to accredited investors.) Many cryptocurrencies are first made available to the public through a process known as an initial coin offering. In the lingo of cryptography, theyre known as my seed phrase. How would Transit reach critical mass when Uber and Lyft already dominate the ride-sharing market? The fee structure of those systems makes that nonviable. A closed architecture like Facebooks or Twitters puts all the information about its users their handles, their likes and photos, the map of connections they have to other individuals on the network into a private database that is maintained by the company. And manufacturers watch helplessly as sales dwindle when Amazon decides to source products directly in China and redirect demand to their own products. Bitcoin is the first Internetwide payment system where transactions either happen with no fees or very low fees (down to fractions of pennies). If theres one thing weve learned from the recent history of the internet, its that seemingly esoteric decisions about software architecture can unleash profound global forces once the technology moves into wider circulation. Someone creates a new protocol to define your social network via Ethereum.
Ethereum has its own currencies, most notably Ether, but the platform has a wider scope than just money. A distributed ledger might record all its users past trips, credit cards, favorite locations all the metadata that services like Uber or Amazon use to encourage lock-in. As a result, Bitcoin is considerably easier for law enforcement to trace than cash, gold or diamonds. Yes, the blockchain may seem like the very worst of speculative capitalism right now, and yes, it is demonically challenging to understand. For all their brilliance, the inventors of the open protocols that shaped the internet failed to include some key elements that would later prove critical to the future of online culture. And herein lies the cognitive dissonance that confronts anyone trying to make sense of the blockchain: the potential power of this would-be revolution is being actively undercut by the crowd it is attracting, a veritable goon squad of charlatans, false prophets and mercenaries. Instead of all the economic value being captured by the shareholders of one or two large corporations that dominate the market, the economic value is distributed across a much wider group: the early developers of Transit, the app creators who make the protocol work. For example, some prominent economists are deeply skeptical of Bitcoin, even though Ben. Neither approach would upend the underlying dynamics of InternetTwo.
Another challenge merchants have with payments is accepting international payments. Just as GPS gave us a way of discovering and sharing our location, this new protocol would define a simple request: I am here and would like to go there. But those interventions are unlikely to fix the core problems that the online world confronts. Or I could sell it over here and give it away over there.