Who lives under a pineapple, in the sea? It’s you if you have not heard of the latest buzz word of the tech industry, named ‘web3.0’. It is the internet powered by Blockchains and cryptocurrency that enables its users to govern, maintain and run the network. Thus, overthrowing the dominance of big tech.
The idea here is rather simple. You give up your personal data in lieu of entertainment and utility on platforms like Instagram, Twitter etc. These companies then use this data to show you relevant advertisements, tweak your opinions and change your behaviour. What do you get? Well, nothing. Web3.0 plans to change it by changing the value creation model.
Here’s how value is impacted in a web2.0 and web3.0 system.
While theoretically it looks like a transformational idea that would eventually democratize wealth in an ecosystem, there are few hurdles that need to be jumped before we go full web3.0. And that is what I intend to talk about today.
A. Technical Vs Political:
Some people believe that web3.0 is trying to solve a political problem using technology. They would argue that technology was never a hindrance in creating a democratic value chain. It is rather the intention of VCs and big tech who control this industry.
Let’s dive in deeper. Web3 projects ensure equal distribution using an economy based around tokens and NFTs. Think of it like this. You post a video on Instagram that goes viral. You earn a lot of social currency from it (likes/comments). However, the owner of the video is Instagram. You cannot directly monetize that video.
However, NFTs on Blockchain give you the provable ownership rights to that video. You could now raise money (in the form of tokens) by selling the rights to that video. People could tip your good work using those tokens too.
Now the question arises is if you could do this without Blockchain? Of course Blockchains help in managing the ownership rights and tokens way more efficiently than any other existing technology. But, big tech could have done it without Blockchain as well right?
So, web3 seems to be a redundant technology which is headed in the wrong direction.
B. Who Pays?
Agreed that companies are monetizing our data and making billions out of it. But in lieu of that, we are also getting free access to their platforms. You upload tons of photos on Instagram, lengthy videos on YouTube etc. Has someone ever asked for money to store that data on your behalf?
Imagine paying $0.5 each time you upload an HD photo on Instagram OR $10 per video uploaded on YT.
While decentralization seems to be a good idea, it surely comes with a cost. And at this point, it is very unclear how many of us are willing to pay up for safeguarding our data and privacy.
Think of it from your own perspective. Are you willing to pay up? Would you rather safeguard your privacy or pay for sharing a moment with your friends and family? Tricky eh?
Self censorship sounds like a raunchy idea. But we are not sure how that is going to pan out in the woke, sensitive world that we live in. Recently, platforms like FB/Twitter banned Donald Trump as they considered him to be a threat to national peace. What happens when nobody owns the network? Do we let such incidents happen?
Okay, so one obvious view point is that we let community decide if someone should be a part of the platform or not. But I feel that our collective intelligence might yield some good results but then it has to be collective.
Look at social media right now, gen ‘Z’ are absolutely crushing it. But at the same time there are some dumb nuts that would use IG filters for:
- Checking if their teeth are yellow
- Checking if their skin needs sunscreen
- Checking if their face is symmetrical
If the population skew on this so called ‘web 3’ platform is going to be the same, we may have doomsday closer than we thought.
D. We have come a complete circle:
A little context of the history of the internet shows that it was always supposed to be a decentralized, peer to peer network. All protocols that evolved in the late 90s followed that. But, we hit a roadblock when it came to scalability. That is why some companies rose to the occasion, set up a massive infrastructure and eventually took the internet to the average household.
Today, we’re standing at the same point yet again. This time, we want to take back control of our data and go back to the old regime. Are Blockchains well equipped to handle this? Only time will tell.
So Where are We?
I think given the use cases that have evolved so far, we have got a long way to go. There are many variables that need to be solved for. However, one thing is for sure. We are building web2.5 at least. What I am trying to say is that we are somewhere in the middle.
Until we cross this long bridge, all we can do is root for the decentralized world. Because no matter the current situation, the vision seems pretty fair to me.
What is your evaluation of the current situation?
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Until next time..
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