Talking heads: An eruption of new technologies, coming to a public square near you

Unlike many other industries, a good portion of deep crypto thinking happens on Twitter and YouTube and podcasts. This layer of public social media crypto erudition is not only interesting for the depth of thought, but also because this is the first technological revolution to air its discourse so widely, given the extraordinary expansion of social media users over the past 10 years.
There is a classic scene in Monty Python’s Life of Brian in which the camera roams around a dusty public square in the Holy Land while multiple would-be seers and prophets dressed in white robes confidently but inarticulately proclaim the future to gormless bystanders. Mostly they are blithering fools, but very funny to watch.
There is a similar digital public square in crypto, with a lot of prognosticators competing for attention, respect, likes and follows. Some are blithering fools (including the usual how-to-get-rich-fast crowd and the breathless techno-utopianists). But many are extremely smart — and sometimes in furious disagreement with one another.
Unlike many other industries, a good portion of deep crypto thinking happens on Twitter and YouTube and podcasts. Here, I am talking about those who carefully analyse, ruminate and consider what all of this crypto-fueled innovation means and where it is taking us. I am talking about cryptocurrencies, Defi, Metaverse, DAOs, NFTs, Web3 and other shiny new creatures of the blockchain.
This layer of public social media crypto erudition is not only interesting for the depth of thought, but also because this is the first technological revolution to air its discourse so widely, given the extraordinary expansion of social media users over the past 10 years. Prior to this, one could go on TV or radio or write a book or blog or article. Now you compose a Tweet thread or start a YouTube channel or go on podcasts.
One of these people is Josh Rosenthal (@JoshuaRosenthal) who popped on to my radar recently. He is a PhD, Fulbright Scholar, Harvard guest lecturer, polymathic sort of guy — history, health science, public policy, data analytics, crypto. You know, an all-rounder genius.
But what really strikes me about Dr Rosenthal (his demeanour makes it likely that he hates being called that), is his ability to structure an unbroken seven-minute answer to a 10-second question — expertly pitched, well-structured, narratively arced to perfection.
And here is what he has said, of late.
Renaissance
Rosenthal has a specific interest in the Renaissance. He describes the accretion of ...