what's the issue?

Web3 is allegedly the future of the web. It involves the blockchain and user-facing SHA hashes that will confuse your grandma. She will have only you to call when she loses the keypair to her wallet. You will have no consolation for her besides, "That's just the way it works — and it's the future, grandma."

what it does will do

Web3 will reportedly liberate us to focus on our health. It is the future of the labor movement, which can only now be realized with blockchain. It's the next evolution of the entire internet I guess, despite the fact that its tech has never been widely used for porn. The Wolf of Wall Street guy is already on it, today.

It makes the younger generation weep with its carbon emissions, as it reintroduces scarcity to our world of digital abundance. It will make SaaS perks tradeable assets for some reason. Skeptics may think it's a fad, but some very legit startups are taking VC money for it, and it'll totally live up to the hype one day.

what it does not do

Seriously, and importantly, Web3 isn't actually an evolution of the original Web, as Web 2.0 was.

Whereas the original Web was static websites like this one, and Web 2.0 was interactive sites like blogs and Wikipedia, Web3 aims to replace the whole "open exchange of knowledge" hooey with the thrilling world of finance.

Siloed databases are replaced with a global state machine for no apparent reason. Big Tech apps are replaced by "decentralized" apps on a ledger you can't delete stuff from. Most of that decentralized ledger is just URLs to centralized resources, and dubbed "NFTs". Much is over-engineered and commensurately hyped. Your grandma still can't use it.

what it comes down to

Everything is money in Web3. Logging in to a decentralized Web3 app ("DApp") requires a "wallet." Participation in organizations ("DAOs") needs money in order to vote. Thankfully artists these days are flush with cash, because selling your work ("minting an NFT") first charges you a hefty "gas" fee (though cheaper options exist). Whereas Web 2.0 enables wide, basically zero-cost access, Web3 largely requires money just to participate.

Web 2.0 might've largely started from people doing things for the love, but Web3 will thoroughly and extrinsically motivate you make money at every turn, whether blogging or socializing. Finance is the new substrate of the entire web — and supposedly that's good for anyone besides early adopters and venture capitalists.


Web 2.0 Web3
Abundance Scarcity
Socialization Financialization
Useful already Will be, some day
Problem to solve: I can't comment on your Sailor Moon fan page Big Tech & interactive webpages have too much power
Publish, edit, and delete things Publish things you can never delete
Community moderation Abuse is kept as a permanent record you can never delete
Platforms can protect copyright holders Infringement is kept as a permanent record you can never delete
Platforms can remove privacy-violating content Your home address is kept as a permanent record you can never delete
Does lots of other things Just financial speculation
Call your bank if you get hacked or lose your password Complain on Twitter if you get hacked or lose your keys
Includes a wide swatch of centralized services, plus apps on decentralized protocols like SMTP (email) Centralized services backed by decentralized data that points to centralized data
Based on real-life ideas of ownership, whether data or intellectual property Ownership means whatever the code and marketing copy says it means
Faces some regulation around speech, copyright and privacy Deregulated enough for you to buy this hot new token you won't be able to sell
Your mom uses it to see pictures of her grandkids, send emails, comment on news articles, bank online, and keep in touch with her friends Your tech friends tweet about how it will be useful eventually


further reading


articles from outside the bubble

hype men


Anything I've missed? Level-headed articles I should add? Let me know by emailing: comments @ this domain.

? wallets have joined the future of the web.