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Notes on Web3 (robinsloan.com)
333 points by tbolt 69 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 446 comments

I really hope that the hype around web3 from techies and developers translates into it becoming a reincarnation of the "old web".

AKA I don't see the general public moving away from centralized web2, but I do think it would be nice if developers created a decentralized alternative to Facebook, YouTube, Reddit, etc. which being made by individuals and mostly comprised of other developers, is very similar to old-school message boards.

I don't think this decentralized platform will necessarily involve blockchain, just peer-to-peer interactions. The "web3 movement" could simply be getting more people to join a decentralized network like the Fediverse, and improving said network, so it becomes a common peer-to-peer developer version of Twitter, Youtube, etc. Blockchain makes it easy to pay people for being part of the network, but you could do the exact same thing with stablecoins or Stripe payments.

Right now most techies and developers use YouTube and Reddit and Twitter even though they publicly loath and complain about these platforms (ironically on the platforms themselves). Because it's impossible for a small group to create anything remotely competing with a large centralized platform. But a decentralized platform, just maybe, could attract enough people and produce enough content to not be obscure.

Ultimately, I think most of the interest in web3 comes from nostalgia. Old-school developers look at the rise of "Web 1.0" (the original Internet) and "Web 2.0" (Google, Facebook, YouTube). They remember everything being so new and exciting, and recognize how much opportunity they missed. Well, in the past few years the internet hasn't "really" changed much, supposedly it's been much more boring. People want more novelty and excitement and opportunity, and they think and hope it's going to happen again in something they will call "web3".

> Blockchain makes it easy to pay people for being part of the network

Pay people for being part of the network? Where is this money coming from?

Blockchain solutions are more expensive to maintain than centralized solutions. It’s going to cost a lot of money to put all of the photos and other data of a social network into a blockchain and keep it maintained. Certainly far more than it costs hyper-optimized centralized providers like Facebook and Twitter.

There might be a few people out there interested in paying substantially to be part of a decentralized blockchain-based social platform, but it’s certainly a far, far smaller number than the people who are happy to use Twitter or Facebook for free.

We (https://verida.io) are building decentralized Web3 storage APIs using PouchDB/CouchDB for data storage and replication and using blockchain for signing data.

It's as fast as a centralized solution (because you have a real database!) but has all the benefits of being decentralized (own your own data! Choose replication servers! Split payment for data between data originators and app developer! Alternate models to advertising for free-to-use apps!)

wrt blockchain I was actually thinking of peers getting payed with cryptocurrency for participating in the p2p network and storing/providing non-blockchain assets.

I assume it's easier to calculate and submit micropayments with a cryptocurrency than to connect with a real bank and do them with real money. Plus peers can trust that they get the correct payment for the amount they contribute to the p2p network, especially if the payment is via a smart contract.

The one big advantage of blockchain I know of, is that a group of people can negotiate some sort of payment (e.g. I do X work I get Y coins), and once they agree, nobody can break the negotiation. So assuming everyone understands what they're doing, they will get automatically payed and nobody will run off with all the money (of course if people don't understand what they're doing, they can get scammed like the many many crypto scams we've seen so far).

> wrt blockchain I was actually thinking of peers getting payed with cryptocurrency for participating in the p2p network and storing/providing non-blockchain assets.

It’s easy to imagine where the money goes out, but where does the money come in?

Obviously the answer is “the users” but that’s the problem: Not many users are going to be interested in paying ongoing fees just to exist on a social network when they can get the same thing for free.

There will always be a core group of true believers who will pay for these networks, but the networks aren’t very useful if it’s limited to a small group of people willing to go through all of the trouble and keep paying just to exist on it.

This is the big question that a lot of the web3 conversations conveniently sidestep: How much is it going to cost? Everyone seems to assume some hypothetical future blockchain that costs very little, but the bottom line is that you still have to incentivize all of the nodes and peers to keep the data and you need to do so in a decentralized manner that will always be orders of magnitude less efficient than hosting on a standard cloud server. That inefficiency is expensive.

>...the bottom line is that you still have to incentivize all of the nodes and peers to keep the data and you need to do so in a decentralized manner that will always be orders of magnitude less efficient than hosting on a standard cloud server. That inefficiency is expensive.

I'm not sure I agree that it will always be orders of magnitude less efficient. I think if you have enough decentralized nodes you can get closer to the ideal painted by "edge computing". I also think people wouldn't mind storing information in a decentralized way as long as it's cheap enough to do so. It kind of reminds me of the transition of most companies to cloud computing -- "why pay a subscription for a server when I can pay a one time cost for my own?"

Although people slowly began to see the benefits of paying proportionate amounts of money for arbitrary usage patterns, having a dedicated team for hardware availability, and the ease of scaling out, it did take a while to get there. Just like those who have come to understand the benefits of cloud computing, I believe people will come around to favoring decentralized models for some use cases. I also believe the amount of data most people generate and use on the web is so minuscule that the storage costs will be so cheap to pay for that people will worry about it as much as they do a purchase from the McDonalds dollar menu.

Blockchains may be generally less efficient for storing and processing lots of data (though there are specialized blockchains for storage, for GPU rendering, for computation, and so on), but the flip side of this is, do most users of web2 services want their data collected, processed, analysed, rebundled, and resold to the extent that it is?

In some cases, maybe. But I think what pays for the servers running all these services is the advertising industry. Whether you like it or not, you are paying for the services you use, but in ways that are often opaque to you. Even if you agreed to let Facebook use your data, you have no transparency into what exactly they're doing with it, and you don't benefit from it beyond access to their platform. In many instances, you'd be fine with a subset of the functionality (do we really need AI-curated news feeds designed to keep us infinitely scrolling)?

> but the flip side of this is, do most users of web2 services want their data collected, processed, analysed, rebundled, and resold to the extent that it is?

Facebook doesn’t sell user data. Google doesn’t sell user data. Twitter doesn’t sell user data. They sell ads. The user data is strictly kept internal to the company because selling it would weaken their market advantage.

This is one of those weird myths that has been propagated by fear-mongering journalists and politicians. You’d think tech people would be the first to call out this logical error, but for some reason it has been embraced as the ground truth despite being trivially easy to fact check.

> Whether you like it or not, you are paying for the services you use, but in ways that are often opaque to you.

In 2021, the trope that “If you’re not paying, you’re the product” has been repeated to everyone a thousand times over and it’s old news.

But paying for a product doesn’t mean that your data and usage patterns aren’t still being extracted for profit. Just look at smart TVs.

Blockchain doesn’t magically change this fact. It’s theoretically possible to design systems where certain types of data are obscured or encrypted, but it’s a huge leap to assume that web3 services will, by default, encrypt everything and obscure access patterns. Just look at how easy it is to track Bitcoin transactions between wallets publicly.

Yes, many users DO want (or at least do not care enough to walk away from services that abuse) their data to have all those things done to them because they get to use the service for free. The concern over use of private data is restricted to a very small subsection of the population, and the vast majority will be more than happy to keep using free services that abuse their data over paying for something with a subset of features the free option has.

> do most users of web2 services want their data collected, processed, analysed, rebundled, and resold to the extent that it is?

People vote with their feet. At least today, the answer is "yes." A compelling alternative may change their mind. A blockchain-based social media network is difficult to image doing so for the majority of people.

It is folks using the network that are paying folks providing the network.

Take storage, for example, this is folks paying to rent space (perhaps to do backups) from folks that have excess space.

Most people already pay folks to provide the network, their ISP. It's a hard sell to ask users to pay a second set of people.

Honestly I think web3 is pretty doomed to discover why centralisation wins. In particular you can see this with the popularity of various blockchains. You immediately gain value by building on a chain with popularity. People gravitate and that increases the popularity and suddenly they’ve centralised around one piece of technology. Sure it’s decentralised in operation but that’s not the only axis. Similarly we’re seeing lots of platform power develop already including instances of disregarding the blockchain as a source of truth.

The one part I grudgingly do like with NFTs is it gives people ownership of data that escapes platforms. NFTs are imperfect at this as they lack privacy, are ruinously expensive and complex to untangle from the entities that created them. Also all the usecases so far are more about speculation than defeating platforms. The non-blockchain alternatives like Pods and so on seem more compelling to me.

But yeah to me we’ll see more decentralisation naturally when users are in charge of their own data. I also think this is going to only really take off when we solve digital identity and on boarding that isn’t horrendously technical.

NFTs are only expensive on ETH. Other chains like Tezos or Solana they can be cheaper than a latte.

A latte sounds quite expensive in computational terms. I was definitely unclear but I was thinking about the transaction costs which I understand are much cheaper on PoS chains but still quite a bit higher than the real computational cost. The other side of it is how massively convoluted the pricing is.

I don’t know about computational costs but in Tezos the transaction cost is something like 0.50$ atm.

NFTs are definitely in a proof of concept stage, but I 100% expect them to improve dramatically in the next 12-24 months. People are working on solutions for virtually every problem that’s been thought of - fakes, rights managements etc.

And they have already gained widespread adoption in the art world. As far as art goes NFTs are now fully adopted. NFTs are the first blockchain win. I expect gaming to be next.

Let’s be real. They have some adoption in the art world it’s not widespread by any means.

And as someone part of gaming I have significant doubts that you’ll see major adoption in the next five years.

From the average end-user perspective, everything that can be achieved with so called "web3" technology can be achieved by 10, probably 20 or even more years old technology already.

This is nothing but snakeoil trash dreamed up by people that are purely interested in get rich quick schemes. This has nothing to do with the spirit of the "old web".

Agreed on most of this... but I guess I fall into the techie developer category, and a decent portion of my social group as well, and anecdotally none of us loath or even ever complain about Twitter and Youtube. I like the decentralized social networks in theory, but in the vast majority of instances I see the centralized aspect as a minor annoyance at worst - very far from being a real, painful problem to be solved.

*note that OP isn't saying a decentralized version would become more popular: "But a decentralized platform, just maybe, could attract enough people and produce enough content to not be obscure."

I am skeptical of this. Decentralization isn't cheap in the case of something like YouTube and doesn't provide enough benefits for the majority in the case of Twitter. Mastodon already exists but doesn't seem to have any chance of really rivaling Twitter.

I had installed a Mastodon node during my research for finclout. I stopped after the realization that I don't want to use an inferior of an already existing product. Who in their right mind would? Btw, I have the same problem with the first iteration of DESO/Bitclout. New social networks should bring something that the existing ones don't have and for the end-user decentralization doesn't matter.

> Reddit and Twitter even though they publicly loath and complain about these platforms

I guess the old adage that either people complain or don't use the software still holds true.

>AKA I don't see the general public moving away from centralized web2

I do, once the next major social network launches with crypto at it's core and the early adopters get an airdrop it's pretty much over for web2 social media.

A whole generation will consider it antiquated to "do work for free" posting on the old networks when the next generation rewards them.

Reddit and FB are racing for this, and I know a half dozen other well funded startups working towards it too.

Anyone who isn’t looking in this direction is going to get left behind over the next few years.

Years? It will all happen in the next 24 months IMO. If you haven’t started yet you’re already running late!

I think that it'll be hard to create something in web3 that topples the existing centralized communication platforms, but think that it is possible to compete in technologies arising native to the web3 space. In other words, I think that it is possible that FB doesn't completely dominate the metaverse space to the same degree that they have in web2, if there are enough independent projects that have their own unique quirks and communities. It's ultimately up to the builders in my mind to prevent web3 from being a repeat of the centralization that characterizes web2.

