by Josh Stark & Evan Van Ness

Ethereum is the digital frontier.

Because it is open and programmable, Ethereum offers a vast uncharted expanse filled with opportunity.

Over the last few years, this frontier has attracted its first major settlements. The freewheeling bazaar of decentralized finance (“DeFi”) has grown into a sector that is beginning to compete with Silicon Valley. This year, a second ecosystem began to put down roots: the creator economy of cryptoart, music, and media.

Meanwhile, the Ethereum community is poised to adopt the most significant changes to the core protocol in its short history. …


by Josh Stark & Evan Van Ness

Up and to the right

Ethereum began as a blank canvas.

Ethereum is an open, permissionless blockchain that developers can use to create any kind of application they want.

This year, the early strokes laid down on that canvas began to form into a coherent picture.

You don’t have to squint so much to see the direction Ethereum is going. Protocols and applications built on Ethereum are beginning to find product-market fit, quickly building communities of thousands of paying users.

The empty spaces on the canvas are no longer sources of uncertainty or doubt. …


Two partners at Union Square Ventures recently published separate blogs critical of Ethereum: “Is Ethereum the AOL of Crypto?” by Albert Wenger, and “Some Thoughts on Crypto” by Fred Wilson.

I’m fond of saying that “Ethereum needs better critics. Hopefully Albert and Fred continue being critics, and through debate with the Ethereum community, become better ones over time. A positive trait in the Ethereum community is our interest in deliberately seeking out flaws, exposing them, and fixing them.

The explicit goal of this short post is to bait Albert and Fred into being better critics. Expand on your arguments, tell…


by Josh Stark, Evan Van Ness, and Daniel Zakrisson

Ethereum began as a bold experiment. Can we build a universal platform for digital money and assets, un-censorable applications, and decentralized organizations?

We started with a slightly smaller experiment: was it possible to launch a blockchain that could execute arbitrary programs? Over time, the Ethereum community began new experiments. Would developers find it interesting? What applications are actually useful? The community learned from its successes and failures, and iterated on their work. New people joined the community and started running their own experiments.

In 2018, the Ethereum community ran more experiments…


A concept I often use to explain the potential of blockchain technology is “the space of possible economic relationships”.

What do I mean by economic relationships? I mean any situation where two or more persons enter into a relationship concerned with value:

  • A transfer of cash
  • An informal agreement to borrow money from a friend
  • A legal contract to buy a house
  • The relationship between all the shareholders of a corporation
  • The relationship between all persons who use US dollars

This is meant to be very broad, including informal agreements, legal contracts, and very diffuse relationships that we don’t often…


Network effects unlocked by common standards and new engineering.

👉Interested in helping build the infrastructure for web 3? L4 is actively hiring.

The internet is changing again.

Over the last decade internet-based services have trended towards centralization. Today, a handful of companies control the platforms we use to search for information, store our personal data, manage our online identities, and communicate publicly and privately.

At the same time, a group of seemingly unrelated technologies are being developed on the fringes of the tech industry, ranging from encrypted messaging to digital money. Within that loose community, “web 3” has become a catchall term for a vision of a new, better…


Construction of the Tunkhannock Viaduct railway bridge in Pennsylvania (cc). Roman engineering principles being extended to new uses.

For ethereum 2018 is the year of infrastructure. This is the year when early adoption will test the limits of the network, renewing focus on technologies built to scale ethereum.

Ethereum is still in its infancy. Today, it isn’t safe or scalable. This is well understood by anyone who works closely with the technology. But over the last year, the ICO-driven hype has begun to far exaggerate the current capabilities of the network. …


Over the last few weeks CryptoKitties has become a minor sensation. As of December 20th, more than $1.7mm USD worth of ether has traded hands in pursuit of collectible, breedable, digital cats. A few days after release, about 11% of the ethereum network’s capacity was being used by CryptoKitties.

We’ve seen similar apps before. This past summer, Larva Labs released Cryptopunks, a project that gained minor fame within the ethereum community, and maintains a passionate community of people who trade them and even create real-world art based on them. …


The Roman Aqueduct at Segovia, an early marvel of engineering

A few months ago Parker Thompson, a well known Silicon Valley VC, tweeted that “the concept of crypto-economics is stupid. It’s economics. Inventing your own word is just an excuse to ignore well-understood concepts.”

The term “cryptoeconomics” causes a lot of confusion. People are often unclear on what it is supposed to mean. The word itself can be misleading, as it suggests that there is a parallel “crypto” version of the whole of economics. This is wrong, and Parker is right to mock such a generalization.

In simple terms, cryptoeconomics is the use of incentives and cryptography to design new…


The Roman Aqueduct at Segovia, an early marvel of engineering

A few months ago Parker Thompson, a well known Silicon Valley VC, tweeted that “the concept of crypto-economics is stupid. It’s economics. Inventing your own word is just an excuse to ignore well-understood concepts.”

The term “cryptoeconomics” causes a lot of confusion. People are often unclear on what it is supposed to mean. The word itself can be misleading, as it suggests that there is a parallel “crypto” version of the whole of economics. This is wrong, and Parker is right to mock such a generalization.

In simple terms, cryptoeconomics is the use of incentives and cryptography to design new…

Josh Stark

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