Hello Web3

Hello Web3: Why I quit my job to ape into Web3

Felix Vemmer
December 21, 2022

A few months ago during the lockdown, a friend and former colleague at N26 pushed me to check out crypto again. I was skeptical, believing that Bitcoin or even general-purpose blockchains like Ethereum were mostly speculative and had little real-life applicable value.

Little did I know that I would actually get so convinced by the value proposition and innovation of blockchain technology that I would quit my current job to become a full-stack Web3 developer and entrepreneur.

Going Down the Rabbit hole

Starting out to explore Web3, Crypto, and blockchain technology felt like drinking from a fire hose. I felt quite lost and overwhelmed with so many complicated terms and concepts. You start with a question and suddenly go so deep on a topic that you forget how you ended up there in the first place.

A very common experience in crypto/web3 is to have a friend who was previously dismissive — “it’s all scams” — become a convert after “going down the rabbit hole.”

To give you a sense of what my journey felt like here are a series of questions I had when I went down the rabbit hole. To make it more fun I grouped them into different levels and provided some links, so you can find answers more quickly!

Crypto Beginner

Crypto Intermediate

  • [ ] How much does it cost to get my crypto off an exchange into my own wallet?
  • [ ] What are gas fees? How are they calculated?
  • [ ] Why is it so expensive to make a transaction on Ethereum? How can I check and monitor the gas prices?
  • [ ] What is an NFT? What is minting? Where can I check and buy some NFTs?
  • [ ] Why are people so crazy about the Bored Ape Yacht Club, Crypto punks, and other projects?
  • [ ] What is decentralized finance? Where can I find the biggest projects?
  • [ ] How are decentralized exchanges different from centralized exchanges?
  • [ ] What are stable coins? What is the difference between DAI and USDT/USDC?
  • [ ] What does it mean to yield farm, ape into something or hodl? Why do people put (3, 3) on their Twitter profiles?
  • [ ] What is DAO? How do I become part of a DAO?

Crypto Expert

  • [ ] Why are people referring to Olympus DAO as DEFI 2.0? How can protocols even promise a 10000% return?
  • [ ] Why do most protocols launch their own token and create liquidity pools? What is impermanent loss or forced liquidation?
  • [ ] What is an airdrop?
  • [ ] What is so special about everyone putting their .eth domains on their Twitter?
  • [ ] What is the difference between Proof of Work and Proof of Stake?
  • [ ] What is EIP-1599? What are ERC-20, ERC-721, ERC-1511 standards?
  • [ ] How will Ethereum scale? What are some other new blockchains like Solana and Avalanche about?
  • [ ] What is the difference between a Layer 2 and a Side chain?
  • [ ] What are roll-ups about? Optimistic vs. Zero-Knowledge roll-ups?
  • [ ] What are the differences between zk-SNARKs and zk-STARKs?
  • [ ] What is data sharding?
  • [ ] What are all these tools/frameworks/programming languages: ether.js, hardhat, solidity, vyper, remix, OpenZeppelin?

Why Web3 is a GameChanger

After going deep down the rabbit hole, I am excited to share my synthesis and reasoning of why Web3 matters and why it is here to stay.


Web 1: Read

Web 1 (1990-2005) was about reading information from the internet. It was powered by decentralized open protocols where value was created on the edges of the network by users and builders.


Web 2: Read and Write

Web 2 (2005-2020) applications allow users to not only read but also write to the internet and create value. With Web2, we see however that a handful of very powerful companies (e.g. the term FANG/MANGA) successfully concentrated the value through siloed, centralized services. Most often we implicitly pay monopoly-like fees or with our data for likes and dopamine hits.


Web 3: Read, Write and Own

Web 3 combines the decentralized, community-governed ethos of Web 1 with the advanced, modern functionality of modern Web applications. The distribution of tokens allows builders and users to have real transferable ownership.

Web 2: Users are the data, corporations own the platform, and the code is closed. Web 3: Users own their data, contributors own the platform, and the code is open.

NFTs are more than JPEGs

Many people think NFTs are a joke as anyone can simply right-click and save the picture. But NFTs are much more than JPEGs.

Chris Dixons and quite well summarizes a new mental model for ownership on the internet:

I think of an NFT as - it's as general a concept as the webpage. When it first comes out, people are like, "Oh it's a website" and they try to map it to the offline world. But it's a core new concept, the idea of owning something on the internet. - @cdixon

You can do anything with NFTs that you can do with a webpage, but on top of it, you can have scarcity and ownership and allocation and rights associated with it. This is really big. - @naval

I bought my very first own NFT, not for hype reasons or the pixelated JPEG but to become part of a growing community with a common goal:

First minted #nft 🤓 not for the purple dress or art but to learn more about #web3 and to be part of the @developer_dao community! Thanks to 🙏 @dabit3 for introducing 💪
First minted #nft 🤓 not for the purple dress or art but to learn more about #web3 and to be part of the @developer_dao community! Thanks to 🙏 @dabit3 for introducing 💪 https://t.co/R9sPAxMjzV

Being your Own Bank: Transparent & Private

Ownership goes however far beyond NFTs. In Web 3 irrespective of your gender, race, or age you can be your own bank and receive payments by creating a wallet to receive payments in a fraction of seconds. Just go to punkwallet.io and you are ready to receive payments:

Burner Wallet
Burner Wallet.io example

Having your own wallet and being 100% responsible for keeping your private keys safe and secret is quite a lot of responsibility, but also very liberating. No one can take your money away without your permission and impose where when and how quickly you can spend your own money.