Most of the web3 advocates are too young to have experienced Eternal September, and so they don't realize that not only are their ponzi scheme dreams foolish, but that even if they could get it off the ground, it'd be a ridiculous cesspool that nobody would want to use. There's a reason that people go to reddit and not Usenet to post their memes.

I think a good example is odysee as alternative to youtube. It is powered by a blockchain it uses some tokens but the user only ever sees the good parts.

Does anyone know where I can see the latest developments on web 3.0 without most of the tulip mania? It takes so much effort to filter out blog articles and youtube videos on why <insert name> is going to be the next big thing when I just want to see the current state of things.

If you want a programmer/documentation approach then GitHub and developer forums are where you will get the best shill free discussion, read the eips/ercs on github and the eth cat herders forum.



Play with the tools like https://eth-brownie.readthedocs.io/en/stable/



Note these are eth focused, but there is overlap with zcash/cosmos/polkadot and the many evm chains that now exist.

I’d also recommend: https://gov.yearn.finance/ and https://forum.makerdao.com/ for insight into how protocols are managed.

Don't forget about the OG Ethereum framework: https://trufflesuite.com :-)

I heard that truffle is a little outdated unfortunately, and doesn't add much value nowadays over hardhat.

Do any frameworks add essential components over bare web3js?

The two coolest things about truffle, IMO, is the debugger, which lets you debug/step through past transactions, even ones on mainnet, and the --dry-run feature, which lets you run your deployment against a local copy of a real network, without syncing the whole blockchain.

Both those features lean heavily on the work I do on Ganache, an Ethereum simulator that has all sorts of nice development features that a public node doesn't.

ganache is the standard, thanks for building ;)

1. we're starting to see the emergence of next-gen managed crypto cloud, so one can just start building on alchemy free tier for example, i can still use truffle in my dev env, but i can also just roll the functionality i need natively to the cloud

2. solidity packs a lot of fintech logic in a concise amount of code. an experimental auction dapp came in at like 150 lines. i'm not exactly building Compound here (yet)!

Truffle gives you a local Blockchain to develop on. Web3js gives you a way to interact with a Blockchain.

There isn't one - because they have been around, quietly, growing. Check sneakernet ideas, like Scuttlebutt ( https://scuttlebutt.nz/get-started/ ), p2p networks, like dat:// and ipfs://, retroshare, and so on.

Whatever you'll find under the web3 banner is, unfortunately, complete garbage.

See also: internet reclamation projects [1]

[1]: https://drewdevault.com/2021/09/23/Nitter-and-other-internet...

Twitter is very good for this, but you must follow the builders. Wholly agreed, there is too much trash if you just search for crypto. I'd recommend finding the founders and devs of a crypto organization or protocol you find interesting and follow along.

Some high signal ones are @Bantg from Yearn Finance, @gakonst from Paradigm, @epolynya for Modular Blockchain info, @iamDCinvestor for macro view and NFTs.

You can find a lot more good ones by seeing these individuals replies. And if you like, you can follow me as well @_nd_go, I try to keep my feed fairly high signal

Consider diving into tulip land (without any major investments of course). Mint an NFT, write a coin contract, it's actually a very fun and easy way to learn the basics of web3.

Fun way to waste your time.

What a weirdly aggressive and unnecessary comment. Web3 has some pretty cool parts and there's definitely a new programming paradigm at work. Even out of curiosity, you should give it a try. Distributed computing is pretty interesting, and even more-so when there's a code complexity resource you need to optimize for (gas).

> Distributed computing ... when there's a code complexity resource you need to optimize for

That's not fun. That's work. From TFA:

> Remember: The DAO — first of its kind, from which all present DAOs take their name — failed so badly it required a fork of the Ethereum blockchain.

You don't want to be stuck holding the bag on something like that.

we fail and fail and fail again. then we succeed.

feels crazy i have to say this on HN. this place has really changed over the years. what happened to the whole earth quotes.

"fail fast fail often"

at least Stuart Brand is still daring to explore https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oLGZdLpHl1w

Distributed computing is an entire field of study unrelated to blockchains.

> Distributed computing is an entire field of study unrelated to blockchains.

I'm not sure if you're just being purposefully obtuse, but this is most definitely not true[1]. Consensus protocols (which are very salient in blockchains) have been studied in distributed computing since like the 70s; the EVM is basically a distributed Turing machine; etc.

[1] https://cacm.acm.org/magazines/2019/2/234355-blockchains-fro...

What? Your comments support my point, they don't refute it. Blockchains are a (naive) application of distributed computing principles, not the foundation of them...

Don't think it's fair to call them a naive application of distributed computing principles if you look at the current research output in the area. Subset yes, but let's not underplay the genuine output on distributed and decentralized consensus and governance that's coming out of the area.

I'm deeply connected to the space. Blockchain folks have made some progress in the area of BFT specifically, but beyond that, no, it's mostly been naïve re-hashes of work already done in the 80s and 90s. This isn't necessarily bad, but it's absolutely not novel.

> Blockchains are a (naive) application of distributed computing principles, not the foundation of them...

I think you're arguing against a straw man here, nowhere did I claim the blockchain is foundational to distributed computing...

You claimed distributed computing was unrelated to blockchain. Now you're saying the relationship is one thing and not another, but you're admitting a relationship all the same.

I replied to

> Distributed computing is pretty interesting, and even more-so when there's a code complexity resource you need to optimize for (gas).

I thought this implied an equivocation between distributed computing and web3 stuff. If that wasn't the intent, mea culpa, sorry.

Hi, please out of curiosity give a try joining my pyramid scheme

I have some really expensive JPEGs I need to unload

idk it's not untrue. So far my time investment in distributed ledgers hasn't done a damn thing for anybody, but it has been fun (in a 'playing with your food' way, as someone said downthread). I suspect many here have had a similar experience.

Didn't think I would see a comment like this on Hacker News. Learning and experimenting is fun! When you are learning and having fun, there is no such thing as "wasting time".

Some would consider learning a old, outdated programming language a waste of time, but sometimes learning something new just to learn something new is just... Fun!

Well we ARE programmers. We build invisible castles in the sky.

ratio then?

Vitalik Buterin's blog often talks about developments in tokenomics and governance, including the game theory behind it and new projects that are implementing it.

Vitalik is one of the best people to follow in the space because he generally ignores a lot of the hype and focuses on way decentralization can change (and improve) the world. While there is a lot of value in defi, by its nature it attracts users and builders to the space for the wrong reasons (and in some ways taints the general perception of what blockchain tech is capable of)

If anyone is interested in the decentralized web without the ponzi-like elements (I say ponzi-like though I should reiterate again that I think defi has value), I'd recommend this talk by Vitalik, "Things that matter outside of defi": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oLsb7clrXMQ

Internet computer [1] went online recently. There are a bunch of apps already developed by the community on its version of smart contracts [2]. Some examples:

- dscvr.one

- oc.app

- distrikt.io

Disclosure: I work at DFINITY.

[1] https://internetcomputer.org/

[2] https://smartcontracts.org/

My colleagues and I write about this now and then for Naavik: https://twitter.com/larsiusprime/status/1459191090100244483

Sufficiently non-tulipy?

Great thread, particularly the part on "land" in games. I've always found it a little off putting that so many cryptocurrency projects essentially advertise themselves by promising that early adopters will become landed gentry.

Also, I read the Transitional Gains Trap paper a few years ago and really liked it, but forgot the name and couldn't find it again, so you helped me find it again, thanks!

Yeah I learned about it literally the day I posted that; it's a great little concept to pack in my mental toolbox.

I posted a similar question to HN the other day and got some great info (thanks to everyone who contributed!). Check it out:


Doesn't exist. It's all tulip mania.

GitHub! It's all open source. EIPs are Ethereum Improvement Proposals. You can view them all here: https://github.com/ethereum/EIPs/issues

Ethereum Foundation blog is a good read on technical detail with no price discussion: https://blog.ethereum.org/

Why are they using GitHub, a closed-source, traditional, centralized code hosting platform?

Can't they use something "web3" even for this basic task of hosting a git repository (remembering that git itself is completely de-centralized)?

i know you are being snarky, but still, people are working on it https://radicle.xyz/

Why do you think that I am being snarky? I thought it was the very first question anyone would ask?! If you can't even do this basic thing that only devs would use (hence I assume it to be a much easier first target to get working as they are technical and can jump through hoops if necessary), then I imagine there's very few things you can make work, currently?

That said, it's nice to see there's some serious work going into this new stuff... driven by a non-profit foundation https://radicle.foundation/ , that does make me take it more seriously, I will check it out.

The answer is that decentralization is in many ways considered a spectrum. We're a long ways away from being able to interact with web3 with no centralized points. As an example, you're reliant on your ISP, DNS, and the web of trust (involving tiers of certificate authorities) to even connect to a web3-enabled site from your browser. The most popular wallet for interacting with smart contracts in the browser is source-available, but not open source.

Of course, any interactions with the blockchain directly (calling methods of deployed smart contracts, or transferring tokens), are decentralized, but if you want to verify the source code of the contract you're interacting with, the most convenient way again involves relying on a centralized service (etherscan or similar for other blockchains), while the decentralized way would involve downloading the contract source yourself, compiling it, and comparing that with what's on the blockchain.

While transfers have been "solved" in the cryptocurrency world (see Bitcoin et al), and likewise "computation" has been "solved" (see Ethereum et al), file storage is still not solved and seems to be a bit harder as it's taking time for the various solutions to mature enough to be useful for day to day usage.

I think it's kind-of-solved with IPFS and integrating IPFS hashes into the blockchain.

No, if you think so I don't think you properly understand IPFS. IPFS suffers the same problem as HTTP, content disappears when people stop serving it. Yes, it's easier to make sure it's online as it's content-addressed, but content still disappears. Filecoin is supposed to solve that particular problem, but seems to have trouble maturing right now as it's not mainstream yet to use, or maybe it solves the wrong problem/solves the right problem with the wrong solution.

Follow Lefteris on Twitter https://twitter.com/lefterisjp?s=21

Then look for people with .ETH to their name. A lot of them are technical and Ethereum Foundation members.

Bankless is almost exclusively just about ads to pump their own bags with little objectivity, though I guess they occasionally will have more knowledgeable guests who themselves might provide useful information. Either way, last place to go if you want to avoid the hype.

One only have to look at that website to realize it's the opposite of what simmanian is asking for.

> Each week you get...

> A rundown of opportunities

> A new crypto tactic to learn

> A new strategy to consider

> A recap with an action list

Absolutely zero focus on technical details...

... but go in knowing it is going to be a breathless hype-fest

just signed up here and already unsubscribed. way too kool-aid.

> without most of the tulip mania

Any zero knowledge / zksnarks communities are usually noise-free I found.

I just came across CoinSutra in which the article I read about Lido seemed very level headed and refreshing.

Otherwise I generally read CoinTelegraph but it can get very bullish at times.

It's very vast field, and by the day there is new stuff happening.

I'm in 2 months now and only scratched the surface.

In the Developer DAO (which is in founding) we currently plan to make all these web3 learning resources more accessible.

