____   ___  ____ _____  __        _______ ____    ________ _   _ _____  __     _____  _       _   _ 
    |  _ \ / _ \/ ___|_   _| \ \      / / ____| __ )  |__  /_ _| \ | | ____| \ \   / / _ \| |     / | / |
    | |_) | | | \___ \ | |____\ \ /\ / /|  _| |  _ \    / / | ||  \| |  _|    \ \ / / | | | |     | | | |
    |  __/| |_| |___) || |_____\ V  V / | |___| |_) |  / /_ | || |\  | |___    \ V /| |_| | |___  | |_| |
    |_|    \___/|____/ |_|      \_/\_/  |_____|____/  /____|___|_| \_|_____|    \_/  \___/|_____| |_(_)_|


  1. Creating Autonomous Futures in the Post-Web, by Black Sky Society
  2. Remove the Walled Gardens, Choose Sovereign Code Forge :: An interview with cloudhead
  3. Be Brave, Fight the Digital Colonizers :: An interview with Jarrell James
  4. A Laconic Conversation :: An interview with Rick Dudley
  5. Towards New Forms of Venture Mutualism, by Scott Moore
  6. The Crisis of Homogenous Authoritative Systems and the Future of Modern Tribes, by Pavol Lupták

We will expand this digital issue with more articles in the next weeks. Stay tuned.


The internet was not originally built with the autonomy of its users in mind.

Its roots trace back to the ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network), a project by the U.S. DoD, created primarily as a tool for communication and knowledge sharing among universities and research institutions. In fact, the World Wide Web itself was invented at CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) by Tim Berners-Lee in 1989, initially designed to facilitate information sharing among scientists. As the internet evolved from its military, academic, and research origins into a commercial platform, user autonomy was often overlooked, leaving significant control in the hands of ISPs and major tech companies. Web3, i.e. the union of cryptocurrency with the internet, promised a more decentralized and user-controlled digital landscape that would avoid the monopolistic and privacy-invasive practices of Web 2.0.

Yet, the proliferation of public blockchain ledgers, where all its transactions are transparent, brings Web3 next in line to becoming an accomplice in accelerating the surveillance machine, following the footsteps of Web 2.0 ever so closely. Incessant legal obstacles and multi-million dollar hacks have also instilled skepticism about these new technologies leading towards a better internet. These hurdles, combined with the persistent regulatory capture of the internet and its emerging technologies, accentuate the fact that laws and regulations are inherently local, whereas the internet is global.

Consequently, designing next-generation Web architectures with the potential to liberate humanity becomes a lonely or worrisome path. Furthermore, building these protocols on top of an architecture not currently designed to enable the flourishing of human autonomy is like trying to force a square peg into a round hole.

While proposing a Web4, Web5, or Web6 could potentially address these issues, it's essential to examine the process of how the most well-resourced, "next-gen" Web ecosystems form in our current era. Since the rise of Ethereum, there has been a growing awareness of the potential to raise substantial funds by launching a new blockchain with unique features compared to existing ones. This approach has the potential to create highly valued protocols, enabling the allocation of significant resources towards advancing R&D for financial and peer-to-peer protocols.

However, as more open source internet goods are created without prioritizing interoperability, and ecosystems with similar principles view each other as competitors rather than potential allies, it becomes challenging to invest time and resources effectively in solving the most pressing technological problems of our era.

We recognize that people are drawn to this space for various reasons, and we respect the diversity of motivations. However, we believe that many individuals are here because they hope to contribute to the advancement of interoperable and collaborative ecosystems that prioritize the autonomy and privacy of users.

We don't see technological liberation as something that will be granted based on market dynamics alone. And hiding in the dark as an anon shouldn't have to be the only possible safe passage that exists for those who have heteredox political and philosophical stances that have yet to be reflected among the status quo.

In response, we propose the Post-Web, an ecosystem-agnostic, research-oriented movement so these challenges can be addressed holistically. Our aim is not just to rethink network technologies but to we weave together the most essential and intuitive elements of a more resilient and coherent internet. This endeavor will take the form of a decentralized systems engineering experiment, drawing upon open knowledge and community-driven research as the core of its sensemaking process. To guide this research and provide a framework for analyzing projects and protocols, we have identified:


  1. Privacy & Security: Privacy is upheld by minimizing unwanted exposure of data and metadata for individuals and organizations alike, ensuring end-to-end security. There are fine-grained information and data disclosure capabilities, with the ability to control what, where, when, and to whom, information is disclosed. Financial transactions are private by default. Remote services handle only encrypted content without access to sensitive details, such as user location.

