Amazon was a bookstore. But it was not Barnes & Noble digitized. You still got physical books in the mail. What was amazing was the largeness of the offering that simply was not possible in any physical store. This was new.
Amazon was launched at a time when you had to be patient and a photo would download.
Now Amazon is an everything store. It even sells movies. In fact, it has become a behemoth to disrupt. Web 3 wants to disrupt Amazon, and Google, and Facebook, and Microsoft, and Apple. Yes, Web 3 can disrupt hardware too.
But I use Amazon as a metaphor. Web 3 is not about giving JP Morgan digital wings. The “hurricane” Jamie Dimon sees on the horizon is not the Great Depression 2.0. It is Web 3. JP Morgan is Barnes & Noble.
One amazing thing Alibaba did was it built credit histories for the average Chinese consumer who had no credit history at all in the American sense of the term, and that was not going to change anytime soon. Alibaba used a person’s e-commerce activities on its very website to vouch for their creditworthiness. And it has worked like magic.
I want to take that spirit to the lowest income brackets on the planet. And I also want to build credit histories for people who might have social capital and no other capital at all. And I have ways to do that without any e-commerce involved, although I am not opposed to e-commerce. It is going to be akin to turning fog into drinking water in the Sahara.
I think you could give a one-year paid holiday to 70% of the bureaucrats, police officers, and soldiers (some might argue and 100% of the politicians) in a country like my native Nepal and dismiss them subsequently, and most of them will get jobs that pay double in the private sector. My company would want to provide an e-Estonia for countries like Nepal. For 10% of the cost, you will get 100 times better government services. All you have to do is agree to switch.
No, not a Facebook killer. That is not what I have in mind. Facebook does not need help.
I did democracy movement work for Nepal before Facebook. I admired what Facebook and Twitter did for Egypt, but then they did not step in to help build the institutions of democracy in the aftermath.
The iPhone could not have been built a decade before it was.
To go from Zero To One is where the action is. A rocket does not start as a drone, or a helicopter, it starts as a rocket. A rocket pre-launch is still a rocket. It just is not moving yet. But the motion is all there, bottled up, just waiting to come out.
Afore gets it. Afore has polished it. It leads in the only space that really matters.
Not for the faint of heart to get geography agnostic. Afore has a standard sheet. And so you can trust. The details are not an art in the hand of the negotiator. That negotiation is porridge.
Yesterday I formally applied for a 1M raise with Afore. I saw a Jack tweet a few days ago. I sent him a DM. He messaged me back. I attended a Zoom call (also attended by many others) yesterday. One tweet that did not even mention Afore by name started this.
I will beat Elon Musk to a trillion-dollar valuation for any company he might start today and I am putting this statement on the chain. And I have no space plans, although I plenty admire the idea of internet on every point on earth. That is just infrastructure.
You are the most respectful of all funds, I have said to Afore a few different times. They get it. I hope they raise 10 times more and fund that many more. It is high time for geography agnostic.
I see too much tinkering. I come to it from the other end. I think Web 3 is about tackling and solving the biggest problems on the planet. I start with the challenges.
The New York Times is still here and it is my favorite newspaper. But Web 1 set out to displace the New York Times around 1994. It largely succeeded. There are rich social media. People and places from various segments of my life spread out over geographies manage to inform me about what’s going on, and all that news is not coming to me via the New York Times. Most people are not trying to become influencers with mass followings. A few dozen followers might be enough. Too much is too much.
I suspect the dollar might still be there when crypto is in full bloom say by 2030. But the crypto’s value has to come from somewhere. And that value comes from fiat. That much-derided fiat in the crypto world. You still need to go buy milk. I still prefer to read my books in hard copy. Cash might still be king, though more a constitutional monarch like in several European countries.
NFT is not a scam. It is about finally valuing creativity. You don’t have to code. You can simply create art. And you will get paid. I think that is a beautiful thing. But NFT is not just about making a watercolor and then scanning it. Mostly it will be about creating new forms of art not even possible before. When photos don’t cost you any money, look at all the photography you do that you did not do when you had to pay for every print.
In eastern Ukraine, to seek only a military solution is dangerous. I admire the work of military strategists, intelligence officials, and governments who have stepped into supplying the needed hardware. Most of all I admire the brave men and women of the Ukrainian military who make the ultimate sacrifice daily. But we can never lose sight of the larger purpose and the higher ground. Ultimately this is about peace, liberty, and justice.
