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Goodbye Urbit

If you have been around me any time in the past year or two you have likely heard me discuss Urbit.

What is Urbit?

Urbit is a decentralised P2P network written entirely from scratch, it even features its own language. Hoon & Nock! Urbit genuinely enticed me as an interesting platform, which I used extensively as a comet in 2020 & 2021. Dipping my toes into Hoon development.

In 2022, Urbit introduced “Layer 2”. This made Urbit’s identities, known as “Planets” basically free. Before Layer 2, another user would have to mint you an identity. This was slow and expensive since it used ETH under the hood. Layer 2 got rid of these fee’s almost entirely and many users simply gave out Planets for free. This is how I was fully on-boarded onto the platform as ~maptyn-nomlec.

Why Urbit?

Any idea or platform that attempts to challenge the current “norms” of the internet inherently interests me. Urbit did this for me, with its interesting take on authentication & networking and its use of its own programming language.

Through Urbit I discovered new authors1 & books, I even joined a group of users getting into 3D printing and they helped me configure and debug my new printer! There was an actually community in this weird chunk of the world. Like a little secret club.

Can we try again?

Every time I’d use the platform there was always a weird undercurrent to conversations. Honestly half of all discussion I had on the platform was completely fine, but the remaining 50% always left a bit of a sour taste in my mouth.

It’s no secret that Curtis Yarvin2 was the original mind behind Urbit, and uh, lets say he had some… Interesting ideas I am not the biggest fan of. A large section of Urbit’s user-base is there because of Yarvin. not everyone, but a sizeable subset. To be honest I find myself wishing I could use the platform without this feeling present.

I know, I get it, literally the meme. But unironically I kinda agree with it. The dudes soul isn’t imbued in the code. Honestly I have zero issue with the platform. It’s just the surrounding community around it that makes me uncomfortable, like if a pub you really liked started getting filled with people you absolutely cannot stand. It’s not everyone, some of the people I’ve met on the platform are genuinely some of the nicest most interesting people I have ever talked too, but, I think I might try talk to them somewhere else.

I love what Urbit is trying to do. But it’s not working for me anymore3, and I probably won’t be using it much longer…

Shout out too lomped-firser and monted-tallex for being chill dudes, everyone in urmetica for recommending some banger books, litmus-ritten and tinnus-napbus for helping me with my 3D printer, poldec-tonteg for writing some amazing articles and finally lagrev-nocfep for running an amazing course teaching Hoon.

I know we likely don’t agree on everything but without you guys on the platform I would have left much sooner.

I hopefully have a longer write-up on the alternative internet coming soon. It’s been in the pipeline for a while and I want to eventually publish it. It’s been an interesting journey for me into alternative languages, platforms and ideas.

  1. I was recommended to read Mark Fisher & Georges Bataille through Urbit↩︎

  2. Mencius Moldbug, etc…↩︎

  3. “It’s not you… Its me…” lol.↩︎

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