  2. Local-First: Protocols and applications implement local-first data access, when feasible, enabling offline and asynchronous information access, especially for essential services such as communications and knowledge networks. Users can search and discover information on their devices, within their communities and groups, as well as globally via privacy-preserving protocols that are connected from the bottom up and interoperable. Focus on designing robust tools effective in real-world, local contexts before considering global standards and remote services.

  3. Autonomous Identities: Organizations, individuals, and non-human agents alike can exercise full control over their identities and associated data. Context-dependent pseudonymous cryptographic systems are employed to establish privacy-preserving relationships without relying on biometric data or other personally identifiable information. While it is difficult to design a unified identity system, standards are in place to facilitate interoperability and portability across various identity systems.

  4. Organizational Rights Portability: Organizations are recognized as unique digital entities that leverage interoperable permission models for encoding organizational structures, roles, and access rights, to enable efficient interactions and portable user rights across ecosystems of applications used by an organization. This emphasizes organizational agency, where interconnected digital ecosystems are fostered, enabling organizations to adapt, self-regulate, and thrive within a network ecology.

  5. Resilience: Adaptive synchronization protocols with built-in fault tolerance and recovery mechanisms, will ensure connectivity even in the face of attacks and network disruptions. Additionally, protocols are scalable, capable of adapting to growing user bases and network demands, ensuring consistent performance. Protocols are designed to use resources efficiently, minimizing overhead and maximizing throughput.

  6. Pluralistic Interoperability: A diverse ecosystem of protocols, applications, and tools developed by various teams is essential. There is not one common programming language nor one common software stack, hence the use and exchange of multiple cryptocurrencies and data formats is facilitated by ensuring interoperability through common protocols, data formats, or transport layers. Community-driven funding and decision-making processes, which distribute power across diverse stakeholders and jurisdictions, is expected for the protocol commons, thereby enhancing the system’s resilience and adaptability to evolving needs and priorities.



In a sense, the Post-Web initiative is both a reaction to currently prevalent approaches to network design and an evolution towards something that can be greater, acknowledging both the common sentiment that we need to radically reimagine and rebuild network infrastructures, and the technologies that came before. While Web3's experimentation with public ledgers and coordination inspired some Post-Web values, its general neglect of privacy and interoperability remains a concern.

The Post-Web is a strategy towards a more hopeful internet, emphasizing privacy, resilience, and autonomy and cultivating open research as a way to approach slower, steady-state emergence. It serves as a conceptual glue, flexible enough to support diverse ideologies, technologies, and economic models, leading towards a knowledge-centered network ecology.

Crafting the Post-Web requires a holistic approach, considering how various elements can interlock to shape the landscape of applications, networks, and currencies. By joining together and uniting under shared principles, we can lay the groundwork for an internet that liberates rather than controls, enabling sharing under conventions of consent. The outlook is hopeful when we take responsibility for shaping it, believing in our power to transform existing paradigms.


It is important to note that this article is still presented in a draft stage. There may also be some errors as a lot of this was re-written in haste just recently. Submit a patch if you have suggestions (details on how to do that soon). We plan to finalize this article in the next six months.

In developing these principles, we have drawn upon insights from work and thought within various projects including: Anoma, Cosmos, DarkFi, DWeb, Espresso, Ethereum, Filecoin, Holochain, LoFiRe, Mel, Penumbra, SSB, Urbit, Zcash and many other ecosystems.

Remove the Walled Gardens,
Choose Sovereign Code Forge
Interview with cloudhead

cloudhead is a developer focused on free and open-source software, committed to advancing internet freedom. He is currently working on Radicle, a sovereign, peer-to-peer code forge and contributes to Bitcoin through the advancement of light-client technology.

Radicle has changed a lot over the years. Can you talk more about how things started and where they are at today?

In the beginning, there was this idea that we could combine code collaboration with developer incentives. So essentially, we could get developers paid for their open source work in novel ways. This was inspired by the early Web3 movement and the new types of on-chain markets that allowed money to flow without borders and restrictions. When we looked at that, we saw an opportunity to solve the open source sustainability problem.