But right now, you can look here for resources: https://github.com/Developer-DAO/resources

You plan to make learning resources more accessible by gating them behind a limited supply NFT? Interesting.

Get rich quick by writing get-rich-quick books

While many of the members are just starting their journey, the NFTs are more of an incentivization for the creators of learning resources, I think.

The resources themselves, when created, should reach as many people as possible.

Noble goal, but I really don't understand what advantage you gain from selecting contributors with NFTs.

To be honest, I hope it fails. Developer communities are one of the very few places in crypto that aren't totally infested by Ponzi grifters and where you can find honest conversation, so I wasn't exactly thrilled when I saw this pop up. We don't need more wonky centrally-managed incentives. Incentives can be harmful. It most often reduces to a simple Ponzi.

To me it seemed that the incentives are used to make decentralization more secure in the future, but let's see how that goes.

It feels like a refreshing alternative to the run of the mill VC/startup model.

You'll make your money and in a year or two you'll turn cynic. That's always how it goes with the smart people in this field. Enjoy the trip.

I'm quite happy being a cynic in the field. Helps projects I work on stay measured. Not everyone in the web3/blockchain space is money oriented, some are interested in the technical stuff that's hard to find as easily in other fields.

Money and cynic?

I would have expected OR instead of AND. :)

I mostly agree with the OP. web3 "feels" like trendy possible next gen plumbing that something (don't know what yet) will be built on much later. So all these kids are busy building things in it and experimenting and I think that's awesome. All of this is mildly interesting...but...

Web2 isn't going anywhere. It's not about some ephemeral future of web3, but more about stuff most people care about works in web2. Which is mainly, stream a flick, buy a pair of pants, watch football, order food. Web3 really doesn't influence any of those basic needs. And social networks? web3+Facebook would be EVEN WORSE. Hard pass.

Tokenizing humanity is _not_ the way to go.

> Which is mainly, stream a flick, buy a pair of pants, watch football, order food

You could do all those things in the 80's, too. Cable, mail-order catalogs, pizza delivery. It's just gotten a lot better. Web3 will have to make things a lot better, and the only big openings I'm seeing are around management of personal data, but I don't think blockchains really help with that compared to even public cloud providers.

One of the more interesting things I've felt about web3 is the idea of portable identities not being locked to centralized account management systems/walled gardens. This applies to tokens as well - eg, an asset that is no longer locked in to a particular game and could be used anywhere on chain. I'm thinking of MMORPGs having their servers shut down. It's interesting to imagine these things existing beyond the games themselves. I'm not a gamer (nor a collector of anything really), but I could imagine how interesting it would be to hold on to one's relics from these games, bringing them into new virtual worlds, even passing them down like family heirlooms. It seems like something that was often dismissed until the NFT boom lent some credence to the notion that digital artifacts need not be entirely disposable. Be it better or worse for the world, ultimately it really is a bizarre but fascinating experiment/exploration into our ideas of value and provenance.

I find it hard to imagine that a developer of a game is going to be happy with someone bringing something from another game into theirs. How would that even work? Does the developer need to create stats for every item that's been in any game that's existed up to that point to balance it? How would it work if the mechanic the item grants isn't even part of the game you are in?

If it's a standard NFT the original developers don't have a say in how a different developer wants to integrate the user's ownership of that token. If I see that your wallet has ownership of "sword of fire" from WoW and want to convert that to "saber of flame" in my game I can. I could even leave the same name, program the same design of the original weapon in, and appropriate the mechanic into my own game (ignoring the legality here and just focusing on feasibility). This is all possible because of how blockchains work -- all transactions (and the resultant change in state) are public and I can always identify which NFTs you own that way.

EDIT: I also wanted to add in that the smart contract that supports an NFT can be made in a way that allows the original developers to collect fees on every transfer of the asset. This means it might even be in my best interest as the original developer to endorse other games using my in-game NFTs because the longer I can get people transacting with my asset, the longer I can keep collecting revenue. I might even pay other game developers to integrate my item into their game to make this happen.

None of that makes any sense. I get what an NFT is. What I want to know is how the mechanics of taking a "sword of fire" from WoW and importing it into RandomNewGame will work without the developer of RandomNewGame specifically programming it in. And if the requirement is that they program in some compatibility with the WoW sword of fire, will they not need to then also program in support for all the billions of existing and infinite yet-to-be-existing items that someone will want to import into the game? You can spin SciFi tales to a different question. I'm asking for specifics on how this ridiculous idea would work.

With game assets what you'll probably find is that even tokenised you won't own the asset itself and it'll be pretty strongly licensed. For example like Meebits are: https://meebits.larvalabs.com/meebits/termsandconditions

So the likelihood of an item living on in another game could be quite tenuous. Not least because you have to hope the game developer supports your items and there isn't a strong incentive to do that.

The other side of it is whether these will have any meaning beyond being a nice reminder. In that sense you don't really need a token but to own your own data about the game. In this sense we can already see people holding onto the meaning of their previous gaming adventures, through maintaining friendships, keeping screenshots, diaries and other media about them and so on.

We have already tokenized humanity, what a strange hill to die on.

Correct. I'd like to see us un-tokenize it. Not harden it with blockchain.

You do realize web3 seeks to give ownership over your online identity while maintaining anonymity right?

It feels like a lot of you guys have no idea what is going on here and just want to be mad at something.

100% defensive mischaracterization of what I said.

I don't hate blockchain or NFT's or BTC or any of it.

I will say this though. If you think anyone is anonymous even on the dark web, I have an invisible bridge over lake michigan to sell you. The NSA I'm sure knows every single transaction, including the who's and the what's. Corporate America isn't far behind identifying blockchain transactions.

The fundamental power of the internet is its interoperability. It was born out of the ability of different networks to talk to each other using common protocols.

The interoperability is what we've lost in the Web 2.0 era. Even such quintessential thing as a web API has no well defined standard or protocol, just a very vague concept of REST or RPC.

I want Web 3.0 to get interoperability back. We badly need commonly accepted standards and decentralized protocols: for web APIs, for identity management, for message queuing, for web callbacks (webhooks), for online transactions, for semantic web and ontology, etc.

Take, for instance, web APIs. It's barely usable nowadays. Imagine if you had to write a special browser every time you need to connect to a new website. But this is what already happens with APIs. Accessing programmatically any web-service requires custom coding an API. Insane!

> The interoperability is what we've lost in the Web 2.0 era

This is a huge claim that doesn't match reality. We still use browsers, HTTP clients still respect mediatypes, and websites still return HTML. We have even more standards now than we did at the beginning of Web 2.0, with things like microdata, opengraph, etc. Even non-HTML HTTP APIs are even more standard with things like grpc, json-api.org, and graphql.

Maybe since my job is to literally do this I have a different take.

>This is a huge claim that doesn't match reality.

You have a point that the interoperability that existed pre-Web 2.0 is still here and wasn't taken away (except for things like RSS).

My point is that we didn't move significantly ahead with interoperability and stuck with centralized proprietary services and niche protocols.

>grpc, json-api.org, and graphql.

You're totally missing the point. With an email client I can connect to any IMAP service (and there are tens of thousands of them). With an SFTP client I can connect to any SFTP server (and there are thousands of them) and download files. Again, without coding, just by configuring the connection.

What public service can I connect to with a GraphQL client (do they even exist?) without coding, just by configuring the connection settings like with an email client?

    What public service can I connect to with a GraphQL client (do they even exist?) without coding
GitHub? https://docs.github.com/en/graphql

I think there is some weight to the claim.

This is especially true for public user generated content. Any public content should be accessible without limits, but that is not the case with web2(twitter, public Instagram, forums etc).

ofcourse, there are some server costs but the primary reason the walled-gardens do this is more business related than to reduce costs.

There is zero weight to the claim. Not only does it ignore an massive amount of improvements since the early 90's, it seems to completely ignore what Web 2.0 was about.

> Any public content should be accessible without limits,

This is not related to the discussion, even if I did agree with it.

> but that is not the case with web2(twitter, public Instagram, forums etc).

Twitter and "forums" are all completely accessible via a browser, which is literally what the original claim suggests we've "lost". You don't need to read twitter with a special twitter client, you read it with the any HATEOAS client.

I urge developers to actually read some history.

> ignore an massive amount of improvements since the early 90's

That's not the point. having massive improvements since 90s does not imply that we are going to continue from the same path from here on.

> completely accessible via a browser

accessible via a browser is not the same as accessible / interoperable broadly.

> You don't need to read twitter with a special twitter client

YES, some people want to. or maybe I want to do some data analytics, maybe I want to create a localized twitter, or I want to do take public social graphs and do something with it.

web2.0 was about standardizing transport level protocols, web3 is(imo) about standardizing application level protocols using commitment guarantees.

When I use some web2 service, there is almost no commitment guarantees(you can get censored, your data might be access gated or deleted, banks can stop you from doing certain transactions).

Crypto and web3 is about fixing these issues. If Bitcoin promises to work in a certain way today, it will more likely than not work in the same way 10 years from now.

The accessibility of public web is what web 3.0 is about however. With semantic web and stuff.

Twitter is accessible except "this nitter instance has been rate limited", and don't forget instagram...

> The accessibility of public web is what web 3.0 is about however.

The definition of web 3.0 changes depending on who I am talking to and how deep into crypto they are.

> semantic web

That's Web 2.0, it exists just fine now and hasn't gone away like the original poster claimed.

> Twitter is accessible

Okay, glad we agree on reality.

> "this nitter instance has been rate limited"

If you think there won't be rate limiting in whatever "web 3.0" distributed service is out there, I have a bridge to sell you.

> and don't forget instagram

Multiple "web 3.0" services that exist today have their content gatekeeped to those who have accounts.

Web 3.0 refers to the semantic web specifically, nothing to do with crypto. You are confusing it with "web3". And no, web 2.0 is not the semantic web.

"Okay, glad we agree on reality."

We don't.

if "web3" works anything like crypto, there wouldn't be any rate limiting as long as you have control over your own node(it might be more expensive / harder to set one up though).

In the same way torrents are not rate limited.

Decentralisation is not interoperability.

As far as I understand Web3 is mostly presented with descentralisation in mind.

> We badly need commonly accepted standards and decentralized protocols

In my opinion "standard" and "descentralization" does not work good to support the same argument.

Here is one among many possible ways the future might unfold: a totally descentralized internet might be completely controller by few corporations. The reason is simple in my opinion: The normal user does not care about this. The normal user cares to talk with their family and their family are all using the web3-chat from BigOrg. Because BigOrg can give it for free and it works on all devices. Now as everything is descentralized BigOrg is also pushing a new browser. But this browser is showing only content from BigOrg through BigOrg descentralized servers. They have their own Web3-Smart-Blockchain-Ready-NoNSdeletion-DNS that is used only by their own browser that displays only websites that are registered there.

Now try to switch that normal user to another provider. That will be hard thing to do.

I think users will be _more_ captive than they are now as switching between descentralized services is hard. No business yet has an incentive to make a descentralized service and in the same time use a standard.

Of course I am missing maybe some web3 tech and I am in no way an expert in what web3 is or it will be.

> I want Web 3.0 to get interoperability back. We badly need commonly accepted standards and decentralized protocols

Check out Homescreen: https://homescreen.hns.siasky.net/

It's a decentralized front-end in a decentralized cloud for Web3.0 apps.

> Take, for instance, web APIs. It's barely usable nowadays.

