Forget what you know about crypto: The next era of internet innovation is here

a16z crypto editorial

crypto ad in the washington post

Editor’s note: This piece originally appeared on January 31, 2024 in a full-page ad in the Washington Post, marking the launch of Read Write Own: Building the Next Era of the Internet — a new book from a16z crypto managing partner Chris Dixon. Read the announcement, or hear a conversation with Chris on the past, present, and future of the internet.

Forget the price of Bitcoin. Forget the star-studded Super Bowl ads. Forget the dog memes, if you can. Crypto is more than excess and volatility. It’s more than grift, gambling, and political talking points. Crypto isn’t hype or clickbait — it’s a technological breakthrough with the power to reshape our digital world. Just as PCs and mobile phones did.

Plenty of people are fine with the way things are. Our digital lives are convenient. But they come with a critical tradeoff: We are more dependent than ever on a few tech companies that have all the power.

Social networks can censor, deplatform, and destabilize. They have the power to decide elections. Streaming services earn more from music than the vast majority of musicians do. Many AI tools cannibalize creators, while making it hard to tell what’s real online.

These platforms can be ruthless and anti-competitive. Yet they depend entirely on the people who use them — without sharing the rewards. Don’t like the rules? Sure, you can leave. But you’d also leave behind years of posts, followers, and fans. 

While the status quo may seem convenient, it kills innovation. It makes the internet less entrepreneurial. Less dynamic. And less fair. 

More than cryptocurrencies, blockchains are  construction material for building a different kind of internet — one that shifts power from corporations to communities.

Blockchains make it possible to build digital services that reclaim control and ownership for creators, consumers, and community builders:

  • Social networks moderated by communities, not by invisible content reviewers
  • Tools that guarantee authenticity in a sea of deepfakes and AI-generated content
  • Virtual worlds where people have real property rights
  • Streaming platforms governed by artists, not gatekeepers 

This is the generation-defining opportunity explored in Read Write Own: Building the Next Era of the Internet — a new book from entrepreneur, investor, and writer Chris Dixon. Available now in a bookstore near you.

Forget the noise. The next era of internet innovation is here.


The authors hold digital assets, including fungible and non-fungible tokens from some of the companies mentioned. They also advise companies and serve as experts on marketplace and incentive design, web3 strategy, NFT brand-building, and other topics. 

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