Best of Balaji

The Pseudonymous Economy

Balaji explains what pseudonymity is, why we would want a pseudonymous economy, how it could work, and how we could build it in this talk:

Pseudonymity allows you to build up a reputation, while at the same time shielding you from character assassination.

In his essay on "How to Gradually Exit Twitter" Balaji said the following about one downside of Twitter being that it is not fully pseudonymous:

"It was a mistake to use our real names everywhere online, particularly on Twitter. It made us vulnerable to personal and physical attacks. Social media mobs can swarm your real name online and cancel you in real life. Doxxing can heighten the danger by making threats materialize in meatspace. Pseudonymity is a better default, especially now that we can earn under a pseudonym."

Pseudonymity would allow us to separate our speaking name and our earning name from our real name. And this would make us less vulnerable to attacks on our reputation. This is important because negative press is essentially an attack on your social network. It could make you lose friends, customers, employees, investors, or your job.

We have already seen pseudonymity emerge on platforms such as Reddit, Instagram (finstas), and Twitter (e.g. Crypto Twitter) for purposes of communication. Balaji thinks this will now be extended to transactions thanks to blockchain.

So, I think in the medium term we'll see new kinds of social networks that allowpeople not just to pseudonymously speak, but to earn and trade with each other. That could end up being a major step for online privacy. — (@balajis) September 30, 2018

Transactions on blockchains can be pseudonymous (most are). The ability to send and receive money pseudonomously would protect your income against personal attacks.

The next step after remote work is pseudonymous work.
Once all work can be done through an internet connection, people don't need to know your official name. And Square and @jack are pioneers here once again. — (@balajis) August 6, 2020

In a pseudonymous economy, you may have many different speaking names, and many different earning names.

Your speaking, earning, and real names would be separated.

Crypto Twitter presages the 2030s.
Pseudonymity and big personalities, economic alignment and crypto tribalism, distributed cooperation and hostile forks, and above all a moral, technological, and economic case to replace legacy institutions with internet-native alternatives. — (@balajis) January 11, 2021

Check out the video linked at the top of this page to see Balaji's suggestions for a bridge towards pseudonymity from the current platforms.


An additional talk that clearly lays out basics of The Pseudonymous Economy

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