Pretty much every app we use, system integration, anything really that has to communicate with third-parties, is driven by web APIs. If you think that they are barely usable, then I don't know what usable means to you.

> We badly need commonly accepted standards and decentralized protocols

Maybe , but there's a bunch of protocols today that make everything work quite nicely:

* authorization/delegation between third-parties: OAuth

* identity: OpenID Connect

* data exchange format: JSON and many other media-types like XML, protobuffers, messagepack etc.

* presentation layer format: HTML5

* data schemas: JSON-Schema, GraphQL, RDF...

Integrating decentralization stacks with these technologies is totally possible, and that's what, e.g. Solid is trying to do: https://solidproject.org/developers/tools/

The desire to "start from scratch" and invent new protocols for "web3" is understandable, as the OP mentions in the blog post... but that's highly unlikely to be the best way to go about it, and inventing new technologies and throwing away all of the experience we've gained over the first few decades of Internet history is bound to fail everytime, IMHO.

> Imagine if you had to write a special browser every time you need to connect to a new website. But this is what already happens with APIs.

Well, browsers only work because they are user agents. If your API required an user agent, it would not need a special client: just assume a user-agent is on the other side and it will work exactly was with any website. However, people seem to think it's possible to automate any API like that: that's patently false. Have you tried to use REST as it's actually meant to, with hypermedia-driven discovery, zero-knowledge clients which only need to be pointed at an URL and nothing else, to implement your common backend-to-backend interactions? Do you think it's even possible to do it?

I am currently working on something on those lines, but when you think a little bit about that, you quickly realize clients need to be written specifically to know what to do with the data they are given in a pretty hard-coded way. Until we have "intelligen" clients that can think like a human , only user-agents can benefit from hypermedia-driven flows, which explains why only browsers (and a few special-purpose user applications that are analogous to web browsers, but for very specific domains) are designed on those lines to this day.

Random question, someone mentioned a similar data-pod project to SOLID that aimed to be simpler. Does anyone remember what it's called?

I think that one of the most exciting facets of web3 stuff is around how easy it makes authentication and authorization scenarios. I've been working on a project that is an interactive NFT art project, where the interactive capabilities of the art are only possible for the owners of the piece. Providing authorization to the service is as simple as verifying ownership of the token. It's been pretty fun, I used an open source game engine as both the art generative tool as well as the interactive HTML5 app that allows for users to interact with their art.

That, and utilizing wallets as proof of identity, is so mindnumbingly simple compared to OAuth+OIDC for authentication and varying strategies for authorization. Granted the project is a small scale project, but with web3 architectural changes, it is empowering me to create a 2 person project (I am the only engineer too), that would be much more daunting of a project in traditional web architecture.

It's very exciting stuff, and I hope that people are able to see the tech for the possibilities it provides, especially when it comes to the NFT space. An NFT is just simply a single issue token, it can do whatever the developer wants, despite the common misperception being it is solely a link to a static image file on arweave / IPFS. Unfortunately the market is completely saturated with low-effort projects so it is very, very difficult to get eyes on innovative projects, but I hope that can change, and hope that I can create a project that allows even a small amount of people to see that there is so much more to the technology than what people have considered in 2021.

Agree. Gets lost in the decentralization memes? Strong, shared identity and auth for digital assets can't be overstated? This enables new models for digital ownership, value, trade, markets and storage of information.

I've been brainstorming a lot honestly about the implications that simple proof of identity and proof of ownership can really imply. I honestly might try my hand at creating a full out replacement for existing authorization techniques sometime next year, I've got some ideas and frankly if it works it's so simple it's stupid lol.

It's so fascinating to me to realize that users being owners of their own private keys allows for us to create websites that don't rely on traditional registration flows, SSO, email addresses, password handling, or anything. It almost feels like cheating compared to the pain I've had to deal with in the corporate world implementing services like IdentityServer4 or Keycloak.

Yup - love how easy it is to login to web3 projects!

Have you also looked into Zero Knowledge?

It lets someone prove that they know or have something without giving up any information about what they know or have.

Not Boring did a good piece on it. https://www.notboring.co/p/zero-knowledge

I have not actually, I'll look into this, thank you for sharing!

tldr: you can enjoy ZKPs without blockchain


Adding to OP's comment a bit of context:

As someone deep into ZKPs related to blockchain I should note that ZKPs have nothing to do with blockchain in their origin; the cryptography behind them was developed in the 80s (even protocols like zkSNARKs). Many applications are also not specific to blockchain and a lot of work on their mathematics does not relate directly to blockchain either

That said, a decent chunk is now directly for applications in that field. For instance, key decisions around the cryptography used by Circom (a zkSNARK language) are predicated on the idea they will be used in EVM smart contracts. Same is true of snarkjs that exports Solidity verifiers.

Totally agree, built a few dapps this year and the auth story is always such a breeze.

Had to work on an old project for a client that was using oauth2 and it felt so archaic.

Is there a reference you could share for how you did authentication / authorization?

You can check https://collab.land/ which allows Discord users to access certain channels after proving token ownership.

I unfortunately don't have an easily available reference really, it's all stuff I architected really myself. I can give a quick rundown though.

For the authentication side:

authentication, is simply connecting your wallet. Since each user has to have a wallet to interact with blockchain tech, that just simply means each user is the owner of their own private key. You can utilize this fact by connecting user's wallets. Once a user connects their wallet, you have proof of identity. If you need to verify it further, you can also have them sign a message and validate the signature on your backend.

I've been working with Solana, and some of the wallet providers I've been integrating with (specifically Phantom wallet) have very easy to use APIs that allow for requests to sign a message. It uses Ed25519 for signing, so it is an incredibly quick operation to verify that the signed message is a legitimate message signed by the wallet they claim to be. You can even add something like a timestamp or whatever to the message, to avoid static message signatures phished from other sites.

Once you have verified their identity by connecting their wallet, you can simply use these facts to retrieve whatever data they require.

On the authorization side:

I can really only use the example for my NFT project for authorization, but there are certainly many other ways to implement authorization. I have a service that I've created that I wanted to lock down to only be accessible to owners of a specific NFT. Since NFTs are essentially a proof of ownership concept natively, to provide access to my service I decided to implement the following:

1. Authenticate the user via connecting their wallet

2. Using the same signature method I mentioned above, sign a message, and verify the signature.

3. Once I have verified the user is who they claim to be, I check the token balance for the NFT that exists in their token account. Since NFTs are single issue, all I need to do is verify the user is holding the token they are attempting to use for accessing this service.

For example, if a user X is attempting to access the service for token Y, it's as simple as:

1. Verify the user is who they say they are

2. Verify the user holds the token they claim to be holding.

This is how I've been implementing authentication and authorization on my project. I think it's been really fun to architect this solution, we haven't gone live yet but I think that it'll work how I am expecting.

Thanks for the information, that is very useful. Do you have a list of “gotchas” to watch out for while working with Solana, or blockchains in general?

I only have experience in Ethereum, in terms of writing smart contracts. For Solana, I've yet to create an onchain program but understand some of the key differences between the ecosystems (please note, I am by no means an expert. I've only had exposure to the ecosystem for around 5 months as a developer):

Solana works completely, and entirely different than ethereum. Like almost nothing works the same lol. In Solana, on-chain programs cannot store tokens in the same way that smart contracts can in Ethereum. Instead, you create essentially temporary wallets (these are wallets with public keys that fall outside of the Ed25519 curve), which act as temporary storage for whatever transaction you are performing. This is an important difference that is very unintuitive when coming from Ethereum.

Likewise, Solana has a solution for limiting amounts of computation in a single transaction. Having an upper bound on the amount of computational complexity that can occur in a single transaction I believe is a really smart limit to have, as it forces developers to be very aware of the computational complexity of their code. Ethereum of course is the same in the sense that it strongly encourages optimized code, however, poorly optimized code punishes the end user by charging higher gas fees. With the cap on Solana, if you attempt to execute a transaction that is beyond this threshold, it fails the transaction and returns any assets to the respective parties. Of course, if you are doing something that exceeds this threshold computationally, then you can make multiple transactions (check the Solana wormhole bridge for a very valid example of this.)

Ethereum is also a more mature development ecosystem at the moment. There are tons of different tooling and projects available that really allow you to build applications in a truly innovative fashion. My personal favorite project on Ethereum is The Graph - which allows for you to index any data/events that are executed on a smart contract, and then access that indexed data via GraphQL APIs. It's incredibly powerful, and with some creativity will allow for you to write decentralized applications using this as your decentralized database. It's quite a fascinating project.

However, I cannot recommend currently developing on Ethereum directly. It is experiencing terrible scalability issues (I am aware that they are working on different techniques and proposals to address this, however right now to use Ethereum directly is financially impractical). Simple transactions as of today often will cost $100 or more, and take ~30seconds to a minute to transact. Solana on the other hand is designed in a way that transaction costs should never exceed 1 cent (IIRC). They currently cost a fraction of a cent, and execute in seconds.

There are of course different layers that you can work with in the Ethereum ecosystem, and if you are interested in working in the space, I strongly recommend checking out other Layer 2 EVM solutions. There are a lot of different layer 2 chains that let you leverage Solidity and most of the Ethereum tooling while avoiding the absolutely insane transaction costs.

At the end of the day though, if you are interested in a project in the space, I recommend checking out the different chains strengths and weaknesses, play around with a few different ideas, maybe enter some hackathons to get some hands on experience. Each chain has their strengths and weaknesses. For my current project I chose Solana because I believe it has the best scalability solution for all programmable chains today, and I can release a unique project on there, charge a low price for minting our tokens, and not worry about users being unable to afford the mint due to transaction costs. If I wanted to create a more complex dapp, I'd likely use an EVM chain, so I can leverage The Graph and truly decentralize every aspect of my app.

I really appreciate you sharing you perspective on this (as someone getting started with developing for EVM myself)

If you don't mind answering two more questions:

- Why did you choose Solana instead of Polygon/Avalanche/Fantom/Harmony or any of the other EVM compatible chains? I realize you mentioned Eth's scalability issues as a barrier, but I believe Fantom, Polygon, Harmony are roughly the same as Solana in speed/cost. (Fantom is more expensive than harmony, but a bit faster. Harmony transactions cost pennies but take 3-4 seconds to resolve, and Polygon is usually a fraction of a penny, but seems to take 4-6 seconds for finality)

- Can smart contracts written in Solidity really be ported over to Solana using some tool I've heard mention of? Or is that really just more of a quickstart helper? From what you described it sounds like a lot of the contract logic would have to change

No problem, I've been doing basically solo research and experimentation for the past few months so it's fun to at least share a bit of knowledge I've accrued along the way.

For as to why Solana - it's a combination of me being very impressed by their tech as a user, engineering curiousity, and market research as to why I decided to use it for my project. I think that despite Solana having exponential growth this year, that it's likely we are still early in that specific ecosystem. I have no doubt that they are in it for the long run, and there are already some pretty impressive projects in the ecosystem and a lot more upcoming.

This is my first real independent venture since leaving the corporate world, so my personal belief from evaluating the ecosystems is that I'll put my bets on Solana. I want to both charge a low mint cost, and if I'm successful in building a small community and raising enough capitol to prevent me from having to go back and get a traditional job next year, support a longer term gaming project, and a lot of upcoming gaming projects seem to be converging on the chain. So, it's pretty much that. I don't have the same faith that these ETH L2 solutions will be heavily used 5 years from now that I do with Solana, and honestly the NFT market has been exploding lately there. Nothing's certain of course in this space, so I had to put my chips in some bag.

