163 - Bitcoin & Fungal Economies with Toby Kiers & Brandon Quittem

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This week we’re joined by evolutionary biologist Toby Kiers and Bitcoin entrepreneur Brandon Quittem for an interdisciplinary trialogue on the analogy between digital currencies and the so-called Wood Wide Web. Toby studies fungal economies in the lab, and her research challenges the commonly-held assumption that mycorrhizal networks are socialist utopia hippie love-fests. Brandon evangelizes “The Internet of Money” as an exemplary instance of biomimicry and argues that Bitcoin is doing for human finance what mycelial networks have done for terrestrial biology. And I wade in with more than my usual helping of paradoxically-critical enthusiasm to ask if “natural” really equals “healthy” or “desirable” in our rush to serve the evolutionary algorithm of technological development.


This one should appeal to anybody on the “Transhumanist Bitcoin Bro to Luddite Biodynamic Farmer” spectrum…share your thoughts about the episode in ourFuture Fossils Discord server or Facebook group, where it’s easy to link up with amazing fellow weirdos.


Brandon’s Website & Twitter

Brandon’s article, “Bitcoin is The Mycelium of Money”


Toby’s Website & Twitter

Toby’s TED talk, “Lessons from fungi on markets and economics”


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Music by Future Fossils co-host Evan “Skytree” Snyder.


I transcribe this show with help from Podscribe.ai — which I highly recommend to other podcasters. If you’d like to help me edit transcripts for my upcoming Future Fossils book project, please let me know! I’m @michaelgarfield on Twitter & Instagram.


If you’re looking for new ways to help regulate stress, get better sleep, recover from exercise, and/or stay alert and focused without stimulants, let me recommend the Apollo Neuro wearable. I have one and appreciate it so much I decided to join their affiliate program. The science is solid.


And for my fellow guitarists in the audience, let me recommend you get yourself a Jamstik Studio, the coolest MIDI guitar I’ve ever played. I just grabbed one this year and LOVE it. Videos soon!


Enjoy, and thanks for listening!


Additional Resources:


Future Fossils 161 - Michael Phillip on Play & Creativity

Future Fossils 81 - Art Brock on Holochain and the Future of Currency

Future Fossils 56 - Sophia Rohklin on Anarchy, Ecology, Economy, and Shamanism


Complexity 35 - Geoffrey West on Physical Scaling Laws

Complexity 13 - Brian Arthur on the History of Complexity Economics

Complexity 8 - Olivia Judson on Life’s Major Energy Transitions


Deep Facebook thread on the un/sustainability of blockchains & cryptocurrencies


Regen Network


When you’re ready to switch it up, here are my music and listening recommendations on Spotify.


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