Running the Third Web: What is Web 3.0 and Why Tech Titans Bicker About It

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One of the major tech topics that have dominated discussions and debates, at least in the second half of the year, is Web 3.0. This term is already polarizing enough that we see big names in the tech world sharing their opinions about it on social media, and then being blocked for it.

What’s the tiff on Twitter?

It all started with a tweet from ex-Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey saying, “You don’t own ‘web3’. VCs and their LPs do …”.

He raised the big question – who owns Web3.0?

Dorsey’s tweet had many Web 3.0 stans launching into their arguments, such as reporter Mike Davis who tweeted Dorsey that he was “dead wrong” about Web 3.0 and that opinions like these here, coming from people of Dorsey’s stature, are “dangerous” because it was “preemptively” stifling “the hopes and dreams of the many brave people who shape a truly independent Web.” 3

Things, of course, escalated from there as Dorsey made it clear that he was only criticizing the current situation.

Block (formerly Square) CEO also responded to Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s tweet: “Has anyone seen web3? I can’t find it.”

Dorsey mentioning a and z is a dig at a16z (Andreessen Horowitz), a venture capital firm founded by Marc Andreessen who has been one of the best-known investors for crypto firms and Web3 tech startups.

Since then, Dorsey has been blocked on Twitter by Andreessen, leading Dorsey to say:

So what’s Dorsey’s problem with web3 or web 3.0?

It seems Dorsey isn’t convinced that the truly decentralized concept that Web 3.0 is trying to propagate is actually happening, and has said that investments and venture capitalists have ruined him.

That doesn’t make Dorsey an unbeliever. He believes that any truly decentralized technology should be completely independent, as he told Chris Dixon, general partner at a16z, in an exchange on Twitter.

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“I believe in you and your ability to understand systems. It is essential that we focus our energy on truly secure and resilient technologies owned by the mass of people, not by individuals or institutions. Only this foundation will provide the apps you’re referring to, ”Dorsey said. tweeted.

What’s going on, who owns Web 3.0?

Dorsey argued that regular users are not the owners of Web 3.0 projects, whereas venture capitalists and investors are. He also does not see this dynamic changing and anticipates that there will be a centralized capital pool that will support crypto projects, and Web 3.0, which will keep good control over the situation, thanks to “venture incentives”. . Ergo, not really “decentralized”.

The main argument of the co-founder of Twitter is that all the big Web 3.0 companies are owned by venture capitalists, who will make all the money. As TechCrunch pointed out, this complaint may be true.

Venture capitalists are said to have invested more than $ 6 billion in crypto projects in the third quarter of 2021 alone. This gives some idea of ​​the scale of the crypto world which is “bought by traditional private market investors”, making thus the whole company more centralized than it is. to be made to be.

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Venture capitalists invest heavily in Web 3.0 because they think it will make them money, which in turn leads to “a lot of centralization”.

Thus, it seems that Web 3.0 advocates are fine with using external funds (from venture capitalists and investors) or centralized funds, to fuel new token-based projects for the decentralized future they imagine.

This dichotomy is what Dorsey summed up in her tweet.

Centralized, decentralized and Web 3.0

Before we consider whether Web 3.0 is really centralized or decentralized, we need to understand what it is.

In short, web3 or web 3.0 is the third generation of the Internet. What started out as a bunch of connected computers has evolved into the “World Wide Web” and in its third iteration it hopes to take advantage of every device in the world.

As a concept, web3 is nothing new. It is based on the concept of advanced computing and uses platforms based on blockchain, cryptocurrency, NFTs (non-fungible tokens) and other technologies.

Edge computing enables organizations to bring IT as close as possible to the user’s device or other endpoint. This in turn enables new use cases, like self-driving cars that have to make split-second decisions about road traffic conditions.

Conceptually, it embeds “decentralization” at its core and is in many ways the opposite of Web 2.0, which has data and content centralized through servers and data centers – collectively referred to as the cloud.

A small group of companies, called ‘Big Tech’ (Googles, Facebooks, Twitters, Microsofts, etc.) have practically monopolized this Internet and its various sectors.

The term Web 3.0 was coined in 2014 by Gavin Wood, co-founder of Ethereum, although John Markoff of the New York Times is also credited with coining the term in 2006 at times.

Web 1.0 covers a period roughly between 1991 and 2004, when Internet users were mostly consumers and not content creators. The second phase – Web 2.0 – began in 2004 when users started creating and uploading content online and began to treat the web as a “platform” for their content. We’re still on Web 2.0, and Web 3.0 is just a concept right now.

This concept revolves around decentralization with the incorporation of blockchain technologies into the process, such as cryptocurrencies and NFTs.

There are concepts like DAO (Decentralized Autonomous Organizations) and DeFi (Decentralized Finance) which are also part of the larger idea of ​​Web 3.0.

It hands control of key decisions to algorithms instead of having boardrooms and power plants at the end of key decisions about how the Internet works.

Is Web 3.0 a Good Thing?

Conceptually, Web 3.0 seems like a good idea, but it is not without its problems. Many have called Web 3.0 a solution to big tech supremacy, improving privacy, data security, and simplifying scalability.

And there are already plenty of takers. A New York Times report says investors have already bet $ 27 billion on Web 3.0 to make it “the future of the Internet.”

Since most things on Web 3.0 will be on blockchains, this is surely more secure. All trading will be done in crypto, which will make the process largely tamper-proof and transparent, at least partially.

NFTs will have a role to play with user ownership in this universe where everything is supposed to work in a metaverse.

Some companies like Reddit and Discord have already explored integrating Web 3.0 technology into their platforms. Discord withdrew after facing strong user feedback.

One of the main criticisms of Web 3.0 is that decentralization will make the Internet difficult to regulate. Which, in turn, will make it harder to prevent cybercrime, hate speech, online harassment, the spread of child abuse images and everything that plagues cyberspace today.

On the flip side, the idea of ​​a decentralized web represents the ‘cyber-libertarian’ views and hopes of the past that the internet can empower ordinary people by breaking down existing power structures. ”Many see it as the loop of the Internet. Web.

Critics also called Web 3.0 part of the cryptocurrency bubble, an extension of blockchain-based trends that are “overrated” and “harmful.” Others have raised concerns about the environmental impact of cryptocurrencies and NFTs.

We have to wait and see what happens when we finally get to the other side. But Web 3.0 is coming, that’s for sure. Facebook’s rebranding to Meta and Microsoft’s Satya Nadella focus on the metaverse are big indicators of this.

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