I also had some very poor experiences in both ETH, as well as Polygon, and wanted to just try something different. Polygon is very cheap and works well when it works, however it seems to be suffering from congestion issues on the validator nodes. I had a transaction stuck in essentially a traffic jam unable to do anything other than wait a half hour for it to clear, and did a little bit of investigation in social channels and saw I wasn't the only one that was having periodic issues with the chain. For other chains, I have only had positive experiences with AVAX, so there is that.

And yeah, there is the ability to use Solidity contracts to Solana apparently. I've never used this tool, but heard about it the other week and seems like it will be a pretty cool project to follow - https://neon-labs.org/ - They seem to be an EVM for Solana, they were I believe unveiled at the recent Solana conference. I've not looked into them more beyond this, but yeah they might be a good project to look into if you are interested in porting some Solidity contracts to Solana.

Thank you - super interesting

For front end auth it’s as easy as pulling in a react web3 lib.

Authorizing the service itself to act on the users behalf is a little trickier and usually involves contract signing.

Maybe a curated marketplace would be a good place for those projects?

Yeah, there are some marketplaces that are trying to only curate high quality projects, and others that are more open to accepting any project. It's actually pretty crazy right now, there's so many ongoing independent projects that some of these exchanges and launchpads have huge queues.

I'm hoping that my project will be able to be featured on one of these marketplaces, but it's been rough out there. I think once I finish up and polish our roadmap and goals for the project, in addition to the already existing website and short video preview, we'll be able to get in on one of those. Fingers crossed, at least :)

What engine did you use?


Lame. Web3 used to mean the semantic web. That died. Even before that died social media marketers were already using the term Web3.0 to refer to some advertising nonsense.

Now it seems it is something vaguely related to blockchain. At the moment blockchain is directly tied to crypto currency, which to almost everybody looks like a giant Ponzi scheme.

Until the concept of blockchain is completely divorced from crypto currencies they can name this nonsence whatever they want. It won't stick. Nobody cares except for the few people already making money off this.

I'm generally wary of anything that tries to make up a web version number. Since the internet is a decentralized system, attempting to stick a version number on it is inherently a dumb marketing exercise. Double so when describing something in the future -- maybe you can retroactively say some conventions have become so prevalent as to deserve to be called "web 2.0," but certainly nobody knows what conventions will become prevalent enough to be called 3.0.

The builders will win and naysayers will be long forgotten. I work full time in this space and it is evolving faster than I can keep up with.

DAOs, NFTs, tokens, decentralized file storage, decentralized identity via public keys and smart contracts, tokens as authentication, on-chain reputation systems, oracles, fundraising with no third parties or gatekeepers, etc are all here to stay and will evolve further and faster than your bias will let you see.

If you have an alternative to the monopolistic web and mobile dystopia we find ourselves in, wherein we can only speak within the narrow band of corporately acceptable speech and expression, and we can only transact with the blessings of PayPal's overlords, that doesn't involve crypto or blockchain, I suggest you quit your job to build it.

Otherwise, I fear you might be too late at disrupting the establishment, as the builders are well under way, working on Web3 powered by crypto (in both senses of the word).

I advise/consult/build technology for a wide range of industries. (From AEC Firms to Major league sports teams) From my perch, the meaningful proliferation of blockchain in those industries has been...zero. And that's not to say it hasn't been on the tip of many of their CTO's tongues.

Your giant list of of terminology isn't making much of an impact on me. In fact many of those sounds terrible.

So giving your post the benefit of the doubt, when can I expect to be disrupted out of a job by even a single item on your list?

As with most technological advances and innovations, people - even laggards of technological adoption - tend to over-estimate in the near term and under-estimate in the long term in terms of predicting the 'impact' of a given technology. So based on nothing at all other than witnessing corporations and industries rise and fall for more than 2 decades now because of new technologies, let's say 7 years before you're out. Fair?

As I look around at a pile of RFPs with companies running some core functionality on Windows Server 2003, RHEL 5, MYSQL 4 etc....I'll take that bet.

I suspect these companies view upgrading core functionality tech as a cost center to be avoided at all costs and for as long as humanly possible. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it", I hear them bark from their bean-counting management perch. So too were the companies that were content with their horse drawn delivery trucks to move their goods around town.

We now have a better, faster, cheaper (by orders of magnitude) way to move not goods but value through a network.

Obviously neither of us know how long it'll take for the legacy systems to completely die off, but they will. So I'll simplify the bet to: when, not if. Still game?

It'll come. As ethereum's scaling gets past the current growing pains and zkrollups like zkSync become prominent i expect enterprise interest will pick up, especially with initiatives like baseline protocol.

Companies can run their own private execution and data availability layer and have full control while not needing to worry about settlement.

I think the most likely thing you'll see popping up is NFTs as tickets to sports games. That's one of the few NFT use-cases I really love and think makes sense.

What deficiencies with existing ticketing solutions do NFTs provide?

The thing I love is the idea of atomic transactions. What does that mean? Well the transfer of a ticket for money could be a single transaction. No ticket without money, no money without ticket. Sure, you could use some tech to do this - maybe rely on Paypals guarantees to get your money or ticket back if the other person is fraudulent. But how do you guarantee the ticket is authentic? Well I can include a verification step in the transaction to only send my money if the ticket is valid with a smart contract. Now you have a peer-to-peer trustless safe method of trading tickets with strangers. The ticket providers can mint x tokens for a release and enable a safe resale market while users can feel safe buying and selling tickets online.

> Now you have a peer-to-peer trustless safe method of trading tickets with strangers.

No. You don't. because you also have to verify that the person who is selling tickets actually has the right to do so.

Simple - either metadata or part of the validator

That is not an answer. What metadata? What validator? Who provides and verifies that metadata? Who provides the validator?

Okay going into it more:

An NFT can store on-chain metadata. A simple boolean flag would let you mark it as resellable or not. In minting the tickets you can create a validator that checks authenticity but you can check these things yourself: that it originates from the organization for example. The metadata is immutable so if it's come from the organization it's authentic. Because NFTs are tokens are money you can transfer USDC for BackstreetBoysGig#Ticket1021 where O2ArenaTicketVerifier authenticates the ticket as part of the transaction only confirming it if the ticket is resellable and authentic.

How does a company know their tickets have been resold, if they don't want that to happen? Well you look at the tx history of the NFT - if it's been traded > 1 time it's been resold.

Compare these potential benefits with the existing ticket industry (including resale sites) and you see several benefits. You can remove intermediary companies meaning people pay less in fees and you can avoid ticket fraud. Is this an issue? Yes: https://www.theguardian.com/money/2020/feb/24/touts-who-made...

> In minting the tickets you can create a validator that checks authenticity but you can check these things yourself: that it originates from the organization for example

You, yourself, you: who is this "you". How do you verify that a particular resellable ticket actually comes from an org authorized to sell tickets? Who's to stop me from selling counterfeit tickets?

> where O2ArenaTicketVerifier authenticates the ticket as part of the transaction

So. In the end the org itself verifies it. You know that they can easily do it now, without the overhead of blockchain?

> How does a company know their tickets have been resold, if they don't want that to happen? Well you look at the tx history of the NFT - if it's been traded > 1 time it's been resold.

Because people will always put all their transactions for resold tickets on the blockchain, right

> Compare these potential benefits

You haven't listed "potential benefits" except maybe tracking reselling of tickets.

Sorry, I don't think you understand this technology at all. I appreciate one might want to remain sceptical of something that has so much FOMO and tulip behaviour but I feel you're being facetious. There's a well-known issue of third-party ticket sales and this method allows you to have digital proof that a ticket is authentic while allowing you to buy and sell with the guarantee if you send a valid money/ticket you will receive money/ticket.

> You, yourself, you: who is this "you". How do you verify that a particular resellable ticket actually comes from an org authorized to sell tickets? Who's to stop me from selling counterfeit tickets?

The organisation selling the tickets can create the verifier.

> So. In the end the org itself verifies it. You know that they can easily do it now, without the overhead of blockchain?

Yep absolutely! But it's very hard for someone who's buying the ticket from a third-party to verify the ticket.

> Because people will always put all their transactions for resold tickets on the blockchain, right

The NFT is the ticket. To transfer it is a transaction. If you were to resell the ticket offline and give someone your private key to access the ticket then fair enough but all you need to do here is have a hash of the buyers name as metadata and that resolves that.

Edit: If this isn't a problem, how would you buy a ticket from me to a gig with the information purely available to you about me right now? What would be the process? With a blockchain I could share a link to a transaction where you'd see a ticket is available for $10 USDC, you could put that ticket into the gigs site to verify it or look at the ticket origin and see it's from the organisers account, and send me the 10USDC immediately receiving a valid ticket into your wallet. If you're worried it's not allowed to be resold you can check the policy metadata embedded into the ticket saying "Resales are allowed".

> Sorry, I don't think you understand this technology at all. I appreciate one might want to remain sceptical of something that has so much FOMO

This is pure demagoguery.

> There's a well-known issue of third-party ticket sales and this method allows you to have digital proof that a ticket is authentic

You still haven't said how exactly we know the ticket is authentic: who verifies it's issued by the authorized org (not to mention resellers), who verifies it's authentic when the person shows up with it etc.

> The organisation selling the tickets can create the verifier.

The already do that, without blockchain.

For all the talk of "you don't understand technology" and "there are benefits", you come back to something that already exists and is already implemented: a central organization issues tickets and verifies them.

What exactly does blockchain bring into the picture?

> But it's very hard for someone who's buying the ticket from a third-party to verify the ticket.

How would they verify it form a "first party"? Who's to say who is "first party" and who's not? And that's before we get to the question of authorized resellers, people buying tickets for friends etc.

> If you're worried it's not allowed to be resold you can check the policy metadata embedded into the ticket saying "Resales are allowed".

Once again, there's some unknown "you" who somehow magically verifies some data.

The ticket is authenticated as yours by using the private key of the wallet that holds the ticket.

The company creating the tickets will say if it’s resellable etc, these are purely properties of an object.

Verifiers may well exist but how do you know someone hasn’t sold a ticket to two people? How do you know the ticket you receive is the one you see?

Also there may be some language context issues here. With NFT tickets I’m saying it’s possible to essentially use an API provided by an organization to verify a ticket. You can trust O2 Arena will know if a ticket to their own venue is authentic or not. They could provide an API that takes a ticket and returns a Boolean. A monetary transaction can be written that will only complete if the O2 Arena API confirms the ticket being traded is an authentic resellable ticket, otherwise it’d fail. That’s the thing here - we’re talking about programmable money and digital items can be seen as extensions of money with NFTs.

Another example - resellable digital games. You could have a game license that is resellable - any user account can play any game that they own the license for, and NFTs allow you to model this (it allows for trusted trading, it avoids double spend issues, with here cannot not be one instance of an NFT on a chain, etc…)

So, as luck would have it, today I had to fly from outside the Schengen zone into the Schengen zone with a layover.

So, passport checks, covid certificate checks, ticket checks. The ticket is non-resellable, non-refundable, non-transferrable to another person.

