I get it, it's hard to see past the memes and bubbles and bullshit and buzzwords in the crypto industry. But there is a very real, very powerful, politically agnostic idea of self-sovereignty at the core to all this stuff. You dictate the terms of your data and your money and your stuff to an ultimate degree.
> ...there is a very real, very powerful, politically agnostic idea...
There's very little about the way cryptocurrency and NFTs and even blockchains as a concept are presented that seems politically agnostic; "you shouldn't have to trust anything or anyone in order to complete a transaction" is not a conventionally partisan position, but when you're applying it to government institutions, surely it's political.
: I would say this happens a lot with crypto-adjacent technologies -- sometimes it seems like the only two acceptable opinions are "this will revolutionize literally everything, how can you not see it" and "this will destroy the entire world, how can you not see it" -- but I think it happens a lot with everything right now. That's a different rant, though.
They are not mutually exclusive. However often retorts to Web3 or DeFi are along the line of "I can receive my salary for free" or "I can send a bank transfer for low fees and it settles in 24 hours" - the implication being, why do we need anything else this is fine. My question to those who roughly hold this position (whether they be haters, skeptics, curious, critical) would be, if we can agree that generically technology is improving many elements of our modern life, isn't it sensible that we should also be trying out new technologies for finance and banking? Banking and credit cards have largely stayed the same for decades, shouldn't we be innovating here? Regardless of whether you consider Web3 to be innovative or not, isn't it better that people are trying other ways to improve?
> There's very little about the way cryptocurrency and NFTs and even blockchains as a concept are presented that seems politically agnostic; "you shouldn't have to trust anything or anyone in order to complete a transaction" is not a conventionally partisan position, but when you're applying it to government institutions, surely it's political.
There's a line of argument that basically everything is political. But that's often kind of a pointless statement. I would say that Web3 is non-political in the sense that, if you have a credibly neutral trustless global operating system, secured by validators around the world and used by users around the world, this environment is apolitical. It's not Western, Chinese, Russian, no one is gate kept from interacting with it. It is open for all, transparent and unable to be censored. Having you're Paypal account locked because you're from Iran feels intuitively political in a way that the system I described above does not.
My bitcoin wallet isn't looking to trap me in a cycle of debt if I run low on money; most banks are. My bitcoin wallet is auditable down to first mathematical principles, and will never steal my identity, create accounts in my name without my knowledge, etc. Nobody can cancel my access to my wallet because I said something politically incorrect or because I tripped some opaque anti-fraud system.
Banks are, as institutions normal people are expected to deal with at least, inherently exploitative and lack accountability.
All of your other criticisms are valid, but also exist in a system where you trust your wallet with a third party service. the majority of Americans would use a bank like service that manages their key instead of managing it themselves.
You also ignore the other risks that crypto introduces. Like losing your key, password, your exchange gets seized, your exchange just straight up steals your money, or having a 1 character bug in a smartcontract.
And I'd go so far as to call what the majority of Americans prefer wrt. key management a result of inertia due to a few centuries of having always done it that way. That's not necessarily surprising, a lot of this is new and doesn't have a good "real world" analogue to tie back to.
My bank account is great. If I die there are clear procedures for getting my assets to my spouse. Even if I forget my account number or my password, my lifetime of earnings does not simply disappear. This can’t happen in crypto unless I trust a third party, in which case just using a bank in US dollars is much safer as there are actual laws and insurance covering it.
Maybe other countries are different,
You could use a scheme where two of three signatures allow transactions : you, your 'bank' and a notary. Or have such schemes for anything above a value. Or allow transactions by and to a list of whitelisted addresses after a certain date or event (such as a missed canary).
So now social engineering hits and someone convinces my ‘bank’ and notary to allow the transaction to a third party. Now my life savings are gone forever.
In my real bank (no quotes) you have regulation. Banks are liable for fraud. Blockchains aren’t.
Now you could have pre assigned addresses that the notary and bank are allowed to transfer to, but now you have to think about edge cases. Every time i update my will I have to hire a blockchain engineer to update my smart contract and then hire another firm to audit it for errors so a bug doesn’t drain my account. Huge headache and much more expensive compared to the status quo.
