When the Smartest People Disagree

Posted by Matt Birchler
— 1 min read

Is Crypto Bullshit? by Will Wilkinson:

One of my personal epistemic precepts is that if I disagree with somebody who is (a) at least smart as I am, (b) has generally sound judgment and (c) is better informed on a subject, then I ought to concede that I’m probably wrong and revise my opinion in their direction. The trouble is, I also know plenty of people who satisfy all these conditions but think crypto is unmitigated bullshit. That is to say, we’ve got a rare instance of not-obviously-political intra-smart polarization on our hands!


This kind of decentralization has pretty radical distributive implications. When there is nobody at the top, nobody at the top can hoard the value generated by the network. The economic surplus generated by this kind of network is necessarily distributed to the community of miners, stakers, and users because that’s what brings them into existence, keeps them going and lends them value. The diffusion of economic surplus is part of the basic architecture of the system. Market structure, distributive principles, and defenses against network domination are all baked into the code.

It’s a good read and you should really just go check it out now, I’ll wait…

I definitely sympathize with “smart people I know say totally different things about this,” as those people in my life are truly all over the place on this. Although I will say that all the “it’s impossible for anyone to get too much power and the inevitable riches will be distributed to all, there are no losers!” talk sets off alarm bells for me.