Jan 12– Is Web3 is more than “Silicon Valley’s latest identity crisis,” as NBC news describes it? This article delves into the definition of Web3, why it matters, what’s ahead, all with an eye towards helping you shape your perspectives on the subject.
Definition of Web3
Web3 is intended as a new configuration for the world wide web. The contention goes that Web 1.0 appeared in the ‘90s. Web 2.0 popped up a decade as a series of high-profile companies began to dominate the internet space. Web 3.0 or Web3 is seen as a mechanism that will level the playing field; redistributing internet ownership and power back into the hands of those who are not associated with BigTech.
Why it matters (or not)
There’s no getting around the fact that a series of tech CEOs currently wield a tremendous amount of power. For example, Twitter’s former CEO Jack Dorsey could ban or choose not to ban the sitting US President from his platform. But beyond the externally visible and unexpected power dynamics at play, Silicon Valley’s poster-child companies absorb extensive quantities data and bathe in large revenue streams.
“It’s a situation that no one –except maybe stockholders- is really happy about and it wasn’t supposed to be this way,” reports NBC.
The idea of Web3 emerged in 2014, and was introduced by cryptocurrency Etherium co-founder Gavin Wood. Like Bitcoin and Etherium, Web3 is built on blockchain.* Digital currencies are among the most concrete examples of fully-online, no-one-in-charge blockchain-based technologies.
But skeptics might wonder ‘if Etherium and Web3 were introduced by the same person, is there perhaps a conflict of interest?’ Could widespread use of Web3 increase the value of a cryptocurrency, say Etherium, ultimately yielding direct profits and an elevated profile for one of its chief developers?
Who’s saying what
Here’s what Silicon Valley scions have to say about Web3:
- Says Paypal founder, Tesla founder and world’s wealthiest individual, Elon Musk, “Seems more marketing buzzword than reality right now.”
- Says venture capitalist firm Andreessen Horowitz, “Crypto is not only the future of finance, but, as with the internet in the early days, is poised to transform all aspects of our lives,” strongly suggesting that Web3 could introduce new value.
- Says Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, it will be owned by the investor class and won’t represent a break from the consolidation of wealth and power in the hands of a few. “It will never escape their incentives. It’s ultimately a centralized entity with a different label.”
After Dorsey Tweeted this remark, Mark Andreesen, of VC firm Andreesen Horowitz, blocked the Twitter founder on Twitter, leading to a miniature melodrama in the tech world.
Leaving BigTech for Web3
Top engineers from some of the world’s most renowned companies are jumping ship and leaving their Web2 companies in order to work on Web3 technologies. While what’s happening might not constitute a brain drain, some engineers perceive Web3 as an exciting opportunity, with results due to follow soon.
The tech sector remains divided over the purpose and potential of Web3. See CyberTalk.org’s groundbreaking blockchain coverage here. Lastly, please join us at the premiere cyber security event of the year, CPX 360 2022. Register now.
*Blockchain: A digital leger technology that underpins cryptocurrencies and that has been recognized for its untapped digital potential.