In this week’s picks, we’ll talk about coordination games.
📡 If you’re reading this, you’re probably playing the Great Online Game. This fun essay by Packy McCormick explores the rules of that game and how crypto will be its in-game currency.
The Great Online Game is an infinite video game that plays out constantly across the internet. It uses many of the mechanics of a video game, but removes the boundaries. You’re playing as yourself across Twitter, YouTube, Discords, work, projects.
🧱 The Great Online Game is of course not just one game but many games. One such game is the attribution game - minting NFTs for sentences, paragraphs, and essays to build a composable architecture of ideas that build on each other like media legos.
🥞 Another game that crypto enables is the Ponzi career game. Doctors, fitness instructors, writers, and other professionals can issue tokens and let their fans, customers, and collaborators participate in their careers’ ups and downs.
We can now program our values into our economic system - the final form of a stateful internet could allow us to coordinate the actions of multiple economic actors and therefore could solve coordination failures. - @owocki
🐅 One example of a coordination failure is the collapse of biodiversity, which poses a severe threat to humanity’s food supply, health, and security — and is not considered enjoyable by animals, either.
It is a problem that many acknowledge, but few know what to do about. Fortunately, we’re seeing more and more novel — and crazy enough — ideas to work with. For example: What if we issued interspecies money to orangutans and orchids alike? I know the idea sounds a bit out there, but consider this:
If money, as some economic theorists suggest, is a form of memory, it is obvious that nonhuman species are unseen by the market economy because no money has ever been assigned by them.
🚧 In general, when presented with a new technology, our first intuition is to project the limitations of the previous era technology onto the next-generation tech. Desktop computers started as fancy typewriters, early MP3 apps looked like radios, and smartphones were first used for making unsolicited calls to people — an alien behavior in the 2020s.
The same is true for crypto. Our first intuition is to see cryptocurrencies as digital equivalents of euros, dollars, and yens, and decentralized finance as a replacement for centralized banking.
However, ideas such as interspecies money can only emerge once we tear down the imaginary boundaries of our outdated mental models and start seeing currencies as “current-sees” — instruments that make previously invisible currents of wealth visible.
In time, my hope is that these in-game currencies can turn the Great Online Game into the Great Planetary Game that aligns the goals of the individual with the needs of the living system called the Earth.