Origin Story

Yesterday marked Ideamarket’s 1-year birthday as a company. To celebrate, I thought I’d share how it all began:

When I was new to crypto in 2017, I didn't know how to invest in anything, and I didn’t know anyone who could tell me.

So to learn about hot early-stage projects, I'd visit weird, chaotic corners of the internet, like 4chan and reddit.

What struck me about those environments was everyone was saying things like‌

  • Shill me [x]

  • Tell me what I'm missing

  • What's the best thing in the world that nobody knows about

  • What is everyone wrong about

  • What am I wrong about‌

This was a ferocious curiosity that I had never seen before — in a few autodidacts and nerds maybe, but never in a community, at scale.‌

What I wanted to try to do is expand the scope of that ferocious curiosity to include any information of public import. In the internet age, the best information in the world is already free and accessible — all that's missing is a strong desire to find it.‌

Thus was born Ideamarket's primordial goal:‌

  • Take society's current situation

  • Add ferocious curiosity to it

That's it.‌

The more I thought about it, the more curiosity appeared the cure-all of the modern age. Curiosity

  • increases discovery

  • increases inter-tribal understanding

  • has no downsides

Having seen the curiosity that market-based profit motives had stoked in microcap hunters on 4chan, market mechanisms where the first place I looked to try to achieve this.

Not only were markets a great fit — I discovered they have other wonderful features as well. They:

  • Trustlessly reward careful thinking and punish careless thinking

  • Provide a universal standard for expression of opinions (as financial risk)

  • Provide a provably fair mechanism for registering those opinions

In addition to igniting curiosity, these features also allow Ideamarket to function as a(n):

  • Provably fair battleground for the "battle of ideas"

  • Decentralized global dashboard of public opinions, values, and priorities

  • Reckoning mechanism for abuse of public trust by media and public figures

  • Income stream for worthwhile voices and creators

  • Trustless, permissionless, public, provably fair content moderation protocol for social media

thereby

  • Increasing thoughtfulness, listening, and signal in public discourse

  • Enabling the public to have conversations unmediated by media corporations

  • Capturing the value of obscure genius

  • Making credibility prohibitively expensive to fake

  • Eliminating most costs of policing disinformation and misinformation

  • Freeing the best work of top journalists from behind paywalls

This sounds like a lot of goals, but they all spring from the same leverage point — harnessing greed to empower curiosity, using markets.

‌As a psychology nerd, it gives me singular satisfaction to imagine taking an Id-level psychic force like greed, and sublimating it into an aspirational orientation like curiosity — at scale!

It’s been a wonderful first year, and I look forward to the future of this exciting experiment.

Thanks for being here.

—Mike

PS — Ideamarket Grants has kicked off with a bang. Please take two seconds to retweet and tag the most underrated, underpaid creator you know: