Web 3.0 is Already a Massive Failure

Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash

The internet has a long history of providing easy, affordable access to information with just the click of a few buttons. It has been a global resource for news, memes, creativity, and social connection. One containing the collective knowledge of all the worlds minds. So how can an alleged advancement in technology be a failure for the future of the internet? The answer is corporate power. The ability for corporate entities to grasp real estate (this is apparently also true in a literal sense) in the meta verse leaves us with the exact same problems in Web 2.0 that we were trying to escape from.

Web 1.0 was a simplistic, somewhat primitive version of the internet. It allowed those with access to simply read already-published information from a database, and the content itself was under the control of a select few with access to publishing privileges. Speaking of which, the content was entirely static. Nothing was interactive or modifiable. And though it was not as robust, the features made available to the average user was sufficient for the time being.

At its start, Web 2.0 was the epitome of the free and open-source access. Sites became accessible and the ability for normal users to modify and interact with their own personal web pages. These sites were fully integrated with open-source and widely available services like RSS, Facebook, and Myspace. Growing up with this style of web was invigorating. Our eyes were opened to the endless possibilities the new web had to offer. Communication, Content-driven and often independent business models were all possible through this basic upgrade from the first web. It allowed seamless interactions between sites through widgets and integrated options to share and spread content across an array of different online services.

Web 2.0 lingered and those business models started to become institutionalized. This part happened lightning fast. Cloud services and domain providers began to store more information in large-scale facilities with warehouses full of interconnected servers. This meant that eventually most of the stored information on the internet was in the hands of businesses large enough to meet the requirements to maintain these massive facilities. Within only a few years companies like Facebook, Google, and Amazon had planted strong roots into the web and largely distanced themselves from other online services, preferring instead to lessen the amount of integration between other competing online platforms. Now it is estimated that almost 33% of the internet runs using Amazon Web Services, their cloud computing platform, which provides a foundation that millions of different web sites are built on.

Additionally, these large companies are using the traffic from their sites to generate a profit. This included things like gathering information from users and their own created content to sell to third parties. This made tracking illicit online activity quite simple for ISPs to find a report. Combined with the increased concern over how much control these corporations have over basic information on the internet there became a need for de-monopolization. There was a certain freedom that was so easily accessible from the earlier Web 2.0 system, but because of a lack of accessibility to the assets that house content, it inevitably turned into a largely homogenized and hyper-commercialized internet experience.

Enter cryptocurrency.

In summary cryptocurrency is a relatively secure, decentralized currency which exists virtually on a blockchain and holds value independent of any federal reserve. Blockchain technology has been used to do more than just hold funds, however. Since its inception, blockchain technology has given birth to its fair share of coins and NFTs, but the endgame is full decentralization in a new style of internet. Crypto enthusiasts speculate about an internet that revokes the ability for a single company or entity to simply own the majority of the content on the internet. It instead is replaced with a system based on individualized ownership of digital assets stored within the blockchain.

These basic principles as a basis for a new age of internet computing has been dubbed Web 3.0. So far it’s been an absolute failure.

The singular idea of Web 3.0 was to stop companies and the wealthy elite from having so much control over the content on the internet. So far, it hasn’t been successful.

With crypto being traded like stock, the volatility that is inherent to crypto means it requires a tolerance for extreme risk. This alone is a barrier of entry for the layperson. In order to participate in the decentralized internet you are to be required to lay claim to a corner of the blockchain. It will quite literally be a risk to simply participate on this new theoretical internet.

This risk has already been explored by what might be described as a NFT-obsessed group of lab ‘apes’. The Bored Ape Yacht Club was a prime example of a piece of Web 3.0 history defined by the online crypto hype machine mixed with the sour stupidity of a get-rich-quick scheme. Their entire existence is built upon the value of Ethereum, a cryptocurrency used to directly attribute value to certain NFTs. As of the date of writing, the value of Ethereum — and by extension the entirety of the collective speculated value of the Bored Ape Yacht Club — has dropped over 47% from all-time-highs.

Setting aside the volatility of crypto and the barrier of entry created by the nature of the blockchain, decentralization is none other than a Dogecoin investor’s pipe dream. Why? Crypto is being bought up and mined by the only entities with the means to practically do so: hedge funds, large financial institutions, and corporations. The idea of an internet experience based in a technology which is largely controlled by a few rich corporations and financial institutions just sounds like Web 2.0 with some extra paywalls added.

It is at the very beginnings of a technological shift like that of the coming Web 3.0 when the molding of a system and its functions is still possible. At the current rate, corporations, which ultimately will accumulate crypto in the blockchain at a rate which meets or exceeds that of the accumulation of capital in our current economic system, are sure to gain monopolized control over the entire web; 3.0 and blockchain included. So much for decentralized.

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