Bits and stuff: tokens, holes and turtles – Sept 20, 2017

One of the more plausible and clear-headed articles I’ve read on tokens, by Michael Casey (who has joined CoinDesk as chairman of the Advisory Board!):

“Under this new model, all who share the interests of a community should, in theory, be acting in those interests whenever they exchange tokens. And as more people do the same, the token’s value should rise in line with its network effect.”

— x —

This is very techie, but also quite moving, from someone who reviewed the bitcoin source code back in 2008 (it was officially uploaded in 2009).

One paragraph jumped out at me as being especially applicable to the token scene today:

“The road to progress, as Chuck Yeager observed, is marked by great smoking holes in the ground. The fact that you have probably never heard of any of those scores of launches [of digital cash systems] should tell you how successful they were. I saw no reason to expect a nonzero valuation.”

Great smoking holes in the ground… At first I dismissively thought “but in the digital token space, the disappeared ones are largely due to spectacular speculation”. Then I realised that’s untrue. The failures, for whatever reason, are part of the journey. And from each, we learn (just look at what The DAO implosion gave us).

I’m feeling more optimistic and less fed-up now.

— x —

From David Birch’s “Before Babylon, Beyond Bitcoin” (highly recommendable):

“It is interesting to note that the fledgling United States, which had strongly resisted the notion of a central bank (the Federal Reserve was not created until 1913 – a direct consequence of the banking collapse of 1907), was the home of the first great monetary experiment of the industrializing world and ended up with the world’s reserve currency.”

So, basically, we don’t even know what we don’t know. And what we do know perhaps just ain’t so.

— x —

Terry Pratchett would like these. Maybe.

by Secret Wood, via Hyperallergic
by Secret Wood, via Hyperallergic

Tell me this doesn’t shift your perspective:

“The place where the story happened was a world on the back of four elephants perched on the shell of a giant turtle. That’s the advantage of space. It’s big enough to hold practically anything, and so, eventually, it does.

People think that it is strange to have a turtle ten thousand miles long and an elephant more than two thousand miles tall, which just shows that the human brain is ill-adapted for thinking and was probably originally designed for cooling the blood. It believes mere size is amazing.

There’s nothing amazing about size. Turtles are amazing, and elephants are quite astonishing. But the fact that there’s a big turtle is far less amazing than the fact that there is a turtle anywhere.”

(from The Last Hero)

— x —

It’s been a strange day…

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