Fast forward five years though and Radicle is now two products. One of them is not called Radicle anymore - it’s called Drips, and that is where our original idea around developer funding and sustainability ended up. And then Radicle proper is this decentralized code collaboration stack, or as we call it, the sovereign code forge. This separation makes more sense for now, in that we’ve allowed ourselves to really focus on each of these problems separately.

So where we had this unified vision of a code forge that included sustainability models, we ended up with two separate products, that have a different branding and different audiences. It’s possible that at some point in the future we might integrate them together, but for now there are no plans.

There are so many projects and people working on varying p2p paradigms, be that communities like Urbit, DarkFi, Anoma, Logos, etc. How do you see this evolving? Will there be one architecture that ends up “winning” or a plurality of interconnected p2p layers?

I think this new wave of peer-to-peer products is still unproven, and what tends to happen with these kinds of protocols is there’s a little bit of a winner-takesall situation, where developers flock to the protocol and stack that has the most usage, the better APIs, the most products already developed on it, or even just one product that is seeing a lot of usage.

And these protocols then start to be abused - in a good way - to build applications that they were not necessarily intended for. We’ve seen this with Web 2.0 - HTTP was never intended for app development, it was intended for the exchange of HTML documents. I kind of expect something like that to happen if one of these technologies finds success.

The big question for me is going to be interoperability, because in a way that is one of the big promises of open standards and open protocols. We could imagine that things like DIDs (decentralized identifiers) could be shared between Radicle and other peer-to-peer protocols. But at the moment, it does feel like, for the most part, these are very different protocols that are not necessarily designed to interoperate with each other. But I think an open future for the Internet is going to be kind of what the semantic web could have been but never really succeeded in being, which is that you have all this data and all this structure and this intelligence within the data that can be extracted by tools, by applications. You just kind of have this substrate of structured information that applications can build on top of. If we can achieve that with these different protocols, such that there is some kind of intersection between all of them that can be harnessed by applications, then I would say that’s a pretty bright post-web future. But if we don’t have that, and all of these protocols essentially are in their own walled gardens, it’s going to be disappointing.

We see Radicle as an organization that is developing critical technology for the post-web. What do you think are some of the greatest challenges and obstacles we have ahead of us in bringing the post-web vision to life?

I think one of the fundamental problems is going to be user adoption of some of these tools and technologies, because the current breed of popular tools have gotten users into certain bad habits. Users are used to relying on third parties and for-profit companies for their day-to-day work. This is not sustainable and creates a lot of issues.

The other thing is that the internet was built up over the last 30+ years, and it’s old and needs an upgrade. A big part of that was IPv6, but there’s a lot more to it. The internet we have today is designed for the client-server model, not for peer-to-peer. This means as we are building our new technologies with different kinds of models and network topologies, we need to constantly find workarounds, and this is tedious and often unreliable.

Finally, the post-web will have to find a way to maintain itself without the traditional income streams. This might mean that users have to participate a lot more in the development and maintenance of the technologies they use.

What is an aspect of the post-web that Radicle itself isn’t focused on, that you think is fundamental?

I think perhaps the most fundamental aspect of the post-web that we and many others are neglecting is *search*. Google had to crawl millions of websites to build an index and then implement an ingenious algorithm to rank these websites and surface the signal from the noise. We will have to do the same in a post-web world, but where google had the advantage of a shared protocol (HTTP) and language (HTML), we don’t have that yet.

Why do you think sovereign / p2p code collaboration is a fundamental tool?

Because software is the fundamental way in which we mould our reality nowadays, and code is how you write software. So we need a place where code can live, but more and more software efforts nowadays are collaborative; especially in a world where financial sustainability is hard to find; you need a community of people to keep a project alive. So collaboration tools are important to build real-world software that lasts, and this is the software that is shaping reality today. It’s open source.

So if we agree that this software is important and by its nature collaborative, we need a shared vocabulary to communicate about code and share and collaborate; and this shouldn’t be owned by one company, it’s too important to be owned by a single entity that has different incentives than its users. So this is why a sovereign code forge is fundamental to our future.

