Note — Feb 13, 2022

The Internet Is Just Investment Banking Now

The Atlantic has some good writers and contributors. So after Meyer above, we’re going there again, this time with Ian Bogost. The subtitle gives a good summary; “the internet has always financialized our lives. Web3 just makes that explicit.” However, I’m sharing the piece not necessarily as a critique, which is often how it was framed when making the rounds for a couple of days, but rather for the use of financial products as a lens to understand the eras of the internet and how Web3 is evolving. In other words, don’t just read it as ‘on your side’ or not, but as a useful perspective when considering the Web3 moment.

Let’s call things what they are: NFTs represent a first step in the securitization of digital assets. They turn digital data into speculative financial instruments. That shift has enormous implications because computers are in everything, and that makes anything a digital asset—your bank records, your Fitbit data, rings of your smart doorbell, a sentiment analysis of your work email, you name it. […]

Now the digital exhaust of all that life online is poised to become an asset class for speculative investment, like stocks and commodities and mortgages. […]

Regulation notwithstanding, anything that can be construed as an asset can become the basis for a security. And if anything can become the basis for a security, then why not JPEGs? Before software ate the world, finance already had. […]