New year, new job 2018 edition

I have some exciting – if somewhat belated – news to share. As you could probably tell from the title of this post, I have a new job. In November I accepted an offer to join the Aragon team as their new Community Lead!


Aragon is a project that I have been following since I first met the co-founder Luis Cuende at a Blockstack meetup in San Francisco. I was excited when they released the alpha version of their testnet client in early 2017 and blown away when they went on to raise $25 million later that year in the fourth-largest crowdfund and the second-largest token sale at the time.

After leaving Abra in July 2017, I took a few months off to explore the cryptocurrency space and see what other opportunities were out there. I considered several offers but kept my options open. The market had changed significantly since my last job search less than a year earlier. One significant change was that there were many projects outside of the Bay Area hiring for remote positions. Aragon was one of those projects.

I reconnected with the Aragon team while I was attending the Crypto-Economic Security Conference in Berkeley, CA. Zooko Wilcox, CEO of Zcash, knew I was looking for a job and had generously offered me one of the tickets his company was given for sponsoring the sold-out event. I accepted the ticket and went to the event, looking forward to meeting new crypto people in the Bay Area and watching interesting talks by the presenters.

I was surprised and delighted to meet María Gómez, Strategy and Operations Lead at Aragon, in person at the event (we’d previously met online while I was working at Abra). María asked what I was doing at the time. I told her I was looking for a new full-time gig, something in a marketing or community role. She told me that Aragon was hiring a Community Lead to replace their then-Community Lead Tatu Kärki, who was transitioning into a Communications Lead role. The rest, as they say, is history.

Within a few weeks, I had gone through several rounds of interviews and flew to Finland to do a trial week with Luis and Tatu. We worked on several community projects throughout the week, and on what would have been Thanksgiving day in the US, they offered me something to be extra thankful for: an opportunity to join the Aragon team as their new Community Lead. I gladly accepted, and have been dutifully serving the Aragon community ever since. Join us!

P.S. Aragon is hiring!

New job FAQ

Congrats on the new job! What does Aragon do?

Thanks! Aragon is building a platform that makes it easy to create and participate in Decentralized Autonomous Organizations, or “DAOs” for short. In the future, the Aragon project itself will be run as a DAO on the Ethereum blockchain. The Aragon DAO will be governed by holders of Aragon Network Tokens (ANT), an ERC-20 token that was sold in mid-2017 to raise the funds needed to develop the Aragon software.

Is $ANT a good buy?

Maybe! DYOR.

What’s it like being part of an Ethereum project?

Although I’ve been following the Ethereum project since its inception in 2013, I haven’t been closely involved since the very early days. After leaving Abra I took some time to explore all the projects that have formed in the ecosystem in the intervening time. Many of the smart contract applications that first got me excited about Ethereum have begun to come to fruition, including p2p prediction markets, asset exchanges, gambling platforms, and, my personal favorite, DAOs. This, along with the amazing team that Luis and Jorge have assembled, is what led me to join Aragon.

Now is a very exciting time to be involved in the open-source cryptocurrency community. There’s no shortage of funding for extremely ambitious projects, including important blockchain research and development work. It seems like the only limitation right now is the supply of engineering talent and the imagination necessary to build the p2p future so many of us envision. I’m excited to help Aragon overcome these limitations in our own community and share what we create with the broader p2p ecosystem.

Are you still working with Bitseed?

Yes! I think 2018 will be a big year for Bitseed. We have started shipping orders for Bitseed 3, the next-generation version of our plug-and-play bitcoin full nodes. And we’ll also soon be relaunching our developer community so that devs who are interested in helping us improve Bitseed have an easy way to get involved and work together.

The kind of projects I’m really excited to work on with the Bitseed community include adding support for Layer 2 protocols such as Blockstack and the Lightning Network. Then Bitseed owners could have a node that not only secures their bitcoin transactions, but can also resolve decentralized domain names for them or even earn bitcoin by providing liquidity to the Lightning Network. Future work could even include using the node as a decentralized storage device or a crypto-incentivized mesh router. The possibilities are endless.

If you’re interested in helping us with any of these projects, please get in touch.

So what’s next for John Light?

Bitseed 3 ships this month, the Bitseed developer community relaunches shortly after, and Aragon goes live on Ethereum mainnet sometime in Q1/Q2 2018. I’ll probably be traveling a lot for Aragon community events this year, so if there are any cool crypto events you think I should be at let me know in the comments below or ping me on Twitter or @light in the Aragon Chat.

Email is probably the most popular decentralized messaging protocol. Add yourself to my email contacts if you would like to stay in touch!

New year, new job

Yesterday I published a post on the Abra blog announcing that I have joined the company to help “extend [cash on- and off-ramps for Bitcoin] globally.” Most of the details about why I made the decision to join Abra are in that post, but for my friends who I’m sure will have more questions, I’m putting together an FAQ to answer questions about the new job and how it affects other projects I’ve been working on.

Why Abra?

I really like the team and the company’s mission. As I mentioned in the post on Abra’s blog, I started the Buttonwood SF meetup to make it easy and safe for people in my local community to get cash in and out of the Bitcoin network, and now I’m excited to work with Abra to make that possible worldwide.

What will happen to Buttonwood SF?

I actually turned over control of the meetup page to a prominent local bitcoin trader a while ago because I was traveling a lot for work and figured he’d be a better steward. Eventually he stopped paying the meetup dues and no one else in the community stepped up to take over. So right now the meetup page is inactive. But some of the folks in the community still meet to trade, and in the future we might decide to either reactivate the meetup page or create a new online community portal somewhere else so people can easily find the meetup. If you have any interest in helping with this, please get in touch!

Are you still working with Bitseed?

Yep! Bitseed has been a passion project of mine since we first started, and I don’t intend to change that any time soon. We’re working on the next iteration of the Bitseed node now, mostly focused on finding new hardware that can increase the power of the node and new use-cases that can be served by having a personal server self-hosted at home. If you have any ideas or want to help out in any way, please get in touch! We’re especially looking for software devs who are interested in helping us with the Bitseed Web UI and working on new software for Bitseed 3. To stay up-to-date with all Bitseed developments, you can subscribe to our newsletter.

When is the next edition of Bitcoin: Be Your Own Bank coming out?

I can’t say for sure! I plan to re-write a lot of it and add a couple new chapters. I am waiting for a couple of projects to do their first public releases before adding them to the book. After that, it should only be a month or two before the Second Edition is ready to be published. So I anticipate it will be ready by the end of the year, at the latest. Subscribe to the BYOB blog for updates.

Are you still working with Blockstack?

Yep! I’m not as active in the community as I used to be, but I still hang out in the forum and Slack and eagerly await all the software releases that the Blockstack community is working on. There’s a lot of really cool stuff happening there and I encourage everyone to at least follow the Blockstack blog and Twitter account to get alerts for important Blockstack announcements – you won’t want to miss it!

Will you still be working with the okTurtles Foundation?

Yep! I plan to publish a follow-up to my blog post about open-source Slack alternatives, and am also looking forward to helping them test the first public release of the Group Income app. If you would like to help support the Foundation’s mission to support beneficial decentralized technology, we appreciate all donations and volunteers!


I think that answers all of the important questions I can think of. If you have any others, let me know!

Email is probably the most popular decentralized messaging protocol. Add yourself to my email contacts if you would like to stay in touch!