EthCC talk in March

I just got confirmation that I’ve been given a 30 minute speaking slot at EthCC in Paris in March to talk about Etherean!! As well as Cryptopia, the book I’m working on. Booyah! This will be the first official talk on these topics. What would folks like to hear about / discuss?


Awsm wasm :slight_smile: looking forward hearing that.

Here’s an early draft of the talk. I probably need to cut around half of the material. You can also think of this as a very early, high-level draft for the book, Cryptopia. Would love feedback!

  • Intro
    • Who am I? What am I working on? Why does this matter to me?
    • The purpose of this talk is to put our work into a broader context. What’s the point if all we end up with is a few cute games? For me, and I think for many of us, our work is about far more.
    • Background on Etherean: DevCon talk, how this all started
    • Intro the book: Cryptopia, this talk is based on book research
  • Let’s take a look at the world today
    • Nation states
      • Brief history lesson: these are new
      • Brexit
      • Rise of populism
      • USA-China
      • They’re not working so well today
    • Public discourse, the media, truth
      • Echo chambers
      • General distrust of authority: this is both good (trust oneself) and bad (even the most trusted institutions are breaking down, what will replace them?)
      • “Post-truth”
      • Not looking good
    • Governance, politics
      • National level: Not working so well today
      • Supranational: Not working so well today. How are we doing on global warming? The challenges we face as a species are getting harder and more complex, and we are ill-suited to face them with our present institutions.
    • Economics
      • Inflation, hyperinflation, mismanagement by central banks
      • Rich-poor gap: within countries, across countries: not looking good
      • There will be more and more left behind as the pace of technology quickens
    • Web2, social networks
      • Siren servers
      • Top-down, hierarchical network topologies vs. p2p
      • Rampant censorship
      • Very limited respect for privacy
      • Data monopolies
      • For all of this: the consumer loses.
      • Is this the future we want? If we don’t do something about it, it’s the future we’re going to get.
    • I don’t mean to be overly pessimistic. There is lots of good in the world today, too, and lots continues to improve. But IMHO the good is more on the micro level, e.g., tech, companies, products and services. Also, the good is enjoyed by a smaller and smaller segment of the population. The macro level is not looking very good, and even a “rising average” belies increasing extremes and a terrible median. You cannot deny that there is a lot less stability, a lot more uncertainty in the world today.
    • Thesis 1: The trends that are causing these things are unstoppable, irreversible, and non-linear. They will only accelerate. You ain’t seen nothing yet.
  • The path forward
    • Preface
      • Let’s start with a thought experiment. Close your eyes and visualize. If you were to design a new system from scratch today, knowing what we all know now, what would it look like? Would it look anything like our present system?
      • Thesis 2: Change from within is hard. The system, this system, any system does not even allow one to question the system itself. It’s simply beyond the scope of the system, and those who attempt to are punished. So we need another system. Maybe a parallel system. The power of technology, digital goods, the fork, etc. means we can do this peaceably, bloodlessly, in theory anyway.
      • The one key, fundamental difference that sets us apart, our magic power: the fork. Why does this matter so much? We have only begun to appreciate how important this is. We are moving from a world of rivalrous to one of non-rivalrous goods: from land to data. In this may lie the key to our salvation.
    • Self-sovereignty
      • What is self-sovereignty?
      • Thesis 3: Due to the proliferation of micro computing technology, we cannot stop this trend even if we wanted to. The individual is rapidly becoming more important than the nation state. The returns to scale have begun to shrink and will rapidly continue to shrink.
      • Freedom isn’t free: the responsibility - paternalism tradeoff and why this will prove challenging
      • The Ethereum answer: an unopinionated base layer. Ethereum as an operating system for building better human institutions.
      • Still, governance will be a huge challenge, as we are seeing now.
      • In this way, Ethereum in its present form is a microcosm for the entire human society of the future.
    • Decentralization
      • Thesis 4: Our present institutions do not scale. They are already tearing apart at the seams. No highly centralized model can scale further (why?). The only way forward is to embrace decentralization and consider radically new institutional and governance models.
      • Which models exist today?
        • Regional movements, e.g., Catalonia
        • The Internet, at least partially/in its original conception
        • Open source, e.g., Linux as canonical, successful example
        • Ethereum, obviously, and other blockchain projects
        • Holocracy, teal organizations
      • Why do these scale socially better than centralized models?
      • Things we still haven’t figured out
        • Governance
        • Stewardship, funding
        • Leadership, vision-setting, roadmap-steering
  • Conclusion
    • We are moving in the right direction, we are gathering steam, but it’s early days, we need all the help we can get, and we still face big, unsolved challenges.
    • Please continue the conversation on
    • Please join our meetup.
    • Please contribute to the book.
    • We are all in this together. Let’s build a better future together.
1 Like

