A Jeeves & Wooster story

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“Some days seem perfect,” I remarked, as I drained the trusty tumbler of its bracing contents. “Don’t they, Jeeves?”

Jeeves, who had been setting the bookshelves in order, shelved the task to consider.

“Indeed, sir,” he assented.

“No, Jeeves,” I retorted, for I had him exactly where I wished in the repartee. “I thought you would say that. But you are incorrect.”

“Sir?”

“You readily agreed,” I remarked, “indubitably in the best of feudal custom, to my statement. And, I am sorry to have to say this to you, Jeeves, but you are, on this rare occasion, wrong.”

I distinctly saw a minuscule frisson of surprise ripple through Jeeves’s upper lip. It was fleetingly brief, but to my trained eye it was undeniable. …


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Digital Westphalia: Imagine there’s no countries

“I think the internet warrants a native currency and Bitcoin is probably the best manifestation of that thus far. I can’t see that changing given all the people who want the same thing and build it for that potential.” — Jack Dorsey

If you’ve followed Bitcoin with the lightest degree of seriousness you know what makes it special to you. There are several value propositions for it, after all. To me, for example, Bitcoin’s awesomeness is in its potential to become the ultimate platform for contracts: a platform that provides a far stronger mechanism for final settlement than national institutions.

But, forget my dream for a second. …


Virtuous Habits and the Shameless Bitcoiner

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The Mind Behind the Memes

I. Bitcoin-ism

Bitcoin has provided us with a veritable catalog of concepts and ideas. As the essential merits of its framework have become more broadly understood; as ever more services have been developed to leverage its mechanisms for broader objectives; as its ecosystem has matured and become more varied and complex, discourse on Bitcoin has flourished.

Beyond technical concepts, there are simple ideas with astounding memetic resonance that have become tenets for a class of individuals who see themselves as true Bitcoiners : low time preference; hard money; store of value; #HODL; hyperbitcoinization; #stackingsats; “number go up”; Bitcoin not blockchain; stock-to-flow; digital gold; shitcoins, and a hundred others. …


Cobweb Supply, Reservation Demand & the Foundations for Understanding Bitcoin’s Price

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Bitcoin. An actual diagram.

Bitcoin’s value has little to do with its quotidian price histrionics. Yes, exuberant speculation routinely outplays rationality. And, of course, there are complex interactions from extant and expected financial market innovations, growing or abating regulatory risks, and the insidious exertions of misinformation.

But price is important. To say you are interested in Bitcoin, but far too cerebral to care about its price is as daft as saying that you are interested in gold, but only as an element on the periodic table.

That said, I fear that you learn nothing of value about Bitcoin from looking at charts and following the mood swings of ‘traders’ on Twitter (especially about its price!). What you need to understand price is a deeper understanding of the effects that are unique to Bitcoin and how they come together in a market in interesting ways. …


Metatechnologies and Semicommons

Bitcoin is a metatechnology. Moreover, it is rare metatechnology because it directly enables the creation of semicommons, much like it was with medieval Village Commons.

The Bitcoin Village Commons simultaneously curates rules for an overarching open-access commons as well as those for private use cases within semicommons. The former fuels the search of technological developments beyond blockchains; the latter fuels the search for uses beyond money.

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Metatechnologies

The trouble you face in trying to place a value on a technology is compounded when the technology in question is actually a metatechnology.

A metatechology is one that is capable of realizing extensions of a foundational technology depending on the particular use at hand. To the casual observer of the history of a metatechnology, what stands out are distinct technologies rather than a distinct basis. Metatechnologies possess the remarkable ability to morph from one technology to another based on emerging contexts and the shifting needs of its users. …


A page-by-page guide to The Paper of the Century

What follows is a page-by-page guide to Nakamoto’s paper, published in October 2008. It is meant as a useful guide for those who have not yet read this most essential of papers on Bitcoin, for those who tried to read it and gave up midway, and perhaps even those who do not see the point. Nakamoto left us with other sources that were less formal than this paper. I do not consider those in this article. Here, I focus attention solely on what is in ‘The Paper’.

A few caveats: First, I am a social scientist grounded in economics, not a programmer. So my understanding is rudimentary on the complexities of cryptography. Second, we have the considerable benefit of hindsight when we read or re-read Nakamoto now. I try to use that advantage sparingly when providing this commentary. I urge you to do the same since it will permit you to better appreciate the unrealized vision outlined in the paper. Third, there is, unfortunately, a great deal of very opinionated philosophizing and chest-beating these days on what Bitcoin was, is and should be. It is worthwhile checking your opinions on Bitcoin at the door and just reading the paper with your blinders on. …


Trust Economies in Money — Specialization & Exchange

Summary. A relevant attribute of money, often forgotten, is that it must be a Medium of Specialization (MoS). Using a simple Smithian premise, I suggest what that means and how it relates to trust economies. I suggest that the promise of Bitcoin as a money comes from its unique ability to address these issues. Bitcoin serves as a MoS and as a mechanism to generate not trust, but trust economies.

Money as the Medium of Exchange

In the Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith develops the argument for money from the premise of benefits that accrue from division of labor. …


Does HODL help with Institutional Change?

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HODLers of the World, Unite!

The Blockchain Paradox

Thinking up use cases for blockchains has become an international pastime with few equals. Some truly grimace-inducing applications of blockchains have sprouted in recent memory, from ice teas to music band names.

On the one hand, this may not be such an awful thing. It’s a sort of exuberant speciation enabled by the prospect of an especially fecund environment. For instance, during the Cambrian explosion more than half a billion years ago, the variety of life on Earth burgeoned dramatically. While most species that came about eventually went extinct in a series of mass ‘extinction events’, we still have this relatively short period of profligate experimentation to thank for the variety of life we experience around us now. …


Part 1. Heeding the Call

The origins of the word HODL — a cornerstone of a Bitcoin investor’s vocabulary — came from a resolution voiced on a forum in 2013. It was the verbalization of a man (possibly half-inebriated) of a newfound creed. He admitted that he had been tempted by those around him to trade his way to riches; enchanted, as it were, by the pundits who professed to have access to divine wisdom on timing the market with uncanny precision. Something rose within him on that day that inspired him to engage in honest self-assessment. …


Prateek Goorha & Parabolic Trav

TL;DR: Bitcoin’s overwhelming value proposition is as a complete contract governance platform. As such, its unique transactional properties allow the creation of Bitcoin powered SaaS platforms that fundamentally disrupt many aspects of traditional contract applications, far beyond “smart contracts” alone.

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If you have been following the crypto-universe for a few years, you can be excused for feeling that we seem to have lost the plot somewhere along the road. Perhaps, not entirely. But in a very fundamental way we are lost among the trees and have missed the forest.

Our point is this: Bitcoin’s overwhelming value proposition is as a complete contract governance platform. As such, its unique transactional properties allow the creation of Bitcoin powered SaaS platforms that fundamentally disrupt many aspects of traditional contract theory, far beyond “smart contracts” alone.

About

Prateek Goorha

Social scientist interested in the economics of innovation. Part-time author. Full-time blockchain explorer.

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