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Urbit is a completely new way of looking at computing. Every user gets a personal server, which runs your apps, wrangles your connected devices, and defines your secure identity. Your urbit presents your whole digital life as a single web service.
Urbit feels foreign and confusing for those of us coming from the traditional web because the normal paradigm is to iterate and paper over the problems of the current platform with new things built on top. Curtis Yarvin, the creator of Urbit, argues that the current model is too fundamentally broken for that to work. As he says: “the Internet as a client-server network has won. The Internet as a peer-to-peer network has failed.”
This sounds like yet another quirky, overambitious developer side project–but Urbit has serious legs. The github repo has had 51 committers over its four years of activity. Last year, a public crowdsale of Urbit address space raised more than $200,000. Peter Thiel was an early investor in the project, perhaps partly due to the combination of persistence, technical skill, and unusual opinions of Curtis Yarvin.
In this episode, Curtis and Galen Wolfe-Pauly join me for a conversation about Urbit–its strange computing platform and the contrarian philosophies that drive its creators.