The blockchain collection
Until mid-2021 or so, my feelings towards blockchains and cryptocurrency were ones of apathy and mild annoyance. I have been apathetic towards and mildly annoyed by many things—Bluetooth headphones, most “smart home” devices—and have found my general well-being is best served by just ignoring them and moving on with my life. Pick my battles, right? But I do try to balance my curmudgeonliness with a willingness to revisit my opinions, and some periodic reevaluations of my stances have resulted in change—in fact, I now have a pair of Bluetooth headphones that I use daily and quite like (despite my continued annoyance that I can’t use them while they’re charging, and their propensity to try to connect to any device besides the one I am using).
It was such a reevaluation that led me to shift my stance on blockchains and cryptocurrency. I had been hearing more and more about blockchains, cryptocurrencies, and some “web3” thing in conversations with friends, various technology spaces, the news… well, kind of everywhere. I knew my information and therefore my opinions were outdated and incomplete, so I did some research. As with Bluetooth headphones, my opinion changed. But instead of going from apathy to acceptance, I have instead come to believe that these technologies are so harmful that I cannot ethically continue to ignore them, and must instead do my best to educate and advocate against their wider adoption. I am picking my battles, and this is one of them.
I have written these with the assumption that people have a base understanding of concepts including the blockchain, cryptocurrencies, and NFTs — the Web3 is Going Just Great glossary may be a useful resource if a term is unfamiliar.
- “Blockchain-based systems are not what they say they are”. January 9, 2022.
- “It’s not still the early days”. January 14, 2022.
- “Abuse and harassment on the blockchain”. January 22, 2022.
- “Anonymous cryptocurrency wallets are not so simple”. February 12, 2022.
- “Cryptocurrency off-ramps, and the pressure towards centralization”. February 12, 2022.
- “Cryptocurrency’s Robinhood effect”. February 17, 2022.
- “The Axie Infinity hack, what happened, and why people keep talking about bridges”. March 30, 2022.
- “On anti-crypto toxicity”. April 18, 2022.
- “The NFT creation user journey”. May 11, 2022.
- “Digital artists’ post-bubble hopes for NFTs don’t need a blockchain”. May 11, 2022.
- “Predatory community”. May 20, 2022.
- “Is ‘acceptably non-dystopian’ self-sovereign identity even possible?”. June 10, 2022.
- “Cryptocurrency ‘market caps’ and notional value”. July 17, 2022.
- “Stop saying ‘They shouldn’t have invested more than they could afford to lose’”. July 22, 2022.
- Wikipedia Signpost: “The Wikimedia Foundation’s acceptance of cryptocurrency donations”. January 30, 2022.
- Stanford University: “Abuse on the blockchain” (Lecture transcript). March 7, 2022.
- “The Edited Latecomer’s Guide to Crypto”. March 25, 2022.
- “Excerpts from letters to the judge in the Celsius Network bankruptcy case”. July 22, 2022.
- “Excerpts from letters to the judge in the Voyager Network bankruptcy case”. July 23, 2022.
- “Statement to the Financial Stability Oversight Council: Regulating digital assets”. July 27, 2022.
- University of Texas at Austin: “Blockchain solutionism” (Lecture transcript). September 21, 2022.
- “Is web3 bullshit?” (Transcript). November 4, 2022.
- “Annotated: Sam Bankman-Fried’s ‘FTX Pre-Mortem Overview’”. January 23, 2023.
Disclosures for my work and writing pertaining to cryptocurrencies and web3 can be found here.