Crypto Hyperstructures

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= "Hyperstructure: Crypto protocols that can run for free and forever, without maintenance, interruption or intermediaries". ... Hyperstructures are entirely onchain, and are public goods which create a positive-sum ecosystem for any participants [1]

Contextual Quotes


"The nature of crypto protocols opens up radically expansive new models to create invaluable public infrastructure. This view is so distinct that I think it warrants new language. In this essay I outline the concept of Hyperstructures: what they are, how they work and why they will be the basis of the internet for the next decades to come."


"Given their immutable and permanent nature, we have the opportunity to create civilizational infrastructure that can outlast our own lifetimes—all of which is native to the internet.

We’ve never had the tools to create software-based infrastructure that can work as-designed for generations without degradation or falling to the tragedy of the commons to sustain itself. And we’re at a once in a generation moment where we are the ones lucky enough to have the privilege to build the first.

For every financial utility I’d posit we’ll likely see a singular hyperstructure emerge: exchanges, marketplaces, lending pools, options and so on. The same could be said for non-financial utilities that are currently run and operated by web2 and social media platforms like domain names, registries, identity, curation, tags, reputation, emojis, read receipts and so on. The entire internet is being rebuilt in the form of Web3, with crypto and the blockchain at its core — we have the opportunity to restructure the utilies of the internet of the past 40 years outside of private control, and create entirely new ones that simply weren't possible before. ... Crucially, because of their immutable and permanent nature, we must optimistically create them in their purest, most free and most beautiful forms. These Hyperstructures could very well be used by our grandchildren, so we have the responsibility to build them with them in our minds—and we should do them proud."

- Jacob Horne [2]


Jacob Horne:

"By nature of running on a blockchain, Hyperstructures can run forever with no ability to stop them. They can continuously function without a maintainer or operator, and they can run for as long as the underlying blockchain is running—which can be at the very least a decade. Hyperstructures are unstoppable, and this is a superpower that we have no good prior example of. You can have a one-time creation cost, and then once deployed it will run exactly as designed and without degradation. There is no further labor or capital required to sustain the Hyperstructure. If the core team or platform built on top of the hyperstructure were to disappear, it would still run exactly as designed and be fully operational for decades. Unstoppability is a net new capability that is possible because of blockchains, and is a capability that I believe changes the economic nature of infrastructure.


Hyperstructures have Expansive Fees — built-in incentives that can be utilized by anyone adding value in a codified manner on top of the protocol. These fees are transparent and available to the entire ecosystem. To effectively earn these fees on top of the hyperstructure, you need to provide the desired value as defined by the protocol. The presence of these incentives provides a mechanism for community expansion of the Hyperstructure, and good mechanism design here is likely critical for longevity.

A great example of an Expansive fee is the Uniswap LP fee. LP fees incentivize participants to provide the key resource—liquidity. This fee is paid to anyone who is providing liquidity to a pool, it is not paid to Uniswap. LP’s expand the utility of Uniswap, they do not have a monopoly on providing that utility and an LP only captures value on what they’re creating.


Permissionlessness is a guarantee that is unique to crypto protocols deployed on blockchains. Permissionless means that a Hyperstructure:

  • Is universally accessible, everyone is able to utilize it completely without prejudice
  • Is unable to change its core operating functionality

The implication of being permissionless means that everyone can confidently build their own platforms, applications and economic models on top of the Hyperstructure without the risk of deplatforming. There are no API keys required, and no fear that a platform can suddenly upend your entire project on a whim."