Baldur Bjarnason

... works as a web developer in Hveragerði, Iceland, and writes about the web, digital publishing, and web/product development

These are his notes

A heuristic for whether to pay attention to the opinions of a pundit

As a rule of thumb, I tend to distrust the opinions of pundits who are all in on cryptocoins and NFTs.

That is if you read an essay or blog post that seems interesting, you browse through their other stuff, and if you discover that they are super enthusiastic about cryptocoins (or some variation of “crypto/NFT is the future!”) take everything else they say with a grain of salt.

The reason is simple: those who are vehemently pro-crypto tend to have a mental model of human behaviour, culture, and society that’s simplistic and unrealistic. That kind of mental blinker is almost certainly going to colour all of their opinions, not just those on crypto.

(Also, the reason why I generally distrust the opinions of economists.)

I have no opinion on whether web3, crypto, or the like is ‘the future’ or not. I hope they won’t be but you can’t say for certain either way at the moment.

What I do know is that the fate of these technologies is going to be decided by the human factor (society, culture, law, psychology, power) and not technological merit. And we can’t predict how the human factor is going to go, long term, at this point in time. So, anybody who is all-in on crypto right now has either reached that position by disregarding the human factor or wants to sell you something. Either is reason enough to distrust any of their other opinions.

I also distrust the values and motives of anybody who thinks that walking back the non-rival, non-excludable nature of digital goods is a positive development for human society but that’s more an ideological disagreement than anything else.