For many, the term “pseudonymous founder” conjures up an image of a shadowy figure fitted with a Guy Fawkes mask. But, if you look at the recent wave of crypto startups, you’ll notice pseudonymity is becoming an ordinary, run-of-the-mill practice. Crypto’s pseudonymous founders typically don’t curate a daunting, ominous presence – in fact, most have colorful profile pictures (pfps) tethered to their identities in the form of primates, greek gods, anime, and owls with playful names to match: Code Monkey, Zeus, or Owl of Moistness.
Let’s address it from the outset: pseudonymous does not mean anonymous. Anonymity - without a name in latin - might be valuable if you’re making a donation and don’t want the credit, but it’s functionally useless when trying to organize a team and procure financing to build a company or protocol. The distinction seems almost trivial to mention but it’s critical to understanding the inherent value of pseudonymity.
Early-stage recruiting is a fundamentally broken process: there’s a stronger bias towards credentialism than ability. Often, the two are confused for each other. Crypto offers us opportunities to work and collaborate in ways that help us see people more clearly and reach people more broadly. The rise of the pseudonymous economy and daos are just the tip of the iceberg of what’s possible.
When we were reflecting on ways to announce that we’re hiring for an analyst at Volt Capital, we thought over the different ways to do it:
This month we’re running an experiment focused on #3.