Blockchain, the Metaverse, and Web3—the future now
Three buzzwords are striking the news every day lately: blockchain, the Metaverse, and Web3. These are the future, now.
Blockchain, the Metaverse, and Web3
In 2021, blockchain, the Metaverse, and Web3 hit mainstream media. We had seen some news here and there for a while already. But, as the pandemic struck and everyone was homebound, the digital era came crashing down on us.
There is a lot of fanaticism and healthy skepticism around these technologies or technology trends. All of them were born around 2008 with the latest global capitalist crisis. Logically, there are both hopes and fears along with these buzzwords.
I know that this subject is not free of controversy. I’ll try to remain neutral while presenting the pros and cons. In any case, I recommend you study this topic more deeply on your own. You'll have most of my resources down at the bottom of this article, so be sure to check them out.
Finally, always take everything on these topics with a grain of salt. When talking about money and new technologies, most people are incentivized by their interests. Most insiders have a horse in the race, so check that out before betting for any of them.
Blockchain and Web3
Of course, Johnny Harris has one of the best introductions to crypto created in 2021. While trying to keep a neutral position, Harris shows both the good and bad sides of cryptocurrency and Web 3.0. On the other hand, you can check Wired’s YouTube video explaining blockchain technology in 5 levels of difficulty.
I’m sure you will find much better explanations for the blockchain than what I can type here. But just to be on the same page, let’s use a standard definition. A blockchain is a growing list of records, like ledgers, called blocks. These blocks are linked together using cryptography and cannot be rebased.
Thanks to their inner workings, blockchains are functional for peer-to-peer networks and as a publicly distributed ledger. The first version was published in 2008 by Satoshi Nakamoto (an alias) and was the basis for Bitcoin. Be sure to check out the whitepaper where it’s all explained.
A decade later, blockchain is in the center of our society’s Overton window hitting the news most days. Along with the rise in popularity, its price has augmented meteorically. Accompanying this trend, the amount of hoaxes, Ponzi schemes, hacks, and plain robberies has increased accordingly.
What does this have to do with Web 3.0? Well, everything. Web3 or Web 3.0 is the idea of a new iteration of the World Wide Web based on blockchain technology.
Web 1.0 to 2.0 to 3.0
Web 1.0 refers to a fully HTML-based web where most users were on a read-only stage approximately from 1991 to 2004. In this era, pages were static. Some people were posting, but mostly tech people and companies had that luxury. In any case, Web 1.0 worked kind of like a digital encyclopedia mixed with a yellow pages style. But everything changed with Web 2.0.
Web 2.0, on the other hand, introduced the idea of the web as a platform and fostered user-created content. You probably directly associate the internet with this stage, as it has already been around longer than Web 1.0. With it, blogs, wikis, social media, and many other services exploded from 2004 to the current day.
Web 3.0 is a relatively new concept that still needs a few iterations. Ideally, Web 3.0 would work as a decentralized internet where users are free of the giant corporations that run the digital world today: Google, Amazon, Meta, and so on.
The thing is, the term Web3 was coined by Gavin Wood, co-founder of Polkadot and Ethereum. Talk about conflict of interests. He presents a decentralized online ecosystem based on blockchain technology, which sounds all nice and dandy, but many have already put a cry in the sky.
Elon Musk recently called bs on Web3 in his known provocateur style on Twitter. In any case, SpaceX founder was a supporter of bitcoin technology and then dogecoin, the meme cryptocurrency.
On a more serious note, Stephen Diehl, a recognized software engineer, also called bs on Web3. I’ll leave a link to his article below as it is worth a read, but he singles out three main technical issues:
- The Computing Problem
- The Bandwidth Problem
- The Storage Problem
Diehl goes so far as to call Web3 paladins a bunch of charlatans and snake oil salesmen. I told you this topic was controversial.
If blockchain and Web3 were not conflictive enough on their own terms, corporations are now trying to take advantage of it. Let’s review their latest efforts with Meta’s metaverse.
Meta, previously Facebook, wants to be remembered as the creator of the Metaverse. If you are somewhat familiar with sci-fi or simply don’t live under a doormat, you’ll know that this is obviously not true.
The idea behind the Metaverse is simple and has been around for ages. Its main objective is to create a second reality (assuming the one we live in is the first one) where people can play, work, or plainly live through their devices. You might already be familiar with The Matrix, which conveniently got a relaunch recently.
Zuckerberg announced last year a really optimistic business plan and investment timeline for putting themselves on the leading edge of augmented and virtual reality. In any case, the Meta corporation has strong competitors, being the major ones Apple and Microsoft.
Apple because of the percentage of earnings they get from the app store. Microsoft because of how Satya Nadella prepared the computer giant to become a cloud-based service provider rather than tying it up to specific hardware.
In any case, many stay skeptical of the Metaverse. Even after romanticizing it with books like Ready Player One, people like Elon Musk (who also called bs on Web3) don’t feel comfortable putting tv on your nose. On the other hand, Musk strives to hook you up with Neuralink, so remember, everyone has a horse in this race.
The creator economy
In her video essay Power to the creator?, Alice Chapelle presents the main issues associated with the creator economy. This new way of thinking about the economy was available thanks to technical developments such as the Web 2.0 we mentioned earlier, but how does the game change with blockchain technology and Web 3.0?
These new technologies allow for new digital scarcity techniques like NFTs that are a whole topic on their own. The tug-of-war between governments and tech corporations to control this technology has many creators and their revenues in the middle.
Many point out that we didn’t need cryptography and blockchain technology for a decentralized internet. Think of pages as Wikipedia who managed perfectly to grow free from government and corporate control.
Finally, many criticize the carbon footprint of blockchain technology. Climate change advances and takes a toll on human lives while the Bitcoin network spends the same energy as Argentina per hour. Yes, the whole country. With this information in mind, we have to carefully examine these new technologies and decide if they are making the world better for every one of us.
At Awkbit, we know we can’t fall behind on technology and innovation. But we also know when to step back and analyze a subject with dedicated critical thinking. We haven’t made up our minds about blockchain, Web3, and the Metaverse. As with most innovations, these will endure in one way or another, let’s hope it’s for the best of our planet and our people.
Have you made up your mind about these trends? Do you need to learn more about them?
Sources & further reading
- Elon Musk Reveals His Thoughts on the METAVERSE
- Everything Facebook revealed about the Metaverse in 11 minutes
- Web3 is Bullshit
- How Crypto will Change the World (or Not)
- Blockchain Expert Explains One Concept in 5 Levels of Difficulty | WIRED
- What is Web 3.0? (Explained with Animations)
- Why Some See Web 3.0 as the Future of the Internet | WSJ
- Is Web3 all Hype? Top 10 Web 3.0 Questions & Answers
- Power to the creator?