How to build in web3: New talks from Crypto Startup School '23

a16z crypto editorial

Web3 technologies have made rapid progress in recent years, with exciting research, maturing infrastructure, and new protocols now in the wild. But all of the industry-specific know-how, emerging tools, and rapidly evolving trends can be difficult for founders to navigate. Many are excited by the promise of web3, but aren’t sure how to get started or what to explore next – whether they’re new to crypto or more seasoned web3 founders.

That’s why we launched Crypto Startup School in 2020 – and recently relaunched it this year – with the goal of helping builders get started on new crypto projects. From go-to-market, community, and product-market fit to technical deep dives and the latest research, we’ve covered a wide range of topics relevant to all kinds of builders in the space.  

And now we’re publicly sharing the curriculum – 30+ new talks – with all of you. To start, here are five videos covering protocol design, go-to-market strategies for pricing, the basics of cryptography for blockchains, and more. We’ll share new talks in near-weekly “drops”, so be sure to subscribe to our channel and newsletter for the latest updates, resources, posts, and more. 

We hope that sharing these will continue to accelerate learning (we got so much wonderful feedback from so many of you on the 2020 talks, which you can watch here) and spark ideas as we all continue to grow this important ecosystem. 

Watch the first five talks

  1. Web3 and how we got here, with Chris Dixon (Founder, Managing Partner, a16z crypto)
  2. Protocol design: why and how, with Eddy Lazzarin (CTO, a16z crypto)
  3. Cryptography for blockchains: Avoiding common mistakes, with Dan Boneh (Professor in Applied Cryptography and Computer Security, Stanford University, and a16z crypto Senior Advisor)
  4. Web3 pricing and business models, with Maggie Hsu (Partner and Go-to-market Lead, a16z crypto) and Jason Rosenthal (Operating Partner, a16z crypto)
  5. A conversation with Mary-Catherine Lader (COO, Uniswap Labs), moderated by Sonal Chokshi (Editor-in-Chief, a16z crypto)

Web3 and how we got here

Founder and General Partner Chris Dixon shares a sweeping origin story of the internet as we know it, from first protocols to monolithic social networks, and the potential of a truly open and decentralized web. So how did we get here? What were the compromises we made along the way? And how do we lay a new path toward a better internet?

Protocol design: Why and how

The internet is, and has been since its inception, a network of protocols – formal systems for interaction that facilitate complex group behaviors. Protocols are the foundation of web3, but we are still early in our journey. With tools and technologies (and the words and taxonomies we use describe them) still emerging, how can builders create decentralized protocols that last? In this talk, a16z crypto CTO Eddy Lazzarin shares mental models for reasoning about protocol design, along with guidelines for builders for designing economically sustainable protocols that resist centralization.

Cryptography for blockchains: Avoiding common mistakes

Cryptography underpins everything we do, in crypto and beyond – but not everyone has taken a cryptography course. So in this talk, Dan Boneh, a leading researcher in applied cryptography and a16z senior advisor, starts from the beginning, and focuses on key concepts web3 builders need to understand. Boneh defines cryptographic primitives, shares how to apply them correctly to blockchains, and, along the way, traces the evolution of blockchain cryptography, as exciting use cases emerge and new and improved techniques rise to the occasion.

Workshop: Web3 pricing and business models

a16z crypto’s Jason Rosenthal and Maggie Hsu share decades of experience coaching web2 and web3 companies of all sizes. Their Q&A-based workshop explores practical frameworks, examples, and heuristics for web3 startups thinking through common questions about pricing; and shares popular pricing models, common pitfalls to avoid, and case studies relevant to any builder wondering how to approach their business model.

Leadership talk with Uniswap Labs COO Mary-Catherine Lader

Uniswap Labs COO Mary-Catherine (MC) Lader joins us for an overview on everything she’s learned while leading Ethereum’s largest decentralized crypto exchange. Moderated by a16z Editor and Chief Sonal Chokshi, the conversation tours Lader’s top-of-mind advice, from web3 vs web2 go-to-market strategies, to the unique nuances, challenges, and opportunities of building critical infrastructure in public.