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Original author(s)Curtis Yarvin, Tlon Corporation[1]
Developer(s)Tlon Corporation
Initial release2013[2]
Stable release
1.10 / 28 July 2022; 13 months ago (2022-07-28)
Written inHoon, Nock, C
Operating systemLinux, macOS, Windows
TypeDecentralized personal server platform.[3]
LicenseMIT License

Urbit is a decentralized personal server platform[3] based on functional programming[4] in a peer-to-peer network.[5] The design seeks to give users control over their own computing.[6][non-primary source needed]

The Urbit platform was created by neoreactionary political blogger Curtis Yarvin.[4] The first code release was in 2010.[7] The Urbit network was launched in 2013.[2] The first user version was launched in April 2020.

As of 2022, the main software in an Urbit installation is a "bare-bones" text-based message board.[8]


Urbit OS1 launched in April 2020. The Point described Urbit as a "bare-bones messaging server" and compared it to 1990s Usenet.[8]

Tlon, the company founded by Yarvin to build Urbit, has received seed funding from various investors since its inception, most notably Peter Thiel, whose Founders Fund, with venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz invested $1.1 million.[9] The Urbit community talks up its association with and funding from Thiel, who has also backed Urbit public events.[10][8]

The Point estimated Urbit's active user base as of September 2022 at "a few thousand."[8]

Technical details[edit]

The Urbit software stack consists of a set of programming languages ("Hoon," a high-level functional programming language, and "Nock," its low-level compiled language); a single-function operating system built on those languages ("Arvo"); a runtime implementation of that operating system ("Vere"), public key infrastructure, built on the Ethereum blockchain ("Azimuth"), for each Urbit instance to participate in a decentralized network; and the decentralized network itself, an encrypted, peer-to-peer protocol.[11][non-primary source needed]

The 128-bit Urbit identity space consists of 256 "galaxies", 65,280 "stars" (255 for each galaxy), and 4,294,901,760 "planets" (65,535 for each star) and comets under those.[10]

Yarvin called Urbit "functional programming from scratch" in 2010.[4] The Register described Urbit as having "reinvented some very Lisp-like technology."[12] Reason described Urbit as "complicated for even the most seasoned of functional programmers".[13]

Politics and controversy[edit]

In 2015, Yarvin's invitation to the Strange Loop programming conference was rescinded; the conference organizer said Yarvin's "mere inclusion and/or presence would overshadow the content of his talk."[14]

In 2016, after Yarvin was invited to the functional programming conference LambdaConf, five speakers and three sponsors withdrew their participation. Their stated reason was Yarvin's claims that white people have higher IQs than black people and his support of slavery.[15]

The source code and design sketches for the project alluded to some of Yarvin's views, including initially classifying users as "lords," "dukes," and "earls." Yarvin described the structure of the Urbit address space in 2010 as "digital feudalism."[8][16]

In a 2019 blog post, Yarvin said Urbit "is not designed as a political structure".[17] Josh Lehman, Executive Director of the Urbit Foundation, denied in 2022 that Urbit was "digital feudalism."[10]

Andrea O'Sullivan of libertarian magazine Reason described Urbit in 2016 as having a "libertarian vision".[13]

Yarvin departed Tlon in 2019. Lehman said that the "hardest part" of his work at Tlon had been to distance Urbit from Yarvin.[10]


  1. ^ "Urbit: A Solid-State Interpreter" (PDF). urbit.org. Archived (PDF) from the original on May 31, 2022. Retrieved October 22, 2022.
  2. ^ a b "Urbit.org Overview". urbit.org. Archived from the original on August 5, 2022. Retrieved September 13, 2022.
  3. ^ a b Wolfe, Alexandra (2017). Valley of the Gods: A Silicon Valley Story. Simon and Schuster. pp. 219–222. ISBN 9781476778945.
  4. ^ a b c Lecher, Colin (2017-02-21). "Alt-right darling Mencius Moldbug wanted to destroy democracy. Now he wants to sell you web services". The Verge. Retrieved 2019-06-14.
  5. ^ Pogue, James (2023-02-21). "Inside the New Right's Next Frontier: The American West". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 2023-07-20.
  6. ^ Alberico, Zach. "Tlon, Urbit, and Clawing Back Computing Freedom". Martian Computing.
  7. ^ Yarvin, Curtis (13 January 2010). "Urbit: functional programming from scratch". moronlab. Retrieved 8 February 2023.
  8. ^ a b c d e Duesterberg, James (2022-09-09). "Among the Reality Entrepreneurs". The Point Magazine. Retrieved 2023-07-20.
  9. ^ Pein, Corey (2018). "Poor Winners". Live Work Work Work Die: A Journey into the Savage Heart of Silicon Valley. New York: Metropolitan Books. ISBN 9781627794862.
  10. ^ a b c d Sutton, Ruby (2022-10-13). "My Weekend With the Martians". Astra. Retrieved 2023-07-20.
  11. ^ Yarvin, Curtis; Philip, Monk; Dyudin, Anton; Pasco, Raymond (May 26, 2016). "Urbit: A Solid-State Interpreter" (PDF). Tlon Corporation. Retrieved June 13, 2019.
  12. ^ Proven, Liam. "The weird world of non-C operating systems". The Register. Retrieved 2023-07-20.
  13. ^ a b Andrea O'Sullivan (2016-06-21). "Can Urbit Reboot Computing? –". Reason.com. Retrieved 2020-05-06.
  14. ^ Auerbach, David (2015-06-10). "When All It Takes to Be Booted From a Tech Conference Is Being a "Distraction," We Have a Problem". Slate Magazine. Retrieved 2019-06-14.
  15. ^ Townsend, Tess (2016-03-31). "Controversy Rages Over 'Pro-Slavery' Tech Speaker Curtis Yarvin". Inc.com. Retrieved 2019-06-14.
  16. ^ Yarvin, Curtis (2010-01-12). "Urbit namespace". GitHub. Archived from the original on 2021-09-05. Retrieved 2023-07-20.
  17. ^ "A Founder's Farewell". Urbit.org. January 14, 2019. Retrieved June 13, 2019.

External links[edit]