Furthermore, our world is increasingly polarized, this reality is finding its way into software companies and therefore into software products. Users are banned from using a platform because of their geographic location or the ideas they stand for. This is not tenable, we need a neutral place where software can be built. Only an open protocol can provide that.

How does the ideal web of the future look and feel like?

In some ways it looks like the past: there are no big platforms and companies operating in the space; users host their content locally and share their content directly with others. The ideal web of the future is more personal and feels smaller, but is in fact bigger. There is no global town square where everyone is connected to everyone. The web of the future has a different social topology, it is more homogenous in its structure, yet each node is more distinct.

What is a cloudhead in an alternate timeline working on right now?

In an alternative timeline, if for example I didn’t have the time and resources I have to build Radicle, I would probably take a more direct approach to dismantling existing power structures. Radicle is part of what I’d call a peaceful revolution, along with Bitcoin and other open protocols providing alternatives to existing systems. This isn’t always an option; in a different timeline I might have been a computer hacker or free software activist, who knows.


Learn more about cloudhead’s work at radicle.xyz

Be Brave, Fight the
Digital Colonizers
Interview with Jarrell James

Jarrell James (or JJ) is an internet resiliency researcher and technologist. He is co-founder of Ocelot Labs, a DAO that funds research and radical experiments designed around social impact projects. JJ is also the founder of “Internet Alliance” an applied research lab focused on disaster resilient internet infra and equitable software solutions. His written work and hardware experiments challenge assumptions around internet infrastructure - to welcome alternative approaches for Internet and connectivity

Your mission in the technology space seems to be strongly driven and connected to your cultural background and origins. Can you tell us more about it?

More accurately, my career has always been focused on Africa and Latin

America because that’s where I’ve always seen the greatest digital disparity - and disparity pisses me off. However, that drive in my career primed me for what became my mission, which is focused on creating disaster resilient internet infrastructure across the planet. This mission was definitely kickstarted by my Tigrayan roots, and the experience of watching my friends and family purposefully cut off from the internet for more than two years between 20202023. I then quickly realized the centralized infra of the internet is a lurking problem for the rest of the world too, the beast just hasn’t shown its face yet.

What happened in Tigray?

Plain and simple it was a genocide, really it still is. There was a brutal war waged against my ethnic community “Tigray” in northern Ethiopia by the Ethiopian federal Government. I encourage everybody to go google “Tigray genocide” now because they spent two years hiding it from the world. It’s a region that’s almost 20,000 sq miles. Much of it remains occupied by outside forces to this day, and these forces are responsible for widespread rape, starvation, massacres and the deaths of over 600 thousand people. All of this was hidden from the world by an internet blackout, while the governments of the world that are friendly with Ethiopia offered up weapons so they could test them against a resilient highlands community. It’s all pretty fucked up, and it made me realize that most of these governments are “pro internet shutdowns”, even the Western ones ...especially the Western ones, because it clears the airwaves for their own agendas.

What does Internet resilience mean to you?

It means people controlling their own access to the global stage. Communities that have internet access are the remembered ones and that’s a sad paradoxical truth for those without it. Internet resilience is as simple as calling a library a library, and recognizing that people should always have access to a library no matter where they are or what they look like. In more policy driven circles I have to call it “disaster resilient internet infrastructure” - people are so delicate when talking about internet shutdowns since so many governments do it. Realistically they want ideas like mine to be branded under climate change initiatives and the like. I just care that people are removed and forgotten. We should be long past a world where history is “written by the victors”, and yet we aren’t, and we won’t be until internet resilience is a reality for everybody.

Do you believe that hackers in the crypto space could help prevent situations of electricity and telecomms cutoff in Ethiopia’s Tigray region or genocides, even in places like Gaza? What would be necessary to help make this happen?

Yes. Frankly this is the richest class of cypher punks that’s ever existed and consequently it’s also the most risk averse when it comes to making any kind of hardware progress that compliments their software offerings. This is problematic, because it shows the massive disconnect between people who use terms like “banking the unbanked” for their marketing schemes - the unbanked are at the mercy of centralized infrastructure...what are y’all gonna do about that? As much shit as people give them for it, the Solana phone is one of the few declarations by the cypher punk space towards a world that I’m hoping for.