> Or allow transactions by and to a list of whitelisted addresses after a certain date or event (such as a missed canary).
whats triggering the canary? How can I trust that it will be accurate?
Also, my spouse can change or die. If my spouse and I died at the same time and my parent’s should get the money if they are still alive. now what happens? You have to map out hundreds of edge cases, like every permutation of my relatives wallets. Then I have to trust that the blockchain can tell these people are alive.
Current California State law takes all of that into account. It handles the edge cases in a way that code does not. Probate court is expensive but its better than everything going to zero.
My point is not that these three examples "solve all issues we have with Authority/Govt/BigFinance". Nor to prove that "Bitcoin Fixes this".
My point is to show that crypto-currencies, by design, are programmable, and this allows a lot of use cases to move from Authority/Govt/BigFinance to DIY.
Not all cases, not everywhere, not for everyone. But in a spectrum.
To clarify with your refutations:
> Now my life savings are gone forever.
Which is why you probably want "your life savings" in a secure, goverened, trusted environment. For many people Blockchain or DIY is out of the question for "my life savings". But that leaves a giant spectrum of other use-cases. From checking accounts to saving-for-a-friends-present. Use your imagination.
> Then I have to trust that the blockchain can tell these people are alive
You are dismissing a giant set of use-cases on one that will, indeed, probably never work.
I never mentioned that this the ultimate and only replacement for Deed. I deliberately did not, because I think this is a bad use-case for Blockchain for the reasons you mention and much more.
But this could be a "here's some money for when you turn 18" or "bonuses for managers which can only get extracted after a year", a "tip jar that pays out every month" etc.
My point was that trust is a spectrum, and not binary. Yet you take the most extreme outliers thinkable, refute those and then conclude that none of the cases in the broad spectrum can ever work. They can. And Blockchain is one of the tools. As are trust-funds, banks, payment-APIs, courts, notaries and so on.
My problem with "crypto" is that the industry is so focused on getting rich, is all about money. That's not changing the status quo, that's wanting to be a part of it.
If you TRULY want to change the status quo your focus can't be on how you can get rich quicker. There's been centuries of thought on self-sovereignty, of dictating your own terms, anarchism, freedom, etc. There's been literal wars about this all over the world and I just don't see how some dudes with bitcoins are really adding anything new to the table.
And these people may found universities, buy politicians, sit on the boards of art museums.
So, while I personally don't think it'd be a good thing, I think there's a decent possibility the "crypto people" will someday use the spoils of their business to dabble in large-scale social engineering, and in a roundabout way that's how the dudes with the bitcoins will leave their mark.
...I could go on and on...
Try doing that with crypto.
I cannot hold stable, diversified collection of global currencies in my bank account and cannot invest in global markets without going to a branch in a bigger town and without significant paperwork. I cannot legally accept money from around the world for my software development skills without being a part of the existing banking system. My relatives in my native village just 100 KMs away don't even have a bank they can walk into (they have mobile phones with data though).
Do we just have to wait for regulated, for-profit entities to calculate when it will be profitable for them to provide us with services? What benefit did maintaining the status quo provide for people in countries where inflation wiped out savings overnight? If we have the skills and the opportunity to participate in an alternative, mostly open system, how long should we need to wait for permission?
Cross border transactions are heavily regulated precisely because they cross jurisdictional boundaries - without regulation it becomes trivially easy to commit fraud and make the money effectively disappear. Does the current regulation come in the way of the average person trying to accept Paypal money? Sure. But that is not a technological problem - its a regulation problem, which is ultimately a social problem.
Take for example messaging – Jeff Bezos uses (used?) WhatsApp, I use it, you probably use it and my relatives use it as well. No matter what the geography or your social/financial standing, you probably have access to a world-class messaging product easily.
The same is true for a lot of things: Wikipedia, Linux, Bicycles.
Why should the same not be true for wealth protection and growth? If it is possible to come up with a such a system, shouldn't we at least give it a shot?
This again leads to the same point: why are we so _comfortable_ with the status quo?
I want to think about what could be possible, not what sub-par alternative is available today.
I'm also glad other protocols exist and the market will ultimately determine adoption based on utility. We mostly used HTTP until FireSheep happened and now use HTTPS very widely and someday, if governments and organisations continue to pry on online activity, we might move to the protocols powering the dark web.
