In a world where a single company, which controls the conversations, news feeds, and personal connections of almost two billion people, considers it a good idea to base its post promotion algorithm on how angry a post makes its readers, we can perhaps conclude that the time has come to decentralize our digital communication spaces. Users of a recently-bought social network seem to agree.
Those with vested interests in the cryptocurrency space claim to have a solution ready: web3.
web3 is less a technology project for decentralizing the internet, and more an economic project for a select few to profit from: those who acquire crypto-assets early or have the resources and knowledge to run Ethereum validators
When radium was first discovered at the end of the 19th century, a whole slew of snake oil products emerged capitalizing on the sensationalism surrounding the new element and its radioactivity. Perhaps the most absurd product was the Doramad Radioactive Toothpaste, whose promotional materials used naïve and distorted notions of “energy” and “radioactive rays,” to market radioactivity as a solution to the very real problem of tooth decay.
The analogy is quite compelling. Like radioactivity, blockchain as such can be a useful tool in solving certain kinds of problems. Like dental hygiene, the decentralization of global communication platforms is an important problem, but not necessarily the right application for the instrument. Like Doromad Radioactive Toothpaste, web3 has little to do with solving the stated problem, and everything to do with profiting off of a buzzword, resulting in more harm than good in the process.
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