The Jim Rutt Show

The Jim Rutt Show


Currents 094: Matthew Pirkowski on Blockchain Consensus Mechanisms

May 04, 2023

Jim talks with Matthew Pirkowski about the kinds of consensus mechanisms that can be used to secure blockchains. They discuss active inference, proof of work vs proof of stake & the relationship between them, auto-catalytic networks, proof of work in emergent nature, what consensus means & why it needs to be protected, integrity of the ledger, an analogy with clocks, accelerating entropy, photosynthesis, exploring vs exploiting tensions in emergent systems, coordinating central points of reference, energetic openness, the relationship between energy & information, resistance to manipulation, postmodernity & symbols untethered to reality, the evolution of evolvability, adaptive drift, a stable foundation for building infrastructure, the tight relationship between information theory & thermodynamics, whether existing cryptocurrencies exist in a Goldilocks zone vs an arbitrary spot in design space, bugs of global reserve currencies, whether investing in Bitcoin is an anti-social act, currency vs wealth, personal stores of abstract potential energy, and much more.

Episode Transcript
JRS Currents 066: Matthew Pirkowski on Emergence in Possibility Space
"Dividend Money: An Alternative to Central Banker Managed Fractional Reserve Banking Money," by Jim Rutt (lecture)

Matthew Pirkowski works at the intersection of software, psychology, and complex systems. These interests first took root while studying Evolutionary Psychology and assisting with Behavioral Economic research at Yale’s Comparative Cognition Laboratory. From there Matthew began a career in software engineering, where he applied these interests to the development of software interfaces used by millions around the world, most notably as a member of Netflix’s Television UI team, where he worked on experimental initiatives conceptualizing and prototyping the future of entertainment software. Presently, Matthew consults on systems architecture, advises companies within the startup space, and writes about topics related to the evolution of human socioeconomic, technological, and representational systems–in particular the emergence and impact of cryptoeconomic protocols, as outlined in his Crypto Beyond Capitalism essay series. He spends most of his free time maintaining, restoring, and growing food on 6 recently acquired acres of Oregon woodlands.


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