It's the same with crypto. I, too, feel a lot of the use cases being talked about right now are just words – but at the same time, I'm glad that people with the skills and the resources are making investments into coming up with these experiments and the experiments that will offer the most utility might get widely adopted in the future.
Scale comparison: Cryptocurrency-based technology has been publicly available for at least 12 years now. If I place initial public availability of the web at about 1992, we're currently in the equivalent of 2004, when two of the three described usecases were already widely available in developed nations. Amazon was maybe not a household name yet, but e-commerce was already an accepted purchasing model for several product categories, and Skype gave the world very cheap international phone calls. Only the video usecase was still terrible because of the available bandwidth.
In 2004 i was downloading textures and skins for the sims and xplane, and joining forums to chat and share music. Then there was a while imo where the internet felt dominated by facebook/google/youtube, but the past couple of years ive sunk into smaller communities making things in crypto/web3 and its fun and exciting. I spend most of my online time in that space. It feels more like being in a WoW guild than using twitter. There is profit/loss and speculation that excites/angers the masses, but theres also the best online communities ive ever been a part of, doing things like making games and custom skins and sharing music. Some things change and some things stay the same. Im pretty positive on the idea that making new tools, providing permissionless access, and building it with free open source software, people can do neat and surprising things. Till then people will see what they want to see, because its all there. Sturgeons law etc
With e commerce you could view a dynamic catalog and place an order without a painful lengthy phone call.
Cryptos biggest innovation is not being a bank account. But DeFI. Uniswap is huge! And it solves a real pain. Crypto margin loans solve a real pain.
But crypto is not by any stretch better than a dollar for my day to day life.
Which is kinda cool. But also kinda depressing.
If my city has a hideous, impractical train station and you just take a wrecking ball to it overnight, I‘m not going to thank you, because I won‘t be able to ride a train for months.
Also consumer banking (in Europe) is great, I don‘t know what people are so mad about. If it‘s just "consumer banking sucks in the US" you have a much more straightforward improvement plan in "make it like Europe".
You can own your own data, log in using a cryptographic secure identity and do many other awesome decentralised things through that without needing a blockchain. The latter I think does have value if you want to transfer funds without the government stopping you at the time (retrospectively though they might). That’s not very useful for normal people though.
The problem is that there is little thought outside of crypto for this digital self-sovereignty when the digital world is effectively post-scarcity. Which makes me think that most care more about the money to be made than the ideals they claim to hold.
Try, absolutely! New tech is fun tech!
The problem is it's not about the tech is it? Lets be honest. It's just people trying to milk it for cash right now. Once they've all got theirs it'll evolve into something useful or just sorta be there now like Bitcoin
Web3 tech, from my perspective, is people promoting profile pictures of bored apes, pirates, robots and (new to me) snowflakes with varying accessories on Twitter. It's like a ridiculously expensive version of Pokemon except you can't even fight them against each other. It's a bit of a joke currently, I hope someone finds a decent use case
In any case whether I'm right or wrong, NFTs and web3s are something I'm too poor to understand right now. It's like watching an orgy of millionaires taking money from each other and patting themselves on the back if you're on the outside haha. It's so weird to come across an "open" tech you can't afford to learn
As a smarter commenter than I said: crypto is the total privatisation of the money system, sold as democratisation.
I have absolutely no problem with the banking system. Everything has worked, I can transfer money to everyone I know basically for free, and the few weird issues I've had in my life (messed up account credentials) have been easily solved by talking to an authorized person at a bank, and having them hand-edit my data in the system. My bank can be robbed, blown up, or go out of business, and all of my money is safe.
I don't want to manage my "financial infrastructure" for the same reason I don't want to host my own website. I want to pay other people with vastly better equipment, training, and around-the-clock availability to do a better job than me.
Replacing this with crypto — even a refined endgame version from half a century in the future, is a pure negative. And that's before we consider the people pushing it as a bad-faith ponzi scheme.
I really don't think you do get it.
Take this with a grain of salt, but I think all of this is about incentives. And so that stephendiehl.com fellow must have the same kind of stake in some technology as a crypto maximalist, but maybe directed elsewhere.
