Why it’s too early to get excited about Web3

There’s been a lot of talk about Web3 lately, and as the person who defined “Web 2.0” 17 years ago, I’m often asked to comment. I’ve generally avoided doing so because most prognostications about the future turn out to be wrong. What we can do, though, is to ask ourselves questions that help us see more deeply into the present, the soil in which the future is rooted. As William Gibson famously said, “The future is already here. It’s just not evenly distributed yet.

• O'Reilly Media • 3,175 words • 14 minute read

One of the more balanced takes I’ve seen on the whole “Web3” situation. Personally, while I have a more bullish long-term perspective on “crypto” in general (yes, that’s a shitty term, but it’s a convenient shorthand for all of the tech in that space), I am extremely skeptical about Web3 as it’s being touted right now and have a lot of reservations about the actual value of tokenizing everything just because it can be tokenized (NFTs, I’m looking at you).

Right now, my biggest misgivings around Web3 are that the people behind most of the current initiatives don’t seem to be actually trying building a “better” layer for the web, they’re just trying to transfer wealth and/or power away from the incumbents to themselves.

I guess it’s like any emerging technology: we need to get past the hype stage we’re in and start having some reasonable, balanced conversations about how it can be used to address the fundamental flaws in the underlying infrastructure of the web (or the internet in general, or finance, or whatever) to really make progress.

Cam Pegg