Crypto Lessons from 'Who Controls the Internet?'
2 min read

Crypto Lessons from 'Who Controls the Internet?'

Thanks to Joel John for recommending the book, Who Controls the Internet? As he said, "lots of parallels to everything we are seeing in web3 right now."

Major themes

Contrary to what many think about the internet...

  1. The Internet is splitting apart and becoming bordered.
  2. The geographically bordered Internet has many under-appreciated virtues, like citizens wanting their government to prevent them from harming one another.

3 excerpts for web3 founders

The Filesharing Movement

  • UX matters.
  • Early adopters are not representative of mainstream users.
  • Value props like 'free due to eliminating middlemen' aren't actually strong enough to mainstream users who value ease of use and not getting in trouble.

Virtues and Vices of Government Control

  • I've long been fascinated with eBay, mentioning it in many of my posts like, What eBay, Napster, and Banks have in common, Magical Internet Moments, and 5x there, 10x to go. No surprise it's featured in this book.
  • Reputation is a widely discussed topic in web3. As basic as they are, feedback systems like eBay's are a pivotal feature (primitive) of their platform. No trust, no transactions. Very much an unsolved problem that many believe web3 tech, DID, VCs, zkp can solve for. At the end of the day, the age old question remains – is somebody who they say they are, and can they be trusted?
  • Pierre really wanted eBay to be community governed but unfortunately, humans are humans. There's always a small group of bad actors that ruin things for everyone else.

Visions of a Post-Territorial Order

  • Hmmm, sound familiar?