, you get rewarded for providing security. If you're mining on Giveth, you get rewarded for donating. So it's sort of like the cryptonative form of a tax deduction, except we don't care if you pay taxes! The nonprofit also isn’t required to be a legal entity.

There's no friction here. Instead of having to fill out paperwork to get a discount on your taxes, you just donate and then you get tokens back. It’s super simple.

At the end of the day, you simply need to show us that you're doing good work. You can be a DAO, a nonprofit, or a mutual aid group with no formal legal structure – in any of these cases, Giveth makes it possible for you to raise money and reward your donors in a competitive way. Our goal is to meet nonprofits where they are and try to bring them into the web3 system while also rewarding everyone in the donation space who's participating.

I’ve also spun out another project called the Commons Stack. Its aim is to build microeconomies around public goods provision. So if you’re trying to provide value to society in one way or another, and you have a community that's ready to experiment with the web3 space and actually try to create an economy around the value you're creating, Commons Stack is looking to help you do that. We'll help you structure an economy, show you how bonding curves work for low-liquidity environments, and help you build your own economy from the bottom up.

A third organization that I support is General Magic. General Magic is a dev team providing solutions and services for impact DAOs. So if you have work that you need to get done, General Magic is available for hire (at a reasonable price!). We take probably half the market rate because we're really focused on supporting teams who are mission-aligned, who want to make the world a better place, and provide value for society. We don't help teams build DeFi casinos. We help teams build the future replacements of governments.

If any of these things are interesting to you, you can find me on Twitter and ping me there.

PWN’s Cryptonatives is a Q&A series with some of the brightest minds within the web3 and DeFi space who are building and making active use of the services that today’s crypto ecosystem has to offer. Through shedding light on their experiences and lessons learned throughout their careers, it’s our team’s goal to educate the masses and further spread our guests’ wealth of knowledge.

Read through our previous Cryptonatives interview with DeFi Dad.

Have someone that you’d love to see featured in the series? Reach out to us on Twitter or Discord and let us know.

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