The crypto space is massive, filled with promises of quick success and exponential gains. But for every coin that moon-shots, there are countless others that fade away. And for every pioneer who becomes an overnight millionaire and dips, there are countless others who persist, innovate, and push forward, seeking real, lasting impact. Edward Felten of Arbitrum, is one of those pioneers. In an enlightening exclusive interview with Cryptopolitan, Felten dove deep, revealing some juicy details about his journey with Arbitrum right from the beginning up until now.
Here is how it goes…
From classroom to mainnet
It’s not every day that a classroom project metamorphoses into a robust layer 2 solution, but that’s precisely the tale of Arbitrum. Ed recalls, “We started off in 2018 as an academic project at Princeton.”
But even as the core idea developed in an academic setting, transitioning from a robust technical approach to an intuitive product wasn’t immediate. “We switched our technical approach early on,” he admits.
This wasn’t about chasing trends; it was about responding to the new financial landscape and ensuring that Arbitrum remained not just relevant, but revolutionary.
But, let’s be honest – it wasn’t all rosy. The path was fraught with challenges, as Felten pointed out, requiring more than just technological shifts. But the mission was clear: replicate the Ethereum experience but in a faster, more affordable manner.
Interestingly though, when asked if he views Ethereum as a competition, he merely chuckled and said no, Arbitrum sees itself as a compliment to Ethereum. It sees it as a foundation without which the project wouldn’t have gotten far.
Beyond the tech
While important, the technical foundation is just one facet of the coin (pun intended). Building a sustainable business, particularly in a volatile domain like cryptocurrency, demands so much more. From hiring the right talent to understanding and navigating the vast crypto ecosystem, the tasks are countless.
“Our hiring process was bad at first,” Felten acknowledges, emphasizing the learning curve that startups often experience. But it wasn’t just about filling roles; it was about finding individuals who shared the vision, passion, and resilience required to drive a project forward in the unpredictable world of cryptocurrency.
One critical takeaway from Felten’s experiences is that startup success, even in the crypto space, often hinges on the synergy among its co-founders.
That chemistry, the complementary strengths, and the collective resilience during challenging times is what sets great ventures like Arbitrum apart from the millions of failed ones.
Persistence, Not Just Tokens
Arbitrum, as Felten aptly pointed out, was never just about a new token or quick profits. It has always been about creating lasting value.
The crypto industry is vast and unpredictable, and while it’s easy to get lost in the noise of pumping tokens, real gems like Arbitrum emerge from persistent effort and a commitment to evolution. Ed’s advice to budding crypto enthusiasts? “Good things take time.”
From the right: Karnika E. Yashwant, Mitch Rankin, Ed Felten, Yaros Belkin. Photo credits: Karnika E. Yashwant
Mitch Rankin and Karnika Yashwant are the founders of Forward Protocol, and were present for the interview with Felten, which was led by Yaros Belkin.
They also nod in agreement to the undeniable truth: significant achievements in the blockchain industry demand time, unwavering commitment, and an appetite for tackling immense challenges.
While Arbitrum addresses the complexities of scaling and optimizing decentralized networks, innovators like Forward Protocol are working on an equally important challenge: accessibility. Drawing parallels to WordPress, Forward Protocol aims to be the gateway for Web 3.0, offering a no-code solution that ushers in a wider audience.
Much like Arbitrum’s commitment to robust Layer 2 solutions, Forward’s mission is about simplifying the processes, ensuring that even those unfamiliar with the tech can harness the power of blockchain.
Moving on, Felten’s retrospective glance at Arbitrum’s journey is more than just a trip down memory lane. It serves as a potent reminder of the value of grit and perseverance.
While the glitz and glamor of instant success stories might seem alluring, the genuine heart of crypto lies in tales like these – stories that showcase the rollercoaster ride of entrepreneurship in all its raw authenticity.
Crypto business isn’t for the faint-hearted, and there’s no shortcut to genuine, lasting success. While the Arbitrum narrative might lack the instant ‘WOW’ factor many fans seek, it stands as a testament to the true essence of success in the cryptoverse: raw, unyielding, and achieved one challenge at a time.
And to all the emerging crypto entrepreneurs out there: Take note. The road to lasting success is long, winding, and demanding. But as Arbitrum’s journey underscores, it’s well worth the ride.