2020 – Well That was A Year Or Something

So that happened, and is still happening.

I was planning on trying to update this blog more often this year, but between building a protocol from scratch and the general 2020ness, that never happened.

Still, I wanted to get at least one more post up before the end of the year, so here we are. I think I’ll make a crack at answering one of the big questions: Why are we here?


Perhaps one of the little questions would be better: Why I am doing what I’m doing? Or rather, why would I spend most of a year attempting to create, from scratch, a novel cryptocurrency?

That is at least more well-defined, although I don’t know where to start answering. So I’ll just start babbling about random stuff I’ve recently read and see how to get back to there.

This is a 20181 post about technology. Actual technology2 not ‘software based companies operating out of SoCal trying and succeeding to take over the world’ which is the current standard usage of the term.

It’s a basic upper class centric viewpoint of the subject. “Yeah, that whole destroying all of the industrial capacity of the west and selling it to China thing was a bad idea it turns out.” Which makes me sarcastic, but is also, you know, right.

My main issue is, his vision of technology is ultimately too limiting. Tech isn’t just about computers, yes. But it isn’t only about factories ether. As I talked about in a thread on twitter years ago.

Moving on.


This is another post (from this year even) that compares Barack Obama to the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius. Which might seem like it’s coming out of left field, but I actually quite like the comparison. It hits what I think the core point of Coates’ We Were Eight Years In Power was: that Obama is a construction of the system that created and impowered him. Yes, Obama was a bad president 3, but if he had the capacity to be a good president, the system would have never let him get in that position.

I say this not to absolve him4, But to point out that systemic problems can’t be solved by hoping your leaders turn out to be strong willed. They are, as the name implies, a product of the whole system. You need systems to fight systems.

It’s about the 80s 5 you see.


(Paywall, I know, but I will always shill for @vgr. If you really want to read it, just email me and I’ll share)

The 80s were the mid-life crisis of the post-war regime. The point where everything became too clever by half. We are living through the slow decay and death of that regime, for better or worse, and it’s not coming back. Things are only going to get weirder from here on out.

So what do you do? I don’t think that regime is salvageable, and I wouldn’t particularly want it to survive even if it was. The best you can do then, is try and build a better one. So here I am, trying to build something better in my apartment in the midst of chaos and pandemic.

Trying to build technology, social technology, that someday may be able to find a way to fit into a new regime that, with luck, might be better than the last.

I can only think to end with this fantastic post by Steve Randy Waldman on the current crop of ‘decentralized’ technologies and what we might hope to do better in the future.

PS: (This is also a great post, but I couldn’t figure out how to fit it in, and need to get back to work anyway)

  1. Slightly ahead of it’s time
  2. The post defines tech broadly but not quite broadly enough
  3. As Matt Stoller is always quick to point out
  4. I’m not really in the business of absolution
  5. Some might say the 70s, but they’re all the same view from here