This all looks really good, hope you don’t have to cut much due to time restraints!

Hope you’ll also post a livestream link for the talk if there is one for those of us not able to make it to Paris :slight_smile:

From my point of view: skip parts about Brexit, Russia/USA/China, rather keep it high-lvl about nation states. I would even skip the “Rise of populism” part. You can prove ineffectiveness of a nation state even w/o such concrete examples.

I am not sure about Governance/Politics part as well, IMHO this could be a lecture itself as well.

Also, to keep the topic “tighter”, I wouldn’t dive too deeply into Self-sovereignty, I consider it to be too complex subject.

Too sorry I can’t participate! I would really love to hear that. This seems like really my cup of coffee :))

Thanks for the great feedback guys! I’m pretty sure everything will be recorded and livestreamed. I don’t see a link yet, but watch

@lane I just got a chance to go through your ethcc talk, it was great! Will be highly recommending it :wink:

It’s definitely not just you thinking the Facebook future is appearing the most likely without change… example from today in CNBC Crypto:

“Challenges remain. Facebook needs to demonstrate a value proposition for users ‘above what is available today in payments’ and build trust after its laundry list of issues in 2018, Sandler said. Global payments systems also tend to bring more regulatory scrutiny.”

“But if the stable coin is successful, Sandler said, he sees no reason why Facebook couldn’t get into consumer lending, remittance and physical payments ‘eventually.’”

I don’t want to jump over you to post the link here in case you wanted to do a post about it, but I figured since you tweeted about it it’s fair game :slight_smile:

Retweeted it because I knew it was going to be good, but will share it more now haha. Really nice work on the presentation!

btw, do you want to start a thread for a meetup at rxc or should i? :slight_smile:

1 Like

Thanks! Here’s the recording - they got the videos up very quickly!

Would love love love to hear constructive feedback!


I love the idea. Create a thread for it! We can throw it up on like we did in Paris

You seem to put more emphasis on negative sides of Web 2.0, and I understand why, but I believe it’s worth noticing that Facebook and other global companies are the major force of globalization and show the limits of nation-state powers. They evade taxes, are rather reluctant when it comes to align with local laws (but on the other hand they set its own rules and impose it globally). But this only highlights that something is wrong with nation-state system, that in reality we are not living under this system fully, because our (cyber)world is divided between other entities (FB, Google and so on).

Of course there’s also another thing: FB, Google, Tencent are based in some “super power” countries and they are an important tool for those countries to influence other.

I agree totally. Thanks for pointing this out. I’d just add/rephrase, “… have been the major force of globalization over the past few decades.” I’m not sure it was always this way.

I have no doubt that if the FAANGs and BATs of the world have their way, we will live in a Snowcrash-esque libertopia where absolutely everything is privatized. The question I’m asking is, Is this the future we want? Is it the world we want to live in? Or is there some better option?

Lanier speaks to this in Who Owns the Future?:

Of course it’s not what I want, and I’ve been trying to alarm people about it since 2009… without much success. I witnessed the demise of Web 2.0 dream which was also about decentralization (hence I watched Harry Halpin’s talk in Berlin with tears in my eyes, literally)

This passage from Lanier is supposed to be a parody, but I believe that shopping malls are using very similar agreements with their “tenants”.

Now we have bit better tools to build better future. Still it’s hard to be optimistic, because such fundamental shift never happened without bloodshed (French Revolution is first which comes to mind).