A Real Estate Tycoon is the Latest to Think Blockchain Can Make the World a Better Place

Despite the fraud and hucksters, there’s still optimism that this technology will fix our broken web

Manoush Zomorodi

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Illustration by Alice Rutherford

I interviewed a famous blockchain guy at a tech conference last week. Our conversation was part of an event called Unfinished which aimed to convene “leading voices in tech, media, art, policy, and the spaces-in-between for vibrant conversations about the decentralized future.” In practice, that meant hundreds of curious people from the media-tech-ethics milieu showing up in person in NYC (vaccines required) at the invitation of Frank McCourt, a wealthy real estate tycoon who once owned the Dodgers and now owns a French soccer club.

We were all wondering: Who is this McCourt guy? Why does he suddenly care about issues like digital privacy, which we’ve been working to fix for the last decade? I think the answer lies in the conclusion billionaires often arrive at when faced with an ailing public institution like a city (Bloomberg), legacy media company (Bezos), or, in this case, the internet: My money can fix this.

McCourt has decided that the only way to escape the exploitative, misinforming trollfest that currently exists online is to build a new web with something called Project

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Manoush Zomorodi

Journalist, mom, Swiss-Persian New Yorker. Host of @NPR’s @TEDRadioHour + @ZigZagPod. Author of Bored+Brilliant. Media Entrepreneur-ish. ManoushZ.com/newsletter