There are enough people in this world that are living a happy life without blockchains and for them, it looks like a threat so they belittle it and try to argue it away.
The people who are heavily invested in these technologies, like VCs, Banks, Social Networks, they all seem to love crypto.
The Semantic Web was coming into prominence at the peak of Bittorrent and P2P. It allowed people to publish data in schemas without centralized databases. Protocols in markup. You could declare and share schemas for things, build on top of other people's schemas, and remix endlessly. It was powerful.
You could define your contact details in FOAF and a client could ingest that and make contacts.
If we'd built Reddit back then, it'd have been topics and comments that were digitally signed and exchanged p2p, with signed voting, interest graphs, and curated peer groups.
Unfortunately, this was just as the VC and ad-money fueled Google and Facebook were coming into prominence. They built centralized systems that were easy to use faster than the Semantic Web community could move. (Semantic Web was much broader - some were interested in predicate logic distributed databases, which were a bit much.)
Web 3.0 was the Semantic Web. Do not forget. We can still use the lessons today. This is what the web could have become if the advertising gravity well hadn't sucked it in.
Wikipedia has two articles, it’s all about the “.0” apparently, see the page on Web3.0  vs the page on Web3 
I’ve seen plenty of crypto community content  claiming that blockchain is a key part of the original timbl vision , perhaps the missing piece of the puzzle.
I think it’s clear timbl’s “decentralisation” point meant “not Google”. It definitely didn’t mean “not http, use blockchain”.
You’re right that there was an opportunity where we could have delivered on the original vision of the semantic web but that time has long passed and Google have stepped into that void, to become the gatekeeper of the web.
The vision of the semantic web was supposed to make every organisation, person, place and thing machine readable. Twenty years later and we basically just use it to share pretty links on Facebook.
Plug: I’m working on a DNS-based protocol to fix this, making it easy for organisations to provide machine-readable data direct to users. We launched it in the UK last month and have machine readable data for 5m businesses. US roll out next year. I wrote up the launch in a blog post .
I still can do that today, granted on the sites that keep publishing feeds.
The primitives of web3 effectively enable the fine grained economic measurement and distribution of every element of value-exchange, and gives folks the ability to participate in these cashflows where they were previously not able to.
Now that there's standards for representations of value / governance / etc (ERC-20) now any protocol that supports ERC-20 tokens can be applied to any ERC-20 token. Ditto for NFTs.
As an example, if you want to split cashflows from any source based on some pro-rata ownership of tokens: there's a off-the-shelf battle tested contract for that. This composability and remixability of economic value flows has never existed before. Mix that with governance concepts in DAOs and you effectively have a parallel system of capital allocation and investment decision making.
p.s. Charles Stross was amazingly prophetic in Accelerando where the Superintelligent AIs create a system of economics called Economics 2.0, which is indecipherable to humans. Reminds me of smart contracts interacting :)
Economics 2.0 starts at "Welcome to decade eight, third millennium"
A bit further down:
> Collapse of the trans-Lunar economy: Deep in the hot thinking depths of the solar system, vast new intellects come up with a new theory of wealth that optimizes resource allocation better than the previously pervasive Free Market 1.0. With no local minima to hamper them, and no need to spawn and reap start-ups Darwin-style, the companies, group minds, and organizations that adopt the so-called Accelerated Salesman Infrastructure of Economics 2.0 trade optimally with each other. The phase change accelerates as more and more entities join in, leveraging network externalities to overtake the traditional ecosystem. Amber and Sadeq are late on the train, Sadeq obsessing about how to reconcile ASI with murabaha and mudaraba while the postmodern economy of the mid-twenty-first century disintegrates around them. Being late has punitive consequences – the Ring Imperium has always been a net importer of brainpower and a net exporter of gravitational potential energy. Now it's a tired backwater, the bit rate from the red-shifted relativisitic probe insufficiently delightful to obsess the daemons of industrial routing. In other words, they're poor.
>How do you prove you own a house?
The crypto idea of having a private key to a token goes wrong when you lose the key or get hacked, and then say to the court the house is still yours which it is in law
>you want to fix up your local neighborhood’s park. You have the time, but doing so will take a few thousand dollars in supplies. You could go to your neighbors ...
