Hello Mirror

My friend Jon and I mined a Bitcoin in our Queens apartment in 2011. Back in those days you could hook some software up to your graphics card and after a few days, voila, you'd have a Bitcoin. I think by the end we had close to 10 of them. But in those days there wasn't much you could do with Bitcoin nor were there particularly safe ways to store them. Several big hacks later, we had lost them all and didn't really think much about it. Or at least, we try not to think about what could have been.

As a writer who covers technology and web culture, I was always, of course, aware of the world of cryptocurrency that existed just off the periphery of the mainstream internet. But convincing editors to let you write about crypto stories is difficult. It's an incredibly dense world with its own culture and history and, up until recently, not a ton of crossover interest from readers. So I basically ignored crypto for a decade. But then, at the beginning of this year, my retired dad revealed that he had been putting his savings into Robinhood Bitcoin purchases. I decided it was probably time to dive back in.

In the months since, I've got him using Coinbase Pro instead of Robinhood — so he actually owns the coins he's buying — and got him a portfolio tracker so he can actually tell what's going on. I've also started reporting crypto-related stories. And through the course of that reporting I've had the chance to talk to some really smart people in the crypto world like Neeraj Agrawal, Alex Gladstein, and Meltem Demirors.

My reported work so far has focused on three things:

  • The culture of crypto. The memes, the tweets, the internet drama. I find this stuff infinitely fascinating as someone who spent years writing about Tumblr memes and Reddit threads.
  • Explaining what is happening in the market as a whole to people who don't get it. A lot of this is just documenting my own ongoing education — the difference between a token and coin, what a rug pull is, how DAOs work, etc. As I've begun exploring the world of crypto, I've noticed there aren't a ton of resources being written for curious outsiders.
  • Interrogating the power dynamics at the heart of the crypto market right now. How do you reconcile the fact that something like Bitcoin could be both a tool for economic liberation and a plaything for billionaires? This to me feels like the main crypto story at the moment.

One of my favorite interviews I've done this year was with an internet artist who was selling NFTs of white pixels for thousands of dollars worth of Ethereum. I love that sort of thing. In many ways, parts of the crypto world feel like the old days of the internet, the era of Bit Torrent, YTMND, and weird one-off websites. It feels exciting to me that cryptocurrency is helping people make bizarre internet projects again. If something like Ethereum can help someone finance a unique idea and add something special to the web, that to me is interesting.

I learned about Mirror from another writer on here named John Palmer. I was kind of blown away when he showed me what he was able to do with it. And then I watched as Kyle Chayka funded his media company, Dirt, using Mirror. I've spoken to both recently and they've gotten my head buzzing about the possibilities of Mirror.

So I've brought my friend Jon back with me as my main collaborator for this. It only seems right that we, a decade later, jump back into this world again. We have some exciting ideas and I can't wait to try them out. This post (if I've done it right) will exist as an NFT. But we've got more fun stuff coming. So stay tuned.

Here comes the Garbage DAO.

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