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📺 "Abuse on the blockchain" by Molly White

📺 "Abuse on the blockchain" by Molly White
Photo by Art Rachen / Unsplash

In a recent Standford University lecture, Molly White (now dubbed the "crypto's biggest critic") calmly deconstructs all cryptocurrencies sales points in less than 30 min. One of the most educated and clinical discussions by a long shot, surgically cutting through the hype.

"Abuse on t." blockchain". A guest lecture by Molly White at Stanford University on March 7, 2022.

The main takeaways for me are at three levels:

  • The intrinsic characteristics of the blockchain that make it so sexy on paper (decentralization, immutability, pseudonymity of users, and transactions public to all) make it terrible to manage any asset or transaction. And this is true for all the consecutive rebranding of this technology, whether it's crypto, NFTs, or now web3.
  • As it is, it's a terrible technology that doesn't integrate a shred of protection from the worst usages it renders possible. And no, it's not normal as it's not a new technology anymore (it's been in development since 2008!).
  • Even if you forget all the above, this technology is poorly designed from a user standpoint and forces you to navigate esoteric processes to achieve anything. This is not just a design problem. History demonstrates that a revolutionary technology of any sort requires a key feature: removing friction from the market (not adding to it).

As I was writing this spring about NFTs:

We feel it's smart, whereas it's just complicated. We want to believe it will change our digital economy, whereas it's just old-school quick and dirty speculation. Proponents tout great libertarian ideas, whereas it immediately devolved into a swampy playfield for scammers.

Lastly, on a personal note, I still have a damn hard time taking seriously any so-called progress that will fuel climate change even more. And make no mistake about it; this is what will kill the whole thing since no industry will be able to justify its CO2 impact.