You might just get your neighbours to go on some fixmypark.com site and contribute normal dollars. Getting them all to buy crypto and transfer to smart contracts is not going to happen in the near future.
The whole interaction between crypto and the physical world is very clunky. It seems to work better for flipping virtual assets like jpegs and imaginary coins.
If web3 is a thing it'll probably be more stuff like funding websites by selling NFTs to have ape avatars by your account rather than interacting with parks and houses. But selling imaginary stuff and images and the like can be powerful. I mean US$ are largely imaginary things represented by 0s and 1s in some databases and they do a lot of stuff.
What makes it worse is most of the web3 products are always centered around coins, why do I need a coin to use a decentralized social network? It makes users feel like it's a financial scheme and early adopters have incentives to sell it.
It will be a hard enough ask to ask the average non-tech user to dump whatsapp or tiktok for something else because of the network effect, then if you tell them "oh and you need to pay with this weird thing you've never heard of too" it will be impossible IMO.
People can go on about paying vs "users are the product" etc, but the truth of the matter is the average person doesn't seem to care that Google et al sells ads.
Not mentioned but I would argue as equally or of greater importance is interoperability. If you lose trust in the commitment you've made, you can move your capital/identity/etc. To the new thing relatively seamlessly. This is the DeFi experience already built that's so amazing to interact with relative to traditional banking and capital markets. If you apply that same functionality to other markets, such as social media or healthcare (using zero knowledge rollups to protect private data), I think that's inevitably an a-ha moment.
It's like the Amazon API mandate - https://nordicapis.com/the-bezos-api-mandate-amazons-manifes... - if you build with interoperability at the core, the knock-on effects can be exponential. It's a game changer. The consumer is no longer captive to walled gardens.
Drop play money into a low fee blockchain, stick to a stablecoin, and mess around with some of the DeFi apps. I think it's easy to become a believer if you do that and compare to your normal banking experience.
You don't need them for a bank account so if you don't like their services then you can take your funds elsewhere. In my opinion this is a critical piece of what is missing in our current society. These corporations and government agencies have become too entrenched and too big to fail. We need to inject competition back into the system.
In systems where transactions are reversable, such as credit cards, problems can be fixed up later. But with instant irreversible transactions, you don't have that feature.
Crypto people will, of course, attempt to excuse this with "it's like the Internet in the 90s", but it is important to bear in mind here that (a) hundreds of millions of people used the internet in the 90s and (b) they have been saying this about _Bitcoin_, and other assorted blockchain-y things, for at least a decade, and no-one really uses those for anything as yet.
This is, essentially, the latest rebranding.
There is a popular library called web3.js as well, which is used to find and communicate with nearby nodes of distributed ledgers. It’s pretty clever and convenient.
Since those kind of nodes store variables forever for free, developers dont need any other server side infrastructure and are able to make services extremely quickly, cheaply, and have a quick goto market strategy and it is extremely lucrative, and the users absorb all the costs of writing data. This is where things are 10x better than existing alternatives: revenue paths, overhead costs, speed.
not the user experience or the performance of the underlying technology.
To be fair: Not necessarily web3 but generally crypto, but still.
We're so used to financially being controlled by authorities so it's deemed normal. Governments can tax you however they want and that is "normal".
Coming from an extremely corrupted country/government I know how taking control of your assets is important, which web3 aims. To which extent it can succeed is another question though.
The issue is trust.
Smart contracts as a solution are a sad attempt at solving that issue.
There's always edge cases you can't code in.
E.g. in the example of the neighbour buying goods;
What if the other neighbours don't really like this guy, and conspire against him?
The solution to trust, isn't codifying every possible variable and putting in on some silly unmodifiable chain. That solution just shifts the trust. Instead of trusting humans, we're now trusting some poorly written code...
The solution to the trust issue is good ethics, mindfulness and good upbringing.
If someone violates your trust, it's probably due to some stress factor in that person's life. We need to create a better world for everyone and actually help the people that our violating our trust, and show them the way.
Just like VR/AR and ML/AI of yesteryear. Note that both of these examples are wonderful pieces of tech but they were blown wildly out of proportion by everyone.
More like the same silly blockchain ideas that didnt work X years ago, getting recycled with a new buzzwords.
