A Little Ludwig Goes a Long Way

A smattering of opinions on technology, books, business, and culture. Now in its 4th technology iteration.

Web3, Crypto, and other random things this week

20 October 2021

web3, crypto this week

Kept on trying to learn about web3 this week,taking a random walk thru services. dfinity.org is complicated to grok, the “hello world” app for a hosted app is a little byzantine. fleek.co was a little easier to use tho i seem to have lost my app. I am still trying to understand what ipfs is good for. polkadot and substrate seem like ingredients, not solutions. Everyone introduces a bunch of new unique terminology, I am awash in concepts.

I am bullish on the idea that there is some application use for web3 infrastructure, tho nothing I am finding is really compelling yet, and the complexity of using them is orders of magnitude too high. The cost to use any of these services is a complicated mystery; there is a lot of value in a publicly maintained, clear price list for services as is provided by AWS or Azure or GCS — I can have a “hello world” lambda up and running in minutes with a very clear cost expectation and a lot of cost and scale controls.

It would be great if someone made it trivially easy to move s3 storage to ipfs, and demonstrated exactly how that would be substantially cheaper. Cloudflare is attempting to move s3 usage to r2 — full s3 compatibility at a much lower cost – they are making it trivial to understand – I get that. If some IPFS offering would do the same, I would get that.

One thing I am quite sure about — the “Goodbye AWS!” sentiment on various web3 sites — how running an app on the blockchain will free apps from the tyranny of AWS (and Azure and Google…) — this is false. The blockchain operates on hardware that some organization is hosting and operating. There will be organizations that are better at operating hardware at scale, and they will aggregate up a bunch of blockchain processing traffic and then they will have the new Amazon (which might be the same as the old Amazon). This is just the nature of industries, every industry since the beginning of time has behaved this way – “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss”. I suspect a lot of vendors and investors understand this dynamic very well and are being disingenuous.

I also keep reading “crypto currency is different, we need a different regulatory regime.” Regulatory structures are in place, in part, to moderate the behaviour of the powerful and to protect the individual investors (and yes are abused by established players to achieve regulatory capture, but that is not a reason to drop them). When I hear a new entrant claiming we need a whole new regulatory regime, they are either naive about how this will play out — or they are disingenuous, they want to be a dominant player in the new regime and capture outsize rewards. THey are not acting on the behalf of the individual investor.

A variant of this is “The SEC’s posture towards crypto in the US is definitely hurting innovation”. Well yes it may be slowing innovation and this seems like a feature, not a bug. Maintaining a market that protects small investors and encourages them to participate in the market is a very good thing. Financial “innovators” often do not protect small investors.

The burden is on the crytpocurrency innovators to fully embrace the protections provided by the SEC and demonstrate how they can operate within those strictures.


I’m a sucker for shaders.

I need a Mini hologram portal.

Dave Winer continues to innovate and build. Inspiring.

Nature conservancy 2021 photo winners – the cenote one is awesome.

Kintsugi is beautiful.

Noah smith explains the risks of subsidies for expensive services

Mortgage debt service at all time low. Stunning.