Guess how many of those steps required a blockchain. Also guess how many of those steps simply worked, and didn't need a blockchain.

Edit: Also worth noting: I bought the ticket through what is essentially a reseller (an aggregator site), and I could verify the ticket's authenticity with the organizer (the air company). Guess how many of these steps needed a blockchain to work.

# Problem statement

See, the problem with all you're describing (and the problem with any attempt to apply blockchains to anything) is that:

- it barely manages to cover the simplest of cases that already exist without any blockchain

- it makes a great many other cases needlessly complicated and complex

- for anything beyond the simplest cases (and often for the simplest case itself) it reverts back to approaches that already exist without a blockchain. And if those approaches don't exist, no idea why they would suddenly appear if you throw blockchain into the mix

So, back to your ticketing examples.

# The absolute simplest case: The organiser sells the ticket to a person.

1. Organisers generally don't care whether the person holding the ticket is the person who bought the ticket

You show up with a QR code, the QR code passes, you're through. That's it. For the rather rare cases where a person's authenticity needs to be verified, checking a person's id is more than sufficient.

In the case of blockchain, what is the exact process at the point of entry to the venue to both check that the ticket is valid and that the person is the one who bought it? The moment you say "yeah, the organiser will provide some external validator to check something", you lost: it can be done and is being done already, and you don't need blockchain for this.

2. To verify ticket authenticity the organiser or the ticket "it's possible to use an API", "O2 Arena could provide an API" etc.

"Possible", "could". They could do that already. Do they provide that API now? If not, why? And if not, why will they suddenly decide to provide the API when the tickets are on the blockchain?

So, blockchain brings literally nothing into this: to verify that a ticket is authentic you still have to rely on some third party external to the blockchain to provide some means of verification entirely external to the blockchain. Why do you need blockchain in this case? You can verify a QR code just as easily, and yet O2 Arena doesn't provide an API to do that, go figure.

3. They could provide an API that takes a ticket and returns a Boolean. A monetary transaction can be written that will only complete if the O2 Arena API confirms the ticket being traded is an authentic resellable ticket

So, a party external to the blockchain has to provide an API external to the blockchain that relies on non-standard object metadata recognisable only by that API external to the blockchain to ... write some transaction onto blockchain.

Why is blockchain needed at all in this case? To "make sure that if an object is marked as non-resellable we have a transaction log"? Well, maybe there's value in that, but it relies exclusively on non-existent APIs outside the blockchain that will maybe possibly perhaps appear.

And this "it's non-resellable, so no transactions can be written beyond the original one" preclude or make harder other very simple but very common cases:

# Other very simple but very common cases that are not taken into consideration because crypto-proponents have no idea how the real world works

- tickets are bought as gifts

- tickets are just given away because the person who bought them can't go

- tickets are bought in bulk for a group of people (so as gifts or given away)

- tickets are offered in bulk to orgs or bought in bulk by orgs to distribute between members of the org (corporate events, fan clubs etc.)

- tickets are re-sold by a chain of authorised resellers (chain being the key word here: a shop selling tickets in lower Manhattan could be on step 5 of the reseller ladder)

In the absolute vast majority of cases these cases are immediate and painless now. You buy a ticket and you hand it to another person.

In case of blockchain? Oh. "It's not resellable by the object metadata, so it will be invalid at the point of entry"? Or will you add more and more fields to the object metadata such as "gift, non-monetary transfer, corporate, reseller max steps 3" etc.? All of those fields non-standard, and relying on some external party to come up with an API that successfully deals with all these situations?

Why? And what exactly does it give anyone involved: both the organisers and the people who go to an event?

And, more importantly: how does it improve the current existing situation? Not in the simplest case that you came up with, but in all cases?

> Another example

No. Let's figure out one example first

Are you completely unaware of how the blockchain is validated and the cryptography underlying it?

I am aware of reality that doesn't care for wishful thinking.

See my response here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=29277622

Trust-less transfer, verification, & sales. The ability to provide additional value after the event. The ability to provide perks to recurring attendees. Means and reason to sell the ticket after the event.

> The ability to provide additional value after the event. The ability to provide perks to recurring attendees. Means and reason to sell the ticket after the event.

This... This can already be done and is already being done now, without any blockchains. There's literally nothing difficult in doing this.

> DAOs, NFTs, tokens, decentralized file storage, decentralized identity via public keys and smart contracts, tokens as authentication, on-chain reputation systems, oracles, fundraising with no third parties or gatekeepers, etc are all

99% scam. The remaining 1% is either more efficient and scalable in literally any other tech, or are busy re-inventing all the centralised institutions that come from, you know, the need to operate in reality.

> Otherwise, I fear you might be too late at disrupting the establishment

By saying "too late at disrupting the establishment" you're implying that the establishment is already disrupted. It's objectively not.

I agree with your sentiments on decentralization and the dystopian aspects of what our current web has become.

However I still have yet to be convinced of any real value or need of an NFT. For example let say I am the owner of a famous “Tweet”. This NFT shows exactly what … a unique token saying it’s mine ? A token with no legal recourse to stop others from using what I purchased? If you think about it from an opposing viewpoint in many ways you really own nothing except what people believe you own … which in this case is a small minority of people. A very small subset of people will currently even recognize what an NFT is and an even smaller subset will acknowledge and believe I own anything … reducing its value. Further the information and value of the “Tweet” (or digital art, or whatever) is not contained in the NFT at all.

Let’s say I buy the NFT to some cool digital artwork. Nothing is stopping anyone else from using this artwork… I have no legal recourse to say “heh I own this”. Only a small subset of people will recognize this as any form od ownership at all.

Sorry from my point of view NFT’s seem like a get rich quick fad… maybe am just a grumpy old dude at this point but honestly just don’t much real lasting value here.

Web 4.

Don't paper over history.

The Semantic Web was the first that dreamed of distributed, decentralized taxonomies of data shared p2p. Facebook and Google sidelined it.

What sources do you recommend for keeping update-to-date with the non-scam applications of the space?

> If you have an alternative to the monopolistic web and mobile dystopia we find ourselves in

I do. I am working on it as a side project. It isn’t blockchain or IPFS.

I mean, at least they followed current marketing trends and rebranded the venerable Web 3.0 into the hipster web3.

Semantic web was pre-"web2.0" and around. And it never died, it became the abomination known as JSON-LD with schema.org, aka Google Rich Results.

> Web3 is best understood as a game, or a game of games. I don’t intend that as a dig: it’s a really good game! Vast and open-ended, deeply social, with lots of scores to tally … AND you can win real money?? I mean, that’s terrific.

That is the best explanation of Web3, it is like one of those Reddit April's folks events, just a social game.

You might like Packy M's "The Great Online Game: How to Win the Internet."


I think it captures a lot of the current culture with crypto and NFTs. A lot of it reminds me of when reality TV began. Suddenly we had a new class of celebrities who weren't singers or actors. Reality TV stars, famous people whose claim to fame was being famous.

Circular logic. Positive fedback loops. You should "invest" in this NFT collection because look at how many other people are buying this NFT collection.

Web3 is more than speculative NFTs and I expect we'll see some important things come out of it, just with a lot of surprises and broken expectations along the way.

> we'll see some important things come out of it

Like... what?

Like decentralised compute - putting idle CPUs and energy to use. How far that can be taken remains to be seen.

Ah, you mean seti@home? That‘s like 22 yeas old.

I look at many projects, token issuances, and defi protocols, as economic and social experiments.

I think it is best understood as a bunch of crypto millionaires sucking each other's dicks.

Flamebait like this will get you banned here. No more of this, please.


Exactly the kind of ignorant comment I’ve come to expect from this forum whenever crypto is even tangentially related to the topic.

It’s been almost 15 years, you’re getting left behind.

Please keep tedious flamewar off HN. You've been posting a lot like this, and we ban that sort of account. It's not what this site is for, regardless of how wrong other people are or you feel they are.


I find the "dark forest" of Ethereum (https://www.paradigm.xyz/2020/08/ethereum-is-a-dark-forest/) fascinating rather than terrifying, though I might be scared if I put in a good chunk of money and risked losing it (which is why I don't plan to invest myself). There's an intellectual beauty in creating a world people can choose to join, where "code is law", developers construct castles out of air and pure logic, trying to write "correct-by-design" code, and others look for creative ways to exploit the letter of the contracts. It reminds me of the beauty of formally verifiable algorithms (sorting algorithm bugs, probing hashmaps, distributed systems), various models and tradeoffs for undefined behavior in C++ and LLVM and Rust, atomic memory orderings and using Loom to find bugs, or binary exploitation and vulnerability development. Though I haven't actually worked on any blockchain tech and don't plan to start.

However I don't want a Web3 built around "pay-to-play" which rejects the idea that anyone can read, write, and publish without paying for the privilege. The web I want is closer to Gemini (a simple transfer protocol and a hypertext format built around user-chosen presentation), instead of HTML's complex element hierarchies often unreadable without CSS's author-dictated formatting, JS's drive-by code execution by design, or Ethereum's rejection of permissionless access.

Look into Polkadot and Internet Computer (ICP). They are both aiming for fee less blockchain usage for the end user.

I keep thinking about the beauty of the BitTorrent protocol and wonder why there is no longer any excitement about it and no one is building anything on top of it. Isn't it already a inter planetary file system?

My naive observations on BitTorrent

- Residential Internet connections are asymmetrical. That's a problem and renders many clients as leeches.

- It is unreliable for long tail files. If a file is never read, it will never be replicated and will eventually disappear.

- Once the universities started cracking down on BitTorrent usage, it was game over. Dorms were practically the CDNs of the torrent world.

> Residential Internet connections are asymmetrical. That's a problem and renders many clients as leeches.

It's also way more efficient to use CDNs. I doubt the internet has the bandwidth for a decentralized Youtube.

It's the opposite, using a decentralized Youtube would save a bunch of bandwidth.

Imagine (granted, a ideal world and maybe not actually possible) a world where every routes and computer is a node that both serves and receives data. Suddenly, your ISP can start to aggressively serve traffic from their edge-nodes. If a video goes viral, your local network can fetch it directly from your neighbors network instead of reaching out to the internet to fetch it. We'll be reducing the traffic massively.

But yes, it's a ideal world and probably not possible to execute in reality as the market forces behind paying for bandwidth is so strong.

My understanding is that the dat protocol is basically BitTorrent with version control, so that you can update e.g. a website published on it rather than everyone always sharing whatever version of a file was originally uploaded. https://www.datprotocol.com/

My understanding is that Hypercore is the successor to dat and also operates along similar lines, but I'll admit that the details are over my head. https://hypercore-protocol.org/

Beaker Browser originally built on top of dat, underwent a significant rewrite and now uses Hypercore instead. https://beakerbrowser.com/

There's also arweave, which is similar to IPFS. I've been hoping to migrate my application to being hosted entirely on arweave, or at least test it out to see how it works in practice.

If it works how I think it works, then I can pay a one time fee to host my application, migrate the few APIs that my next.js app is using to be purely onchain Solana programs, then figure out some DNS solution to point it to the right place, and then I don't have to pay monthly hosting, and users can be sure that the value my app provides won't be taken down because I decided to no longer pay for hosting.

It's all theory at least for me right now, but I think it is possible.

IPFS takes a lot from BitTorrent and is more adapted to the file system usecase. As for Bram himself he's now building a Bitcoin alternative.