I'm very skeptical about any claims about the correctness or the health of the blockchain ecosystem because, if you're interested in using flaws to take money, it's obviously much easier to scam people than to go after the fundamentals. Imagine you're a Superhacker who Only Cares About Money and you have found a flaw in crypto. You could make some money breaking the whole system, but you can probably make a lot more money taking crypto from poorly setup exchanges or individuals and maintaining the value of the things you took.
We are well aware of the problems of using legal and social systems to adjudicate disagreements. People feel excited because we have found math that helps us adjudicate disagreements in a new way and I also think it's exciting - but it all feels too early.
And if you e ever had to send money to a foreign currency and pay exchange rates then sending a bit of crypto is like “huh, so that’s how that should feel”.
However, the argument that you need it to be free from government and society troubles me because it all runs on electricity and other infrastructure. Maybe solar panels and satellites will help in the short term, but we’d need a bit more of a robust internet solution.
I really like cardano’s approach. Trial in places that aren’t developed countries. That will teach you a lot.
Everyday on hacker news there is a new shit-on-web3 post on the fp. To me this would be a strong signal to buy some.
It seems it is:
1: A very popular topic
For example, it comes up very often here at Hacker News.
2: A very controversial topic
On one side, there are many people who expect it to change the world in a fundamental way. Investors are investing billions of dollars into it.
On the other side, there are many people who call it useless, a fraud and outright evil.
3: This has been going on for years now.
Has there ever been any other technology for which 1,2 and 3 held true?
Small nitpick but this is not how deeds work, at least not in the US. In the US the seller provides you with a deed. The government simply records it, and the title company insures it based on their research of the chain of title. The government doesn't issue deeds unless they are the seller or grantor of the land.
This is magnitudes wiser than the typical sentiment of crypto here or in other skeptical communities. When the potential is first recognized, the criticisms then build toward that potential rather than simply having the purpose of tearing something down. Thanks for the piece, Chris.
It's supposed to mean anything, so your imagination, excitement and greed can inpaint the rest.
"Then they go up one more level: people send files, but web browsers also “send” requests for web pages. And when you think about it, calling a method on an object is like sending a message to an object! It’s the same thing again! Those are all sending operations, so our clever thinker invents a new, higher, broader abstraction called messaging, but now it’s getting really vague and nobody really knows what they’re talking about any more. Blah.
When you go too far up, abstraction-wise, you run out of oxygen. Sometimes smart thinkers just don’t know when to stop, and they create these absurd, all-encompassing, high-level pictures of the universe that are all good and fine, but don’t actually mean anything at all."
— Don’t Let Architecture Astronauts Scare You (2001) (joelonsoftware.com)
That's exactly the change in focus needed in order for discussions of this topic to be more rational/sober/productive, imo.
1. many of the people doing originating work with the tech had deep understanding of the domain it applies to (and most software engineers to do not)
2. that gets diluted by people incentivized to shill for various reasons
3. so now we're not "in search of a problem" it's just been lost amid diverse noisy communication—and it's also defined in a domain unfamiliar to most programmers, so describing it is non-trivial
4. a good starting point for communicating this to programmers might be in terms of technical capability, then working toward more specific social/economic applications from there
I wish what people call web 3 would be called web 4.
For me, Web 3 was the (mostly failed) semantic web. That said, ideas and tech behind the semantic web are alive and well in knowledge graphs. Life is good.
I would welcome more opportunities for decentralization and privacy in Web 4, I hope it works out!
> This is ostensibly what the legal system provides, but anyone who’s actually tried to go through small claims court knows that the reality of that route is… painful. And it often ends unsatisfactorily
And it is in fact a key feature of the contemporary modern world: the people don't have a realistic access to court anymore, and this deeply undermines the legitimacy of the State.
This immediately reminded this article which explained how the Taliban have rebuilt their power in Afghanistan in recent years, especially outside of their original ethnic group (Pashtuns): by appointing judges in every provinces, available for free, with no delay and hassle.
