Posted on Apr 29, 2022Read on

Non-Fungible Culture

Thoughts on How Crypto is Re-Shaping What We Cannot See


  • Culture as the Story of Stories
  • What are stories?
  • How is crypto reshaping them?

Culture: The Story of Stories

There is a revolution happening. As we sit today, crypto’s total market cap sits near $2 trillion with nearly $50 billion being transacted daily. The construction of Hotel Cryptofornia is progressing quickly.

At the same time that we are focused on these novel structures, something equally profound is occuring behind the scenes. Renovating old structures is as critical to construction as building new ones is, and crypto is not immune. While new chains, NFTs, and layer 2s are all the rage, remodeling is occuring at the societal level for industries that have existed for hundreds of years. Sectors of society such as fashion, entertainment, and business are all being reshaped by the promises of crypto.

It is somewhat intuitive to understand the ways in which crypto will re-shape financially oriented sectors of society - it began, after all, as a way to orchestrate decentralized financial payments. Its most concrete value propositions are directly oriented towards eliminating the inefficiencies of our financial infrastructure, helping us deal more directly with dollars and cents.

Yet the overwhelming majority of society is not financial in nature - it is something else entirely. We may demarcate clothes or tickets to sporting events in black and white terms (the "cost”), but what drives that cost is something inherently grey. We call it “culture”.

Culture is difficult to define clearly. In his book Maps of Meaning, Jordan Peterson provides a framework for doing so , stating the following:

“Our cultures (which we absorb as children, through the process of imitation) consist primarily of patterns of activity, undertaken in a social context. As parents are to children, cultures are to adults: we do not know how the patterns we act out originated, or what purposes they currently ser**ve. Such patterns are in fact emergent properties of long term social interactions.”

We can thus think of our cultures as stories (or “maps”) that direct our action. These stories have solidified over many years, creating narratives that tell us what to value and how to act in a world filled with uncertainty.

Culture exists at both the macro and micro level, with each broader ‘culture’ consisting of many smaller ‘sub-cultures’. Take American culture, for example. Each aspect of American society plays a role in describing what it means to be ‘American’, from the food we eat, to the sports we watch, to the clothes we wear. We can think of these sectors of society as chapters in a book, each weaving their own narratives to create a larger one. When we stitch them together, we get the bestselling novel.

Through this lens, culture is thus the story of stories.

Insert visualization of “Culture is the story of stories" → books inside of books

OK, but what does this all have to do with crypto? How are cryptocurrencies re-shaping sectors of society that are cultural as opposed to financial?


  • Crypto is allowing for the gray areas of society to be financialized.
  • It is unlocking previously frozen IP and asset classes.