Raspberry Pi, 3d printers, modular smartphones, satellite internet, mobile IDEs - all of these ideas are things that compliment the hacker space of web3 and yet I’m seeing no real traction from the crypto world to utilize tools like these - to reach the unbanked they claim to care about so much.

Do you think local p2p and grassroots movements stand a chance of rising up against acts of the authoritarian governments? What is necessary for people to feel more empowered and capable to take real action in this struggle?

Yes but I think it’s important to look at “grassroots” as a concept and really challenge if the products coming out of the p2p world lately - are actually grassroots, or if there’s a lot of nepotism fueled by good intentions and access to capital. How grassroots can achieve something if they’re being steered by a board of VC interests and “alignment”. People need to be brave in this space in order to feel empowered. Don’t be afraid to ask the hard questions, come up with big ideas that involve hardware and more importantly demand higher standards from yourself and others when it comes to funding. The more people that do this, the faster the space matures. There’s plenty to do but it feels like few have the gumption anymore.

How can we inspire more people to contribute to the Internet resilience movement?

Personally I’m focused on bridging the dimensional divide first and foremost - essentially saying to the hacker community, look this is happening in countries that are directly funded by your Western governments, and you can bet they’re bringing it to a city near you soon enough. Or in policy circles, specifically focusing on regions experiencing the frontline of climate change - which affects the whole planet soon enough - yes, even Europe and the USA. Everything is connected, with increasing geopolitical tensions and even advent of AI - the open internet is going to disappear sooner than many privileged communities realize, unless those same communities act fast to create a sovereign resilient evolution of their internet infra.

While reality for the colonised folks looks grim af - what gives you hope these days?

A lot actually, specifically stuff happening in non-Western countries where people are already feeling the effects of climate change or growing government sophistication around internet shutdowns and slowdowns. There’s an awareness around telecommunication and the active role it plays in oppressing or stunting the growth of huge regions of the planet. With this growing awareness these communities are starting whispers of telecomm revolution and that’s exciting as fuck. One of  the most exciting realizations being that Africans are starting to refer to their data as an asset. And questions are being asked around why their governments are just signing away the future tech sector to digital colonizers like Facebook, Twitter etc..These regions are motivated, increasingly more aware, and in many cases they’re angry as hell. This is the attitude needed to break the systemic oppression of telecoms in the global south and create a resilient evolved internet that serves people not politicians.


Learn more about Jarrell James’ work at internetdefensealliance.org

Interview with Rick Dudley

With over fifteen years of experience as an architect and consultant, Rick Dudley has established several significant blockchain architectures. His firm Vulcanize worked on the EIP1559 implementation and served as a Core Contributor for the Interchain Foundation. Vulcanize has received grants from Protocol Labs, Uniswap, and MolochDAO. Developing a third-party verifying and caching services, Vulcanize also worked with MakerDao in providing the necessary infrastructure to support the Maker Stablecoin DAI. With a focus on mechanism design and Federated Proof-of-Stake Consensus systems, Rick and his team are currently contributing the the launch of Laconic Network, a network that facilitates data exchanges for Dapp developers and service providers.

Imagine you’re a hero with superpowers fighting corrupt forces in a science fiction or fantasy movie. What are your magical powers and what corrupt forces are you up against?

It would be in a science fiction setting, where humans have the ability to access and manipulate brains at the highest fidelity possible, this results in sorts of complex problems. My super power would be the ability to stop people from being absorbed into the collective consciousness and, conversely, help those who were otherwise unable to enter.

You’ve been around Ethereum and other cryptocurrency communities for quite some time. Since...?

February 2015

What do you think about what Web3 has evolved into today, compared to the earlier vision of what it should be?

Not much. Most of the notions of what it should be were contrived narratives to sell tokens, web3 doesn’t work super well, but we know how to make it work a lot better and be useful.

Can you explain what Laconic is, and how you decided it was the most important problem you want to dedicate your time towards?

Laconic network will facilitate the buying and selling of verifiable indexes and caches of hash-linked data. An example of such a dataset is Ethereum. I decided to work on this problem because I was hired to solve bits and pieces of it for various clients, but they didn’t really get why you need the whole thing for it to work.

What are your thoughts on the state of privacy in cryptocurrency - where we are at today, compared to where we should be?

Privacy is pretty weak, but mostly it’s just because we should have done Privacy Pools instead of Tornado in the first place, and we should have used more native p2p messaging.

