Autonomía digital y tecnológica

Código e ideas para una internet distribuida

Linkoteca. NFT

…Olson is a lynchpin of YouTube’s burgeoning video essay genre, creating longform lecture performances on the intersection of pop culture and philosophy. No material is beneath his contemplation, which is thorough, to say the least: Like an enthusiastic professor, Olson deconstructs anything, from 50 Shades of Grey and Detective Pikachu to the conspiracies of flat-Earth truthers, with charitable nerdiness, electrified by sincerity. Over the past six years, he’s steadily grown his audience to some 640,000 subscribers.

Alphabet [YouTube and Google’s parent company] is absolutely doing what they can to undermine social services and civil infrastructure, but they’re not trying to destabilize the very mechanism by which individuals interact with the economy.

My ideal environment from which to do my stuff is a fantasy. It couldn’t exist in reality. I can’t say: I want a healthy network effect, I want good moderation tools, I want it to be frictionless for my viewers, and I also want it to keep up with changes in technology, and I don’t want to have to spend hundreds of hours implementing that myself. I want to be able to focus on my stuff, which is writing; which is making videos I don’t want to worry about hosting, and I want it all to be free of Big Tech, and I want it to be free of the decision making of some nebulous assholes.

I think there’s possibilities for the existence of a decorporatized version of the internet. It’s not going to come out of cryptocurrency, because that space is built off of financial incentives. The crypto space has a dire lack of imagination. 

He tenido una idea de negocio: los OGTs. Vienen a responder a una necesidad REAL de la sociedad. ¿Cuántas veces te has planteado comprar un NFT y no lo has hecho porque era demasiado caro o porque era demasiado barato? Aquí entra el OGT.

es normal que si mas de la mitad de nuestras interacciones son digitales, tiene sentido que me gaste 100k en un NFT antes que en una escultura en mi casa que veran 100 personas como maximo…

Por todo esto, la propiedad digital es una revolucion

I’m not at all ‘anti-crypto.’ I’m a big fan of cryptography. I am, however, anti- tax evasion, money laundering, ponzi schemes, multi-level marketing, and needless waste of energy.

I’m also anti- silver bulletism, anti-technosolutionism, and anti-convincing everyday people to invest their scarce capital in unregulated sectors where it’s very easy for them to lose everything with no recourse.

Additionally, I’m anti- focusing tons of energy on convincing everyday people that salvation lies in speculation.

Finally: WHAT IF the same amount of time and energy put into convincing everyday people to invest in cryptocurrencies, NFTs, and DAOs went into convincing everyone to move their money to credit unions, invest in local businesses & land trusts, & directly support artists?

It’s probably good to have some clarity on why centralized platforms emerged to begin with, and in my mind the explanation is pretty simple:

  1. People don’t want to run their own servers, and never will.
  2. A protocol moves much more slowly than a platform. This isn’t a funding issue. If something is truly decentralized, it becomes very difficult to change, and often remains stuck in time. That is a problem for technology, because the rest of the ecosystem is moving very quickly, and if you don’t keep up you will fail.

…there is nothing particularly “distributed” about the apps themselves: they’re just normal react websites. The “distributedness” refers to where the state and the logic/permissions for updating the state lives: on the blockchain instead of in a “centralized” database.

One thing that has always felt strange to me about the cryptocurrency world is the lack of attention to the client/server interface. When people talk about blockchains, they talk about distributed trust, leaderless consensus, and all the mechanics of how that works, but often gloss over the reality that clients ultimately can’t participate in those mechanics.

With the shift to mobile, we now live firmly in a world of clients and servers – with the former completely unable to act as the latter – and those questions seem more important to me than ever.

This was surprising to me. So much work, energy, and time has gone into creating a trustless distributed consensus mechanism, but virtually all clients that wish to access it do so by simply trusting the outputs from these two companies without any further verification. It also doesn’t seem like the best privacy situation. Imagine if every time you interacted with a website in Chrome, your request first went to Google before being routed to the destination and back. That’s the situation with ethereum today. All write traffic is obviously already public on the blockchain, but these companies also have visibility into almost all read requests from almost all users in almost all dApps.

Instead of storing the data on-chain, NFTs instead contain a URL that points to the data. What surprised me about the standards was that there’s no hash commitment for the data located at the URL. Looking at many of the NFTs on popular marketplaces being sold for tens, hundreds, or millions of dollars, that URL often just points to some VPS running Apache somewhere. Anyone with access to that machine, anyone who buys that domain name in the future, or anyone who compromises that machine can change the image, title, description, etc for the NFT to whatever they’d like at any time (regardless of whether or not they “own” the token). There’s nothing in the NFT spec that tells you what the image “should” be, or even allows you to confirm whether something is the “correct” image.

I think this is very similar to the situation with email. I can run my own mail server, but it doesn’t functionally matter for privacy, censorship resistance, or control – because GMail is going to be on the other end of every email that I send or receive anyway. Once a distributed ecosystem centralizes around a platform for convenience, it becomes the worst of both worlds: centralized control, but still distributed enough to become mired in time. I can build my own NFT marketplace, but it doesn’t offer any additional control if OpenSea mediates the view of all NFTs in the wallets people use (and every other app in the ecosystem).

If we do want to change our relationship to technology, I think we’d have to do it intentionally. My basic thoughts are roughly:

  1. We should accept the premise that people will not run their own servers by designing systems that can distribute trust without having to distribute infrastructure.
  2. We should try to reduce the burden of building software.
Platform's relationship to users

Centralized platforms follow a predictable life cycle. At first, they do everything they can to recruit users and third-party complements like creators, developers, and businesses.

They do this to strengthen their network effect. As platforms move up the adoption S-curve, their power over users and third parties steadily grows.


When they hit the top of the S-curve, their relationships with network participants change from positive-sum to zero-sum. To continue growing requires extracting data from users and competing with (former) partners.

Famous examples of this are Microsoft vs. Netscape, Google vs. Yelp, Facebook vs. Zynga,  Twitter vs. its third-party clients, and Epic vs. Apple.

The World’s 1st Destroyed Diamond NFT.

So I went and bought a real diamond for $5k—> destroyed it—> minted a NFT for the diamond. I wanted to see how much value the NFT retains.

Digital assets replacing physical ones is an inevitable trend of this century. You cannot afford to not understand it.