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Pop a Protocol Pill to Kick off 2024

Protocol pills, urban protocols, swarms, and some good news

We are two weeks into the new year, and we've been busy behind the scenes gearing up for the second year of the Summer of Protocols program. This week, we'll kick off the year with a talk by Venkatesh Rao titled Formulating a Protocol Pill, synthesizing the learnings from last year and looking ahead at the research and program agenda for this year. Join us at 10 AM Pacific (6 PM UTC) on Wednesday the 17th. As usual it will be livestreamed and the link will be posted on our Discord and various social media feeds just before the start.

In this newsletter issue, we want to spotlight two more of the pieces published in December as part of the Protocol Kit, plus a new video, plus a piece from outside the program. If you don't know what the kit is, check out the previous newsletter for details, and how you can get one of the limited number of physical editions still available to be claimed.

  1. In Protocols Don't Build Pyramids, Drew Austin explores the nature of urban protocols, and their role as the layer between the software and the hardware of cities, and also kicks off a series on a protocol pattern language for urban spaces. forum discussion link.

  2. In the graphic+text piece, Four Doors, Aaron Lewis meditates on architecture as a mnemonic protocol for monastic practices, drawing inspiration from the inscriptions above the four doors of the St. Edwards Park hotel (formerly a seminary). forum discussion link.

  3. Rafael Fernandez did a Town Hall talk on his research on swarms and formations (the associated essay will be published later in the year as part of the kit). Check out the recording here. forum discussion link.

  4. Finally, as an experiment, we're kicking of a Reading of the Week (ROTW) study group to read and discuss protocol-themed curated readings from beyond the program itself. This week, we are reading and discussing an essay from the Other Internet research collective, Crypto's Three-Body Problem.

A note from behind the scenes. As several of you have asked for, Josh Davis and Jenna Dixon have been working hard to make the Protocol Kit contents available as ePub and HTML in addition to the PDF formats we have already been posting. Some of the material is already available in these formats. Our goal is to have all the material available in all suitable forms.

Finally, a bit of pleasant news. The Summer of Protocols program received an award from Optimism's Retroactive Public Goods Funding program. Besides the welcome extra funding for our researchers, which will allow them to continue to build on the great work they did last summer, this is also very welcome validation of the value of this program to the broader community around protocols. Not just within the Ethereum ecosystem, but more generally. Thank you Optimism Collective for your vote of confidence!

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