And what about your thoughts on the state of p2p in general? You recently were at Urbit’s assembly. Can you talk more about that?

P2P means a couple of different things. I’m generally optimistic that Urbit has a strong enough foundation and strong enough community to function as one of key things missing for the web3 and broader p2p community.

What is Rick Dudley in an alternate timeline working on right now?

Making films or concerts.

What film is he working on?

He’d be working on the film about the super hero you’ve been asking about.


Learn more about Rick Dudley’s work at laconic.com

Towards New Forms of
Venture Mutualism

Over the last century and more significantly through the past decade venture capital has become hopelessly infamous. For better or worse, it’s become synonymous with greed, hubris, and meritless frivolity. The situation has gotten so bad that even some of venture’s strongest supporters find it difficult to go without highlighting the predatory behavior that the industry consistently engages in.

The recognition of the failures of venture especially in the last decade has created entire movements dedicated to finding better models that topple the winner-take-all dynamics ostensibly created by it. In fact, much like Bitcoin is inextricably tied to the 2008 financial crisis, projects like Ethereum are inextricably tied to this rise in dissatisfaction with the current state of venture.

Why then is Ethereum filled with its own new era of venture investors, and what role should they actually play in our ecosystem?


In the summer of 2014, Ethereum launched a public sale that would spark a reimagining of internet-native coordination. Projects like Maker quickly followed suit in some of the first attempts to allow anyone to participate in new forms of public infrastructure – the first ‘Ðapps’ on top of the Ethereum world computer.

By raising from their own communities, their own publics, Ethereum and early ‘Initial Coin Offerings’ (ICOs) in 2015-16 showed that we might not actually need to privately raise billions of dollars from a handful of people to build the future we want to see. Instead, by allowing anyone to participate in economic opportunity, we could build a more collaborative ecosystem with a more prosocial message – a welcome change in an era where the prevailing belief was that all anyone could count on to be socialized were losses.

While ICOs were filled with their own challenges around accountability, distribution, and incentive alignment, the demand to have ownership in decentralized applications on top of a ‘world computer’ was at all time highs. The energy was electric, and nerds around the world were convening in the same tiny corner of cyberspace at random hours of the night to work on everything from global currencies to new forms of interplanetary storage.

Slowly, the success of these developments led to venture funds starting to emerge, at first acting largely as ratings agencies that invested the same way as everyone else while combating the rampant fraud in early token offerings. As more of these funds became successful, it opened the gates for other larger investors from outside the scene to start getting involved. By 2018, after a flood of new entrants, venture-style models were once again mainstream. At the same time that venture poured in, the folly of ICOs soured the public enough on the model to discard it in favor of various forms of progressive decentralization.

Venture funding continued to scale, and as it did the size of funds grew as well.

As fund sizes grew, so did check sizes. As check sizes grew, so did valuations. As valuations grew, so did pressures for massive multi-billion dollar exits distributed to ever smaller groups. Eventually, by the time many projects were ready to engage with the public, what was meant to be an “exit to community” sometimes became a form of “dumping on retail”.

The surprising part of this story is not the excesses of venture, however, but the way in which even its worst forms created unintentional positive externalities in an incentive-aligned ecosystem like “web3”. Notably, as the bear market came around, venture-backed projects started to take the treasuries they had accrued and distribute purely non-dilutive forms of capital to newcomers through a wide range of grants . This was not an entirely selfless act, but rather a realization that by building better tooling and infrastructure for Ethereum the ecosystem they relied on would benefit, and they would rise with the tides as well. In this way, even despite its problems, many venture firms inadvertently helped sustain a new kind of commons.

While venture is far from perfect, as the tides wash out again and we enter another “crypto winter”, we are fortunate to get the time to reflect on its role and ask important questions about our commons: What do we want Ethereum to actually be? What are our values? Does venture have a role to play in our ecosystem and if so what forms does it take? We believe there are real answers to these questions, and that it is precisely because of the level of interdependence and collaboration within Ethereum that we might be able to actually find better ones than we did in the last cycle. Specifically and controversially, we believe we can reimagine venture capital, build better public infrastructure, and convince those “in the arena” to play infinite games. USING FINITE RESOURCES TO PLAY INFINITE GAMES

Not to bring up the Roman Empire, but time is a flat circle and to explore how we might actually reimagine venture it’s interesting to look back at how pooling capital to fund new technologies and sustain the commons worked in the past: The oldest recorded example comes from the Sumerians (~3000 BCE) who built irrigation systems to channel water from the Tigris and Euphrates rivers to their agricultural lands. Since these efforts benefited public temple and palace lands as much as those owned by families or individuals, the project was jointly funded and managed. When devices like the shaduf (a hand-operated device for lifting water) or methods for seasonal crop rotation were discovered, they were similarly shared to collectively improve Sumer’s economic strength in commercial trade with neighboring regions.

