It's time to take back the internet (placed in New York Times)

a16z crypto editorial

New York Times crypto ad with the headline "It's time to take back the internet"

Editor’s note: This piece originally appeared on February 4, 2024 in a full-page ad in the New York Times, 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.

Social networks have the power to decide elections. They can deplatform, destabilize, and make unilateral decisions for billions of people. A new generation of artificial intelligence tools cannibalizes real creators, while deepfakes drown us in misinformation. And streaming services earn more from music than the majority of musicians.

The internet has failed us.

Our digital world is vast, rich, and convenient. But it comes with a critical tradeoff: We are more dependent than ever on a few tech companies that have all of the power.

These big tech companies depend entirely on the people who use their apps and platforms — without sharing control, ownership, or rewards. They can be ruthless, inequitable, and anticompetitive — yet our choices are limited.

But there is another way forward: A future defined by digital ownership. Where people can own pieces of platforms they use, powered by a key innovation: Blockchains. More than cryptocurrencies, blockchains are a new kind of computer that grants agency, ownership, and economic benefits to users — not just tech companies.

Think of blockchains like construction material for new digital services: 

  • Social networks that guarantee people control and choice
  • AI that compensates creators for their work, and certifies the authenticity of what we see online
  • Immersive virtual worlds where users have property rights

There is more to crypto than grifts, gambling, and political talking points. So forget the price of Bitcoin. The Super Bowl ads and stadium sponsorships. Forget the dog memes, if you can. 

Crypto is a movement led by creators, researchers, academics, community builders, and startup founders. It’s driven by technological advances with the power to reshape our digital world. Just as PCs, cloud computing, and mobile phones did. 

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

So forget the noise. Let’s build the internet we want — not the one we inherited.


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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