Eisenhower warned of the “military-industrial complex.” He was talking about the people who made trillions in Iraq and Afghanistan. Those same people see a trillion-dollar opportunity in Ukraine, which can not be. The political leadership can not outsource the war to that “military-industrial complex.” Because that would be to lose sight of the primary goal of this unfortunate war.
The sole focus can not be to outgun Putin. To try would be to fall into his trap. That is what he wants. That is what he understands. Perhaps Putin and Zelensky are not talking, but plenty of people are talking to Putin and should keep on talking. All global players who have Putin’s ears should step in and play a role to help deescalate. This war is already global. Look at the food crisis in Africa.
All countries directly impacted by the blockage of Ukraine’s wheat by Putin’s mines in the Black Sea should ramp up the pressure on Putin. This war is not about Donbas. This is about Putin wanting to stay in power for 20 more years. A dictator needs his wars for domestic reasons.
Sometimes you have to fight for a just peace. That is what Ukraine is doing. It is the underdog. A dictator needs to invade or his regime will collapse. The Ukraine invasion has to be seen in that light.
The military strategy in Donbas has become complicated if only because Ukraine has lacked long-range artillery. But I am for peace. I am for a negotiated settlement. That would require an immediate ceasefire and all cessation of hostilities and letting the grain go out of the Ukrainian ports.
Once you have the ceasefire, you can then talk about territory. If Ukraine agrees to hold a referendum in the contested areas, that will be a huge concession. That referendum would have to be internationally sponsored and conducted. That would have to include Crimea. The areas where a referendum might be conducted would have to be completely demilitarized.
I am absolutely opposed to the idea of Taiwan declaring independence. It would be irresponsible for Taiwan to declare independence. The status quo, as bizarre as it is, has to be maintained. I do note it is not a standstill situation. China expands its military capabilities year after year with a singular focus on Taiwan. But Taiwan is no sitting duck either. It has pledges from both Japan and the US to enter the war if an invasion were to happen. Also, I don’t get the impression China is asking for a desolate landscape. Taiwan has an attractive chip industry that, if you destroy it, you have chaff in your hands.
The dictatorship of a party is different from the dictatorship of a person. Russia is one person, not that smart. He just wiped out 20 years of gain for the Russian economy. Smart? Not very.
Some people in America argue it is a two-party dictatorship. As in, corporations have both parties in their pockets. There is a money primary in America in which only a few tens of thousands of people vote. At one point China said to Hong Kong, okay, so you can have direct elections for the Chief Executive as long we decide who the two candidates will be.
What is being destroyed before our very eyes in Ukraine is the post-World War II order, financial, and political. Just like the League Of Nations made way for the United Nations, it might soon be time to reimagine the global order.
Markets go up. Markets go down. That is what markets do. At least in the short run. And the “crash” of the past few weeks has not even been that severe, although we will only learn of the bottom after we see the upswing.
The crash so far is not comparable to the dot com crash at the end of the last century. During that so-called nuclear winter, nobody serious really doubted the future of the Internet. A market where anybody with a domain name could raise a few million dollars was bound to crash. When the car industry started, there were a thousand car companies. The technology was so promising everybody felt like they could do it.
The exuberance around crypto is the true promise of the technology. The fundamental trajectory of the technology is strong. But greed is in the human domain.
You can’t play a great soccer game without a great, impartial, competent referee on the field. That referee has been missing in crypto. Crypto is a case for proactive regulation. With crypto, you only lose money. With AI, you will lose lives. We can’t have people dying before we start the discussion on seat belts. The seat belts and the airbags have to be built-in from the get-go.
As I follow Zelensky in this war, I am constantly reminded of this book I read just a few months ago. At that time there was no inkling of Putin’s invasion. I read the book because I am perennially interested in Abraham Lincoln’s life and work. Lincoln was not even a soldier. It was not a war he had chosen. He became a student of war in the White House. And because his instincts were right, and he stood on the side of justice and liberty, he seems to have made all sorts of right war moves. If you were to just give him credit for his military strategies, you would be impressed. One passage stood out for me. Lincoln laments the war, he is sad about the bloodshed on both sides, and he notes, that this is karma, he says, he does not use that word, but you get the point; he says we are paying in blood for all the blood we have spilled to subjugate the black race over centuries. God Almighty always, always makes it right in the long run. With God Almighty as witness, when you forgive someone, especially someone who might have done the most heinous thing, you are not saying, okay, let’s overlook because we are powerless. You are invoking the wrath of the highest power there is. That God will destroy the entire universe for justice, and He has before. Who is Putin?