A quick DeepL translation of the most relevant part of the article:
> From a material point of view, these courts are rudimentary. The judges, dressed without distinctive signs, sit in village mosques, in private houses or under the cover of trees. “The Taliban courts operate in a very simple way, said one of them. The Taliban judge sits with a cup of green tea in front of him, he receives the requests in person. Then he calls a member of the movement and tells him to go and ask the people against whom a complaint has been filed to come the next day” The judges interview witnesses, examine the documents brought by the disputing parties, and render their verdict, often after a few days - at most a few months for the most sensitive cases. Most disputes concerned land or matrimonial matters, but judges also punished theft, murder and adultery, sometimes with very severe penalties (executions, amputations, stoning). […]
> The same motivation was found in a relative of Mr. Faizal Akbar, governor of Kounar province between 2002 and 2005. Despite his political opposition to the Taliban, he was forced to turn to them for a theft of cattle because, since the regime's judges were "corrupt," the costs of filing a complaint with the police and of an official trial would have far exceeded the value of the stolen cattle.
 https://www.monde-diplomatique.fr/2021/09/BACZKO/63487 (in French)
web 3.11 (crypto optional edition) as I see it is about decentralised services over p2p networks (which may include crypto/blockchain).
I hear there's something called "Web NT" (new technology) that'll be big in 5 years.
I think this is at the center of a lot of arguments. The proponents come from circles where trust is a dirty word, so they don't want to say too loudly that they need it. The critics see this as an unnecessarily extreme position, which isn't the kind of thing you back down from, so they end up arguing that new tech is unnecessary/incapable when applied to this task.
We already had databases for that, but OK, blockchain is decentralized.
The much harder problem of "how do we bridge data & reality?" is mostly unsolved, and sometimes especially unsolved when blockchain is involved. (eg. paying via Apple/Google Pay will generally go OK in many stores, but paying via a blockchain-based cryptocurrency not so much...)
What happens if you put in begonias and they wanted daisies? Or they just don’t want to pay you $200 and see they can back out and have you holding the bag.
More generally, I still don’t understand how the “third party oracle” issue (ie how do you make real world add to blockchain) doesn’t undermine the trust less idea.
Whether the work actually happens after that point, yes I agree, I don’t see a way for that to happen without human trust.
This is indeed the core feature of this whole genre but arguably makes it easier to dismiss in its entirety as concept and philosophy.
Technology should enable building trust. Simply enabling a trust-less society to limb along in a transactional way reveals the libertarian bitcoin roots of web3 that actually believes "there is no such a thing as society".
Designing institutions that are authoritative while democratically accountable is a continuous struggle against power grabbing insiders but it is not impossible.
Of all the scams in Web3 (and there's quit a few) this is not one.
It’s the same technology as PGP signers use in their email for proving which relies on the impossibility of collisions.
You thought you had a rebuttal and walked right into why its working
Those users can learn not to get taken advantage of
Spoken like a true scammer. It is pretty obvious to anyone who is even vaguely aware of phone scams that this will never be enough.
Here, we are acknowledging thats there are humans that commit malicious actions and they shouldn’t do that, and also acknowledge that there are programs that exist in perpetuity to do this which means there is no malicious human to educate, and requires (not just advises) the potential and actual victims to have agency themselves and their victim status is prevented by actually following the best practices that all predate the malicious actors to begin with.
Blockchains, distributed ledgers, allow for us to reevaluate what governance is and entails. It is expected that some processes of existing governments because redundant, and that there is some kind of governance occurring to coordinate behavior.
So here we are actually agreeing, except on where the best practices come from, which would be cypherpunk mailing lists, old bitcoin wikis, and protocol specification drafts and ratifications.
What's happened is that a bunch of people who have zero understanding about what crypto is or how it works have been able to buy an asset because a bunch of people using pre-existing technological and legal frameworks created platforms for them to do so.
The "accelerated saturation" you are referring to relies on the very types of trust and authority that the article claims to obviate the need for.
in both there are opportunities for people with zero understanding to use a platform created by someone else. crypto asset sector has been more successful.
Web 3 is shaping up to be excellent for this! Prepare your resume. Start early, add Web 3 in there.
To marketers, it means better targeted advertising (more is just a side effect they love). To hackers, it means decentralization and going back to 1.0... IRC, but better, Usenet, but better, Blogs, but better... To Megacorps, it means more control, more moneeeeey. To governments, more control, more transparency. To humanists, absolutely nothing. This is shaping to advance humanity in absolutely no way better than 1.0 did.
