I’m stoked to share that I’m joining Archetype, an early-stage crypto fund committed to accelerating the decentralized future. I’ll be working closely with Ash Egan, Katherine Wu, Danny Sursock, and Nick Pai to back the next generation of crypto founders and to provide inception capital for companies that challenge the status quo of crypto.
The original promise of technology, and more specifically of the internet, is rooted in decentralization––open networks and the transparent dissemination of information. However, in the rapid emergence of a paradigm in which “software is eating the world,” we have largely ceded the stewardship of software to institutions that seek to instead consolidate this power.
From Josh Stark:
“The problem with software eating the world, is that behind most software is an institution. The internet we have reflects the shortcomings of institutional hardness. It is increasingly balkanized, carved up along nation-state boundaries. It is a fragile and unstable foundation, as the individual companies that control it rise and fall. And most of it is owned by a handful of companies, controlled by a small group of people, who live in one country.”
In 2021, more than 50 million Americans left their jobs.
It has become painstakingly clear that our current models of work are not fulfilling or effective for the modern-day laborer. In the past, such rigid structures may have been justifiable – corporate structures reduced the friction and transaction costs of contracting individual work on the free market. However, while such sentiment may have been plausible in the early 20th century, new technology has and will continue to transform how we think about work and coordination (ie: cloud computing!).
Crypto is a prime example of a technology accelerating the future of work. Crypto has already proven to be powerful tool for finance, but it also has allowed the creation of new tools for governance and coordination:
In his seminal 1937 essay, The Nature of the Firm, economist Ronald Coase explained why companies exist—to reduce the friction and transaction costs of contracting individual work on the free market. While perhaps a truth of the past, traditional corporations with bloated management and poor incentives for employees and users no longer effectively create value. Rather than focusing on practicing the craft at hand, tremendous energy is wasted optimizing for zero-sum games of equity vesting, salary negotiation, and organizational politics.
We've seen a collective stirring around redefining work through the creator economy and platform economy, which offer individuals the flexibility and autonomy to discover demand for their gifts. The last generation of innovation in platforms accelerated the inevitable rise of a globally distributed workforce. Companies now recognize that, without a steep increase in transaction or bureaucracy costs, they can flexibly scale up or down throughput through a new class of labor—freelancers.
On the one hand, the silhouette of a self-deterministic, dream-bearing, free-roaming, modern-age worker emerges as an aspiration. Ironically, these workers are also often the most alienated from the fruits of their labor. The dichotomy between 'us' and 'them' is stark. The product sees an absence of credit or attribution to freelancers at an organizational level. While their work may have persisted in sustaining the essence of a product, their very own identity as a contributor is abstracted away by the company.
Decentralization is the rallying cry behind Web3, and it’s a noble one. For too long, centralized platforms have stolen audiences and profit from the creators that made all of this *grand hand gesture* possible.
But I also fear that we have hastily declared absolute decentralization** as the panacea to the plagues of Web2. I don’t aim to decry decentralization, but instead to explore hybrid paths forward.
In KERNEL, we call this style of thinking quantum thought:
“Rather than using dualities like 'decentralization good, centralization bad'; or 'DeFi is innovative, fiat is boring', […] recognize that there is no good without evil; no attraction without repulsion, no North with South, no up without down. We could describe this as quantum thought - being able to contemplate both 0 and 1 simultaneously, and the spectrum of probability between.”