I reached out to over 30 CEOs running blockchain startups across the world with a few simple questions. I wasn’t expecting anyone to respond, but almost everybody got back to me. I got some short responses and some long ones, too. Many of them were inspiring. All of them were thoughtful.

These pioneers are — perhaps not surprisingly — open-minded and willing to share their experiences and ideas. I heard ideas that made me think. They were refreshingly clear words that cut through the fog of the opium-like exuberance that we saw earlier this year. These are just a few insights from people who are changing the world, offering a glimpse (and perhaps a head start) of what’s to come. Here’s what I learned.