The Prehistoric Analog Internet

Ptolemy Soter
Sep 18 · 8 min read

The digital internet is new, but only an innovation…

Tim Berners Lee is world renown for inventing the web. The framework for an open and equal opportunity internet. A public service of sorts for people to build their own home in digital space without needing a middle man to sell or rent “ownership rights” to them.

But to my surprise, the internet isn’t a new thing.

In fact when I explored what the “essence” or idea of the internet as we know it today had become I started to see some interesting correlations in the data that inspired me to dive deeper into this… of course, that dive took me into the depths of history.

The subtle history of nuance between money and currency

“The invention of money took place before the beginning of written history. Consequently, any story of how money first developed is largely based on conjecture and logical inference.”

From what I was taught by a simple lack of details that I think almost everyone can relate to, the idea of money was just whatever currency we find valuable.

But there were also a lot of other things that were more valuable than money, and this is what people used money to buy.

This is pretty similar to the idea of websites on the internet and the power of the world wide web. Not all websites are profitable, and some are. Some profit from attention, and others are where people put their attention because of other peoples attention.

So there are exchanges of value such as Netflix, Facebook, eBay. And then there are things people find valuable such as a netflix account, a facebook profile, or that nostalgic item that reminds us of a better time in our life.

Thus money is often exchanged in this disparity between users and owners. Opportunity is bought and sold in exchange for attention.

What I learned was that money was whatever people found valuable. Over time humans started to see patterns correlate to the value of shiny things or rare things. Humans have a hardwired obsession for beauty and convenience. But fortunately for the inventors of currency, beauty and convenience were subjective. So there learned to bank on the disparity that there was not enough beauty or convenience to satisfy any humans desire for them and started the industry of selling hopes and dreams.

The idea of currency, or money as most of us mistake it for these days is the hope that we can get more of what we need and want by the accumulation of it. It’s something that everyone wants, and hopefully, everyone has.

So currency is very useful for motivating people to build infrastructure if people see it as money. This is why people build businesses in the same way people build websites. With hopes to accumulate more of what they want.

The biggest difference is that a website grow without money, and businesses can’t. The same way a website can’t grow without the internet. This is because money, or currency, was the original analog internet.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

My usage of Analog and Digital

The usage of analog and digital in my argument is simplified beyond the current modern technical definitions. This is to connect the modern ideas to the historical in a way that doesn’t break the pattern.

Digital in this sense is something that “thinks for us” or augments our ability to process thoughts.

Analog is something that requires us to think.

Digital requires fuel to be productive. Analog require us to fuel it.

Imagine the difference between a bicycle and a motorbike.

A bicycle is more sustainable than a motorbike but offers unequal opportunity for users. Whereas a motorbike is not sustainable by default but has the opportunity to be and the idea of the engine it’s built upon creates a limitless opportunity for users.

This is apparent in innovations such as cars, airplanes, motorboats, with a spectrum of accessibility and sustainability options.

The internet is money 2.0

The internet is limitless value. For the first time ever humanity is interested in something that is sustained by our own attention. This is something everyone who wants to protect the earth should be ecstatic about. For we have the potential to become completely sustainable beings in any environment.

But this has proven difficult to see as money without currency is about as useful as carrying around a satchel of gold in modern times.

Photo by NASA on Unsplash

Where is currency 2.0?

I’m going to ruffle some feathers here for a minute.
I no longer believe cryptocurrency and blockchain are this future Yin to the Yang of the internet. Why would someone who has been a miner, a speculator, and is building a p2p financial budgeting/investing/education service in the crypto exchange sphere claim this?

Because of the fact I’m surrounded by it but have afforded myself the perspective to look at it all in a holistic way.

While trying to prove to myself a year ago that blockchain was the future of the internet. I stumbled upon evidence that I was unintentionally claiming that AOL was the future of the internet or that Tulips were the future of the next big thing.

AOL and Tulips still exist. Just not in the application some once had hoped.

I still believe blockchain is going to be a part of our future. I believe it democratizes things that have too many middlemen hands on them like corporations. I believe smart contracts democratize the legal system in a way Aaron Swartz would be excited about.

