No one likes middlemen.  So often, it seems they just add an unnecessary burden to transactions.  So why are they necessary?

I was thinking about network topology the other day.  When there are N people on one side (say buyers) and M people on the other side (say sellers), then of course there are N*M possible ways for them to talk with each other. But stick a middleman in there, and have buyers and sellers talk only to this middleman, and you’ve reduced the maximum number of communication channels to N+M.

How much is this reduction in complexity worth?  Probably just about as much as the middleman will be able to charge.  Also, add a few redundant nodes (competitors) for fail-over and extra bandwidth, and you’ve got yourself a nice little self-organized network architecture there.

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