Saturday, March 24, 2018

Matt Levine's Meow Culpa—CryptoKitties, An Exegesis

Following up on Thursday's "Matt Levine Writes About CryptoKitties ("this column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners")."

FT Alphaville's Matthew Klein directs our attention to Mr. Levine's Friday Bloomberg View column.
If  you are having trouble with the twitter embed format here's an excerpt from

Too Convenient to Fail
...The crypto.
So a bit of a mea culpa. Yesterday I wrote about Union Square Ventures' investment in CryptoKitties, and expressed a certain amused skepticism. And Union Square partner (and excellent tech/venture-capital blogger) Fred Wilson tweeted at me to acknowledge my skepticism but suggest that I read this post by his colleague Nick Grossman. That post confronts the skepticism that many people have about CryptoKitties, but explains that it is actually a profound technological development:
Because each kitty is a token on Ethereum, that means that anyone else (aside from the original developers of Cryptokitties) can view that asset and integrate it into other systems, without anyone’s permission.
For example, on Kittyhats — developed independently from CryptoKitties — you can buy a hat for your kitty.
Look: They are right, and I was wrong, and I am sorry. I thought that CryptoKitties was just a game that allows you to buy cartoon cats on the blockchain, and I thought it was silly. But I completely missed the point. CryptoKitties is actually a game that allows you to buy cartoon cats on the blockchain, and put little hats on them.

I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I have tried, but I am only human and there is absolutely no way to write about this that is not sarcastic. But Grossman's post is smart and worth reading! The interesting, ambitious vision of token/blockchain technology involves thinking of new ways to build decentralized tools on the internet, and CryptoKitties and their hats might actually give some useful pointers in that direction. Grossman:
The (original) internet brought us a world where any site could link to any other site, and they could all be accessed from anywhere in the world.  This was the first interoperability revolution.  The next one will be with data and digital assets.  For a long time, data has been the property of platforms — with cryptonetworks and cryptoassets, data can live outside of any one platform, under the control of users.  This has the potential to open up a lot of innovation.
It does. You could put little socks on the kitties. The future is amazing....
As is par for the course, reality is one step ahead. NorwayCatGuy is offering for sale:

Kitty #478394 - Stovner
They are named for some of the tougher neighborhoods in Oslo, that's Stovner above.

Finally, for some reason, reading all of the VC blather I am reminded of an A16Z investee advisor:

As Far As Whores Go, Larry Summers Seems To Have Become....
...the Whore of Babble-on.

Seriously, what does this crap even mean:
“The 21 chip adds a whole new dimension to bitcoin’s potential utility. At first we will be struck by the presence of a technology like embedded mining; eventually we may be struck by its absence...."
Long time readers may remember Larry from such hit posts as...MORE