A new piece on New Public, co-written with Primavera de Filippi and Morshed Mannan.
On a night in 1990, Tommy Carmichael woke up with a brilliant idea. He had just invented the “Monkey Paw”: a flexible metal wire connected to a rod that could be used to cheat slot machines. Twenty-six years later, a hacker (whom we will refer to as “0x15def”) sat in front of his computer screen, inspired by another brilliant idea. He came up with a way to exploit an “immutable” software protocol which enabled him to amass an amount of cryptocurrency worth $55 million at the time. He became known as the attacker of TheDAO: one of the world’s first decentralized autonomous organizations.