The cryptocurrency markets have been unusually quiet in contrast to the expected scuffle that keeps crypto Twitter awake most nights. However, the recent online debate cum argument that has tangled Former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and the world’s richest man Elon Musk against the Web 3.0 world has livened up the community during the holidays period. On one side, Bitcoin maximalists like Dorsey are rooting against the development phase of Web 3.0, while Venture capitalists and giant tech-based organizations have been putting billions into the new digital revolution. Why are the two sides butting heads so frequently? Let’s take a look at the raucous that has ensued and make some sense of the recent commotion.
What is the Web 3.0 space?
Before getting down and dirty with the rumbling mess that crypto Twitter has become over the last week, let’s try to understand this new web-based phenomenon that the entire blockchain community is going gaga over. The rise of technological innovation in the 20th century paved the way for the internet. The first phase of the internet is now called Web 1.0 – with the creation of connected computers which evolved to the world wide web. The worldwide web in the 90s up to the start of the new millennium was simply a place where users derived content from the companies and websites. There was no community-based activity where two parties could interact with each other. One side pretty much absorbed all the information coming from the other. The second development in the internet of things emerged and took full form in the 2010s. Web 2.0 is very much in full effect and thriving today – which has transformed content consumers into content creators. Now, applications on the internet allow people to communicate with each other directly, such as social engines like WhatsApp and Telegram. Content creation allows consumers to share their content through a variety of websites and applications like YouTube and TikTok. And there are community-based platforms where you can interact, chat and share your experiences with millions around the globe – such as Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook. But Web2.0 is very much centralized since a small number of multinational companies have a monopoly over the Web 2.0 consumer market. These companies are known as the big tech or the four horsemen among the tech space – including Facebook (Now Meta), Amazon, Apple and Microsoft. The latest transition that is evolving from the world wide web is focused on creating a more individualized, autonomous and secure online environment. While the first-ever cryptocurrency, Bitcoin was created as a decentralized alternative to regular fiat currency, Web 3.0 exists to do the same thing with the internet.
Ethereum and blockchain technology
The centre of Web 3.0 exists on Ethereum – the largest altcoin in the world. Being the second-largest cryptocurrency in the decentralized space, Ethereum provides many real-world use cases, a rare trait for a majority of the tokens that exist today. Via Ethereum – cryptocurrency has witnessed a huge spike in innovative use cases using blockchain technology – Decentralized Finance (DeFi), Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs), Non-Fungible tokens (NFTs) and many other blockchain-based protocols. While Ethereum is not the sole network that deploys these protocols, it has monopolized this space by being one of the first networks to successfully deploy smart contracts and new decentralized protocols. Smart contracts are lines of code that exist on blockchains, acting as a set of legalized terms that settle transactions, make them irreversible and air-tight. Many projects built using smart contracts often release their own versions of tokens, which help govern and regulate the blockchain network. Web 3 is the idea of integrating smarter contract-based applications like NFTs to create a decentralized internet that is not controlled by large and bureaucratic organizations.
Why is Web 3.0 being criticized?
Conceptually, Web 3.0 is a great move towards making the internet decentralized. While the large tech giants are controlling a monopoly over users and making billions – security and privacy are other reasons for concern. Giants like Facebook have been in the middle of a brewing pot of organizational and user distrust- facing several legal disputes with the government regarding data manipulation to target billions of users. Web 3.0 is a way to diminish such illegal activities – since it promises to be a place where users can make their own rules, are given autonomy to do so and can co-exist in a harmonious world where privacy and security are at a maximum. But the problem is that the ones capitalizing on the success of Web 3.0 in the future are the same conglomerates and organizations that this phenomenon has vowed to protect users against. Large investors have already spent $27 billion on Web 3.0 to be the future of the internet. Social media companies like Reddit and Discord are implementing Web3.0-esque protocols on their platforms, while Adidas and Nike have been releasing their own range of NFT projects. Quite recently, the Web 3.0 scene burst out into mainstream media through Facebooks’s recent rebranding. The Mark Zuckerberg owned company changed its official name to Meta – signalling a long-term focus on this new phenomenon that we call the metaverse. The metaverse promises to be a virtual space where people can co-exist in decentralized environments created using blockchain technology. NFTs will be the world’s digital currency, while platforms like SAND and Decentraland are already building up to be decentralized worlds where people can interact on. But critics have been against the Web 3.0 space due to the number of large VC’s and money-hungry corporates that have been pooling in their resources and assets to make Web 3.0 a reality. Facebook, the same company that has created an aura of distrust and the need for more user privacy on the internet is now at the forefront of the metaverse and the decentralized internet. This is one of the main issues of Web 3.0, according to Jack Dorsey.
Jack Dorsey vs Web 3
Twitter has often been the centre for crypto-related news and discussions – but has also proved to be a breeding ground for commotion and advent criticism that has recently been taking over the space. Such was the case when Jack Dorsey, the former CEO of Twitter shared his views on Web 3.0. It all began when Dorsey responded to a tweet by famous American rapper and singer, Cardi B. https://twitter.com/jack/status/1473089482576564225?s=20 The reply was followed by another tweet from the popular billionaire’s handle, this time calling out Web 3 and the people backing it. https://twitter.com/jack/status/1473139010197508098?s=20 The Tweet attracted the viewpoints of parties from both sides of the mix, including the opinion of a member whose beliefs on the crypto space have been interpreted as nothing short of financial advice by the mainstream public. https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1473165434518224896?s=20 The reply was a clear diss at this phenomenon being nothing short of an overhyped idea that is still in its development phase. The Tweet was followed by a flourish of unfollows and arguments that ended on a sour note, to say the least. Dorsey ended up unfollowing various corporate figures like Tyle Winklevoss (Co-founder of Gemini), Brian Armstrong (CEO of Coinbase) and even got blocked by Marc Andreessen, the co-founder of Andreessen Horowitz.
Bitcoin or Web 3?
Dorsey and many others belong to a faction of crypto-investors that have been termed as ‘Bitcoin maximalists’. He believes in the steadiness of the token and has the view similar to others, that Bitcoin can become a global currency. Many such maximalists also believe that other cryptos may be a threat to the future of Bitcoin’s global dominance. Since Bitcoin is supposed to give users the ultimate benefit of a decentralized network – being censorship-resistant, providing extreme data security and privacy. Ethereum’s network on the other hand seems to trade a chunk of its decentralized authoritativeness for more throughput and use cases. But the truth is that the future of Web3 does rely on the success of Ethereum. Its smart contracts system combined with the various Layer 2 network protocols that are being deployed on the native network is increasing efficiency and throughput. Bitcoin on the other hand would need to scale up tremendously and deploy several L2 protocols to develop such a framework for Web 3 harmony. But the main difference is that Bitcoin is ultimately gearing up towards existing as a global currency. After El Salvador’s adoption of BTC as a legal tender, more and more policymakers have been circulating the possibility of more such events like this in the coming years. Ethereum and altcoins on the other hand are gearing towards using blockchain technology to adapt it to a different environment. It is very much BTC vs fiat currency and Ethereum & Web3 vs Web 2.0. Yet, this will probably not stop the two largest cryptocurrencies from butting heads in the future.