Fighting Myopia, Shaping the Future
It’s too slow! You can’t type with only your thumbs! What’s the point of having a GPS in your pocket! Too complicated!
Can you guess what each of these were popular beliefs for?
Personal Computers, the Blackberry, iPhones, the Internet. And now look where we are. The underlying theme amongst all these misgivings were that they failed to extrapolate into the future; The technology was too early, and they assumed it would remain so. Obviously, this is not true. Throughout recent history, we have seen hype cycles, failures, paradigm shifts… constant evolution.
This observation is key in understanding where we are with respect to our previous discussions on the Web1 to Web3 lineage. As a quick recap, Web1, Web2, and Web3 are groups of technologies that represent the three distinct generations of the internet. While Web1 was mainly attended to by a niche audience — the “geeks” — Web2 onboarded the mainstream online with the rise of entities like Facebook and Google. While much good has come from these giants, nobody can deny the fact that something is not right.
This is so for a very simple reason, best encapsulated by Chris Dixon. Early in their lifecycle, centralized platforms cooperate with its stakeholders (users, creators, developers). However, as the platform grows, this relationship turns from cooperation to competition. Resulting in the cacophony of privacy breaches, disinformation, censorship, algorithmic biases, and other monopolistic practices that have come to define the web today.
Enter Web3. Web3 (Digital Assets, DeFi, DAOs, etc.) provides us with an opportunity to redesign the economic and social fabrics that govern how we interact with one another. It is no doubt early days, but it is the only shot we have at solving the most systematic defects that arose from prior waves of disruptive technology.
Nonetheless, technology is a tool. It is not good or bad. It is what we make it. So, as a society we must decide what our most fundamental goals are. Only then can Web3 technologies be harnessed to realize this vision. Of course, this is no task for any one individual, but a fair starting point for what we want this new internet paradigm to be includes (but is not limited to): Permisionless yet private; Sustainable, environmentally and economically; Accountable; Reliably trustless; Democratic in value accrual; Scalable; Well governed; Secure.
This may sound utopian. But for something to exist in reality, it must first exist in theory. And theoretically, all that I just mentioned is possible. In the grand scheme of things, we are still early. But now is the time to act. If Web2 has taught us anything, it’s that open discourse is a requisite for policymakers and other stakeholders to guide the technology in becoming what society needs it to be.
I see the destination to where Web3 can take us, now it is up to each one of us to ensure that it gets us there.