Adolescent Fantasies of a Crypto-Powered Stateless Future Abound

This blog post by Alex (al3x) Payne, early Twitter employee and former CTO of Simple, made me want to do a little fist-pump when I read it before bed last night:

Working in technology has an element of pioneering, and with new frontiers come those who would prefer to leave civilization behind. But in a time of growing inequality, we need technology that preserves and renews the civilization we already have. The first step in this direction is for technologists to engage with the experiences and struggles of those outside their industry and community. There’s a big, wide, increasingly poor world out there, and it doesn’t need 99% of what Silicon Valley is selling.

I’ve enjoyed the thought experiment of Bitcoin as much as the next nerd, but it’s time to dispense with the opportunism and adolescent fantasies of a crypto-powered stateless future and return to the work of building technology and social services that meaningfully and accountably improve our collective quality of life.

See, the big-deal venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz just invested $25M into a Bitcoin service called Coin Base, thereby legitimizing it, or at least implicitly legitimizing its potential profitability. Chris Dixon, who now works as an investor at Andreessen, announced the investment on his blog, claiming that, contrary to how Bitcoin is portrayed in the press, to ‘technologists’ in Silicon Valley, Bitcoin is viewed as a “profound technological breakthrough.”

Meanwhile: Bitcoin is tanking because China was basically like, “Um no.”

Photo: btckeychain

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8 Comments / Post A Comment

Nice counterpoint to $175 taxi rides and the “if you don’t like it, don’t use it” justification that’s been going around.

readyornot (#816)

Isn’t Al3x Payne the guy who wrote a story about flirting via the title of iTunes libraries (back in the days well before the cloud)? I like that guy.

Meaghano (#529)

@readyornot yes!!

readyornot (#816)

@Meaghano v. cool.

isabellebleu (#5,572)

AACK YES. PLEASE. I work more or less as an advocate, and the local social services office recently underwent a systems change that made it clear that a) the designers had no clue what the administrators did with the system and b) the designers had no clue who the system was designed to actually serve as clients. Now SNAFUs abound. A little less fantasy, a little more real-world problem-solving, sans all the synergy, would be great.

VelourFog (#5,077)

I follow a group involved in medicine and technology based at Stanford and for the past two years a main stage speaker at their conference has absolutely infuriated me by focusing on wearable technology as a status symbol (discussing modification possibilities like different colors or patterns). Seriously, these geniuses could be helping poor people in remote areas get access to care, or develop cures, but no, they are talking about pink pedometers that sync with you smart phone. Thanks for linking to Alex’s post!

EA_Mann (#5,000)

@VelourFog The new yorker had a great article this year about stanford and how the university is very intertwined with large tech companies and how much that twists the school’s mission toward business (read: $$)

VelourFog (#5,077)

@EA_Mann Thanks for the tip! I assume it is this article: link

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