Just for the fun of it, I want to hear everyone's arguments for why Web3 is not, or should not be the future.
In case you need a better understanding of what we're talking about here:
Web 1.0, Web 2.0 & Web3 Explained
Narottam04 ・ Dec 24 '21 ・ 5 min read
This shouldn't be personal, or aggressive. Keep it light, and give me your argument.
Top comments (90)
The advantages of blockchain technology are built on the assumption that "the code is the law" works for some use case. The code is not the law. The law is the law.
For example, take property title insurance, which I used to think was an interesting use case for blockchain. After all, the title insurance industry exists to make sure that the chain of ownership from sellers to buyers is valid and not mistaken or fraudulent. This is, like, the whole reason for being of blockchain--"provable" transactions.
But here's the thing: no blockchain system will ever be able to prove that its own data inputs are correct. If something happens outside the system that is not entered or if some data is input incorrectly, well, garbage in, garbage out. But the law is still the law.
For example, when my family sold some farmland, the land under the homestead was incorrectly titled as being in the sold land such that our neighbors suddenly "owned" my mother's home and started receiving her property tax bills. Title insurance was an important tool for ironing out the mistake (as were things like trust and goodwill between neighbors and institutions, which blockchain supposedly obsoletes), and a cryptographically-secured immutable ledger would have been an active hindrance in the process.
Another occasional use case for title insurance is for something like messy estates. Could blockchain prevent someone from coming forward and proving that they are the rightful owner of my home because they are the long-lost true heir from a secret second family of a previous owner? No, the blockchain is only as good as the data on it.
So provable ownership is there to resolve ownership in the corner cases where ordinary security and record-keeping fail, but... it also fails in those same corner cases, but irreversably and without the protections that the law provides against theft, data-entry mistakes, fraud, etc., which are the comforts of democratic institutions that most of us have become accustomed to.
At best, there may be "web3" use cases where just laws don't exist, in extreme authoritarianism or anarchy where freedoms aren't otherwise protected. As a techno-optimist, I'm somewhat predisposed to this view, but so far committed authoritarians haven't had a lot of trouble suppressing "censorship-resistant" technology. For better or for worse, the law is the law.
I'm still agnostic on whether web3 is good or bad or whether block chain is good for title insurance, so my observations here are not arguments in favor of block chain. I do want to respectfully disagree with this assertion, though.
In a world where people have become used to this technology and understand its limitations, the ledger would only reflect that there had been a mistake, and a later correction would clear it. That the mistake cannot be erased does not mean that it cannot be corrected.
The record being on a block chain rather than a paper ledger in a file drawer or in a database somewhere has no bearing on the human side of it.
The rightful claimant can still come forward, the clerical error can still be undone, the goodwill can still be extended. Likewise, with the system that happens now, fraud and injustice and theft still happens, and it's not less easy without blockchain.
Yes there is a sense in which, theoretically, a false transaction could be recorded as reversed on the blockchain in the same way that general ledger accounting works now. The problem with blockchain systems is that no one has the authority to do so.
Consider current payment systems. If I mistakenly make a credit card transaction to the wrong recipient or if someone scams me into making such a payment or if someone steals my credit card number and makes such a transaction for me, everything is still going to be okay because the law requires that these transactions be easily reversible. (In effect, this just adds more lines to the ledger, just like you described above in reference to blockchain.)
On the blockchain, if I make a mistaken payment (etc) I have no recourse because no one has the authority to reverse the transaction except the recipient, who won't generally want to do so.
That's what I meant by the law having protections that the blockchain does not.
Maybe DLT conflicts with your views on how the world should be in general. That's fine and nobody should be forced to actually taking part in any web3. Some people like anarchy, others like authority and some like the middle ground. Depending on what you fancy blockchains do or don't fit.
Building protective smart contracts that even exceed what the law could grant and enforce for a citizen is doable though.
Literally no computing system can be better than its own data inputs, though, which is my whole point. Like, that's not a subjective value or a preference. That's just provable.
For example, smart contracts can assure me that if I pay money into a system, I will get the NFT that I intend to buy (assuming I am the one who initiated the transaction and not someone who has stolen my key and assuming I didn't fatfinger the transaction) but they can't prove that the actual originator of the artwork is the originator of the NFT, which is why there are so many fake NFTs.
And that is from someone who actually quite likes what web3 could be, at the moment it just feels like the dot com bubble and the CDOs that fuelled the banking crisis, a lot of people gambling on a future that they think will happen, without any monetisation strategy that is feasible, that are all caught up in a hype train and making money from less educated investors.
Agree, a moderation system should exist.
For the most, yeah, but not every stable coins. Some of them, like DAI or more recently UST, have a custom algorithm to avoid any price drop
Simply because everyone say "omg, this image has been sold for 2k$". NFT are not only simple images to sell, it's simply a unique digital item. It could be an house property, a simple game, characters skins and so on
This is a fact, most blockchains are public, and i agree this is not a good idea. BUT, some others are private, like Monero or more recently Secret. Those blockchains are private by default, and have an algorithm to avoid anyone to know anything
You can make the content private. All files are often stored on IPFS, simply deleting from there should work. Moderation is something complicated, and i totally agree, it needs to change. The main issue with moderation is simply: you can't make real moderation. How many YouTube videos have been demonetized because of robots, or digital artists who got their arts stole on other social medias....
