The internet has changed the ways that we communicate and how we live. The internet itself is fast-paced and constantly evolving. A handful of big tech companies exert centralized and outsized influence via closed platforms like Google and Facebook. One possible answer to the dominance of a few business entities in today’s internet is to use another new technology, the blockchain to bypass the monopolies of today’s information-based society. We would like to look at the benefits and drawbacks of web3, the mixture of internet and blockchain.
What Is Web3?
At the moment web3 is an idea much like the Metaverse. The term was coined by a guy named Gavin Wood who says that the world needs decentralized technologies (read blockchain) in order to protect liberal democracy. What is emerging is a mix of interest from venture capitalists, cryptocurrency investors, and various lobbyists. The pitch for web3 goes like this. The internet is too centralized and needs to use the blockchain to free it from the stranglehold of Amazon, Google, and Facebook.
Apps and Platforms without Owners
The web3 concept is that by using blockchain technology the system will cut out central gatekeepers. Users will gain an ownership stake through their services in developing and maintaining the services that web3 offers. The basic rationale for web3 is that the internet has become a vehicle for information that is not trustworthy because people you don’t know and who do not have your interests at heart can manipulate and lie to you and even steal your personal information. Ideally, by running the system through blockchain, the concept goes, you can dilute or even get rid of that problem. A worrisome part of this is that you may be compelled to go all-in on cryptocurrencies in order to use this next iteration of the internet.
Follow the Money
So far what we have is a good idea for making the internet useful, fair, and just. But, like many things in life, it needs funding to become a reality in our lives. That, it seems to us, is where cryptocurrencies come into the picture. Crypto (bitcoin) also emerged as a democratic ideal for sending money over the internet free from external controls. Bitcoin and many other cryptocurrencies have become a speculative investment based on the beliefs that traditional currencies will fail, no one will see what you are doing with your money, and you won’t get taxed on any of your profits. A worrisome aspect of cryptocurrencies is that they can be used to launder money used for terrorism or obtained by illegal means. As the likelihood of cryptocurrency regulation and central bank digital currencies like a digital US dollar increase it is not surprising that the movers and shakers in the cryptocurrency world are looking for another way to make money with their crypto assets. From our point of view one of the drawbacks of web3 could be that you will simply be replacing Facebook and Google with anonymous crypto barons when it comes to stealing your personal information, manipulating your information, and charging you for “services” that you don’t really want or need. One of the valid arguments about today’s internet is that government regulators are too slow to step in when there are problems. We don’t see how hiding information within the blockchain will help with that problem.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Web3 – Slideshare Version