The Web3 Blip
And why we aren't ready for it
Over the last 14 months, Web3 has become a buzzword. It’s all over Twitter, business news, and tech posts. Yet, despite how much it’s talked about, I find a frighteningly small amount of people who understand it or know what it is.
Because of that, I believe many people don’t understand the consequences of VCs or organizations with monopolies in data, fashion, and technology coming into this sector. But what is missing? How will we know when we’re ready for it?
If you struggle to understand what Web3 is, I recommend reading “What is Web3?” before reading this.
The Blip - Like a reverse of Thanos’ snap
Ok, let’s get down to the meat of this article and chat about why we may need to be more cautious on the general approach to Web3.
We can see an example of the blip taking its form here in this Google Trends report. The most exciting thing, which validates my hypothesis, is that there is far more interest in “NFT” than “Web3”. Many people are not taking the time to educate themselves and truly understand what NFTs mean, how value is assigned to cryptocurrency, “wut is blockchain,” etc. It’s currently full of money-grabs and shills backed by paper hands.
So once again, if you would like to get a tl;dr of Web3, go bookmark or check out “What is Web3?”
This lack of education mixed with corporations who prefer to play the global economy and startups in their favor rather than work with it is exactly what is holding back the Web3 revolution.
Big Tech vs. Lil Tech
It all comes down to ownership. Not only is it the ownership of the blockchain, but also, it is the ownership of IP. As long as big tech monopolies refuse to collaborate with small tech startups, we will not see Web3 as intended.
It’s essential to understand one of the critical benefits of Web3, as long as it is implemented correctly, is that it is open-source. For it to thrive, it requires collaboration. It requires interoperability.
Have you ever noticed that monopolies are happy to make things easier on each other to avoid competition, but they don’t make things easier for smaller companies that tend to be competitive?
I think the most surface-level example would be Epic Games. They didn’t want to cave into the “Apple tax,” so Epic ended up creating their app store and removed all of their games from Apple’s app store.
Apple doesn’t allow downloading an app anywhere outside of their app store “for security.” Still, they allow Meta, Amazon, and Google to have enough reign in the background of your phone to have full access to your search history and private information. So there’s a double standard. And really, what it comes down to is that it tends to stifle competition. Zuck himself said he would rather buy a company than compete with it.1 That’s what he did with Instagram, and Instagram hasn’t innovated at all really since introducing their marketplace powered by Facebook pixels that are sprinkled around the internet.
Getting meta with Meta
A drastic change of course for a company this scale is extremely rare, and to be honest, Meta’s leap into Web3 scares me because their morals are already questionable as it is.
Meta’s monopoly is not on social media. It’s on our data. Facebook is not their product. Facebook is their platform to showcase the product—us. So when I saw that they hired 15,000 people in Europe to move fast at a large scale, I assumed that they were not changing their business model. Instead, I believe they are trying to get ahead of the market and see how they can carry Web2 flaws that they thrive on into their Web3 platforms.
I recently had a conversation with someone about this, which sparked this post. People are looking to Web3 to fix all the problems of Web2, but the issues will carry over as long as things stay the way they are. Web3 is so new, and what it looks like in five years will be vastly different from how it looks today.
In my opinion, we are currently in a Web3 blip, but there will be a middle stage before we see a Web3 surge. That stage is interoperability in Web2: open source technology working synergetically to change the world. If we don’t ensure that interoperability is a fundamental part of the transition into Web3, it can become more of a monster than Web2 ever was.
Personally, I believe that’s where our focus should be right now. That isn’t to say that we should stop innovating in Web3, investing in crypto, creating and buying NFTs, or building new DeFi tools. Still, I believe that for Web3 to surge like it can and needs to, we must see this middle stage, this missing link, of interoperability. This is necessary for Web3 if we want it to be truly decentralized and open-source.
Imagine the unique possibilities of what can be created when monopolies help a startup succeed without buying them or controlling their trajectory.
Have thoughts on this topic?
Levi.txt is a space for growth—mine and hopefully yours too! So I encourage you to add to the conversation by sharing your perspective and why it differs, or what you learned and how it impacted you.
Feel free to DM me or tag me in a discussion at @levidjones.