Ethereum and The Seven Dwarfs

People in the 1960s computer industry would say the market was IBM “and the seven dwarfs” in reference to the other popular computer makers: Burroughs, Control Data, Digital Equipment, RCA, Univac, Honeywell and GE. They all poured fortunes into developing newer and better technologies than IBM, yet none could compete with its massive distribution advantage. Ethereum is the IBM of the smart contract blockchains: it may not be the “best” technology, but it works well enough and has amassed a distribution advantage that will be hard to overcome by its competitors. 

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Web vs. Crypto Service Models, Cost Structures and Value Distribution

We compare web vs. crypto service models across two dimensions: the production model (from centralized to decentralized) and the data model (from custodial to non-custodial). The more decentralized and non-custodial a service, the more distributed its cost structure. This is important because markets tend to allocate value along the line of costs. So the more we decentralize the cost structure of a service, the more broadly we distribute its value.

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Cryptonetworks and Governments

Public cryptonetworks have some unique features that put them in an ambiguous position vis-à-vis existing legal and administrative systems, especially governments. What should governments make of these emerging systems, and how might their societal role evolve in a cryptonetworked world? On the one hand, crypto represents an important and effective tool against authoritarianism, and certain aspects of it can arguably be framed as competitive with the State. On the other hand, it is also possible to envision a more symbiotic relationship in which well-intentioned governments are both active participants in and direct beneficiaries of public cryptonetworks.

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Sovereign Cryptonetworks

A state is sovereign when it has supreme authority to govern its territory without interference from a foreign power. Similarly, a cryptonetwork is sovereign when it runs in a way that resists outside influence. But instead of managing the rules and politics of a geography, cryptonetworks use blockchain protocols to govern the production and exchange of information services over digital space. Achieving sovereignty is necessary to fulfill crypto’s ultimate promise of independent online networks that distribute value more broadly across its participants, instead of concentrating it in a particular company or jurisdiction.

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Resources, Governance, and Legitimacy in Zcash's 2020 Network Upgrade

In October 2020 the Zcash network will undergo its first halving, slicing the annual rate of ZEC inflation in half. Halvings are important moments in any cryptomoney’s maturation as they double the marginal cost of producing each incremental unit (at constant hash rate), moving the asset further along the scarcity curve. Concurrent with this halving, Zcash will undergo its fourth network upgrade (NU4), in which key decisions (especially re: the Founders Reward) need to be made that will shape the next four years of Zcash’s life.

As ZEC coin holders, Placeholder recognizes that NU4 will be a critical upgrade for the Zcash network, and therefore have chosen to submit our thoughts about its contents.

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