Exploring the Cartography of Crypto-Market Space-Time It’s always been peculiar to me that, to the average consumer, Ethereum is synonymous with ICOs. I imagine that when Windows 95 was released, most people thought desktop computers were synonymous with the minesweeper game that shipped with that operating system.
It’s always been peculiar to me that, to the average consumer, Ethereum is synonymous with ICOs. I imagine that when Windows 95 was released, most people thought desktop computers were synonymous with the minesweeper game that shipped with that operating system.
Since the 90s, the universe of use cases for computers has boomed to include games, telecommunication, entertainment, word processing, and many more applications. The ease of use to transfer information over a computer network without an intermediary (what we call the modern Internet) was a fundamental change in the way society self-organizes. As a result, we saw seismic shifts in entertainment, media, politics, and other important information flows within human civilization.
When I think about how the explosion of use cases for the internet mirrors the possibilities blockchain represents, I like to think about the abstractions that both eras of computing rely upon.
In computing, an abstraction is the representation of essential features without including any background details or explanations. Abstractions are
For example, the following are all assets in the modern internet that can be represented via abstraction as Information:
The following are all assets in the modern economy that can be represented via abstraction as Financial Value:
Like information, financial value is an important abstraction, which is used every day in society. The internet fundamentally changed society because it allowed us to move information around a worldwide network of computers. What will the innovation of blockchain, which allows computers to easily transfer financial value over a network, fundamentally change in our civilization?
Just as minesweeper was an early use case for computers, I believe that utility tokens are simply the first application of the blockchain-ized internet to hit the mainstream.
Just last week, I sent someone an email asking if they wanted to get lunch. Would you ever send someone a physical postcard to ask if they want to get lunch? No, because it’s too slow and too expensive. When the movement of information became cheap + easy, people onboarded to the new platforms en masse in order to take advantage of these attributes. Email is used at 1000x more volume than the old, physical mail system.
Just as email (a killer app of the internet) changed the way we communicate, I’m confident that in the future, there will be a 1000x use case for blockchain technology. There will be many new and better configurations of organizational governance, business models, and society writ large enabled by the management of financial value via blockchain technology.
When you think of the internet, you don’t think of TCP/IP, UDP, or CAT-5 cables. You think of Facebook, Google, Snapchat, and of Facetime calls with friends and family. It wasn’t always this way. I remember back in the mid 90s when using the internet was expensive and complicated.
Similarly today, when you think of the blockchain internet, you hear about hash functions, public key cryptography, curved bonding schemes, payment channels, and other complex technology. Just like the internet got easier to use by abstracting the nitty gritty technical details away from the user, I expect the blockchain internet will too.
As a member of the ETHMagicians Business Models Ring, I am privileged to have a front row seat to conversations about startups that are building an open source financial system. When we formed in 2018, we knew that utility tokens were over-hyped, and we have been exploring the problem space of Web 3.0 business models, sowing the seeds of crypto spring long before crypto winter was a meme. We aim to be the cartographers of this new n-dimensional market spacetime that we call Web 3.0 economics.
As we explore this new crypto-market spacetime together, I feel compelled to tell you about some of the trends I am excited about:
It is too early in crypto spring to say which of these trends will blossom in the coming months, and which will remain nestled underground, waiting for their day in the sun. I, for one, am sure that some of them will bloom, and that when they do, it will herald the coming of #cryptospring.
Just like we chuckle when we remember the narrow view that people had of computers in 1995, when we look back at the blockchain revolution, we will smirk to think that “People back in 2018 thought Ethereum was just ICOs”.
If you, like me, believe in the vast potential of an open source financial system, I invite you to join the ETHMagicians Business Models Ring. Join me in the wonderful, expansive, creation of a cartography of this n-dimensional market spacetime that we call Web 3.0 economics. Send me a tweet (@owocki) and I’ll get you plugged in.
–Kevin Owocki, Founder of Gitcoin