Part 4 – The Web3 Wild West
The world of web3 is exciting, fast paced and constantly expanding; painted in a different light this can also be abstract, undefined, fluent, and most of all, infantile. Doubtless there are countless possibilities, but the new internet is still far from perfect. In this article we will address some of the arguments and objections against web3, provide insight into the issues, and discuss what companies are doing to address the concerns and improve the new internet.
Moderation (or lack thereof)
One of the main factors attracting people to web3 is also, in the eyes of many, its greatest, and possibly most dangerous drawback. No moderation. Content posted using Blockchain technology cannot be deleted, moved or altered in any way; and even if it could there is no governing body – no “watchdog” – to do so.
The benefit of this is free speech. It gives a person/group/company/political party the power to say whatever they want without fearing moderation or loss of privilege. In a time where the flow of information is controlled by corporations, governments and internet intermediaries, this is a paramount to an individual’s right to free speech and right to open information.
Unfortunately, not all speech should be free. A lack of regulations and oversight means that everything, regardless of opinion, truth or legality, can be uploaded onto web3 permanently. The concern in this case – and it is warranted – is that people will use this newly given freedom for spreading hate speech, encouraging violence, and posting abhorrent material.
If the current internet has taught us anything, it is that bad people will use whatever medium is available to post bad things. There is no downplaying this reality, but the sad truth of the matter is that even with ICANN overseeing the current internet, and Corporations controlling most of the data, these things still happen. Regulations, laws, controls cannot and will not stop a motivated criminal. It is not exactly an optimistic counterpoint, but it is a realistic one.
People use the Moderation argument, citing the above points alongside other, more terrible, possibilities, without appreciating the hypocrisy of such conjecture. The world is not a perfect place, and if there is freedom there will be people who take advantage of it.
The one argument in favor of Blockchain is that every transaction – every move made – is traceable and immutable. Basically, it is nigh impossible for people to cover their trail. The new internet does provide more anonymity, but as a result it is easier to trace content back to its source.
Some people will spread hate, attempt to incite violence, and continue to be nothing short of terrible. Will it be worse than what is already happening? Only time will tell.
One of the many goals of modern technology is to make things smaller, sleeker, easier to use – in a word, efficient. Generally, a piece of tech starts bulky and with increased demand and improved technology becomes smaller and more efficient over time. In the case of web3 and Blockchain technology, we are still in the somewhat “clunky” stages of the streamlining process.
It is not extremely efficient. Having a global network of computers – which makes decentralization possible – takes more processing power, time, money and effort than the centralized alternative. Cryptomining (the act of verifying transactions through a series of elaborate algorithms in exchange for cryptocurrency) for example uses as much energy as some countries.
The energy demands, and environmental impact, are certainly cause for concern. If, however, we compared the first white, brick-shaped, black-antenna cellular phone (apologies to the younger readers who have never seen let alone used one), to our current Androids/iPhones, well, we wouldn’t even recognize it as the same technology.
Blockchain in its current state, is closer to the brick-phone than the iPhone, which isn’t the most flattering comparison but also stands to show how much promise this technology has. Ethereum, for example, is committing massive resources to streamline their processing power. Their end goal is to make Blockchain processing so efficient that the average cellphone can be used as a node.
It might be a few years away, but the practical visionaries see web3 not just spread out across a few million computers, but utilizing every cellphone, laptop, automated vehicle, smart fridge, and so on, to create a fully efficient, truly decentralized, internet.
Meaningful Adoption and Scalability
One of the biggest questions asked about the new internet is, “Given the extra steps to entry (i.e. having to download a new browser and learn new software) what will prompt the average user to switch from the current web to web3?”. Or, simply, “Will the masses make the move?”
In previous articles we have addressed the increased demand for free information pushing people towards web3; but, admittedly even governmental/corporate tyranny of information is not enough to encourage many people. Freedom might fail, but money shall always reign supreme.
The original migration of people to blockchain can be accounted for by cryptocurrency, specifically Bitcoin. As the technology developed more people hopped aboard the cryptocurrency train causing for the massive appreciation seen across many of the currencies. This wave of investors eventually led to the development of a Decentralized Financial System (DeFi) which attracted even more people to web3, and given the lack of predictability in Centralized Finance, will continue to draw more and more people in the same way a successful company draws investors.
Recently, the gargantuan popularity of NFT’s has seen an unprecedented number of people using web3 – specifically, Ethereum. Needless to say, people are willing to overcome barriers for the possibility of monetary gain, and there will be no shortage of opportunities on the new web. The technology will develop, becoming more efficient and user friendly, and before long will have a user-face as easy to manage as what we know now. Once people have their Money, Social, News, Gaming, etc. all in one place, there will be no need to go anywhere else.
Fraud and Security
As the DeFi world grows and develops, presenting new and hereto unforeseen opportunities, we also hear about scams, bamboozles, rug pulls, tom foolery, and many other unfortunate symptoms that accompany unregulatable growth. Companies, dApps, Blockchains, currencies pop up out of nowhere, convince investors to give them money, then disappear into oblivion never to be heard from again.
In a previous article we mentioned that the current state of web3, much like the Internet2.0 in its early stages, is akin to the Wild West. Opportunities galore and dangers abound. The possibility, nay certainty, of wealth and riches balanced in equal measure by the imminent threat of destruction and ruin.
To surmise, you can’t have this kind of growth and opportunity without people taking advantage of it. Eventually, the market will self-regulate, allowing for people to venture out into the new space without having to fear too much for their safety or that of their assets. It is the early movers, however, the ones willing to take a bit of risk, stake their claim in the face of elements unknown and threats unseen, that stand to make the biggest profits.
There are risks to web3, same as there are in any uncharted territory; forward thinking people and companies are already moving on the opportunities presented by the new internet, but they are not doing so blindly. By partnering with EnCirca first-movers are capitalizing on the myriad possibilities of web3 while also mitigating the risks.
For the last decade EnCirca has been working in the web3 space, building a foundation from which their partners can flourish.. With EnCirca’s help, companies and individuals can venture into the world of web3 confident that they will be secure and protected. EnCirca’s unique experience in the space allows them insight into current threats and future possibilities, and with them by your side, success and relevance are all but ensured.
Luke Bowden graduated from University with a Bachelor of Commerce, specializing in Finance. He spent several years working across a variety of businesses before deciding to apply his experience and expertise to the emerging opportunities available with Blockchain and web3. Luke resides in Vancouver and is a part-time Freelance writer, passionate about new technology and excited to educate people about emerging markets. Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/luke-bowden-aa863799/