The Merge

Earlier this month, a major event happened in the cryptocurrency space called the ‘Merge’. In this event, the ethereum blockchain changed the way it achieves consensus – from using a proof-of-work mechanism to a proof-of-stake mechanism. A blockchain is a spreadsheet that maintains a record of all the transactions between users using the same blockchain. … Read more

Nothing cryptic about another ‘crypto’ disaster

Earlier this month, a cryptocurrency token called Luna crashed in price – an event that also brought down the value of bitcoin, became the biggest crash in cryptocurrency history thus far, earned the person or persons who (probably) orchestrated this fall nearly a billion dollars, and stuck a big-ass wrench in the machinations of the cryptocurrency … Read more

NFTs aren’t thriving – they’re often in the hospital

This is not a real anniversary but it’s worth commemorating, if only to remember the pseudo-events propping up the NFT business-culture. One month and one year ago, a cryptocurrency user named Metakovan purchased an NFT associated with a piece of art from its creator, a fellow named Beeple, in an auction at Christie’s. (Here’s a beginner’s … Read more

Crypto: Climate change means new tech has less time today to prove itself

I spent this weekend reading about permissioned and permissionless blockchain systems. If you want to get in on it, I can’t recommend this post by David Rosenthal enough. Much of the complexity of executing transactions of the major extant cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin and ether, arises from the need for these systems to ensure they are permissionless from … Read more

The foolishness of a carbon-negative blockchain

With the experience of ‘fortress conservation’, poor implementation of the Forest Rights Act and the CAMPA philosophy in India, it’s hard not to think that the idea of carbon offsets is stupid. This mode of ‘climate action’ has been most popular in the US and the EU, given that carbon offsets are essentially status-quoist: they … Read more

Let’s release more carbon and then store it

Would you look at this hypocrisy. George Church’s startup Colossal recently raised $15 million towards his longer-term effort to revive woolly mammoths – at least, he wants to splice woolly-mammoth genes with those of an Asian elephant to create a ‘mammophant’ – to bring back the Pleistocene-era ‘mammoth steppe’, a landscape he hopes will preserve … Read more

On crypto-art, racism and outcome fantasies

If you want to find mistakes with something, you’ll be able to find them if you tried long enough. That doesn’t inherently make the thing worthless. The only exception I’ve encountered to this truism is the prevailing world-system – which is both fault-ridden and, by virtue of its great size and entrenchment, almost certainly unsalvageable. … Read more

The federation of our digital identities

Facebook, Twitter, email, WordPress, Instagram, online banking, the list goes on… Offline, you’re one person maintaining (presumably) one identity. On the web, you have many of them. All of them might point at you, but they’re still distinct packets of data floating through different websites. Within each site, your identity is unified, but between them, you’re different people. … Read more