In Phoenicia (~1550 BCE), nascent joint-stock companies were used by captains looking to build ships and sails for maritime trade expeditions. As might be expected, these expeditions were notoriously dangerous and had a high chance of failure, which the nature of agreements between captains and investors accounted for. By making their journeys, the Phoenicians established extensive trade networks, agreements with various city-states, and ultimately created a number of advances including an alphabet that would inspire the Greeks, woodworking techniques, and urban planning.

During the Tang Dynasty (~600) structured guilds (domain-specific cooperatives) were formed to deal in specific kinds of products and achieved economic sustainability by selling to wholesalers and shop owners. Bootstrapped by dues and investment endowments, these guilds contributed to a renaissance across areas including silkweaving, metallurgy, and medicine, while ensuring member well-being.

Critically, the success of these societies did not come from strong hierarchies and monarchic forces whether through temples or armies or dynastic social orders. Rather, as David Graeber identified, the historical record shows that progress often emerged (including during the periods mentioned above) through polycentric communities with interdependent, shared livelihoods. In other words, throughout history atomized notions of individual or extractive profit were often superseded by the complex relationships between a community, its resources, and their surplus. By prioritizing the well-being of a broader commons, civilizations across time have found ways to create and maintain technologies for their collective benefit.

In the 20th century we saw approaches to innovation slowly transform into the models of public-private partnership we’re familiar with today. Groups like Bell Labs were able to create the transistor, practical solar cells, and the UNIX operating system through a form of subsidized R&D publicly and privately funded by AT&T along with New Deal government grants. On the west coast, Fairchild Semiconductors and Xerox Parc leveraged similar approaches to create the integrated circuit, the modern personal computer, ethernet, and unfortunately object-oriented programming. In 1968, Arthur Rock, who supported Fairchild, went on to invest in Gordon Moore at Intel through what was arguably the first modern venture fund.

Where then has modern venture capital gone wrong? Not in any one firm’s thesis or investment, but through compounding excess that has become even unchecked without any commons or collective interest to ground it in. As scholars like Carlota Perez have more eloquently identified, these specific forms of venture capital driven cycles of innovation almost always create increasing instability and fragile bubbles that eventually burst. Worse, as we enter later-stages of these bubbles we start to see an enclosure of public knowledge, an increasing focus on easy wins rather than long-term gains, and a chilling effect on critical research. It should come as no surprise then that what started with Arthur Rock ended with WeWork.

But history shows this doesn’t have to be the case, and Ethereum provides us with a faint idea of what a sustainable digital commons might look like if we can realign venture.


In the long run it is through exactly the kind of commons-based self-governance that Ostrom won the Nobel prize for in 2009 that we can achieve a kind of venture mutualism; that we can use our shared currency to create new forms of public infrastructure based on our own economic returns.

Public Works exists to facilitate this movement by encouraging developers to build more open source software, to generate sustainable surplus, and to create new mechanisms to progressively distribute ownership, so that we might finally establish a network of decentralized systems that can sustainably rely on each other.

Critically, the form these networks take matter. Drawing from Vitalik’s work on the revenue-evil curve, we recognize that not everything should have a business model. Rather, by establishing new forms of open, generative infrastructure we can cross-subsidize those goods that if monetized would become significantly inaccessible to the broader community.

To construct cross-subsidies and real interdependence, without inadvertently recreating the same problems, we propose that venture should aim to: restrict itself to seeding the absolute minimum capital required, build with projects as key contributors not just passive investors, and most importantly facilitate better forms of community ownership via new approaches to fair launch.

