Bitcoin, the Soho Effect, and the Breitbart Doctrine
Posted August 12, 2022
Ed Ulbrich, in his Ted Talk, showed how Benjamin Button got his face.
The same technology the animators used to create Benjamin Button’s face has all sorts of practical applications in the world.
This is one interesting example of art and technology’s symbiotic relationship. Each one pushes the other forward in surprising and unexpected ways.
Let’s take another popular example:
The initial widespread adoption of the printing press, hailed as one of the most important inventions of all time, was driven largely by printed art, not books.
(And mostly art of the, ahem, erotic type.)
It’s something I think about a lot when it comes to crypto…
The Right-Brain Renaissance
One of my favorite books about crypto isn’t about crypto at all.
It was published in 2006, when Bitcoin was but a gleam in Satoshi’s eye.
It’s a book by Daniel Pink called, “A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future.”
In it, Pink makes the case that automation and software will slowly eat away at the “left-brained” tasks (sequential and logical tasks), freeing up societal bandwidth for more creative pursuits, and driving a demand for “right-brained” skills, such as synthesis, design, and conceptual thinking.
Automation takes care of the “utility problem” for companies, pushing them in more creative directions.
For example, as routine tasks for the accountant become automated, we’re seeing a big rise in financial coaches, a decidedly more creative profession. It’s also why insurance companies, traditionally pretty boring, are actively seeking creative ways to differentiate themselves.
We are only in the first inning of this trend. And, because of it, Pink argued, inventors, artists, storytellers, and holistic thinkers will rule the future.
Pink also posited that this will have a decentralizing effect on the labor markets. For starters, it’s increasingly true that, in the creative industries, creative people need big organizations far LESS than those big organizations need creative people.
Since I found the book in 2010, it’s remained one of the most interesting books I’ve read. It changed the way I think about technology’s influence on culture. And, in a way, it primed me for the rise of Bitcoin, smart contracts, and the NFT mania.
The SoHo Effect
Blockchain is a great example of a 21st century technology that’s designed to eat away at routine, sequential tasks (accountants are just the most obvious example).
So, through this lens, it’s been fascinating to watch how quickly the art world embraced crypto and, more recently, NFTs.
(Art galleries were some of the first businesses to begin accepting Bitcoin, as far back as 2014.)
But perhaps not surprising.
In this article, the author shows that the art world has always been a hotbed of innovation and that its “manic internationalism” is actually a perfect fit for crypto.
When Andrew Breitbart said, “Politics is downstream from culture,” he was saying that if you want to see where politics is headed, culture is a good indicator.
It’s underappreciated that crypto has become a global cultural force in the 2020s.
And, as the SoHo Effect reveals…
When you want to see where the culture is headed, artists are a good indicator. And where are the artists now?
From Pyongyang to Patagonia, they’re in crypto… making NFTs.
By the way, they’re also learning about crypto’s most intriguing properties, such as:
→ How to capture the value they create
→ How to take full custody of their assets
→ How to cut out the middleman
What are the cultural icons — Elon Musk, Mark Cuban, Snoop Dog, etc. — talking about? Crypto.
Sports legends are endorsing crypto banks.
Social media giants and celebrities are minting NFTs.
At crypto conferences, you’ll find a few major institutions interested in this new asset class. But what else will you find? You’ll find culturally influential brands that want to participate.
Nike… Gucci… LVMH Group (Louis Vuitton Moët Hennesy)... Christie’s… Sotheby’s… and many more.
Cultural powerhouses have been quick to embrace crypto.
Crypto, as an ecosystem of ownerless decentralized networks, has practical staying power in the financial world: an industry where, traditionally, the average lifespan of a currency is 17 years.
Crypto has what the stodgy traditional finance world doesn’t have: Crypto also has cultural staying power.
Unlike Wall Street…
Crypto is cool.
If politics is indeed downstream from culture, perhaps crypto isn’t too far behind.
[Ed. note: As we said yesterday, “Crypto is the biggest asymmetric bet of all time. You only have to be right ONCE in order to make millions from a relatively small stake.” We made the full case in our Big Book of Crypto. And, when we began Early Stage Crypto Investor, we put that philosophy into practice. Not yet a member? Click here to see James talk all about Early Stage Crypto Investor — and what it means for us.]