In internet slang, 3DPD—meaning “three-dimensional pig disgusting”—is used to indicate that the 2D world is superior to the 3D world. The 3D world is lumpy. The friction from gravity and laws restricts individual freedom. There is the problem of having a body. And the light—the blizzard of photons coming from everywhere—is blinding and ugly. It is much more appealingly dark and smooth and pure to dematerialize into information and nurture faith in a digital platform. The internet is arguably a platform worthy of this kind of faith, but there are other platforms that aspire to parallel or even subsume the internet.
One of these, called ethereum, hopes to be the place for negotiating almost every kind of commercial, cultural, social, or legal exchange. In a video with a white-grey background and a centralized diamond-shaped logo, one of its founders, Vitalik Buterin, seems to barely need a body as he looks off-camera describing the ascendance of the platform towards Turing-complete universality.1 Having discovered the elementary particle upon which nearly every conceivable exchange might be built, ethereum proposes to replace centralized finance, social networking, law, and governance with a multitude of currencies, communication channels, individual contracts, and “decentralized autonomous organizations.” Encrypted against both security risk and interference from centralizing censorship, surveillance, or regulation, this massive platform for achieving “consensus” would make contracts into something like the new email.