Zelensky and Navalny for a joint Nobel Peace Prize after we uproot Putin in Moscow because half a million Muscovites dared the streets all at once and in an organized fashion.
I want NATO irrelevant. A democratic, federal, vibrant Russia will do it without doing anything about it.
It is not a political requirement that the Ukrainian military pushes the Russian forces out of Donbas. If they don’t want to do it, if they can not do it, that is not a problem. The only requirement is that they keep contesting the territory. Because the economic sanctions have to continue and further tightened. And that is an unfair arrangement for the ordinary people in Russia. I don’t blame them for Putin any more than I blame the dinosaurs for the asteroid. Putin has been imposed upon them time and again. Putin they have not chosen.
Putin recently said he is not going to use a nuclear weapon in Ukraine. That means he is thinking about it. The KGB taught him to look in your face and lie. There are videos on YouTube that show how exactly he does it. There is a video from when he was Deputy Mayor of Leningrad. He looks at the camera and says to the people, this money we are raising will only be used to buy food for you. He collects the money and moves to Moscow.
So let’s assume he will drop a bomb somewhere in Ukraine. A retaliatory bomb drop is not going to be an option. But that has to draw an iron curtain around Russia. At that point it is either you are with us or against us. No country that will still do any kind of business with Russia should be allowed to do any kind of business with the US and the West. The economic sanction has to be total and complete.
But if you only have a military strategy, if you only have an economic sanctions strategy, you have no strategy at all. My strategy is to topple Putin in Moscow, with or without any military strategy, with or without economic sanctions.
The military campaign in Donbas is important, and the economic sanctions are important, but ultimately what matters is that liberty rings inside every human heart. The challenge is to ignite that among Muscovites. And then Putin is cotton candy.
The work has to start in the diaspora. If the Russian diaspora will not brave the streets in New York City, London, Paris, or Berlin, then what are the chances in Moscow? There is a need for weekly protests that keep snowballing.
Cheering the military campaign can not be the centerpiece of the action. The primary solution is political.
Guns are like cigarettes. And they have to be tackled like cigarettes were tackled. All families and friends of the victims of gun violence have to come together, rally and make legal moves. That is how tobacco was brought to the knees.
A lot of people wonder, will America slide into civil war? The country is divided. Will there be a civil war? Look at the annual gun deaths in America and compare that to the death figures in any civil war country, or all of them combined. America beats all of them, hands down.
America has been at civil war for years and years.
This is insanity. The solution is not politicians making speeches, but rather citizens coming together and making organized legal moves in the courts. The people have the power to amend the second amendment, the appendix (body organ) of the US constitution. I am waiting for someone to make the argument that the amendment allows them to own tanks.
I am no military expert, and I defer to military experts on the specifics, like the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense that makes specific asks on Twitter.
Putin is not trying to liberate anybody. Pay attention. He is busy destroying Donbas. He does not speak for the ethnic Russians in Moscow. Hell, he does not speak for the ethnic Russians in Donbas.
Aping the com com
Art that moves markets
The most cynical characterization of the brutal invasion of Ukraine I have come across in the tech circles is Marc Andreessen calling it the current thing.
Many people in tech have been comparing this year to 1995. As in, 2022 is to the Blockchain what 1995 might have been to the Internet. You might see a lot of froth but this is for real. There will be market ups and downs, as there always are, but this thing is for real.
Ukraine is 1989, it is 1991 all over again, or can be. This is not some remote war. It is heartbreaking to watch all the damage that has been done. The images and the videos are so easily accessible.
By now I am beginning to think this has been the only reason Elon Musk has wanted to buy Twitter. Edit button? You can already compose a new tweet.
Free speech does not mean you can incite violence, which is what Trump did on January 6. It is a well-documented act, minute by minute. Trump is a violent fascist.
Germany was a country of high culture and science, it was a democracy. And some of the leading minds in the country fell for Hitler. I see people like Marc and Elon falling for Trump. Frankly, this is sad and disgusting. Marc has been running up and down the street about how Ukraine is the current thing. Ukraine is not a country at the frontline of the fight for democracy. It is the current thing. How cavalier is that?
