Onboarding Article

Terminology, Link Library, FAQ

Thanks for reading The Protocolist.

In this publication, I tackle big questions about technology, commerce, and culture through the lens of protocol studies. Protocols are an emerging topic of interest in the fields of high-tech, policymaking, and management science. Software has been eating the world for the past three decades — but only now are we starting to feel the impact on a social level.

The Protocolist is a newsletter, technically speaking. But it is also an idea lab. It emerged from a research project funded by The Ethereum Foundation in 2023. About a dozen researchers came together to build on a pilot study, projecting into the world ten new essays on protocol studies. The rise of the field of protocol studies points to the need for a novel method of sensemaking. Old units of analysis (firms, nations, heroes, machines) are too chunky in an increasingly fluid world.


Making sense from this new perspective will require some new terminology. Here is a list of some terms that I use frequently in my essays:

There is a ton of writing being published on protocols today. Also, when we look back at previous writing, it often looks protocol-ish. Here is a collection of links to dive deep:


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