EV means expected value. We use it in poker to judge the quality of our decisions, independent of the outcomes. When you lose $900k, it’s useful to know whether you played great and got unlucky... or just played like shit.
Was the choice good, or was it bad? Did you generate value, or punt it away? EV is a useful framework for web 3: NFTs, DAOs, blockchain, crypto.
Owning a Bored Ape or investing in $OHM gives you better comps than Bellagio. Everywhere you look there are waifus and unicorns. But just like slot machines, NFTs are not for everyone. Casinos pump oxygen to keep you refreshed, awake, and gambling constantly, just like liquidity mining programs hit you with greater and greater yields. They are windowless — you cannot see the outside world. There is nothing more and nothing less than the casino.
You can’t escape the sound of the chips clacking.
I think if you’re building in crypto — the new gold rush — and you genuinely want to build something valuable and lasting, you have an obligation to acknowledge that WAGMI is the anthem of a new generation of gamblers who are betting on an Internet that’s like a casino.
If you’re selling the picks and shovels, you have an obligation to teach your users how to dig.
But there are also scams and charlatans at every corner, looking to pick your pockets and sell you fool’s gold.
I’m personally excited by crypto. Not only are NFTs reigniting my brother’s love of collectibles — making me nostalgic for the days when we combed Long Island with our father for rare Star Wars toys — but they’ve made the Internet fun and gamelike in a way it hasn’t been since the online poker boom. Composability and community ownership enable novel ways of capturing value, and we can now build incentive structures for creative people to earn a better living — or, at the minimum, have more fun doing what they love.
But it’s not all upside, even if that’s what the casino wants you to think.
There are people who find themselves in casinos ready to lose the money they brought. There are also those who come looking to test their mental mettle against a room designed to extract their money from their wallets.
Knowing where you stand is half the battle.