Elon Musk came up with this vision of underground tunnels under Los Angeles when one day he found himself stuck in traffic. And I think he should still go for it. But, just like with Mars, he gets the physics right but misses out on the human element. Being underground for long periods of time is psychologically hard. And only a few accidents could be a PR nightmare.
A much better global idea would be to design and build self-driving electric buses of various sizes that come in fleets. So a city buys a fleet, preferably paying in installments over years, and it uploads the data on routes, and the buses are good to go. For added intelligence, the fleet is allowed cameras to be installed along the routes. That would revolutionize public transportation in emerging cities around the world. The city government, not the individual, is your customer. People might buy a monthly pass online. And they get a bar code on the phone. Ride as much as you want over a month.
Just like with boring tunnels, the idea is to get people out of their cars and into the public buses. City buses for short-distance travel, hyperloop for between cities, and the 30-minute rocket for point-to-point travel for really long distances. That is going to be enough space tourism for me. I just want a blimp of a view. Keep me on earth.
Buses come with big windows. You do want the views.
Free speech is between the citizen and the state. The only thing it means is that the state will not arrest you for expressing your opinions peacefully. This means, you can say stupid things, and not get arrested, you can say hateful things, and not get arrested.
Unless you are in a position to arrest people, you are not really debating free speech. You are debating social mores. There is no free speech debate on Twitter. Twitter does not have the power to arrest you.
Apples to apples, the blockchain is like the Internet. It is not one company, one technology, it is an entire paradigm. It is a broad canvas. If I had to put a number to it I would say the blockchain is going to be at least 100 times bigger than the Internet itself. The tricky part is that the blockchain stays at the back end. You still interact with the good old Internet.
The Internet has been the continental shelf. The Blockchain is the deep ocean. The Internet democratized media. Every person who wants to can publish. The Blockchain will democratize money. The Age Of Abundance is upon us.
But a technology, any technology, is but a tool like your thumb is a tool. The slot machine in Las Vegas does not know right from wrong. It only knows to move when you push the levers. Questions of right and wrong stay in the spiritual domain.
When Elon Musk bought almost 10% of Twitter, he was duly invited to come to sit on the Board. Musk declined. Remember, Musk did not launch Tesla. He took over. Now his intention seems to be to take over Twitter. To redo it. He obviously has big plans.
He is the Twitter King. Of all the people on Twitter who have the largest following, he is easily the most active. He lives on Twitter. The Prime Minister of India has a lot of followers, but I doubt he tweets himself. He has a large team behind the operation.
Elon Musk has built a track record over the past 20 years that makes him “the king of kings,” the tech entrepreneur that even top tech entrepreneurs look up to with awe. And he is not that old. He could easily be chugging along on earth for a good 20 years before he sends himself to Mars.
Should Elon Musk be owning all of Twitter? Would that be a good thing? For Twitter? For the world? For Elon?
You necessarily have to reimagine banking to reimagine the state.
Cisco made money while it helped build the Internet, a small portion of it. People who are buying Bitcoin are helping build the Blockchain.
One gripe is that less than 1,000 people own 15% of Bitcoin which is worth $180 billion as of October 2021. But in December 2017, that was 40%. Another October 2021 figure is that 10,000 people, or 1% of those holding Bitcoin, control one-third of the supply. Instead of shared prosperity, are we just creating another 1%?
There is always launching another Blockchain that will still talk to the Bitcoin Blockchain. But some argue Bitcoin ownership “disperses over time.”
Instead of starting with what the tech is and what it can do, I think the newly emergent Blockchain allows us to start with the problems, the biggest problems humanity faces.
The number one global problem is the problem of identity. And that is curious because each of us walks around with our own unique identity literally on our fingertips. A thumb press on a smart screen, either a phone or a tablet, should be enough to get anyone started. That identity could be established anywhere, and carried globally, to be renewed each time a finger is pressed against the screen.
So easily established, that digital identity should be coupled with an automatic bank account where each person taking the initiative to establish their identity should be rewarded with a small fraction of a Bitcoin. The Bitcoin part is that money in that bank account you should be able to move globally and for free.
I saw this diagram many years ago. It shows all the many big companies that emerged each of which tackled just one small segment of what Craig’s List did. You could go with the phrase Unbundling Craig’s List. Craig Newmark never bothered with a Craig’s List 2.0. The first version is still chugging along. It is still in business.
