Read Write Own: Building the Next Era of the Internet – A Definitive Guide to the Power of Blockchain

Venture capitalist Chris Dixon’s new book makes a compelling case for the transformative potential of blockchain and crypto in reshaping the Internet.

In a time when the hype around cryptocurrencies has somewhat subsided, venture capitalist Chris Dixon’s latest book, Read Write Own: Building the Next Era of the Internet, offers a refreshing perspective on the power of blockchain and crypto. Dixon’s book places these technologies in the context of the history of the Internet, highlighting the ongoing contests over control and the potential for blockchain networks to spark a new era of openness and innovation. With a comprehensive analysis and real-world examples, Read Write Own is a must-read for both savvy observers and potential investors in the world of blockchain.

Networks Are Power: Dixon’s book delves into the idea that network design determines who truly controls the Internet. He argues that the current corporate-owned networks have a detrimental impact on both users and developers of digital tools. Dixon emphasizes that blockchain networks have the potential to restructure this power dynamic, enabling a new era of openness and innovation. By carefully dissecting the current state of blockchain technology, Dixon guides readers through compelling arguments for why blockchains will continue to gain traction.

Coding Legos on Stable Platforms: Dixon explores the importance of interoperability in maintaining open networks. He highlights the era before 2010 when networks like Facebook and Twitter had open “APIs” that allowed outsiders to build on or around them. However, as these networks became centers of gravity, they restricted interoperability to control more returns. Dixon argues that blockchain networks provide firm and enforceable commitments to openness, making them more appealing for startups to build on than corporate networks that can change the rules at any time. He also emphasizes the financial aspects of blockchains, highlighting the importance of tokens in providing support for developers and other subsidies.

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Unanswered Questions: While Dixon makes a strong case for the transformative potential of blockchain, there are some unanswered questions. He briefly discusses the need for token regulation but does not provide a comprehensive proposal for what “good” token regulation would look like. Dixon’s book is also more suitable for those with a basic understanding of blockchain technology, as it does not offer punchy metaphors to make the immense complexity of blockchain dynamics more accessible. Additionally, his endorsement of low-energy proof-of-stake security models lacks crucial context, as the debate between proof of work and proof of stake is far from settled.

Conclusion: Read Write Own: Building the Next Era of the Internet is a comprehensive and thought-provoking guide to the power of blockchain and crypto. Dixon’s book highlights the potential of open blockchain networks to reshape the Internet and emphasizes the importance of openness, interoperability, and financial incentives. While there are some areas where further exploration is needed, Read Write Own serves as a timely reminder of the transformative potential of blockchain technology and its ability to spark a new era of openness and innovation.