Bram Cohen's Twitter bio says "Created BitTorrent, but no longer affiliated (nothing to do with BTT)" so not even he is no longer interested in it.

leppr is talking about Chia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chia_(cryptocurrency)) which Bram Cohen founded, not BTT.

Unfortunately, Chia happens to be the most efficient way to turn perfectly good hard drives in to landfill fodder.

Not sure what that has to do with BitTorrent. But anyways, are we gonna judge people based on what they use their hard drives for? How do you feel about people filling their drives with just porn or worse, just movies and video games?

It has nothing to do with Bittorrent, other than having been created by Bram Cohen.

I'm not talking about filling it up with useless or silly content though, running a Chia node will cause a hard drive to fail after a very short time. This isn't due to any legitimate usage for storing content, it results from how they implement proof of space. It's been a while since I read about this in-depth, but basically it amounts to having the nodes fill the drive with junk data and then prove they're participating by regurgitating some section of that data on request. Then on successive blocks, it gets rewritten with new data.

The irony is, I believe this was intended to address the environmental concerns of proof of work mining, and perhaps it does. But turning hard drives which require resources to create, into landfill, isn't really environmentally friendly either.

edit: To clarify, I'm not judging people using or participating in the Chia network (many participants apparently didn't even know it would destroy their hard drives). I am judging Chia's consensus mechanism for being wasteful however.

You're rehashing mainstream news articles that gloss over crucial details.

"Plotting" is the act of filling the hard drive with the random data. It only needs to be done once, after which the data can be used to "farm" indefinitely.

Farming is very low on energy requirements and doesn't damage the drives.

Plotting can be accelerated by doing it on a fast SSD, and transferring the plot data on large capacity HDDs for farming. This saves time at the cost of writing a lot of data on the dedicated plotting SSD, which trashes consumer grades SSDs if done continuously.

Plotting can also be done on the HDDs themselves. It's slower but won't noticeably reduce the HDD's lifespan.

When Chia was launched, there was a lot of speculation and farmers were competing to be first to finish as many plots as possible, so most were plotting on SSDs, and many on consumer SSDs. That's were the "Chia destroys hard drives" myth came from.

Great point. I don't know much about the protocol but could you build something like, say, a social network on it?

> Therefore, a good diagnostic question to ask might be: would you still be curious about Web3 if those currencies were worthless, in dollar terms? For some people, the answer is “yes, absolutely”, because they find the foundational puzzles so compelling. For others, if they’re honest, the answer is “nnnot reallyyy”.

Can we add group #3, people who are profoundly uninterested in this version of Web3 even despite all the money in it?

I was a fan of decentralisation when it stood for federated software and the idea that the web should generally be the same for hobbyists and professionals.

I really can't see a desirable vision of the future with a web based on artificial scarcity, intentional resource waste and anarchocapitalism.

The promise here seems to be "blockchains and crypto and NFC will allow us to finally build a decentralized Internet!", and I keep thinking: we have one already. It is called "The Internet." If the Internet today has become too corporate and centralized, it's not due to the underlying technologies -- which implies that switching out the underlying technologies isn't likely to solve the problem.

Bingo. I'm eager to hear counterarguments from "Web3" proponents

It is because Web3 changes the business model and economic incentives. I would suggest reading this:


Dixon is a good writer and a good advocate for this, but this explanation shares the issues that I consistently see in such defenses: it doesn't actually explain how the vision of "economic incentives…in the form of tokens" prevents centralization, because it seems to misunderstand what drives centralization in the first place.

Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc., are hugely centralized platforms because they successfully attracted hundreds of millions—in Facebook's case, billions—of users. Users are incentivized to be on those platforms because they like what those platforms offer. The internet has massive centralized platforms because users like those platforms.

A cryptonetwork-based challenger to Facebook isn't going to win by just adding tokens; any challenger, regardless of technology, needs to be a better Facebook than Facebook is, and it needs to be a lot better. But that's also the Catch-22 here: if our hypothetical "CryptoFacebook" finds a way to succeed economically, there's nothing intrinsic to the cryptonetwork that keeps CryptoFacebook from being a huge centralized platform. Big companies can use tokens, too!

In fact, I actually think the linked article casts some doubt on whether Dixon really understands "decentralization," as he compares Encarto to Wikipedia and sees Wikipedia as a decentralization success story. It's a "cathedral vs. bazaar" success story, to be sure, but Wikipedia is not a decentralized platform! It's a big monolithic system that one organization has massive control over. At the end of the day, the Wikimedia Foundation gets to set the rules for what happens at the wikipedia.org domain. If the community doesn't like it, they can try and fork it and create a replacement, sure. But that's a huge challenge—and it's also not really relevant to decentralization. It's more like LibreOffice supplanting OpenOffice as "premiere open source alternative to Microsoft Office"; the "center" moved from one project to the other.

So, TL;DR: I appreciate the link, and it's a good read. But it just doesn't make a convincing case that "build it on the blockchain" improves on what we have in material ways.

I'll do you one better: People who are disinterested in this web3 because of all the money in it.

What made the early web great was all the weird stuff people did for fun and self-expression and what made it worse was when lots and lots of money got involved.

I don't see how getting more monetization involved would make anything better.

> despite all the money in it?

I wonder about this, because an awful lot of post-2008ish technology simply seems to be "like before, but different enough that we think we can be the first movers of the Next Big Thing, and therefore make a killing."

When you really get down to it, a lot of the popular technology isn't all that different from IRC, Usenet, etc., just app-ified and Web-ified (and emoji-ified, of course). I'm not sure moving to a "Web3" paradigm is going to be all that different, just with a new set of Very Important People driving it.

The problem with "traditional" federated networks is the lack of fungibility. The network effects around nodes is too great, which encourages centralization over time. Cryptocurrencies allow formalizing and automating the incentives involved in running decentralized networks, which can make them actually scalable.

I have no doubt the future successful decentralized networks will use or evolve from cryptocurrencies, but not being inspired by the current crypto landscape is completely understandable. The Ponzis drown everything out these days, they cloud the judgment of too many, making the public discourse around this field unpalatable. In percentage terms, almost nobody in crypto today care about what they're actually building or what for. It's all about raising money, or pushing a Ponzi in which they are invested.

Maybe I'm too idealistic, but what irks me most is that the whole crypto tech seems to be based on "proof of capital".

Doesn't matter if it's PoW, PoS, PoWhatever - fundamentally, crypto is about ensuring that there is a certain group of participants (miners) that can alter the shared state, while everyone who does not belong to this group cannot.

Furthermore, the group must become ever more entrenched over time because security relies on the fact that getting into this group is hard - so supposedly, those who are in the group have no interest in acting harmfully to the network. (Which is a big assumption by itself, btw)

I find it a bit weird that blockchain tech has pretty much captured the term "decentralisation" for itself, as it has some fundamental drive to centralisation built into its core.

Yes, it's decentralised in the sense that in theory everyone can become a miner. Except this is not true: If everyone could become a miner, so could adversaries and the append-only property would be gone.

This and the specific assumptions how a monetary system and an economy should work, which are also deeply baked into the tech.

You seem to think Proof of Work miners can do everything they want with the chain. Assuming the network isn't 51% attacked, that's not true.

When a miner finds a block, they can put transactions in it and submit it to the other miners, in order to acquire the transaction fees and the block reward for themselves.

These transactions are signed, miners can't impersonate participants. They are also incentivized to include actual transactions instead of their own thanks to the miner fee. If they try to censor a transaction, the next miner to find a block could include the transaction in the chain anyway, so they have little incentive to withhold transactions for non-economical reasons.

They can't rewrite the history, they can only push one block on top of it.

If I understand you correctly, the "centralization" you're talking about is the whole point of a consensus protocol: to get 'decentralized' participants to agree on a single 'centralized' state.

>"I really can't see a desirable vision of the future with a web based on artificial scarcity, intentional resource waste and anarchocapitalism."

You've got my vote on that one.

I was there through web2.0, and my dear deities, the buzz and the frenzy. This is worse.

Crypto.com getting naming rights to Staples Center feels like a Pets.com moment. Web 2.0 never got this frothy.

To me it seems like people who were late to the game on crypto are trying to hype this concept of web3 to make a quick buck

Don't forget distributed storage like IPFS and content management graphs like kubelt (my company).

web3 isn't all tokens and NFTs. There's a huge distributed computing piece.

The increased investment is being used to build important infra.

> Don't forget distributed storage like IPFS

I want to like IPFS but it has a lot of serious problems. It's got the same inherent problem as BitTorrent in that availability of content follows a power law distribution of popularity. Popular content is readily available but best of luck accessing anything that's not popular. It's link rot taken to the extreme.

It also has the very real limitation of the wildly asymmetric nature of consumer Internet connections. Not only do most connections have a fraction of their downstream bandwidth as upstream bandwidth but ISPs also regularly block ports and event packet types. On mobile the situation is even worse as CGNAT largely prevents devices from hosting content without reflecting off some third party.

These issues just makes the availability problems of distributed storage worse. They're also on top of other practical things like actual host availability (being powered on), how much storage is reliably available on the network, and actually recouping real costs for running nodes.

> I want to like IPFS but it has a lot of serious problems.

It most certainly does. But there are other options if you want decentralized storage, like SkyNet: https://siasky.net

Ipfs is kinda junkware though, given its age and lack of basic features. I had a lot more patience with the unpolishedness 5 years ago, but at this point a greenfield implementation with none of the same people might be the best way forward.

Unfortunately the foul smell seems to be coming from the direction of ethereum.. like the devs have an incentive to keep e.g. discoverability crippled so that ethereum is less useless. shrug

> “ The assumed audience is subscribers who know roughly what Web3 is supposed to be”

In other words, the prerequisite is that you already believe web3 is a real technology and not just bs.

Really, why are developers wasting their time? Plenty of real “decentralised web” technologies and opportunities are begging for your acquaintance!

Did you read the article? It seems that the author leans more towards thinking it's "bs", even though they know a fair bit about what web3 is.

That’s weird, was this article edited after being on the HN front page a few days ago? I distinctly remember the article mentioning social networks being built in SF in South Park, but now that section says “ I have vivid memories of the ferment of the late 2000s, a new social network flaring up every week! I lived in San Francisco; they were building them in offices around a narrow, scraggly park” which strikes me as odd phrasing.

The old version that mentions South Park is archived:


I submitted this thinking it would show me the discussion so I wouldn’t be surprised if it was posted before.

I’ve historically been a huge blockchain skeptic, partially because of the ambient scammy tulip mania, but mostly because the technology demonstrably doesn’t scale (I spent 200 bucks buying 5 bucks of something the other day because I slipped a zero doing the gas math in a hurry, I am not alone).

With that said the crypto folks have had some legitimate heavy hitters quietly building another generation of the technology and it’s just now starting to go live. Take a look at the Haskell / distributed systems bench at IO-HK: Standard Chartered would love to employ that group of people. And while it’s still a little early, Substrate is powering Kusama-bonded chains on delegated PoS + finality gadget in the wild, today. The Parity people are also not screwing around.

It will be at a minimum interesting to see how mature technology alters the fundamental “crypto” equation.

P.S. If you want to point web3.is at a modern chain, Moonriver seems like your best bet right now, but it’s early days.

