Over the last two years we've written about how those in "crypto" who were pushing the "Web 3.0" meme built on the idea of tokenizing everything in an effort to "decentralize the web" were approaching the problem from a position of utter stupidity. Tokenizing everything and attaching a free floating price to the token that is completely disconnected from the utility of the network it grants you access to is a great way to corrupt any system from the get-go. Like it or not, speculators will ensure that the token is mispriced and renders the network it runs on unable to provide the use cases it markets.
What we've been saying for years is that what those who want to "tokenize the world" are really looking for is truly robust and decentralized market places that combine open-source-censorship-resistant-distributed-money (bitcoin) with open-source-censorship-resistant-distributed-communications/distribution protocols (Nostr, RSS, Bittorrent, HTTP, etc.). Civ Kit seems to be an example of just this. As you can see from the screenshot above it is a peer-to-peer electronic market system. Civ Kit combines, bitcoin, the lightning network, and Nostr to create a marketplace protocol that enables people to post and execute trades.
By leveraging these networks, Civ Kit is providing the market with the ability to create robust escrow and reputation solutions, which are two of the core pillars of marketplaces. Can you trust that your funds are safe and that your counter party in a trade will actually deliver the goods?
If you want to dive into the technical details of how the escrow and reputation systems work, I highly recommend you read the white paper. Without getting too deep into the weeds, Civ Kit brings to market a creative incentive structure that should lead to positive sum outcomes for those who leverage the protocol since reputation is an embedded feature that should enable people to make good decisions when interacting with counterparts.
The other cool thing about Civ Kit is how quickly order books should be able to scale. By leveraging Nostr, Civ Kit is tapping into a distributed communications protocol that will enable people to access order books via multiple front-ends. Front-end clients simply need to be connected to relay servers that sellers are broadcasting their events to.
Whether or not Civ Kit is ultimately successful and widely adopted is yet to be seen. However, when thinking about how to bring about a future of truly free markets that enable peer-to-peer trade with depth and liquidity I believe it will look something like this. Combine a peer-to-peer censorship resistant money protocol with a peer-to-peer censorship resistant communications protocol, sprinkle in sensible escrow and reputation systems and watch the market grow. It will take time for these markets to develop any material liquidity and activity as there is a lot of work that needs to be done on the UX and awareness side of things, but things are moving in the right direction.
The fireworks were pretty good last night.