Found in 17 comments on Hacker News
barmstrong · 2022-01-08 · Original thread
Really liked this post - brings up some great points, and I consider Moxie a friend.

Here are a few notes that came to mind though...

1. For NFTs, some keep their data in IPFS (decentralized file storage) or in the smart contract itself for procedurally generated images. We (as a community) should probably move more to solutions like this over time, since it is indeed more decentralized to build them that way.

2. I agree with the overall point that clients don't behave like full nodes. However, there has been quite a bit of discussion about "light clients" in the crypto community even going back to the early days of Bitcoin/Ethereum, so i wouldn't say it hasn't been an area of focus.

3. I agree there is an overall move toward using platforms. But there is a big difference between using a platform that also owns all the data also (web2) and a platform that is merely a proxy to decentralized data (web3). In the latter, if a platform ever turns evil, people will switch. Not owning the data counts for a lot.

4. There are more options than Infura and Alchemy. Access to simple blockchain data will be relatively commoditized. Which is good for decentralization.

As Moxie points out, it's still difficult to build things in a decentralized way (nascent tools), so you are seeing various apps/companies revert to using more centralized web2 techniques when they run into a hairy technical problem. As a result, there are a lot of "hybrid" web2/web3 apps during this phase of web3 development. That doesn't mean the overall trend is bad though. I think it's great that more and more web3/decentralized technologies are being developed.

I do agree that all networks tend toward centralization over time. Great book on this

I don't think crypto is anywhere near this end stage though. We are still seeing a lot of new technology and players enter the space. It's not "already centralized" as much as it is "still using some web2 components".

These points aside, the post is great and I basically agree with the overall premise.

cs702 · 2021-12-01 · Original thread
On one side, we have people who want decentralization and unrestricted markets in the metaverse, protected by distributed consensus protocols. On the other side, we have corporations like Meta, who want centralization and regulated transactions in the metaverse, protected by winner-take-all economies of scale. Quoting from the OP:

> "What Facebook is doing with a 'fake metaverse,' unless they actually have a real description as to how we can truly own it," ... "Until then, it's just Disneyland. It's a beautiful place to be, but we probably don't want to really live there. It's not the kind of place that we can actually build a business."

IMHO, this is just a new chapter in an age-old battle between dominant players building "Disneylands" and those who want "The Wild West" to remain, well, wild. This battle been ongoing since the emergence of the earliest information/communication networks. Tim Wu, who has studied the subject extensively, has written a good book about it: "The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires."[a]


kolinko · 2021-07-29 · Original thread
A good book about trusts, antitrusts and monopoly in it/communication in US is “Master Switch”.

It talks at length about Bell, but also other monopolists in our field.

jamestimmins · 2021-03-07 · Original thread
If you haven't read his book The Master Switch, it's a fantastic read on the history of communication technology.

ctoth · 2019-02-05 · Original thread
Argue about immigration and whose country is best while they gather the torches.

Reduce the 'techlash' to another front in the forever culture war without considering how your hacker birthright is under attack.

Associate yourselves with megacorps and money, nice cars and 401(k)s.

Ally with those who hate privacy. [0]

Ally with those who practice psychological manipulation on a global scale. [1]

* Stallman warned us. [2]

* Wu warned us. [3]

* Doctorow warned us. [4]

* Schneier warned us and tried to explain it to everyone. [5]

> Governments of the Industrial World, you weary giants of flesh and steel, I come from Cyberspace, the new home of Mind.

> On behalf of the future, I ask you of the past to leave us alone. [6]



[2] Anything the man has written in the last 35 years



[5] (He has another better article about the start of the new crypto wars but I can't find it)


nakedrobot2 · 2018-11-27 · Original thread
OH these fresh young naive minds, who think censorship never happens. Censorship happens ALL THE TIME. The Radio, TV, and Film industries in the USA - they have all been censored, from the very beginning.[1] So it was self-censorship at the behest of the government. What's the difference? Censorship is all around us.

Americans self-censor tits and genitals, Europeans self-censor violence. Censorship is everywhere.

I think this whole discussion is extremely naive.


strin · 2017-06-10 · Original thread
I highly recommend the book "Master Switch" by Tim Wu on this topic. (

It argues that every information networks in the history- telegraph, telephone, radio, cable - follow the pattern of consolidation and disintegration. The new inventions always had the chance to disrupt the old industry, but our modern network - the Internet - might be an exception. Because the Internet is the master switch of all things digitized.

gl338 · 2016-08-11 · Original thread
I really want to be respectful here but your comment shows a large level of ignorance around the difference between public monopolies, public UTILITIES, public (regulated) goods, and the economics thereof. A lot of public utilities were created specifically to enforce a level of quality and compliance and protect the citizen. In situations where the quality of goods is reduced below a safe level, you should not blame lack of competition, but call it what it is: incompetence at best, corruption at worst.