I worked at IOHK and now work on a Parity-backed startup & wish more people had your view on the subject. Pretty tired of the HN viewpoint that people working in crypto == scammers.

The problem is that advanced technology (you forgot Avalanche) isn't more profitable during a bubble. It's probably less profitable because the development is slower and more expensive.

> the technology demonstrably doesn’t scale

Yes it does, look at rollups.

What a shill post. It's easy to spot because you're discounting all of ethereum's scaling innovation in order to allocate for Cardano (which was broken on arrival) and the VC interest polkadot. Polkadot is a great way to destroy web3 by handing it over to the VCs the own an overwhelming supply.

I don't own any DOT or ADA, don't plan to, and don't know anyone who works at either Parity or IO-HK. In fact my current crypto holdings are like 100 bucks in `ETH` left over from buying some dApp thing. So to the extent that I have a financial interest in any coin, it's the one you think I'm maliciously maligning.

What possible motivation could I have for shilling a coin?

You're better than this, and HN is too.

Check out other chains than Ethereum, this is really only an Ethereum scalability problem. Transactions on Solana for example cost a fraction of a cent and execute much quicker than ETH transactions.

Solana is a "Proof of Stake" network, a trust model where nodes can only be run by currency holders. There is a predetermined list of trusted identities- aka, centralization.

And to your point, centralized services do have better performance.

I'm not trying to be a downer- I think centralization can be incredibly valuable for building trusted systems. But they are not to be confused with trustless networks like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Chia.

I understand the concern of centralization on the Solana chain, it is a very valid concern. However, I would like to remind you that Ethereum used to be similarly centralized (of course it has been PoW to date so far, however the hashing power early in the project was quite centralized).

Ethereum in 2016 had the famous attack where 12 million ETH were stolen, and a rather centralized foundation was able to perform a hard fork to undo the transaction and recover the funds. This of course led to the split of Ethereum and Ethereum Classic.

Nowadays, I believe that such a fork would be nearly impossible for Ethereum to pull off, due to the decentralization of the hash rate and the differences in the power the Ethereum Foundation has on the chain, due to the maturity of the chain. Whether or not that is a good thing that it could not roll back such a transaction is almost a philosophical question lol.

In my mind, Solana is in a somewhat similar state to how early ETH was in terms of centralized power and control of the chain. It would not surprise me that as time marches on, Solana naturally decentralizes. It's not guaranteed by any means of course, but that is what I am expecting.

And to be quite honest, for most applications, I would rather have a degree of centralization than pay > $100 for gas fees. I am aware of the existence of Layer 2 solutions, but I'm not too sure that by making a somewhat complicated layering solution to solve scalability concerns on the network that it can achieve mass long-term adoption.

We'll see of course, just wanted to share my opinion on this.

> I am aware of the existence of Layer 2 solutions, but I'm not too sure that by making a somewhat complicated layering solution to solve scalability concerns on the network that it can achieve mass long-term adoption.

the base layers always get expensive because of demand for block space. but zkrollups get cheaper as more people use them and the share of the writing to the L1 is split between more parties.

solana has the exact same scaling strategy as eth, L2 rollups. but its harder for people to run on their own hardware for the L1. maybe thats something people care about, maybe not. time will tell.

Ethereum is also moving to proof of stake... While there are some proof of stake networks which are 'permissioned' (for example, Binance Smart Chain), Solana to my knowledge is permissionless, meaning anyone who can afford the hardware and minimum stake can run a node. This is still a barrier, but so is setting up a bitcoin mining node.

So I've built a market for physical assets using the Ethereum/IPFS.

The point is that the data about the assets should outlast the interest of the current owner. It should outlast the physical assets themselves.

Hard to get another architecture which can manage data beyond the lifetime of any given market actor.

How do you ensure the ownership of the physical item is kept in line with the ownership of the NFT? Eg if the physical owner sold or gifted the item or it was stolen? It seems like the NFT is likely to have incorrect information over time.

I agree, you have to pretend NFT really implies ownership. I’d put it in the terms of service :).

The legals took several years to get right. This is, indeed, the hard part.

I was being sarcastic; there is no legal basis for an NFT to be any different than, say, the URL in your browser. You can copy it all you want, but it doesn't convey ownership in any way.

This is not true. For example, ownership of an NFT (and burning it) can constitute payment for an intellectual property license to do something like put music into an advert or use it in a film.

My question remains, how do you ensure the physical item ownership is kept up to date with ownership of the NFT? Even if that is in the terms of service, someone could still steal an item, making the NFT ownership and physical item ownership out of sync.

The first generation of physical assets are vaulted: numbered gold bars, numbered collectibles, fine art.

The application is B2B trading of assets between dealers, so they don't have to mess around with devaulting every time the assets change ownership, introducing risk of fraud every time.

There is also a lot of insurance involved, to answer your probably next question: if the vault loses something or an employee accidentally drives a forklift over it, the NFT holder gets paid.

It works. Pilots right now, but it works.

> the data about the assets should outlast the interest of the current owner. It should outlast the physical assets themselves.

Why? What does this accomplish?

Some of our assets are hundreds of years old already.

One of them is half a million years old, but still made by human(ish) hands.

Preserving the data for future generations is part of the job.

I understand that some things exist longer than their owners do. We already have mechanisms in place to manage the transition of ownership of those things. What is insufficient about those mechanisms? What is accomplished by these properties you say should be true?

Why don't we just buy stuff out of paper catalogues? Why all this Amazon nonsense?

I don't understand the point you're making. Amazon reduced transactional friction. In what way does ensuring metadata about transactions and securities outlive those things themselves relate?

Transactional friction in the fine art world is completely gigantic. Very very little use of tech to help manage asset documentation.

It's a fixable problem.

so 'hard' in fact, that ipfs/ethereum can't do it. Try for instance to discover the replication status of your data on the ipfs 'network'-- or to determine how you're partitioned relative to other actors. Ya can't do it. But hey as long as the cloudflare gateway works, right?

IPFS is one of several storage layers.

(and I should mention we use semantic web tools to describe the physical assets: parametric search)

how do you ensure that someone stores the data for at least as long as the item? are they making regular storage payments?

Including for the physical vaulting of the item, in most cases.

I don't usually think about this but one of the points did hit some nerve - I cannot begin to understand what it's like for a 20 year old to have been born in a world where Google is already established, Social networks are mainstream, and Amazon is our all encompassing commerce overlords.

To me it was just yesterday that the idea of that curated list of web links called Yahoo seemed neat, ebay is some social experiment from across the bay, and then this ugly looking Google kid comes in and blows everyone away with actual relevant search results. Or those SMS messages from that SMS service Twitter or finding old friends on friendster... I can't recall any recent high impact "new thing" except maybe crypto.

> I can't recall any recent high impact "new thing" except maybe crypto.

Uber is literally life-changing. Remember needing to call people and ask them for a ride when something unexpected happened?

> I cannot begin to understand what it's like for a 20 year old to have been born in a world where Google is already established, Social networks are mainstream, and Amazon is our all encompassing commerce overlords.

20-year-olds have had life-changing technology adopted around them multiple times. It's just not on your radar because you weren't 10 years old in 2011.

Roblox, Minecraft, and Fortnite are examples. As people are saying: the metaverse already exists to some extent, and young people have been living in it daily since they were small children.

> Uber is literally life-changing

I might be only 26 years old, but even I have memories of my parents easily flagging down taxis in Manhattan. More convenient? Absolutely. "Literally life changing" seems a bit much, though.

Manhattan is the worst example to compare to. You can now, in literally any suburb, get a ride on demand in 10 minutes or less. I used to have to book a taxi or figure out how to chain multiple buses to get to where I wanted if I was going across town in a suburb.

alright, then in the suburb of new york i lived in (which was, mind you, in the middle of a forest), i could call up the local taxi company and get a cab to me in like... 30 minutes or so. really the only convenience is that it saves me a phone call and from carrying cash.

It also depends on the suburb you were in in New York. If you were in "some" neighborhoods, the taxies would never come.

In New Orleans, when you wanted to get a ride home from a bar, you'd need to try calling taxi services for 30+ minutes, because most of them didn't answer, or their lines were busy. If you got in contact with one, you'd need to wait 30+ minutes for them to show up, if they ever did.

In San Francisco, when the bars would let out, none of the services answered their phones. You'd have to stand outside and try to flag one down, and most of the time they'd roll their window down and ask where you're going, and decide whether or not they want to take you. You could easily spend an hour outside waiting for a taxi.

It's really not that different from Uber. Good luck getting Uber in a remote-ish suburb. Taxis will not go somewhere where it's inconvenient for them.

I do this frequently. When I go back to New Orleans to visit family, I use Uber/Lyft in the suburbs to get around, even including the remote suburbs. They don't come within minutes, like if you were in a city, but I'm able to reliably use it.

Maybe not in Manhattan, one of the central points of one of the biggest cities of the world.

Where I live, the only form of non-personal (your own car or bike) transport was the bus, which comes by 5 times a day, only once on saturdays, and never on sundays. Uber and its local equivalents have allowed me to participate in social events that the long and restrictive bus rides would not allow, and which taxis would be too much of a luxury.

I think that for me it is fair to say it was life-changing. Maybe not as life-changing as other things, but if it wasn't for this kind of service, I wouldn't have some of my best friends.

Most cities in the US did not have either a functional taxi or public transit system.

As someone from Manhattan, you live(d) one of the most unusual existences in human history.

Outside of Manhattan, certain streets in San Francisco, and some parts of Chicago it is life changing.

To me Uber is not my dad picking me up. It's a taxi i called up. I used to call a cab by phone, and now I call it with an app. Not a huge difference. I don't care who drives it as lon g as it gets me there. Having a situation where anyone is a "TV" star, and anyone is a "celebrity" with "followers" and everything is "documented" and "filmed" is a major shift.

> I used to call a cab by phone, and now I call it with an app. Not a huge difference.

And maybe you have lived places where this wouldn't mean anything to you, but you couldn't do this in most of the US before Uber.

Even in some well-known cities, your chances of getting a cab in < 30 min (if you could get one at all) were close to zero. There wasn't a single number to call -- you had to call many numbers and hope someone actually showed up. You couldn't track progress.

Where I grew up, my parents couldn't even get to the airport without asking a relative (and this is the biggest city in our home state).

A functioning, 24/7, predictable taxi system was absolutely not available in most of the US before Uber.

> A functioning, 24/7, predictable taxi system was absolutely not available in most of the US before Uber.

I find this quite surprising. I've lived in 3 countries (including the US but limited to San Francisco) and calling a cab was always a reliable thing. I know my scope of experience is still limited, but Uber being the silver bullet of taxies seems to me like an overstatement. They are great, I like them, but to me they are just a better version of something else, most times. At least that statement explains more their level of success.

I am literally 22 years old like the article says.

I can still remember pretty well my life before I was always connected. My earlier life was quieter, calmer. I have fun memories of my old Nokia 5800 :)

I am not sure I live modern technology that much different than older people. Just like many people grew up with home appliances or cars being the norm.

The key word is deconsolidation - something almost every user actually wants for many reasons more or less. This feels to me like the cycle of the forum moderator problem - the site is great and useful but then gets popular and the more popular and generalized it all gets the more likely people will want to split off.

I think the underlying direction is the right way, I just really dislike how it moves more towards more capital and commerce focused than social good.

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