Web3 seems to be all the rage these days—here’s an article to catch you up to speed if you’re already lost.
While it is a novel concept, many companies are using blockchain technology to develop solutions that frankly, we don’t need. And even worse, they’re creating more problems than they are solving. Web3 has barely gotten past the conceptual stage, and already, companies are touting this next iteration of the internet as “the next big thing.”
As we know, blockchain technology can be used to track the movement of everything from finances, assets, and even where your food comes from. But where does it cross the line from useful to farcical?
I was in a meeting a few months ago, and we were talking about Web3 solutions. Someone chimed in, “You could put your marriage certificate on the blockchain. Or, maybe even divorce papers!”
Are a ring on my finger and the love in my heart not enough? Do you need a permanent ledger stored on the blockchain stating that we are married?
It gets worse.
Many platforms claim that you can use non-fungible tokens—or NFTs for short—as profile pictures but then require you to purchase the paid version of the app in order to do so.
When people say, “Have you heard of Web3?” they often follow this by explaining how it will “decentralize” the internet, and while we acknowledge that’s true, it also creates several problems. It will allow anyone, anywhere, to create a Ponzi scheme or a rug pull using cryptocurrencies, NFTs, and the blockchain, and market it on social media from the comfort and “anonymity” of their parent’s basement.
Web3 also allows the market to create a financial token game for every celebrity, every meme, every piece of art, and every political movement, with each competing in a war of hyperfinancialization. We’ve already seen this with “Charlie Bit My Finger” being removed from YouTube after it was sold as an NFT, John Legend cashing in on Web3 with his latest NFT project “OurSong,” and the marketing gurus over at NBA TopShot making money by selling NFTs of players while not directly sharing the profits with them. You can read about TopShot’s financial system here; it’s not great.
In addition to all the noise around Web3, Web3 projects have lost more than USD 2 billion to hacks this year. Are these just teething problems, as with any new tech? Or is this a sign of what’s to come, just on a greater scale?
Web3 certainly has the potential to help millions of people around the world, or at least make their lives a little easier, but so far, there’s been a lot of talking and not so much walking.