Subversion to capitalization

Back in 1999, David Bowie spoke about how music used to be subversive, but had since become merely an information delivery mechanism - it was the Internet that was subversive.

Fast-forward, and the Internet is an information (and disinformation) delivery mechanism - it is crypto and other areas that are subversive.

The thing that is subversive now is the what will make money in a few years.

ZKP Bridging

TL;DR: I don’t see any practical path forward for decentralized stuff other than abandon the pretense of cross-chain value transfer and embrace balkanization, while letting the centralized stuff handle the cross-chain value transfer.

Privacy and memory

Fully private systems, like Aleo, will be mostly memoryless systems (memory will be provided only by an individual’s viewing keys).

These systems will allow for a class of application we haven’t seen online before - UTXO/records as rai stones that just happened to materialize along with a zkp.

Given that fully private systems will be memoryless black boxes with zero-knowledge proofs, one cannot verify that a contract path got executed in the exact same way that you would have wanted. Therefore, it makes no sense to cling to the notion of traditional execution, and one should focus on the result that one wanted to achieve.

This would seem to indicate that private systems lend themselves to intent-based approaches.

Backlash technology

Backlash Technology is a term coined by Peter Watts - it’s tech for which one of the key properties is a prominently displayed middle finger at something else. Think Signal and Telegram adoption spikes whenever WhatsApp screws something up, or crypto as a reaction to the financial system (particularly in places plagued with hyperinflation).

Wormhole hacker hacked

Upgradeable smart contracts are like guns: they have their uses, but you need to make sure you trust the one holding them, and pray that they’re never used against you.

Bridges, not platforms

(Update: This is an older view on the potentials for bridges for crypto. For an updated perspective, check my thoughts on The Spelunking Podcast Ep. 21 about how we are moving to a “zero-knowledge everything” world, or this piece on ZKP Bridging.)

Cosmos and Polkadot, which were both born to ensure interoperability among different chains, are in a race to maintain their relevance.

TVL is not for platforms

I’m starting to get pretty annoyed with people using TVL to compare the value or activity in a platform.

I personally think TVL is a flawed metric for platforms as a whole. It works only when you’re comparing domains like DeFi. If a particular platform is very DeFi-focused, it could have a higher TVL than one that gets more active use but does not require value locking (eg. Arweave).

It also seems that high chain fees would skew users to locking, since active use chews up your stack. With low fees you can be liquid and productive. Instead of keeping your $VOTE tokens locked in a system, why not move them in just when you need to cast a vote, and then out when you’re done?

(See also: Bridged volume as a metric)

How distributed[C] handles identity

As we had mentioned on Designing for Personas, we want people to feel comfortable creating multiple pseudonymous identities on distributed[C].

How do we manage identity, then?