Hi, I'm Radek.
I have started learning web3 (crypto, blockchain), and I'll be doing it in public.
It's easy to drown in information overload and never start (or finish) doing anything because there's too much of everything: videos, course, Twitter accounts, green charts, red charts, exploding NFTs, imploding NFTs, volatility, FUD, uncertainty.
To save you weeks or months of research and to help you first start and then stick to learning blockchain development, I'm documenting my journey as it happens.
I have a rough plan of my learning journey (you'll find it further down below), and I will go through it and give feedback:
I want to learn blockchain development.
For the learning to be more efficient, I want public accountability.
I want to help others do what I'm going to do and save a lot of time, stress, and uncertainty.
Ultimately, I want to build. Build real-life products and services based on blockchain.
Last but not least, 2021 is a year of monthly challenges for me. You can read more about it here. Each month, I have a challenge to do something for 30 days (no sugar, 30 minutes reading a book, cold shower each morning, etc.) I decided that September will be a month whit at least 1 hour of learning each day. Blockchain is a good learning topic, so that's what I'm going to do: learn blockchain for at least 1 hour every day. Starting September, but if I like it enough, continuing it indefinitely.
If any of the goals above sound similar to what you also might want, I'm happy to hear that! Read on for details and next steps.
I didn't start wanting to build. I started wanting to earn.
I resisted going into crypto for a long time, but I finally jumped in a few years ago, around 2017/2018. I bought a bunch of different coins and waited for their inevitable growth. The thing is, I did it at the worst possible time. Twelve months later, my portfolio was worth -95% (!!!). That's ninety-five percent down, not a typo.
I gave up and forgot all about it. Well, to be honest, "forgetting about it" didn't mean not thinking about it all. But it went from checking my crypto wallet every 15 minutes to checking it every other week or so.
I didn't sell anything. It didn't make sense. In my mind, 95% loss was as bad as losing everything, so I just left it untouched.
A year or two have passed.
Crypto started growing again. Miraculously, my portfolio grew back into a positive ROI. Only because I didn't sell anything.
After a very long time, I bought some more crypto. And... market crashed again. Of course.
Here's where my winning moves have happened in 2018 and 2021:
Want to do fabulously well? Just ask me when I buy, then sell instead. As history would confirm, you couldn't go wrong with this strategy.
After that, I decided that my trading career is trending the wrong way and that it's not the best way to go.
The whole industry, technology, and possibilities were still fascinating, and I didn't want to leave it all behind.
So I decided to go from passively buying to actively building.
But first, I needed to learn to build. And that's exactly what I'm doing now.
Bitcoin is the big daddy of the industry. Ethereum is the cool kid that runs circles around the big daddy. And Solana is a new kid on the block that may or may not be The Next Big Thing.
Which one to choose?
Bitcoin is not exactly meant as a platform to build on. It's rather a store of value. So it doesn't make much sense to learn building for Bitcoin.
Ethereum is currently where most of the building is happening. It has its issues (speed of transactions, cost of making transactions, energy consumption), but most of them should be solved when Ethereum 2.0 arrives (planned for 2022). It's a blockchain's version of mainstream.
Solana is (at least in my opinion) quickly emerging as a come-from-behind dark horse that may become a significant player. It's very fast, transactions are cheap, low energy consumption, and there's a growing number of exciting projects on the platform. I'd love to build for Solana, but it has drawbacks too. It's significantly more challenging to learn (Rust is not easy to start with). The base and community is smaller. As a result: fewer tools, resources, etc.
To sum it up:
Decision: start with Solidity and Ethereum. Get comfortable with it and build a few things. Once it's done, then explore Solana. This way, it will be easier to get into Solana, and also more interesting, because I would then be able to see more differences and nuances between the two, and learn from both.
It's worth having a React foundation before even touching anything Ethereum-related. For achieving enough React mastery to be able to start and not to feel lost, I'll be going through this course:
Modern React with Redux. Sections 1-15 only, without the whole Redux part.
2. Solidity and Ethereum vol. 0
Build a Web3 App with Solidity + Ethereum Smart Contracts. A simple 2-week course where you immediately plunge into building before you even have any idea what you're doing.
You won't be building anything groundbreaking with it, and you probably won't retain too much learning, but at least you'll see the first live project and will be more informed when going through subsequent, more thorough courses.
3. Solidity and Ethereum vol. 1
Ethereum and Solidity: The Complete Developer's Guide. The first proper course on Solidity and Ethereum, by the same guy who teaches the React course. He's doing a good job at both.
4. Solidity and Ethereum vol. 2
Ethereum Blockchain Developer Bootcamp With Solidity (2021). Another rather thorough course, by a different group of developers. Depending on how confident I am at this point, I may go through it start to finish, skim it, or skip entirely.
5. Solidity and Ethereum vol. Fun
CryptoZombies. To have some fun, as opposed to dry dev videos as in the previous options. CryptoZombies is an interactive school that teaches you all things technical about blockchains. By this time, I expect to know enough to go through it easily, so it should be a fun, playful time (at least I hope so!).
There are a few blocks of lessons. I plan to go through the first one (Beginner & Intermediate lessons 1-6) and move on. There's also an advanced section with five more lessons.
6. Ethereum build - practice
The Complete Guide to Full Stack Ethereum Development. A well-regarded tutorial. The plan is to go along with it and to build something similar in parallel, to keep practicing and solidifying the knowledge.
7. Real app idea
It's time to transition to building something on my own, not just copy what courses or tutorials have to offer.
What am I going to build that will stay?
By this time, I expect to have at least a dozen of apps/services/ideas that I will want to implement. I'll have to decide on one.
8. Ethereum build - for real
My goal is to document the whole journey and share my learnings. I'm sure I will be adapting it more than once. When I do, I'll be sharing why.
How can you follow the journey?
Option 1: Sign up for regular updates by email (see the form at the bottom of this article)
Option 2: Follow me on Twitter. I'll be posting there regularly.
Option 3: You can also bookmark VelvetShark.com and keep coming back to it, but options 1 and 2 are more reliable. Also, does anybody use bookmarks anymore? I'm not sure.
If you want to ask me questions, the best way is probably on Twitter.
If you think someone might be interested in learning blockchain, too, share this article with them. Who knows, maybe in a couple of years, they'll thank you for changing their lives. Hopefully, for the better :)
↓ Ok, so let's go through this journey together! ↓
↑ Like what I'm writing about? Follow me on Twitter.
↓ or get updates when I publish a new article, review a new book or share a new #TIL.