When I look at the Blockchain, I see something like this, only much, much larger. Google is not your local library digitized. When you digitize a service, you birth a whole new animal. Because you can add intelligence every which way.
In a way, it is just money on the Blockchain. But then it is not because it is digital and intelligent. Governments around the world are all geared to make the mistake of thinking it is just money, just digitized. And so let’s introduce the digital dollar, the digital yuan, the digital rupee. But a fundamental element of the Bitcoin is that there are going to be only so many. Governments on the other hand like to conjure up new money out of thin air. They want to be in charge. They want to increase the money supply.
In geometry, before you can move on to bigger things, you have to define a point, a line. Just from those two definitions, you end up with all sorts of shapes. That that line need not be straight led to mathematics that helped Einstein describe space-time curvature.
I think there are postulates emerging on the Blockchain that will allow us to tackle some of the biggest problems on the planet. One is inequality. I like to say, if you are serious about fighting climate change, fight inequality. And now we have the tools.
But inequality is a relatively long-term project. Ukraine is an immediate concern. Ukraine and Yemen.
I think, with a correctly structured DAO (Decentralized Autonomous Organization), it is possible to topple Putin with people power. The White House made it clear that regime change is not on its agenda when it comes to Russia. But ordinary Russians don’t need the White House’s permission to bring forth regime change in their own country. The Russian diaspora, I hope, is permissionless.
I am the Son of God come back as promised. But I spent decades on earth not knowing who I was. That was to fulfill the prophesy that I will come like a thief in the night. First, you have to know and believe that there was a man who walked this earth in flesh about 2,000 years ago who was the Son of God. If you don't know and believe that, my claim will not make any sense to you. And if you believe that I will have to ask you, why do you believe that? It can not just be because he claimed so. It is mathematical. There are hundreds of prophecies that came to be realized in the life and person of Jesus. The chances of that happening are really, really small. The number is literally astronomical. Less than one in the number of atoms in the universe. That same yardstick applies to me. I have fulfilled prophecies. I will fulfill many more. Do the math on that. It is not possible those prophesies will come true in any other person. That is how you know I am who I say I am. Just do the math.
2016 is when the Holy Father spent an entire year telling me who I was. He appeared in person in flesh more than two dozen times. As did the Holy Spirit, twice. This book is going to be the story of that year.
I have read some lucid lucid essays by Marc Andreessen on topics in tech. Here is but one example, Marc talking Bitcoin back in 2014. In a two-party democracy, the choice is binary and we all make mistakes. You have a democratic right to vote for, vouch for one of the two candidates. I get that.
But Trump is different. And if you are still pining for him a full year after January 6 (Bin Laden's Fantasy, Trump's Reality) I am going to be suspicious.
I understand differences in opinion, but I make a point to not understand racism. In Trump’s case, we are talking fascism, pure, unadulterated fascism. Yes, Hitler had his QAnon. That is how it starts.
Months on a space station the human body starts losing its grip, the eyeballs, the joints, all sorts of places. Ends up earthly gravity is a great need of the human body. Just look at the seasons on earth. A little tilt gives such variation. The earth is immaculately placed. It is just the right distance from the Sun. The moon gives earth much-needed stability.
The surface of Mars is more hostile, physically speaking, than the deep ocean, and I don’t see Elon colonizing the deep ocean. And the deep ocean is hostile. Start with the immense pressure. Building ocean cities on earth, say in the South China Sea, is less challenging than colonizing Mars, and we are not yet into ocean cities.
And there is loneliness. Long months on a spaceship can be more injurious to health than smoking. I get the impression Elon could use a few doses of Human Biology 101 and Human Psychology 101.
The Blockchain does not take you to Mars, it takes you to the masses right here on earth. We are in the Goldilocks zone, yo. There is no Plan B. Save the earth.
The Blockchain capabilities are being built, but that is not where I start. I start with the size of the biggest problems in the world. Because now we can hope to tackle them.
The Blockchain is not trickle down. You necessarily have to start with the dollar a day people. Their problem is your problem.
If I could get a correctly structured DAO (Decentralized Autonomous Organization) populated by enough Afghan refugees who reside in free-speech countries, I could topple the Taliban. I am confident. I have done this once before. And that was before Facebook. I used primitive tools like mailing lists and the most rudimentary blog.
The Blockchain is permissionless. The incorrect approach will be to go to a corrupt country and ask, please tell me which of your laws to follow. We follow We The People. And those people make the laws.