Permissionless

When I think about what excites me most about cryptocurrencies and blockchains, I keep coming back to the word permissionless.

The internet is permissionless. Linux and other open-source software is permissionless. PC’s are permissionless [1].

Mobile is not permissionless; it’s tightly governed by Apple and Google. VR is not permissionless; Facebook, HTC, and Sony have a stranglehold on the ecosystem. AI is permissionless at the algorithm level, but the most fertile training data is centralized and controlled by the modern internet monopolies.

Mobile is a poignant example. In the 10 years following the iPhone’s introduction we’ve experienced tremendous value creation. Yet we’ve ground to a halt in many ways, with bottlenecked app distribution and limited access to OS and device internals.

Modern tech monopolies have built a competence in identifying and acquiring key assets that show flashes of platform potential — it’s a rational strategy. Maybe you believe they’re omnipotent and, by correctly predicting the future, will ensure their dominance in the decades to follow.

That future leaves me unsatisfied. So I gravitate towards new technologies with properties similar to the most generative ecosystems of the past. And being permissionless is key [2].

[1] PC’s had central control points (e.g. chipset, OS, etc.) but there was ample freedom to innovate, especially in applications.

[2] It’s also nice when said technologies appear to be a blind spot, and possibly an innovator’s dilemma, for our current tech monopolists.

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Investor, scientist

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