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digital daily: Internet Regulation

Internet Regulation: Innovation is a creative solution to a thorny problem. Users decide its use case, not the architects. Think of the internet. It was the solution to a defense problem, spurred by a beach-ball sized satellite, Sputnik, circling the earth and sending radio signals. If the Soviets could do that, the US telecommunications network and its singular point of failure would be at risk. New agencies were formed to focus on space technologies – including the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA). In 1962, a solution was proposed – a “galactic network” of computers that could speak to one another. It would decentralize and de-risk the communications network. Soon after, ARPAnet was created. It took nearly a decade for two computers to communicate with one another. Institutions were slowly added to the network. And the rules followed. Regulation is always a follower. Innovators work within the spirit of regulatory principles and guide the rules. Like in 1983, when the Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol provided a common set of rules for how computers communicate worldwide. It was the birth of the modern internet. And it worked so well that it almost broke. Network nodes were no longer under centralized control, and a surge in demand slowed transmission speeds to a grind. A network of engineers solved that problem, and many others later. The internet raced from 28,000 nodes to one billion. All without an “inventor,” unlike the technological advancements before it. It was a decentralized innovation whose governing rules adapted to its use cases. It rhymes with what’s ahead for digital asset markets. And the internet is our grounded context for digital asset regulation.