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Punk & Protocol

This week's guest speaker is Benjamin Funk, who will be talking about crypto-powered information games. Tune in tomorrow, Wednesday June 19th at 1PM ET / 10AM PT on YouTube Live.

"In this presentation, we will explore how we can leverage blockchains and cryptography towards this end. To demonstrate this, I will speculate on the potential products and business models that could lead to these better outcomes for humanity, and attempt to bring these theoretical ideas within further reach."

P.O.G. Highlight: Plurality in Practice

Quadratic voting and funding protocols have seen increasing adoption in web3 and beyond as a way to more fairly reach decisions and allocate resources. However, these mechanisms have widely reported shortcomings, both theoretical and practical, and more nuanced protocols which consider aspects of voter identity and expertise have been proposed. These more plural approaches show promise, but have seen little in the way of experimental validation.

Martin and Rich's project will field test some of these alternatives to quadratic voting, particularly collection-oriented cluster match, to assess their soundness and their practical application to real-world settings.

Martin Benedikt Busch

Martin is a data scientist holding a Ph.D. in Economics, who specializes in developing of economic frameworks, conducting advanced analytics, and translating findings into actionable business insights across a wide array of projects. At present, his focus lies on refining and empirically validating plural voting mechanisms.

Rich McDowell

After graduating with a Masters in Philosophy from Cambridge, Rich worked as an academic editor assisting at all stages of the peer review and publication process. He transitioned to web3 in 2016, and since 2021 he has been the governance steward at HOPR, experimenting with different approaches to voting mechanisms, sound proposal formation and broader governance design.


The prompt for last week's PILL coworking session was "What is the most punk and least punk project of SoP?"

Punk was defined as "technology without technocracy" (credit to Sam Chua). Cyberpunk, solarpunk, seapunk, and ricepunk are all examples of exploring how technology interacts with bottom-up – lowlife – culture, rather than top-down social organizations. The latter two terms were key talking points from the recent Datus & Nusas workshop in Singapore.

The question of which projects were the most and least punk led to some great discussions and proved to be a strong candidate for a unifying theme across all three tracks of the program (PIG, POG, PILL). Here are some vignettes:

  • "Google “20% time” is the least punk thing imaginable."

  • "In a sense, protocol alone kills you. There have to be gaps, breaks, spaces, slack in the system, encouragement to play. And if you don’t have that you’ll either kill the organization OR you’ll cause a rebellion internally that will manifest as punk."

  • "Reminds me of Ernst Junger idea of Anarch, which may be is a predecessor to punk."

  • "This conversation is making me think of what I'm seeing as syncopation cultures... (syncopation: a temporary displacement of the regular metrical accent in music caused typically by stressing the weak beat)."

And no fruitful conversation is complete without a 2x2:

Punk'd protocols by John Grant (see original).

Have ideas or stories about the interplay between punk and protocol? 👇

Science Fiction as Protocol

Last week's guest speaker was author Chen Qiufan, who gave a great talk on science fiction. He covered a ton of ground, ranging from scaling laws to emergence to predictions about the future. Chen also provided an interesting definition of protocol as "The capability to integrate or reconcile heterogenous systems."

Chen proposes that science fiction plays an important role in society by predicting human responses to new technologies. The genre tends to get the technical details wrong, such as what kind of chip architecture would precipitate AI, but does a much better job of accelerating the process of human-tech symbiosis.

If you missed the talk, it's well worth catching up on. Protocol Worlds [Insert Link] starts in 5 days at Edge Esmeralda – this recording will help you get into a futurist mindset:

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