Is web3 really pointless? Molly White, Senior Software Engineer interested in web3, gives her analysis during Web Summit 2022


In a blog post published on November 4, Molly White, Senior Software Engineer interested in cryptocurrency and web3, discusses the issue of web3 and gives her opinion on the topic. Many imagine that the next generation of the Internet will be one where we reject mining and capitalization. I am one of them, writes Molly White.

For Molly White, the web as we know it today is a far cry from the idealism of its beginnings. Because the idealism of the early days of the Internet was compelling. It was a new technology that would allow everyone, regardless of their means, to access knowledge from around the world at their fingertips. It would ensure equal access to things like governance and participation in their communities. Borders would no longer matter. The truth would set people free.

Most people discover the web filtered by the algorithms of internet giants like Google and Facebook. When information is free, it is generally covered by advertisements. Internet companies exploit every bit of their users’ data to resell it or create amazingly detailed advertising profiles. Social media companies maximize engagement at the expense of everything else, even if that means radicalizing or inciting hatred towards their users.

But this “web3” that I started reading last year, between the “smile fanatics for the brave” ads and crypto fanatics shouting “go to the moon” and telling everyone to “have fun staying poor”? It’s not how I expected us to get there. But maybe I’m missing something, I thought to myself as I started trying to figure out what web3 was, Molly White wrote.

Remember that the term Web3 was coined in 2014 by Gavin Wood, an English computer scientist. At the time, he was just involved in the development of Ethereum, the blockchain that underpins ether, the second most popular cryptocurrency after bitcoin in terms of fame and market size. Wood thinks that the current design of the We2 is not a good solution, for several reasons. One of them is that it is very difficult to regulate new industries. Government is slow, it takes a while to catch up. Another is that regulators are imperfect, he said.

The problem with a term like “web3” is that you don’t necessarily know what it is until it happens. We do not know what will be the fundamental evolution that will bring a radical change to the web and that will deserve the name “web3”. In the meantime, we’re left to guess what web3 might be—unless we’re a venture capitalist or a startup, in which case we have to speak up in hopes of securing funding, even if we’re wrong.

According to some of its proponents and founders, Web3 is a radically updated Internet technology that will usher in a new era of human collaboration and creativity. It will be about taking the current Web2 and adding blockchains to it. Venture capital giant Andreessen Horowitz released a slide show extolling the merits of Web3 and claiming that the Internet as we know it is “flawed.” One graphic shows a web banner emblazoned with the logos of Facebook, Google and Apple, with a caption saying it was meant to “denounce the oligopoly of big tech companies”.

The Andreessen Horowitz oligopoly or its investments in the very large tech companies they have now condemned, including Facebook, Instagram and others, were purposely not mentioned. The slides pointed out that it is now platforms like the OpenSea NFT market that would help fix this horribly broken, unfair and monopolized network, not to mention that Andreessen Horowitz had led several funding rounds for OpenSea and that OpenSea, at the time, held a large share of the NFT market. But they had nothing to fear if OpenSea lost its monopoly, as Andreessen Horowitz also invested in other NFT platforms.

You see, if they can convince people that this is the future of the Internet, they will be rich…richer than they already are. It doesn’t matter if it works out or not, or if they steer the web in the wrong direction, or even if they hurt a lot of people, warns Molly White.

As part of my research, I abandoned the chatterbox founders, venture capitalists with their slides, and technical journalists in the mainstream media who regurgitate sales pitches without much critical analysis, for something a little more concrete. I started looking at individual projects and asking myself, “How is web3 doing? And what I’ve found is that web3 is doing great,” she adds.

For its founders, platforms and applications built on Web3 will not be owned by a central custodian, but by users, who will gain their share of ownership by contributing to the development and maintenance of these services. Web3 is a way to deal with the trauma of losing a great potential future for the Internet, says Niels Ten Oever of the University of Amsterdam. Many are convinced of the potential of this Web3.

According to Wood and his supporters, in Web3, developers typically do not build and deploy applications that run on a single server or store their data in a single database (usually hosted and managed by a single vendor ). cloud). Instead, Web3 applications run on either blockchains, decentralized networks of many servers, or a combination of the two that forms a “crypto” protocol. These applications are often called “dapps” (decentralized applications). This term is widely used in the Web3 space.

I looked for projects that really needed blockchain and reliably shifted the paradigm towards the stated ideals of web3. More often than not I found projects that drove in the complete opposite direction,” writes Molly White.

Web3 gaming is a decentralized gaming process in which the activities of a gaming ecosystem or platform, especially ownership of game assets and decision-making in all aspects of gaming, are delegated away from any central authority. Like the proponents of web3 games, they offer self-sovereignty, with players able to take full ownership of in-game assets and collectibles in the form of digital NFTs.

In traditional games, players own the game’s assets and collectibles, but they lose all their assets when they decide to switch gaming platforms. According to these proponents, Web3 games solve this problem by providing true and cross-platform interoperability. Players can own in-game resources on one platform and transfer them to the other platform.

Play-to-win games introduced a class of rentier managers who supervised low-wage workers in countries such as the Philippines, Vietnam, and Venezuela and received a share of their earnings in exchange for letting them play the game in the country of seen. Web3 bass games allow players to engage in gaming. People can play to win through cryptocurrencies and NFTs.

When you exploit people’s hopes for a better future and their fears about the effects of today’s web on themselves, their children, and their society, to convince them to literally buy into projects that may never exist? When it comes to circumventing seed investment regulations through token offerings and convincing ordinary people that their only way to financial stability is to bet their life savings on technology they don’t understand because “it’s the future!”. it is worth paying attention to.

Despite the fear surrounding web3, some people cling to the idea that cryptocurrencies and blockchains will democratize the web, solve wealth inequality, bank the homeless, and perhaps more. Web3 is a way to deal with the trauma of losing a great potential future for the Internet, says Niels Ten Oever of the University of Amsterdam. Many are convinced of the potential of this Web3.

For Ewan Kirk, technology entrepreneur and founder of Cantab Capital Partners, don’t believe the media hype about Web3 it won’t change the world. Web3 is just a new version of the blockchain technology we’ve been discussing for ten years.

For Ewan Kirk, public databases aren’t always a good thing. The network is really a public database with gloves. But if you want to store invoices, customer lists or financial data, having a public database is a very bad idea. You can, of course, have a private blockchain. But then what is the point? The tech entrepreneur asks. You can also have a private SQL database, he adds.

Neel Chauhan, Software engineers at Microsoft maintain that Web3 is indeed centralized, as was Web2. According to him, Web3 is just a worse version of Web2.

Molly White thinks the tech industry is full of people walking around with their fancy slides, spouting nonsense about their revolutionary and unworkable ideas that would be exhausted at the expense of a few startup founders and a few rich people. . To Molly White, when does an entire industry pop up and start selling the general public the idea that a better web is only possible thanks to technology that doesn’t seem up to the task?

Source: Video

And you?

What is your opinion on this topic?

What do you think of Web3? Do you think the project will succeed?

Do you think we are in the presence of an absurdity? Why ?

See also:

Web3 is centralized and inefficient, according to Neel Chauhan, Software Engineer at Microsoft, while for its founder, Gavin Wood, Web3 applications run on decentralized networks

Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee would like Web3 to be ignored, but its founders believe it is a technology that will usher in a new era of creativity.

Web3 projects have lost over $2 billion to hackers this year, according to CertiK

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