🎙️ The Crypto Renaissance | Josh Rosenthal
A Lesson in Value & Information from a (Former) Historian
Josh Rosenthal is a former historian and is now a partner at 6ixth Event Cataclysmic Capital. In today's episode, we take a wide lens and examine the similarities between the European Renaissance and what is happening in today's society with both the internet and blockchain technology.
Will future historians call this the Crypto Renaissance?
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Bankless Podcast #63: The Crypto Renaissance
Guest: Josh Rosenthal
May 3, 2021
Josh Rosenthal holds a Ph.D. in Late Medieval / Early Modern European History, and received a Fulbright Scholarship to the Sorbonne’s Institute for Advanced Studies, think tank mixing culture, history, and technology. Josh is no longer a practicing historian and is instead a partner at ‘6ixth Event Cataclysmic Capital’, which supports early-stage founders targeting cataclysmic impact.
Here on Bankless, we do not necessarily view history as repetitive, but certainly as cyclical. If you're haven't already, check out Strauss & Howe's book 'The Fourth Turning' for a sober and salient account of what modern historiography is missing when it comes to interpreting societal ebbs and flows. Historical patterns are difficult to objectively pin down and create uniform laws that apply across the life cycle of a civilization. However, there are key concepts that are sticky and are often found in pivotal moments in history.
In this episode with Josh, we explore the sticky concepts of value and information.What does it mean for society when there are massive infrastructural changes to these things? The progress of civilization, on a macro scale, inevitably boils down to how we view, understand, create, and distribute communication and commerce. The European Renaissance, beginning in the 15th Century, is a fascinating example of a society undergoing fundamental changes in its relationship with value and information.
Two pieces of technology, the Printing Press and Double-Entry Bookkeeping, laid the foundation for a massive societal revolution that launched Europe into modernity. The late Middle Ages were increasingly hierarchical, in which value & information were held by an oligarchic feudal system. The Printing Press was a communication technology that decentralized access to information, such that Martin Luther was able to use it to spark the Protestant Reformation. Double-Entry Bookkeeping was an ancient practice rediscovered in Italy in around 1300, and this financial technology catapulted the Medici family into a flourishing age of art, culture, and redistribution.
The pendulum of history, according to Josh, swings between aggregation and distribution. Are we experiencing a pendulum swing now? Is the Internet the Printing Press of the information age? Will Blockchain Technology be the revolutionary piece of fintech that Double-Entry Bookkeeping was? Are we at the start of the next Renaissance – a Crypto Renaissance?
Josh leaves us with 3 Action Items to capitalize on this pendulum swing:
Get Involved in Crypto Art
Doomsday ‘Prep’ with Cryptoassets
Find Work in Crypto
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