What this newsletter was supposed to be when it started

Hi, I’m Sergei.

I grew up in Moscow, studied math, worked in infosec, and wrote articles about Bitcoin. In 2016, I started a PhD in blockchain security and privacy in the University of Luxembourg. In 2017, I launched a podcast about blockchain tech in Russian. Visit my homepage.

The start of a new year is the time for unrealistic resolutions or starting projects to be abandoned by February. But if only one new habit sticks with me this year, let be writing regularly.

I stumbled upon this advice many, many times. Writing organizes your thoughts. Writing promotes your skills and opens new opportunities. Writing helps reflect on your goals and make better life decisions. However, it was difficult to simply start. Especially when there is always something to read, watch, and listen to.

Today, I'm finally launching a newsletter. Why now?

Hopefully having obtained my PhD later in 2020, I'll be deciding what to do next. I've been thinking about this in the background for years, but diffused thoughts and observations are one thing, and clearly formulated guidelines are another. I hope this newsletter helps me convert the former into the latter.

Even as I constantly consume content, I don't really internalize many of the ideas it contains. One way to force myself to reflect more deeply on the ideas I encounter is to write short summaries or just collecting links with a one-line comment on why I found the content interesting.

Building on top of this, I'll ponder the career decisions I'll have to make in 2020-2021.

Six years in, the revolution Bitcoin has started remains my primary interest. I definitely want to continue working in this area. But the space of blockchain careers is frighteningly multi-dimensional. Do I want to be in a technical or a non-technical role? Research or development? Academia or industry? Employee or entrepreneur? As if these questions are not tricky enough, blockchain adds weird ideological / ethical dilemmas on top. Is it ethical to work for a "blockchain" under the control of a centralized development team? Or work for a blockchain analytics company that helps deanonymize users? Or develop anonymization tools that help the "bad guys" evade laws? Is it possible to earn a living developing a truly decentralized technology? What about building a startup?..

There are no universal answers. I'll be trying to find mine, and hope it might be useful for you, dear reader.

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