Actually formalizing venture mutualism in a way that ensures it avoids the pitfalls of previous models will need to be a collective effort, and this post is an open call to become a part of it. If this resonates with you, please reach out. Together, we can take another step prefiguratively towards better models not just for crypto but for technological progress.

To paraphrase Bauwens, “thank you [venture] for doing this because now we can make something better.”


The article above was republished from www.publicworks.fm/mutualism. Check out the web version for references.


“We are living with Space Age technology under Bronze Age rulership.“

Paul Rosenberg

Omnipresent technology has completely changed our society. Most of us are still not sufficiently aware of this.

State education has lost its monopoly as an information provider. Even worse: compared to other information channels, state education is among the most boring.

Different views and opinions from hundreds of thousands of media outlets leads to information chaos. State education and the media oligopoly no longer have the monopoly on ‘truth.’ Anyone can become an information provider and use a blog to broadcast views to everyone in the world. This fact leads to a highly individualistic information society. It also means we have to face an extremely large number of conspiracies.

We live in a complex information society swarming with the diverse opinions of billions of people. Communists, socialists, democrats, monarchists, those who do not care and those who want to be free.

Despite this substantial opinion heterogeneity, we still stick to very homogenous political systems like parliaments, direct democracy, various forms of monarchy and maximally homogenous dictatorship regimes enforced upon millions of different people.

We vote and decide about the future with our neighbors who we hardly know. Often aside from sharing a language and passport or national ID we have nothing in common with these people. Despite their physical proximity, we live in completely different worlds. We share more interests and values with people living thousands of miles away from us.

Virtual communities, for the first time in history, are replacing traditional ones. Yet on a political level, virtual communities are still ignored. We are still stuck within ‘national’ communities with random people who share the same national tags and believe they can decide on the future of others inside their community.

Our society has become too complex for any homogenous political system to be applied on a broad scale. Enforcing homogeneity has always had an adverse impact on minorities; not just on women, LGBT communities, discriminated races, weed smokers, etc, but also a new generation of free-minded Internet people who consider the current authoritative state system to be obsolete and can imagine a freer decentralized system based on cooperation and voluntary decisions. They know thanks to their birthplace — the Internet and its services — that this is possible.

We are witnessing the crisis of homogenous political systems when applied to a complex society of individuals. In the times we live in, homogenous systems are too fragile to survive without violence. The enforcement of violence within a well-informed society is extremely expensive.

In a well-informed peer-to-peer society, large homogeneous systems become inefficient and obsolete. This leads to a high amount of conflict. It does not work now and will not work in the future.

The solution lies in an entirely decentralized society. This society can be composed of modern physical dwellings (like private cities or smaller, natural communities) or virtual tribes with autonomous zones, legal systems, and a set of rules. Modern tribes are the most natural human grouping. Benefits include better cooperation and maximum loyalty, improved conflict-resolution inside the tribe and decreased transaction costs.

It is a high time to embrace modern tribes as the only natural extension of our individuality.


This article has been redistributed from Agorism In The 21st Century, Vol II.

Download or buy a physical copy of the full journal from www.agorist.xyz.

Credits & Acknowledgements

Many in Black Sky Society's broader constellation have contributed to the production of Post-Web Zine Vol. 1.1 in different ways:

Stella R. Magnet - zine concept/editorial lead, cloudhead & Rick Dudley interviews, creative production (paper & digital), distribution, post-web article, HTML

Ola Kohut - Jarrell James & cloudhead interviews, copyediting (paper), distribution

Sun Deep - creative direction (paper zine), AI art

Wadada - design production (paper zine), AI art

Monikka - lead HTML production

TG x - post-web article

Hermes - post-web article

Web3Privacy Now - post-web spirit aligned volunteer paper zine distributor & meetup host where we announced digital zine

Giulio Prisco - copyediting (digital)

Pamela Pascual - post-web spirit aligned volunteer paper zine distributor

E_Oss - AI art

Deniz - Istanbul print logistics

Thank you to Agorism In The 21st Century for allowing the redistribution of one of their articles, and for everyone else who contributed an article, participated in an interview, or otherwise distributed the zines as well :)

This zine was originally produced in paper format and distributed at an ephemeral Black Sky Society event in Istanbul in late 2023. The funding supporters and co-creators for that event were critical in making this zine possible: Internet Alliance, Laconic, Radicle, Ocelot, Metacartel, and Public Works.