By Matt Birchler
Topic: web3
Posts: 4
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Post-Hoc Myth-Making at Scale

The Token Disconnect - Stephen Diehl

After looking at this phenomenon for the last decade, I’ll give what I believe is the first rough draft of history. Silicon Valley ran dry on large breakthroughs in software, so we decided to invent the “blockchain”, a simulacrum of innovation that organically fermented from the anti-institutional themes in the Western zeitgeist to spawn an absurdly large asset bubble with absolutely nothing at the center. There is no there there, and crypto morphed into a pure speculative mania which attracted a fanatic quasi-religious movement fueled by gambling addiction and the pseudo-intellectual narrative economics of the scheme. All conversation around crypto is now simply the sound and fury of post-hoc myth making to rationalize away the collective incoherence of the bubble in a near perfect exemplar of the motivated reasoning of economic determinism.


I suspect history is going to have the same lesson to teach us about the perils of greed untempered by reason.


Web3 Needs More Product People

I know that it’s a bit of a wild west right now, but basically every web3 website I go to needs more input from product people to be usable for anyone besides the enthusiast crowd.

Every single time I’ve tried to do anything in this space, I’ve had to go to social media to figure out what the hell I need to actually do. People are generally quite friendly and happy to help, but when quite tech-savvy people like myself can’t figure out what’s going on, that does not bode well for any sort of mainstream success.

For a very basic example, here’s me trying to buy something on ENS, my transaction was failing silently. I had no idea what was going on, so I inspected the page and checked out the console.

Look at that, an error! Now how do I fix that? No idea, but at least it would be something, and any product person will tell you that needs to display in the UI so the user can…you know…do something about it.

Anyway, I’m skeptical of a ton of this web3 stuff, but if they want to break into the mainstream and be “the future of the internet” then they need to get some more product people involved to make this shit more accessible.

When the Smartest People Disagree

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.

Why There Won't be a Web3 Version of Twitter

From Robin Sloan's Notes on Web3:

“Web3” that depends on Twitter for its mar­ket­ing and coor­di­na­tion chan­nel really deserve the name? You might say, “Oh, just wait; Web3 will make a Twit­ter of its own.” No, it won’t. Such a plat­form would be use­less to Web3, because there would be no one there to recruit 😈

It's a joke, but the whole list is worth a look, whether you're a web3 fan or skeptic.

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