Right now, you can't moderate the web correctly, this is simply not possible, on the blockchain, or on the classical web.
Anyone has the possibility to pay a crypto, or not. If some people think Elon Musk is right, they can follow him, or not doing it, it's their personnal choices.
I already wrote a small reddit post about it, but right now you can't scale in any blockchain. They all use technologies that can't scale. Rust is not adapted to scale, and Go too. To have a real scalable blockchain network, we should use scalable technologies, as Elixir/Erlang for example, which already showed its power.
I don't answer to others points because i think you're totally right, or because i don't have enough knowledges to answer
Bear in mind that my comments are deliberately “to convince Ben that Web3 is the worst” so I am deliberately leaving out the “balanced” side of each of the arguments. However I think you covered most of them beautifully! ❤️
I know that was the purpose of the post, but I thought it was interesting to react to the reasons you mentioned in order to have a part for too :p
edit: apologies to OP of this comment, as I only just saw that they intentionally omitted counter-arguments
I disagree with almost all your points, except for a couple such as the space being filled with scammers.
You’re clearly a smart person who’s aware of traditional finance’s inherent flaws. Which is why I find it puzzling you make claims such as PoS being a Ponzi scheme; no it’s not, and it’s basically analogous to earning interest on your savings in a bank account (at least, that’s what savings accounts used to do). So are you saying that earning interest is also a Ponzi scheme? Because - by definition - it’s the same thing. Both mental models share the same antecedent: locking up your wealth/capital which is leveraged for other use-cases, and for which you are rewarded/incentivised with passive income.
Now, for a real-world example that counters almost every point you raised, I suggest looking into the Terra ($LUNA) ecosystem and the Anchor Protocol built on top, which is probably the best example currently of a decentralised algorithmic stablecoin protocol - and its seminal decentralised application - gaining mass adoption by providing a real advantage over traditional finance. Its only slight shortcoming is that its validator set is slightly centralised atm (but still much better than most other solutions).
Try googling it, or even browse the open source anchor web app repo. I know this is a lazy answer, but it’s no lazier than spouting some well known flaws of gen 1 & gen 2 blockchains and extrapolating it to say the entire space is flawed.
Finally, just be cognizant of the fact that when something causes an extreme polarisation in opinions and sentiment, the truth is likely somewhere in the middle, with rhetoric at either end typically based on misinformation.
Can't we imagine a web3 future that wouldn't rely on the blockchain but rather traditional peer to peer technologies ?
Things like onionShare allow anyone to host a website on the Tor Network in one click, zero server configuration...
Nowadays internet connections are getting so good that even surfing the web on the tor network is fast, it makes me believe that we are ready for a full P2P internet experience
This right here, blockchain doesn’t solve anything that couldn’t be done with P2P and a consensus mechanism. The “immutable” part of blockchain has already been proven pointless with hard forks!
Blockchain traces origins (e.g. property ownership since it was built), certifies authenticity of transactions, tracks custody, and verifies integrity. In order to do that, the whole history needs to be maintained, just like with General Ledger in (double entry) bookkeeping. You can keep only hashes on the chain and everything else off-chain.
This, couldn't agree more.
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InHuOfficial ・ Mar 21 '21 ・ 7 min read
Energy consumption and efficiency is my primary concern. The secondary one, is that when you take a step back, the de-centralised vision appears just as centralised - just a different set of actors. What has changed?
This is my perspective as well
it runs on computers
I cant help myself but quote this article by Moxie Marlinspike:
And because of that there will always be some centralised authorities: NFT marketplace, wallet, exchange service, etc. Which kills the only possible advantage of Web3 and leaves you with disadvantages: complexity, heavy resource consumption and black-market friendly anonymity.
But I like running my own server 😭
I too like it.
Hehe, me too
Haven't look into Web3 that deep yet, but...
This tweet is probably a great start 😀
I'm not really for or against it but I would say its being marketed wrong.
The web is a system on the internet.
Web2.0 was a new way for applications on the web to work, namely AJAX.
Web3 is a new place to put the web, but still runs Web2.0 applications.
My understanding is Web3 is a decentralised internet using block chain to encrypt peer to peer traffic. A new internet of sorts but, of course, this needs to sit on the existing internet until it reaches critical mass.
In my opinion Web3 will never reach critical mass but I've been wrong before and I have no doubt I'll be wrong again 😅.
This! I've heard a lot of web3 advocates say things like "web2 was all about centralization!", but honestly all I remember about that era was the transition to rounded corners and AJAX. 😂
Honestly, the branding of "Web3" is kind of a co-opting of language which could be applied to any number of trends.
