As much as Silicon Valley and startup culture claim a kind of techno-optimism, in the wake of the social media partisanship, science skepticism and climate concerns, it feels hard to really dream big. People say catch phrases like “it’s time to build” but we all understand there are limits to the problems we solve in capitalism’s current markets. And no one believes the government can solve anything.
Any possibility or big dream can be clouded by its politics or cultural baggage if you let it. We yell about cancel culture but it’s really a lack of imagination. A kind of giving in to the boundaries of what is acceptable has captured the moment.
But I’m noticing a genuine mood of possibilities in crypto. A levity that believes in wide open horizons. Instead of the long horizon, crypto sees a bright one.
Maybe it’s because crypto’s proponents genuinely believe it will be possible to toss out legacy systems. Crypto is still so new the disillusionment of compromise to human nature, design dependencies or aggregate power seem far away. The problems that plague ant endeavor haven’t become inevitable. No wonder the mood is ebullient. We are genuinely happy in crypto.
You can imagine a world in which the DAO destroys the corporation. You can imagine a world in which artists are paid directly by patrons in effectively priced markets which respect their ownership. You can imagine expensive and exclusive financial products being automated away so even a small independent entity can access the best without bleeding out through a dozen service fees. Everything could still be a utopia.
And while I know it won’t it feels really great to be optimistic about something.