Higher Dimensions

I was recently discussing some properties of nfts with another crypto investor and a lightbulb went off for me: crypto allows certain technologies to enter higher dimensions.

What do I mean by that? We’re all familiar with the concept of dimensions in physics.

1d: a line.

2d: height and width

3d: height, width, and depth

4d: space and time

It’s hard to put in words, but I think dimensions in technology describe not just form, but also ownership, usage, and decentralization. Lower dimensional technology is more clunky, more difficult to create, obtain, transfer, and is more centralized. Higher dimension technology is native to software, native to the internet, ownable, accessible, and more decentralized.

Here are some examples.


  • 1d: cash β†’ can only be used in the physical world.

  • 2d: digital payments β†’ money on the internet, but still settles to cash.

  • 3d: bitcoin β†’ internet native money, decentralized.

  • 4d: defi β†’ programmable, internet native money.


  • 1d: servers β†’ manual setup, local computation.

  • 2d: cloud β†’ centralized, programmable computation.

  • 3d: blockchains β†’ decentralized, public computation.

  • 4d: zkps β†’ private, verifiable, succinct computation.


  • 1d: physical media β†’ physical manufacturing and distribution.

  • 2d: digital media β†’ make once, distribute globally.

  • 3d: social media β†’ make once, engage globally

  • 4d: nfts β†’ make once, own globally, prove provenance.


  • 1d: consoles β†’ hardware limited, single player.

  • 2d: online cloud β†’ no hardware constraints, multiplayer.

  • 3d: online ugc β†’ multiplayer, player contributed, centrally owned (roblox / epic).

  • 4d: crypto gaming β†’ multiplayer, player contributed, player owned.

I know, it’s not a perfect analogy, but you get my point. In this framework any time a new dimension is added to a technology the incumbents get disrupted and net new possibilities emerge. I believe much of the bleeding edge research in crypto has already and will continue to add new dimensions to a variety of important technologies.

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