But I believe we’re missing something very important now in the minds of the masses.

Decentralized organization.

We’ve unintentionally centralized the idea of control in our rush to promote the decentralized p2p gold rush.

This seems more like one of those things that we joke about 50 years from now how we couldn’t see the answer that was right in front of our faces the whole time than some stupid mistake that a condescending intellectual calls us out on but is unwilling it get their hands dirty to prove it. Because those are pretty abundant right now.

Currency as a means to Organize the masses

Above I mentioned the ability of currency to motivate people to create infrastructure. This is just another way of motivating people to organize.

And just like great leaders motivate us to organize in times of need like Tony Stark bellowing “Avengers ASSEMBLE!”

Humans have stumbled upon a gold rush that from my perspective is outpacing the interest in cryptocurrencies.

Algorithms.

The Algorithm Age

I read a great book this year called What Algorithms Want by Ed Finn

https://amzn.to/308rFa6

I’m not a developer so this was a very helpful insight into why algorithms are so powerful. I mean the kind of power that fundamental analysts sometimes have that give them that Quant Perspective from experience alone that makes Warrent Buffet the personal brand that tends to personify financial power and savvy.

Just like Warren Buffet has the ability to organize people by sheer presence as a leader like how James Altucher doesn’t need to know anything other than Warren Buffet is also investing at his level to throw money at something like I heard in The Growth University podcast from James himself.

These are a lot of the things that used to upset me about the popularity of algos and my own focus on decentralized space and fondness for blockchain.

Then I learned about what Martti Malmi is up to in a Coindesk Article in 2018

For those of you who don’t know Martti’s story I suggest checking it out, in an inadequate nutshell, he was the first developer to work with Satoshi Nakamoto.

To catch up with what he’s doing today with algo’s I suggest digesting this interview Era Media has with him.

A New Era of Organization

After doing a deep dive into ERA and their philosophy called Freeism that I originally read right here on Medium after connecting with Mark Nadal in his chatroom on Gitter that I found a button connecting to on www.GUN.eco

Era uses a multilayer organization of algorithmic powered protocols. Kind of how blockchain uses protocols to help us communicate what we think but don’t really think for us.

To see more about the protocols check out their roadmap that cleverly utilizes easy to remember 3 letter words that are synonymous with power or utility.

  • P2P AirBnB.
  • Food delivery.
  • Friend discovery.
  • Find knowledge.

They seem to be building tools to motivate us to build tools.

But they are building tools where we need no middle man either in human form or service form.

That’s as revolutionary as when Henry Ford risked everything to start an illegal business to defy the car patent/copyright holders to sell them for less than the patent royalties were going to be.

This all seemed pretty crazy to me in the beginning. But I think it mostly offended my ego back then. Now I see I was just uncomfortable because I was a little more addicted to control than I was willing to admit at the time.

I gave Mark and his ideas some time to simmer and after a while it all started to click. But most surprisingly it started to click on the math side of things. Specifically regarding probabilities. I realized that it’s not just possible if he succeeds, but it’s actually probable that he will succeed. Mostly this has to do with his devoted open source process of open access.

It’s only a matter of time before it’s finished. And that seems to be his meter for success right now. Which leaves a lot of opportunity on the table for entrepreneurs looking for ideas. Because pretty simply, everything that is centralized or distributed or even decentralized with blockchain could and probably will have competition in his open decentralized web toolkit.

I’ve seen a lot of really compelling and honestly more appealing competition; to Mark’s dWeb in the blockchain space. But to me it looks like the difference between using the web to build AOL or Netscape.

In my humble opinion, the person to build something like a decentralized Wordpress for building social networks using GUN could be the next Satoshi Nakamoto rock star. But will they be just as private as Satoshi? Who knows. But needless to say with convenience being the thing people spend money on next to beauty, I think the convenience of Mark’s tools will continue to be a sleeping giant until entrepreneurs with some design flair start to package this treasure trove of open-source tools to find product-market fit.

Photo by Max Nelson on Unsplash

Ptolemy Soter

Written by

“We’re all just in the same place at different times.” — #NotWrong Ptolemy@LBRYofAlexandria.org —

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