Like hip hop, ultimate Frisbee and LSD before it, blockchain is clearly a culture as much as a thing.

Excerpt from Blockchain: The Next Everything, Scribner

I arrived at The Assemblage, the co-working space as positive cult collective that’s expanding rapidly in New York City and beyond. It’s a friendly, trippy space on E. 25th featuring a free Ayurvedic breakfast bar. “The Assemblage is a community of individuals who believe the world is at the verge of a collective conscious evolution transitioning from a society defined by individualism and separation into one of interconnectedness,” is how the Assemblage describes itself. Who better to sponsor a panel discussion titled “AI, Blockchain and the New Matriarchy?”

I entered the first floor, a vast high-ceilinged loft with stylish millennial…

by the author of Blockchain: The Next Everything

I’d like to tell you a little bit about how I came to write a book about this technology that I suspect will influence all of us far into the future. Though, of course, I have no crystal ball.

I’ve been a writer all my life. Generally, I find a topic that interests me. Then I learn all I can about that idea, thing, place or person, and try to recreate it in an interesting way on the page. A few years ago I first heard the word blockchain while reading an…

Jorge Luis Borges

Many years ago, while traveling alone in an unfamiliar language, I came across the stories of Jorge Luis Borges. They were, for me, journeys on pathways that felt familiar, from the limbic systems of my childhood. I was captivated by their infinite circularity, the way they embraced various points, distributed like stars, always connected but never under the control of the narrator.

In these last few years I’ve often wondered what Borges, who worked in The Biblioteca Nacional, in Buenos Aires, would have thought about the Internet, the world wide web and now, blockchain, with its distributed nodes that reach…

Spectacled bear photo by Carlos Zorilla

In some parts of Ecuador, animal and plant diversity is higher than anywhere else in the world. Yet it seems that the world’s largest global mining concern, the Anglo-Australian behemoth known as BHP Billiton, can not see the forest for the copper — and gold, silver and any other shiny, valuable attractions hiding beneath the surface..

Cerro Quebrado, as BHP Billiton calls its local unit, sees Ecuador as an unexploited mineral hotspot. The company also claims to be interested in a healthy future for the planet and its people, and has worked with Conservation International to establish some broad guidelines…

Photo by Alexander Andrews on Unsplash

I think my fears about possibly being wrong have gotten in the way of possibly proving myself right about a crucial aspect of my startup, Wm. Williams.

With any creative desire — writing a novel, drawing an artwork, building a rustic hut for your hammock — the imagining is usually much easier than the actual building. I know, because I’ve done all three of the above, with various levels of success (or, looking through a glass half-empty, levels of failure).

Wm. Williams is meant to transform used clothing and dead stock into fashionable items, and sell them online. Actually, we…

Photo by Devin Avery on Unsplash

So, the UN has released a new report with dire predictions of human dislocation, food shortages, habitat loss and rising oceans, among other climate predations, if we don’t immediately, and drastically reduce our carbon output. At the press conference announcing the report, a scientist said, more or less, “OK, we’ve done our work, now it’s time for governments around the world to take care of the problem.”

That would be great, of course. And maybe some governments will respond. But my government in Washington isn’t going to do jack. Witness our president’s response to the report:

Photo by Charles Etoroma on Unsplash

A few days ago someone got in touch via a blockchain focused Telegram group, asking if I’d meet for coffee to discuss distributed tech. Just before the meeting, I Googled him and discovered he was an actor with a long, good history in movies, including a current, well-regarded HBO series. I haven’t met that many actors in my life, but I expected him to be wearing expensive clothing, whatever his style.

He was sitting in a sunny spot in the garden of the Highline Hotel when I arrived, looking stylish in a classic corduroy sport coat, striped shirt, white jeans…

Photo by Bryce Evans on Unsplash

4:00 am thoughts are like the dark leech that you only notice on your belly once you rise out of the clear, cool lake. Remove quickly and surely, wipe the blood and move into the day. Predawn doubt is an instructor — it should not feed on you.

I can’t imagine that there are entrepreneurs who don’t make their beds when they first wake up. Mine was neat by 4:15 this morning. Leeches be gone. The predawn fears are raw expressions of my interior that the night’s cleansing sleep failed to sweep away. These fears are yesterday’s fears. The sleep…

Photo by Austin Neill on Unsplash

Confidence is on my mind.

There is the confidence man, who assesses your vulnerabilities — empathy, greed, vainglorious thought — and exploits them in order to take your money. This, certainly, is on display in many ICOs, with their cribbed white papers promising outcomes that would seem outlandish were they not explained in confident, incomprehensible tech speak.

And then there is the confident person.

I’m working with one of the latter, Reagan Richmond, the creative strategist (and much more) behind the Wm. Williams ICO. She is not certain about everything, for sure, but she is confident that we can make…

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