Tag: web3

Web3, the metaverse, and the DRM-isation of everything

I’ve been reading a report entitled Crypto Theses for 2022 recently. Despite having some small investments in crypto, the world that’s painted in that report is, quite frankly, dystopian.

The author of that report admits to being on the right of politics and, to my mind, this is the problem: we’ve got people who believe that societal control and monetisation of all of the things in a free market economy is desirable.

This article focuses on Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement at the end of 2021 about the ‘metaverse’. This is something which is a goal of the awkwardly-titled ‘web3’ movement.

Perhaps I’m getting old, but to me technology should be about enabling humans to do new things or existing things better. As far as I can see, crypto/web3 just adds a DRM and monetisation layer on top of the open web?

In one sense, it’s a vision of a future world that takes many long-existing concepts, like shared online worlds and digital avatars, and combines them with recently emerging trends, like digital art ownership through NFT technology and digital “tipping” for creators.

In another sense, it’s a vision that takes our existing reality — where you can already hang out in 2D or 3D virtual chat rooms with friends who are or are not using VR headsets — and tacks on more opportunities for monetization and advertising.

Source: Zuckerberg Convinced the Tech World That ‘the Metaverse’ Is the Future | Business Insider

Signal’s CEO on ‘web3’

My first response to most new technological things is usually “cool, I wonder how I/we could use that?” With so-called ‘web3’, though, I’ve kind of thought it was bullshit.

This post by Moxie Marlinspike, CEO of Signal, goes a step forward and includes opinions by someone who actually knows what they’re talking about.

I’m not sure what I think about the bit quoted below about not distributing infrastructure? In Marxist terms, it seems like not distributing or providing ownership of the means of production?

If we do want to change our relationship to technology, I think we’d have to do it intentionally. My basic thoughts are roughly:

  1. We should accept the premise that people will not run their own servers by designing systems that can distribute trust without having to distribute infrastructure. This means architecture that anticipates and accepts the inevitable outcome of relatively centralized client/server relationships, but uses cryptography (rather than infrastructure) to distribute trust. One of the surprising things to me about web3, despite being built on “crypto,” is how little cryptography seems to be involved!
  2. We should try to reduce the burden of building software. At this point, software projects require an enormous amount of human effort. Even relatively simple apps require a group of people to sit in front of a computer for eight hours a day, every day, forever. This wasn’t always the case, and there was a time when 50 people working on a software project wasn’t considered a “small team.” As long as software requires such concerted energy and so much highly specialized human focus, I think it will have the tendency to serve the interests of the people sitting in that room every day rather than what we may consider our broader goals. I think changing our relationship to technology will probably require making software easier to create, but in my lifetime I’ve seen the opposite come to pass. Unfortunately, I think distributed systems have a tendency to exacerbate this trend by making things more complicated and more difficult, not less complicated and less difficult.

Source: Moxie Marlinspike >> Blog >> My first impressions of web3

Update: Moxie Marlinspike has announced he’s stepping down as Signal CEO.