If I'm remembering correctly, Web2 was the labeling of something that was clearly happening and didn't need the massive hype. Beyond the misaligned incentives for creating hype, in general the clever adoption of this term is one of the weirdest things.
Early 2000s: The web is starting to be used for so much more than just static web pages, let's normalize a word to describe this trend.
Early 2020s: Let's create a word to help bring hype to a trend which may or may not happen.
Don't forgot box-shadows. That was an important milestone.
Rounded corners 👐
I just forgive that Web 1.0 gave us Blink.
web3 = decentralisation + blockchain + NFTs + metaverse
web0 = web3 - blockchain - NFTs - metaverse
web0 = decentralisation
web0 is the decentralised web.
In other words, web0 is web3 without all the corporate right-libertarian Silicon Valley bullshit.
Now this sounds interesting.
This website puts in a lot of legwork on the topic: web3isgoinggreat.com/
I read it and now I'm shivering in terror. I'm not sure what's scarier: that minors pull off multimillion scams or that there are parents investing college funds in NFT.
So I feel it's important to give whoever wants to click that link a fair warning:
So one con with web3 is the token system, people with more tokens will get more of a say when change needs to be voted for. Just imagine a rich guy with shit tons of crypto coins out votes you and fk's up the system for his own advantage. This alone is enough to be wary of this new stuff comming. Isnt reality good enough as it is? Just because we can doesn't mean that we should.
I've never thought about this before but it's so obvious when I read your comment. Wish I could give it +1000. I don't want the wealthy to literally have more votes in how the economy works (obviously they already do in practice...).
I don't believe in Web 3's vision of decentralization. Some level of regulation will always be needed to prevent bad actors from exploiting the system and defrauding people. One example that comes to mind is the rampant theft of artwork via NFTs. If this is what the decentralized web looks like, then it's ripe for grift and exploitation. And if blockchain can't prevent these types of crimes, then it's not really the fool-proof system of provenance that people claim it to be because anyone can "own" and sell anything, even if it's not theirs.
Solving the "financial freedom" problem for the 1.6 billion "unbanked" people with a technology that requires internet connectivity when 2.9 billion people don't use the internet seems a bit tone deaf. news.un.org/en/story/2021/12/1106862
Edit: sounds like this comment may be dead wrong. See Ski’s reply.
I was about to +1 this comment when I thought more about it. Are you sure "blockchain" requires the internet? Based on my (admittedly very limited) understanding, the primary advantage of decentralization is actually that you don't need the internet. You do need some kind of networking where you can connect to the devices around you, but since everything is decentralized you don't actually need to connect to the internet. More broadly, I think the whole point of blockchain is that you can have verifiable transactions between two people who are offline without needing a centralized authority (i.e. without needing the internet).
Yeah, my limited understanding is the same. My comment comes from this post's question that they're apparently trying to answer, and is similar to other comments I've heard from web3 advocates "How can we build a global economy where anyone with an internet connection can participate, where property rights are enforced, and where money preserves its value?" - blog.coinbase.com/how-crypto-enabl...
How would you handle situation, if someone offline tries to spend same money twice in different remote cities? This is so called double-spending problem. The way blockchains solve it is by all nodes coming online and synchronising and agreeing on events before accepting any payment as valid. You can't run transactions offline.
There are certain techniques that can take some transactions out of blockchains. But this requires initial deposits and money being locked up with strict transaction rules attached. For example, let's say you want to pay your neighbor $5 for a chicken offline - first you' need to create an account that basically locks up money for away for any other purpose other than paying money to your neighbor, then you deposit at least 5$ to this account, once this is done and this can only be done online - only then can you pay to your neighbor offline. Problem is, this money will be frozen away for any other use, for certain period of time, to guarantee your neighbor that when you pay him you do have real funds online.
Being always short on cash being able to deposit and guarantee funds early on in business deals is typically is what these poor people without internet access struggle the most.
Current blockchain tech (bitcoin, ehtereum, etc) is built on assumption that internet is always there. It's not even clear what would happen in case of major network division was to occur for noticeable period of time, for example either because of event of war or a natural catastrophe, or major sun flare event. In a possible scenario two partitions would continue to run transactions and would not be able to merge resulting in blockchain branching out - for example it could result in 'bitcoin west' and 'bitcoin east' if a major military conflict would broke out that would sever internet connection between two blocks.
Thanks for the info, I edited my comment. It’s even more unclear to me now what value blockchain has. It seems like the value is solely to avoid regulation, but I like regulation. I don’t want people skirting taxes or doing illegal things, for example.
I'll take the Semantic Web any day though, so I can have canonical places to reference web assets from and schema to define and utilize for all kinds of great things.
Just name me one product that is some how popular in the Crypto space and that has absolutely nothing to do with gambling and is based on web3. As long you can not do this, web3 is a very very bad idea.
The attempt to decentralize the web itself may be commendable, but it is currently mainly driven by scammers and criminals who are harmful to society by abusing the freedom from a central system accessible to the executive.