"The problem was never technology per se, the problem was not a mere knee-jerk hatred of newness out of a misguided nostalgic impulse. No, the problem was always the top-down, obtrusive, disappointing, privacy violating, dopamine hijacking nature of the Silicon Valley big boys. The problem was how one set of grasping monocultural dictators were usurped by a hoody and jeans wearing new breed who turned out to be just as blinkered, rapacious and uncaring as the cigar chomping moguls of yore.

The problem wasn’t the tech itself, the problem was how the tech was used to silo and hoodwink us.

Well that doesn’t have to be the case anymore. The revolution will not be centralised."

Pessimistic part of my response: That's what everyone said about the Internet... and television before that... and radio before that... and ...

All mass media technology and platforms goes through phases of development:

1) Invention (in this case the blockchain / decentralized ledger itself)

2) Development (early developers and enthusiasts play around. In this case naming and testing different tokens from Bitcoin through recently NFTs) <-- We are here.

3) Crystalization (Not sure what this will look like but it's defined as the moment humans start deciding on an inherent belief of what the medium is for and how it's used. This decision is not top-down, but memetic)

4) Mass adoption (now settled on what the 'is' is, your uncle and that one person you knew in high school finally sign up / have a tv in their bedroom too / invest)

5) Consolidation (scaled user groups allow for centralized, top down platforms. Local newspapers get bought up by activist billionaires from across the pond, the decentered Internet becomes social media platforms in walled-garden 'Apps', etc).

Internet early adopters in part 2 - Dev swore to the ends of their teeth it couldn't happen with the Internet based on 'how the Internet works', and I'm hearing much the same from crypto-folk these days. Meh. You do you. The key thing is

Optimistic part of my response: folk / local maker groups.

There are still hyper-local newspapers run by individuals who care. There's still small user-run forums on the Internet. There's still ham radio operators.

There will of course be little folk crypto communities. All of that is cool.

It's just that web3 no more 'promises' that than any previous medium. If you want your community, you can find it in any format. You just have to be involved.

(But that's what you're doing with this Substack and its connected club, so great job!)

I just kinda don't like "the future will be decentralized!" messages because they aren't true. Humans are very pesky and thorough about scaling up things, it's what they do. And scaling up is beautiful and meaningful in its own right, too.

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I feel maybe I should express that I'm very interested in web3 and don't mean the above to be a detraction from the enthusiasm and goals set in the wider essay to help creators find fulfillment in their communities.

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Very encouraging and optimistic view of the near future. It is easy to see these features playing out in real time. I do suspect, however, that the old power towers along with newer cultural thickets and trolls will create much dissonance, even some destruction. I'd like to think we can find new pathways and communities (like these sub stacks?) that will bring the bottom up much faster than the bottom brings the top down.

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This is all very true. When I wrote the piece initially last year I tried to capture the mood of the moment and be optimistic without losing touch of reality. In new climates you need to be bold, all of that reasoned ‘on the one hand but on the other hand’ type writing can kill momentum and energy when those two things are exactly what’s need.

That being said people invested in the old way, the old ‘legacy’ models will always try and enforce culture top down. It has always been this way. But they can onlynpackage and commoditise, not create. So creators always have the advantage, they just rarely realise it.

I wanted this piece to be a little reminder of that truth.

Cheers, Steve.

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