We are going to need to be much, much smarter about this blockchain thing. It's not clear to people that we are building tools to manage scarce planetary resources through the difficult 21st century. They think it's just an extension of the current economy.
That *can't* be true.
The current economy, for all its productivity, is too inefficient. 50% food waste on a planet of starving people. Orphan drugs and orphan diseases. Deforestation. Sea plastic.
All of that comes from mispricing assets and measuring the wrong things.
Accept no smaller challenge.
The blockchain is for building the next economy: correctly price externalities, and count every dropped grain of rice. Levy economic taxes to foster and force radical resource efficiency. Double, then quadruple, the number of humans who experience plenty - then bring up the rest!
I've come to the conclusion that the total destruction of sophisticated Asian ideas in the form of yoga, meditation and tantra by westernisation efforts and market capitalism just will not stand. I'm not sure what to do about this insight yet. People are really harming themselves
Let me say this very clearly: the last stages of the approach towards enlightenment are lethally dangerous. People go mad, people die, people break in ways which ruin the remainder of their lives and stay just subclinical. Even with skilled instructors, this stuff is COMMONPLACE.
There are a couple of decent plateaux where a person can do so much "spiritual stuff" and stop. But you need skilled teachers to spot those plateaux, and stick logs in the gears that would propel people into the next dangerous bit. Water seeks the ocean, the mind seeks its origin
I think it's necessary to examine the link between cryptography and cryptocurrency more closely.
Implementing a central bank of the internet is a political project. But it produced a huge, radical revival in general cryptography. This is very much like the 1990s all over again.
Cryptography is why we have e-commerce: you can't move credit card numbers without encryption. Trillions of dollars generated in new trade. But no central bank function, of course. This is just trade optimization.
And it gives rise to surveillance capitalism. Not *enough* crypto
Can crypto central banking survive: can cypherpunks continue to print their own money?
Almost certainly not. Almost certainly not.
Why? Because anonymity technology is weak. ZKSNARKS don't protect you from network surveillance. Encirclement by financial regulators and Facebook.
A few reflections on strategy. Strategy comes from knowing things other people do not or cannot know. With identical knowledge, all that's left is a computation of tactical efficiency. Narratives and philosophy are relevant kinds of knowledge. Let me explain why.
Even in a game with no hidden pieces, things can be hidden by sheer complexity. Nothing is hidden in chess, there are no aces on top of the deck. It's all right there. The knowledge needed to win is buried under the massive range of possible moves.
Philosophy and strategy operate to reduce the work done to get through the mass of options. We can't compute our way through, but we know that a weak centre or empty triangles are bad. When things are the wrong shape or texture, it's aesthetics summarizing computation.
It's becoming increasingly necessary to split the "making the internet work properly" faction from the "holy shit free money" faction in the crypto-currency situation. THERE IS NO FREE MONEY. There's only risk: if we can't make the global economy more efficient, your BTC hits $0
Let me give this to you on the back of an envelope. Global trade is, say, $50tn. That's physical goods. If BTC etc. make global trade 1% more efficient, that's worth $500bn. A year. But for that to happen, people have to be selling cars and office buildings using the blockchain.
If we aren't getting the mainstream industrial/financial economy to use blockchains to make the underlying global economy more efficient, this is just a bubble, and the blowout will be *devastating*.
It's going to take prolonged, targeted investment to get the global econ shift.
So the long anticipated ICO freeze is coming techcrunch.com/2017/12/12/sec… is a good example of what's here now, and what's to come. I have three thoughts on this phenomena and how it's going to shape the markets as we go forwards into the regulated portion of the blockchain's future.
The first thing is that the smart money has always known the regulators were coming. reddit.com/r/Bitcoin/comm… Obama made it clear nearly two years ago. Look at the length of the Reddit thread: people knew. The President told us the way this was going to go. Don't act surprised.
The second thing is that the regulators have an *amazing* array of tools at their disposal because people have been fleecing the public for centuries. Law evolves. Securities law, insider trading, anti money laundering etc. "Token" isn't a legal category so law gets to define it!