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Long Reads Sunday - Issue #38

The World Wide Web turned 30 this week. I wouldn’t be a good former history major if I didn’t use thi
Long Reads Sunday - Issue #38
By Nathaniel Whittemore • Issue #28 • View online
The World Wide Web turned 30 this week. I wouldn’t be a good former history major if I didn’t use this chance to look back to look forward. 
First, check out WWW investor Tim Berners-Lee’s thoughts on the three key challenges facing the web in its next 30. Then, for some crypto history, check out this thread on Satoshi’s source code (timechains, anyone?), as well as the shift when the cypherpunks stopped thinking they had to build digital currency on existing financial infrastructure. 
The point of history is to learn so that we can make new mistakes instead of repeating the old ones. With that in mind, check out this essay about moments where our relationship with privacy changed, and then clear your calendar for this monster historical explanation connecting the dots between the ICO bubble, the p2p file sharing movement, 90s penny stocks and the dotcom bubble. 
If you’re the type of person who wants to zoom ahead instead of look back, check out this prediction that in 50 years, 50% of all assets will live on an open source financial protocol. Read this argument for why “utility coins” were backed by nothing, but tokens backed by data are just around the corner. Then spend some time absorbing this idea that, effectively, physical goods are already digital goods
Lastly, I wanted to share a recent post of mine on how narratives act as attention filters and why they matter so much to frontier markets like crypto. 
Happy Long Reads 
Long Reads Sunday #38. The World Wide Web turned 30 this week. Seems as good a time as any to ponder what the next 30 might look like, remade by open, permissionless, decentralized and censorship resistant technologies. Strap in, kids, it’s a particularly ponderous long reads time!
2/ In March 1989, CERN researcher @timberners_lee wrote “Information Management: A Proposal” that imagined a structure for connecting information across computers and which would sew the seeds of the WWW. 30 years later, he reflects on 3 key challenges
3/ For the crypto historians in the crowd, meanwhile, @francispouliot_ cooked up something spicy with this thread on Satoshi’s source code. Timechains. Coins & Cents. Delicious.
4/ @AaronvanW also shared a throw back - this time all the way to 1997, when @adam3us reframed cypherpunk thinking by proposing that digital cash simply didn’t need to be built on top of the legacy financial system.
5/ History like this matters because it grounds us and helps us avoid repeating our mistakes. In that light, perhaps the most epic long read of the week comes from @hosseeb, who connects the ICO bubble to p2p file sharing, the penny stock boom of the 90s, and the Dotcom days.
6/ History is also about looking forward. In his latest, @tonysheng looks at historical moments that changed how we care about privacy, and asks what will jolt us to actually care about the emerging “Unstoppable Panopticon”
7/ Speaking of looking forward, @ricburton zooms out 50 years and argues that by then, 50% of all assets will live on an open source financial protocol.
8/ Whether that bold prediction comes true or not, it is undeniable that open finance is capturing people’s attention. @FredWilson provided an intro to the topic on his uber popular @avc blog
9/ One of the open finance projects driving the most excitement at the moment is @UniswapExchange. Check out this piece on their market making from @tokendaily research
10/ And if you want even more on @UniswapExchange, check out @haydenzadams in conversation with @laurashin on the latest Unconfirmed
11/ For some, Uniswap is an example of a token-free alternative beating out the friction of a service with a native token. In his latest, @KyleSamani examines whether a set of well known layer 1/layer 2 token projects will be able to capture value
12/ On the topic of tokens, @chrismccoy argues in this essay for @techcrunch that, while the first generation of tokens weren’t backed by anything but speculation, a new generation of data-backed tokens might be just around the corner
13/ Without doubt, the token most on people’s minds this week was the @cosmos ATOM. The interoperability network from @jaekwon @zmanian & team went live this week. To learn more, check out @NTMoney investment thesis
14/ A few more resources for those who want to dig deeper on @Cosmos. +@wheatpond on why it benefits Bitcoin +@spencernoon on the Ethereum communities take +More on the background
15/ Switching gears for a moment, let’s talk Bitcoin. @lucasnuzzi is back with another excellent piece on privacy, this time focused on Schnorr signatures and privacy in Bitcoin itself.
16/ @nic__carter got a juicy little discussion happening when he predicted that, within a year, a high profile government will criminalize owning Bitcoin. Agree? Disagree? What do you think?
17/ @Fernandoulrich meanwhile puts on a clinic on Bitcoin, fractional reserve banking, and what it means that Tether has updated its explanation of the reserves it keeps on hand
18/ Also this week, the CBOE cancelled its Bitcoin futures product. While initially, people wondered whether this was a bearish sign, consensus seemed to settle quickly on the idea that they had simply been outcompeted by CME
19/ Speaking of competition, one challenge of the major tech platforms is that they’ve moved from cooperating with users to competing with them. @jessewldn argues how crypto networks are enabling an alternative in new forms of persistent cooperation
20/ After you’ve read about crypto cooperatives, head on over to pay some tribute to @MolochDAO, which is up and running with $275k (2200 ETH) pledged to support shared infrastructure and projects in the Ethereum community
21/ If you want to go deep into the mind of one of the fiends behind Moloch, check out this classic Hunter S Thompson esque profile of @ameensol @spankchain by @Ben_Munster and annotated by @joonian
22/ If that’s not a crazy enough story for ya, well @Timccopeland has you covered with the compete background and timeline of QuadrigaCX and the mission $190,000,000.
23/ @La__Cuen also got her investigation on, unpacking a dense web of connected people and projects around the Israeli ICO & crypto ecosystem
24/ As we role towards the end of another LRS, let’s check in on one of the key crypto themes of 2019: usability and user experience. @tayvano_ writes here about the “impossible balance between usability & security”
25/ One positive example of UX improving came from @matrick, who just launched an interactive, high visual explorer for loans from @dharmaprotocol. Tools like this go a long way to lowering barriers to entry
26/ And hey, about barriers to entry, @lawmaster points out that half of all pending blockchain patents from from just 7 companies. File this under “could become a problem later”
27/ Since Sunday is a good day to learn things, peep this thread from @AriDavidPaul on how over-the-counter trading desks work. Given their place in the crypto markets, it’s a great topic for a 101
28/ If your preferred learning method is more visual, I recommend the latest Unqualified Opinions live pod with @twobitidiot & @Apompliano. FF to 31:12 for some absolute on how to build a fund
29/ One theme I return to quite a bit is the idea of “complexity theater,” which is the temptation to make things complex for the sake of proving intellectual bonafides. @jposhaughnessy why this is the exact opposite of what good investors should do.
30/ And finally, one last big thinker to get you going. @literature zooms out to argue that “digital goods” are more advanced than we think, because already the value and status of even physical goods is determined in the digital realm.
31/ After finishing, I ran across this super fun thread on the future of computing. Since we started with web & crypto history, it’s only appropriate that we end in the future. What is your answer?
32/ And with that, LRS38 is in the bag. As always, let me know what you loved and what I missed. To get LRS via email, sign up here: 
33/ AND we have our first appendix. I meant to include this great piece by @danzuller on monetary premiums in crypto networks.


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Nathaniel Whittemore

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