An additional bonus: All your transactions are private and transparent at the same time. Anyone can track payments for any wallet address publicly at any point in time. For example, head to etherscan and put this wallet address into the search bar:


Without any connection to an ENS domain or Central Exchange that has KYC in place, you would not know who this address belongs to. However, as you can see this address is linked to vitalik.eth and belongs to Vitalik Buterin the founder of Ethereum.

Tornado Cash
Tornado Cash Process

Still, if you care about privacy there are protocols like Tornado.cash for private transactions on Ethereum that leverage zkSNARKs under the hood:

Zk-SNARK is an acronym that stands for “Zero-Knowledge Succinct Non-Interactive Argument of Knowledge.” A zk-SNARK is a cryptographic proof that allows one party to prove it possesses certain information without revealing that information. This proof is made possible using a secret key created before the transaction takes place.

The pace of Innovation: Web Native Payments & Composability

Already in university, I had an interest in FinTech and financial services which lead me to join N26 one of Europe's most innovative challenger banks.

While N26 seemingly innovated banking through a smoother UI/UX and onboarding experience by bringing banking to mobile phones, I only realized now how little innovation actually happens in FinTech compared to decentralized finance in Web 3.


DeFi is an open and global financial system built for the internet age – an alternative to a system that's opaque, tightly controlled, and held together by decades-old infrastructure and processes. It gives you control and visibility over your money. It gives you exposure to global markets and alternatives to your local currency or banking options. DeFi products open up financial services to anyone with an internet connection and they're largely owned and maintained by their users.

Decentralized Finance offers new innovative ideas that simply cannot be built with current Web 2 technology. One example would be that I can borrow through flash loans millions of euros without any collateral at almost no cost:

Flash Loans are the first uncollateralized loan option in DeFi! Designed for developers, Flash Loans enable you to borrow instantly and easily, no collateral needed provided that the liquidity is returned to the pool within one transaction block. 

If this does not happen, the whole transaction is reversed to effectively undo the actions executed until that point. This guarantees the safety of the funds in the reserve pool. Use-cases include arbitrage, collateral swapping, self-liquidation, and many more.

Ok many might say this is a cool party trick for developers but the essence behind these new innovative products are smart contracts that make money programmable and superior to traditional methods of handling payments:

By running on a decentralized blockchain instead of a centralized server, smart contracts allow multiple parties to come to a shared result in an accurate, timely, and tamper-proof manner.

Smart contracts are a powerful infrastructure for automation because they are not controlled by a central administrator and are not vulnerable to single points of attack by malicious entities. When applied to multi-party digital agreements, smart contract applications can reduce counterparty risk, increase efficiency, lower costs, and provide new levels of transparency into processes.

The open-ended and permissionless nature of DeFi protocols allows anyone to stack different smart contracts together like lego blocks, creating rapidly new innovative products like Alchemix which created instant self-repaying loans (Note, this is not a typo but Alchemix loans automatically repay themselves over time).

Alchemix Money Legos
Alchemix Money Legos

Current Unstoppable Momentum

Finally, I feel that the moment is perfect for transitioning as we are still in the '90s of Internet adoption. So not too early but also early enough to build and hack some cool projects together:

Crypto adoption = 90's Internet adoption Show this to your skeptic crypto family members.
Crypto adoption = 90's Internet adoption 

Show this to your skeptic crypto family members. https://t.co/gNgCvlQ1s8

And momentum is picking up with all-time new highs in alt-coins, Facebook rebranding to Meta, all pushing general interest in topics like Web3 to a new level:

Web3 Google Trends
Google Trends for Web3 Keyword

Still skeptical if blockchain is just a trend or here to stay? Well, Ethereum just recently surpassed the market cap of the largest global banks:

So $ETH has surpassed every global bank’s market cap… and you’re “still not sure” if this whole blockchain / crypto thing is here to stay? 🤨
So $ETH has surpassed every global bank’s market cap…

and you’re “still not sure” if this whole blockchain / crypto thing is here to stay? 🤨 https://t.co/oIlptH8SYn

So if governments do not like it, can't it just be shut down? At this point, it is pretty much impossible to shut down the Ethereum supercomputer as it is fully decentralized. But it's not only the hardware it's also the ideas and communities behind it:

You can’t stop it. It’s ultimately code and code is just speech and speech is just ideas. You can’t stop ideas. And if you try to stop that, you're going to miss out on the greatest wealth creation and innovation since the internet came into being. - @naval

Taking a step back to climb a bigger hill

It was a scary decision to leave my current career in data engineering behind. However, I already once successfully transitioned from a complete business background with a master's in International Management to a career in tech.

So instead of focusing on the next prize, the next promotion, or the next bonus, I decided again to take a step back and learn about a completely new domain and acquire the necessary skills to be successful in Web3. It feels good to follow my curiosity and I love the exposure to new technologies, and being at the forefront of innovation.

So it is not really about taking a step back but just climbing an even bigger hill where I can build upon my skills in data engineering and my business background. Since there are many other people who transition into Web3 it feels also great to have found a community in developer DAO with many like-minded people.

Amazing #community @developer_dao 💪 no better way to become a #blockchain #developer than being #part of such a #vibrant and #inspiring movement 🚀 where ppl support you at each step!
Our goal is to make learning + building web3 as accessible as possible. 🌏🌍🌎 That means that all of our events will be completely free & open. 🤝 That means we will continue curating and sharing the best content in existence. 〰 Follow us to be on the cutting edge of web3.

I hope that this blog post helps others to get excited about Web3 and encourages those who are on the edge to also ape into Web3.

A big thanks to also many people and DAO's who impacted, inspired, and helped me to learn about Web3 and blockchain engineering:

Evrard | Jimmy | Christian | Nader Dabit | Austin Griffith | Chris Dixon | Naval Ravikant | Developer DAO | Bankless DAO | Buildspace | Stablecoins WTF