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Motivation and coordination

Albert Wenger of Union Square Ventures recently gave a talk at the 2017 Blockstack Summit about “Decentralization and the Knowledge Age.”

He starts by talking about motivation and coordination.

The state, he argues, is good at coordination, but not so good at motivation. The market, on the other hand, is good at motivation, but not so good at coordination. Money and self-interest are powerful incentives.

He then talks about how networks have improved the market, the firm, and the state. When the cost of sharing information drops, everything gets better.

But there are downsides to networks. For one, they form monopolies. Consider Facebook in social. Google in search. Amazon in ecommerce.

They also create environments ripe for censorship and “algorithmic abuse.” Everything you see in your feeds is optimized to make you respond and/or feel a certain way. The line between delivering you relevant content and deliberate manipulation is perhaps a fine one.

So what’s the solution? Decentralized blockchain networks are one exciting possibility. But they also have their own limits and drawbacks. Albert touches on those in his talk.

The video is about 24 minutes. If you can’t see it below, click here.

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