Good book on the topic that HN readers will appreciate is "The Master Switch":

twistedpair · 2016-02-27 · Original thread
The Master Switch by Tim Wu [0] goes into great detail about how AT&T invented this racket 120+ years ago and has been perfecting their fleecing tactics since. I particularly enjoy the opening of the book at a 1916 top hat banquet celebrating just how filthy rich their monopoly has become under Theodore Vail.

The Idea Factory by Jon Gertner [1] however asserts that the AT&T monopoly allowed Bell Labs to essentially invent the entire information age, but that without the official monopoly, we no longer see the huge investments in basic research, and commensurate major break throughs.

Damn if you do. Damned if you don't.



jallmann · 2014-09-09 · Original thread
I didn't realize Tim Wu had gotten into politics. This makes me very happy.

Tim Wu wrote the The Master Switch [1], which explains how US media/telecom wound up the way it is today -- how the dominant players came about in various industries (radio, broadcast and cable TV, movies, telephones), and the events that led to the legislative/regulatory environment we have today. The book also explains how IP laws (patents, copyright, etc) have shaped history.

The Master Switch should be required reading before discussing such topics on Hacker News.


caster_cp · 2014-07-14 · Original thread
I know this may end up seeming a pretty useless comment, but I cannot miss the opportunity of recommending a VERY good book about this subject, by the guy who coined the term net neutrality:

The book analyses monopolies in information businesses, since Western Union, going through Bell and proceding all along to the era of Google and Apple. The end of the book is filled with very good insight on the subject. If this is a topic that interests you as much as it interests me, you should get yourself a copy of this.

kodeninja · 2014-04-10 · Original thread
The Master Switch, by Tim Wu, comes pretty close:
jaekwon · 2013-07-08 · Original thread
We're understanding our reality better. Whistleblower leaks and more...





Books illuminate how power works



-'s_History_of_the_Unite... (I haven't read it yet, I've heard good and bad things about the book)

- (I've only skimmed a few sections, but I suspect this is good to understand anarcho-capitalism)

To combat low level surveillance, we need open hardware.



Our own mesh network for community penetration. Mesh networks sort of died off a decade ago, but there is a resurgence.



Bitcoin is still growing, and more people are understanding the mechanism behind it. Many altcoins are just Bitcoin ripoffs, but we'll see interesting developments going forward.


- There are many technologies and protocols being built for distributed exchanges, etc. Discussions under etc.

Other links






Those have just been on my mind recently. Reddit is actually a good source of reading material once you have an account, unfollow stupid subreddits and follow the right ones like politics, worldnews, restorethefourth, libertarian, anarcho_* etc.

rhaphazard · 2012-05-11 · Original thread
Monopolies never work. Check out 'The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires' by Tim Wu History will only repeat itself, but with greater and more severe repercussions for our apathy and ignorance.
merryandrew · 2011-11-18 · Original thread
If you want an interesting perspective on this idea, check The Master Switch, written by Tim Wu.

Amazon Book Description: It is easy to forget that every development in the history of the American information industry–from the telephone to radio to film–once existed in an open and chaotic marketplace inhabited by entrepreneurs and utopians, just as the Internet does today. Each of these, however, grew to be dominated by a monopolist or cartel. In this pathbreaking book, Tim Wu asks: will the Internet follow the same fate? Could the Web–the entire flow of American information–come to be ruled by a corporate leviathan in possession of "the master switch"?

Analyzing the strategic maneuvers of today’s great information powers–Apple, Google, and an eerily resurgent AT&T–Wu uncovers a time-honored pattern in which invention begets industry and industry begets empire. He shows how a battle royale for Internet’s future is brewing, and this is one war we dare not tune out.

there · 2011-08-04 · Original thread
i'm currently reading the master switch ( which talks about how early radio and tv were forbidden to have commercials because they were supposed to be public services, but that programs could be sponsored like you see in the video. in early radio, companies weren't allowed to directly mention their products, so for example, gillette's first radio ad was a lecture on the history of beards.

after seeing that video, i much prefer commercials to that style of sponsored programming. when a commercial comes on, you can get up and do something else, change the channel, or mute it. with sponsored programs, everything is so integrated that it makes it hard to ignore.

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