Linked: The Third Web
Tante has a very lengthy critique of Web3, and I won’t even attempt to address all of the points made in the link below, but I do want to address the one thing that immediately makes me skeptical, decentralization, because I agree with this, there’s no reason to think virtual worlds would be any less centralized than the current version of the Web:
“I do believe that some people came to Web3 for good reasons: They hate that the web is controlled by a few companies, basically monopolies. And they are right. But their new structure has no guards in place against that same dynamic happening again. The Web isn’t centralized because the technology is, our current web is also technologically capable to run decentralized. But the economics and social structures work for centralization. And they will with a Web3. “
Here’s the thing. I’ve been around the internet, and the Web, a long time. Long enough to remember when HTML was going to “democratize” publishing and when blogging was going to “democratize journalism” and when social media was going to be the thing that finally “democratized” the Web and gave everyone a voice.
None of that proved to be true. Each and every iteration of Internet technology eventually wound up with a couple of big winners, and some sort of monopoly.
What is it about Web3 that makes people think this will end any differently? Is it the fact that now everyone, and everything, is for sale, and available to speculate for a higher price? As Tante says below, that actually does sound a lot more like a pyramid scheme than democracy.
And yes, the environmental impact cannot be denied either. The amount of energy required to keep all this cryptocurrency-backed NFT speculation with blockchain contracts is monumental.
So yeah, I’m not going all-in on the idea that Web3 will be any different than previous versions. It’s just a new way for the techno-elite to make more money while appearing to “give” the rest of us this great new place where we can take part too…
Except it never really works that way. I don’t believe this will be any different.
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