“Just by a quick show of hands, has anyone heard of a D.A.O. or an agent before?” asked Jonathan Mohan. He was in his mid-twenties and wore a beige Bitcoin T-shirt. As if to scratch my head, I halfway raised my right arm. A dozen others raced up past mine.
Forty or fifty of us were in a glass-walled coworking space at 23rd Street and Park Avenue in Manhattan, at a Meetup for a technology called Ethereum. Invented by a nineteen-year-old Russian Canadian named Vitalik Buterin, and still unreleased and under development on the day of the Meetup, in February 2014, Ethereum is intended to decentralize control of the Internet and anything connected to it, redistributing real-world power accordingly. Mohan was a volunteer for the project.