August 9th, 2022

Likes are the backbone of web2 social media. Often expressed as a heart, they’ve taken on meanings of their own. They’re as much ammo as they are currency—invoking support as much as they do jealousy or a cold shoulder. More recently, a like has come to mean about as much as “lol” entails actual laughter. No one’s really laughing out loud. With so many opportunities to like something (see Kyle Chayka’s Like Inflation), the gesture has pretty much lost its significance altogether.

So why do we still have Likes? It’s no secret there’s another side to the Like coin serving an ulterior function (please note there is no such actual coin). Likes first and foremost benefit the platform. Engagement feeds their algorithm and appeases shareholders, steering design decisions to whatever generates the most likes. Not only is the creator-fan relationship secondary, it’s potentially forged into being.

On top of that, likes hold no real value—benefiting neither the creator or the audience. For example, early fans aren’t rewarded for identifying high-potential creators or for their ongoing engagement and support. Lastly, even if we could introduce value to the Like, they are ultimately centralized, mediated by a single platform and stored in proprietary databases. Likes don’t belong to us, nor do they effectively bind us together in any meaningful way.

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March 25th, 2022

Layer 2 roll-ups hold promise to scale Ethereum, making transactions much cheaper and faster, and enabling entirely new classes of applications, without compromising on security.

But today there’s a significant usability hurdle with getting funds onto an L2. Users first need to “bridge” them from Ethereum, and bridging offers a poor UX:

  • It is slow. Users are used to transactions confirming in a few minutes on L1, bridging can take over 20 minutes.
  • It is expensive. Bridging costs around 150k gas, which can get expensive with L1 congestion.
  • It requires switching apps. You need to switch to an external bridging app to migrate your funds.
  • It requires switching networks. You need to switch networks in your wallet, which will now show completely different balances and transaction history for the L2.

A common critique of L2s is that this friction is actually a significant hurdle, and that users will “drop off” before successfully bridging funds, and therefore fail to actually get to use any apps on L2.

May 5th, 2021

Update: The crowdfund has been fully funded! Backers with at least 10 $PARTY tokens can now join the PartyDAO Discord.

An amazing community coordination paradigm called PartyBid has emerged this week. I want to capture it in this post and invite you to get involved in PartyDAO.

But first, PartyBid’s backstory is essential.

January 12th, 2021

Established art cultures online and in the physical world won't be early adopters of NFTs. A crypto-native subculture will emerge around the medium first.

Let's look at two subcultures that may provide inspiration for how NFTs might evolve:

  • Photography as an art form
  • Streetwear as fashion

Photography was rejected by the art establishment until late in the 20th century, almost a century after it was invented.

December 29th, 2020

Why is it that I can send anyone with an Internet connection and smart phone a photograph freely and instantly, but sending the same person money is hindered by seemingly arbitrary constraints, like geography or days of the week?

Until the arrival of crypto, sharing information online existed in a technically separate system and on different terms than sharing value.

Sharing information is Internet-native—defined by interoperable protocols and file formats, encoded as bits that can be sent independently between any two nodes in the network. Sharing value, on the other hand, has relied on pre-Internet financial and monetary infrastructure that inherited all the political and technological limitations of those underlying systems.

Crypto's innovation is infusing value exchange with all the desirable attributes of a digitally-native information medium—programmability, interoperability, composability, virality, transferability. Importantly, crypto solved the one major limitation of digital mediums that previously made them unsuitable for a purely digital representation of value—scarcity guarantees.