May 16, 2024 - Economy

Culture hash: What is speedrunning

Illustration of an old arcade game with three dollar signs on the screen

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

SocialFi is back and folks are talking about it "speedrunning" the history of social media on Web 2.0.

  • But well-adjusted adults probably don't know what speedrunning is.

Zoom in: Speedrunning is a genre of YouTube video and video game play competition.

  • Speedrunners master a video game to complete it with unbelievable speed. The point is to play some known territory perfectly, not one millisecond wasted.
  • For example, according to Speedrun.com, the record for playing 1985's Super Mario Bros. is 4 minutes, 54 seconds and 631 milliseconds (second place is slower by much less than a second).

Context: Social media blockchainified (also known as SocialFi) is having its umpteenth moment now with Friend.Tech version 2.0 and Fantasy Top.

  • As discussed on the Chopping Block podcast, new technologies tend to look for business models by speedrunning what worked in prior worlds.
  • First CDs were sold on the internet, then they sold MP3s and now they are streaming.
  • Blockchainers are making knock-offs of social media and throwing in DeFi wrinkles as they look for business models.

💭 Our thought bubble: It could all be for nothing.

  • Social media might have already taken its final — awful — form, and blockchains may ultimately be for something else entirely (preferably with less statusmaxxing).
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