Hudson Jameson has been an Ethereum believer since it was proposed in late 2013 by co-founder Vitalik Buterin—and has been following Bitcoin since 2011. All this time, he’s held one belief; building great technology is the way to see it adopted worldwide. A phrase often used to describe this is, “If you build it, they will come.” But yesterday, he decided to throw that strategy out of the window.
“I used to be in the ‘focus on the technology and building above marketing’ group when it came to Ethereum. I have changed my mind. We need a lot of funding dedicated to marketing Ethereum,” he said, adding, “The best tech doesn't always win out.”
Jameson, the community manager at the Ethereum Foundation, has a strong voice in the community and is known for singing onstage wearing a pumpkin suit at Ethereum’s biggest conference, Devcon. We caught up with Jameson, over Skype, who explained why he had changed his tune.
“We're absolutely an echo chamber and I think that we need to gather perspective from people who are not in our echo chamber,” he told Decrypt.
Even Devcon happens just once a year. Hudson considers it “a really great way to get the word out,” but “we frankly just need more. More outreach at conferences and expos that aren’t purely blockchain focused.”
To his credit, Jameson’s talented at communicating the complex, technical aspects of Ethereum to a broader audience. Indeed, he is one of the many prominent, helpful voices of Ethereum, who do an excellent job of explaining the technology to the uninitiated. And he doesn’t think Ethereum’s campaign to broadcast its message to the public has failed, just that “it hasn’t scaled at the appropriate speed it should.”
But Ethereum’s sluggishness when it comes to scaling has damaged its price. After reaching highs of $1,359 in January, 2018, the price of Ethereum (ETH) has steadily declined against the price of both bitcoin and the US dollar. One ether is now worth $138, or just 0.017 bitcoin.
Taking a leaf out of Bitcoin’s book
Jameson looks at Bitcoin, which grew in popularity through grassroots campaigns and guerilla marketing. It was exciting, fun, and subversive. “We haven't seen that same type of grassroots marketing, meetups and widespread recognizability of the Ethereum brand comparative to Bitcoin,” he said.
For inspiration, Jameson points to Steven Becker, COO of MakerDAO—an incredibly complex DeFi project that backs its stablecoin with collateralized cryptocurrency—who is appearing at one of the world’s largest annual tech conferences this week, CES.
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“They are effectively reaching outside the realm of blockchainers to market to people who may have never heard of the technology before,” he said.
Jameson urged developers to hit up technical conferences, to “bring your blockchain knowledge to those conferences,” to “share the knowledge of what this technology can do and how those developers can get involved building the stack.”
Jameson also calls for more grassroots campaigning for people to use decentralized apps in their everyday lives, “so that over time people who are in positions of power will recognize the scope and breadth of this technology and start to implement it.”
So, if we build it and heavily market it, will they come?