During the California Gold Rush (1848–1855) approximately 300,00 people uprooted themselves along with their entire families from across the United States for a mere chance at finding gold in the Sierra Nevada mountains.
Alongside propelling California to statehood, the ’49 Gold Rush brought new mining techniques to the forefront and invigorated the world economy through the increased demand for imported foods from around the world and prefabricated housing and transportation materials for the population explosion that ensued.
However, the success was not evenly distributed.
Miners frequently found themselves subject to gang intimidation, theft, isolation, violence, and predatory scams in everything from mining rights to equipment and food purchases. To survive, miners formed their own guilds leading to gangs forming and vigilantism running rampant. Every day was a struggle, and those who wanted to survive had to work together.
Furthermore, historical analysis shows that many miners never made significant profits. A few key individuals such as Sam Brannan struck it rich: by running a general store during the height of the rush (1849), the price of his products increased rapidly, and his store generated $150,000 in monthly revenue (almost $4 million today).
Additionally, entire populations of natives died from the introduction of novel diseases, resource crowding, and outright genocide.
While the digital frontier and ‘Gold Rush of Web3’ is infinitely more civilized, democratized, and subject to legal authority, there are significant parallels we can learn from:
Experience in the space reveals the following:
- Launching a project from an idea through mint requires a series of carefully executed stratagems with numerous potential pitfalls and missteps — any of which can burn a good project to the ground instantly.
- Navigating this path usually requires making connections (banding together) with reputable individuals whom you may never meet. You instead are more likely to come across someone with malicious self-interest.
- The reverse is also true: a well meaning individual, in seeking to invest and mentor a project, can easily fall prey to a project with malicious intent and become blinded by their own biases.
- Siloed efforts — as the space becomes bigger and more crowded, there are elevated requirements and utilities that — while once new and exciting — are now expected (tokens, audited contracts, secure servers, Web3-enabled websites, alpha callers, in-server games and community events, ticketing systems, etc.)
…Up Next, We Need a Hero!