So get the popcorn ready, update your resumes and join the penthouse of the jaded.
This is at the core of the issue: no technology, but especially not web3, is just a tool. Tech is inherently political because of both these kinds of underlying assumptions about the world, and how it shapes habits and beliefs of people using it.
Creating tech which accepts "trust is in low demand" and proceeds to fix it by making trusting people unnecessary, is a very effective way to promote right-libertarian policies.
So I understand why right-libertarian people support "web3". What I don't understand is why so many people with very different political values do.
IMO we need tech that promotes trusting each other, not tech where we can make do with a war of all against all.
You could create a viable investment strategy based around doing the opposite of what HN thinks and you would do extremely well.
Please don't post this sort of rhetoric to HN. It's boring and almost always based on false assumptions (as in this case).
Edit: and could you please stop posting unsubstantive comments to HN generally? You've been doing it repeatedly, unfortunately, and we ban that sort of account—it's not what the site is for.
"Deconstructing 'Decentralization': Exploring the Core Claim of Crypto Systems" (2019): https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3326244
If you believed that ETC was the correct option in that decision, you were free to mine that chain all you want.
You're right that miners choose profitability, but we also choose technology. I don't mine BTC any more, I mine with GPUs (and thus ETH). There are a dozen chains I could mine with these GPUs, but I'd like to see the success of ETH over others.
I can tell you with certainty, no quorum of powerful individuals influenced that decision.
Many people don't understand that GPUs don't have the same hardware race war as bitcoin ASICs. Older GPUs actually have better ROI because the ethash algo is constrained by memory controller speed, not as much by nm scale or clock rate. The GPUs we use today were new old stock from many years ago. This is why we don't see a large influx of ASICs for ethash... it just isn't profitable.
We can sell (or use) the GPUs at a later date for other purposes than just mining. In fact, as we race towards "the merge" and PoS, it astounds me that someone isn't working on something all these miners can switch their compute resources to mine profitably.
It is crazy to think that ETC could actually become a viable chain again (but they have some plans to switch a more friendly ASIC algo, which I don't think will work out well for them). Note that ETC is a mess right now, exchanges have 6+ day holds on transfers because nobody trusts the chain.
I'll be transparent and admit that there are some other significant non-technical factors as well, but can't discuss them here.
It's about trust because "code is law" is pretty obviously marketing rather than foundational principle.
You're building data centers for decentralized compute?
For every technology we use today, there was a time it was laughably inadequate as a replacement for what came before.
Now CODE can do a lot more. In our applications for instance, you can:
1) Know the average amount spent on food or clothing by a citizen of a city
2) Vote on how much of food, clothing etc to simply subsidize by issuing more currency and airdropping it to the people (universal basic income)
3) Take a dot product between 1 and 2, and issue the universal basic income or stipend etc. and redistribute the wealth in the community according to the
And best of all — it is entirely voluntary, thanks to smart contracts. No one has to accept your currency by fiat. But if they do, they’re helping to end food insecurity in your community. Just like that. No representative democracy and out of touch elites. Just the community taking care of its business and its vulnerable. Via a smart contract and decision making.
And that is just ONE of the many applications that are possible. Intercoin has produced 10-15 applications that can all work together like LEGOs. Now we will be giving them to communities. Here are some more possibilities:
People can’t trust the code to do what they want, because when you read it you might mistake a 0 or a O. You trust someone else or machine to audit the code tell you the code will do what you want.
US court systems take into account the spirit of the law rather than the letter of the law. Its a feature not a bug.
It's not that people are laughing at it now; it's that it's already been proven to be a fraud, where the promise of an immutable blockchain is a grift to part suckers from their money.
Until gas fees make it accessible only to the "out of touch elites"
Smart contract can be done in completely different ways, with no bottlenecks. If you notice point 2 of https://intercoin.org/presentation.pdf .. I can send you the details if you're interested. I spent years speaking with the best teams around the world working on things beyond blockchain.
How is this really different than a 51% attack?
Ah yes. Because everyone is an expert in verifying programs written in esoteric programming languages. Oh. It's written by you? Well, of course I can trust what you've written
> It does to financial institutions and many others, what Web1 did to publishing.
Case in point: enforcement of contracts.
Look around you, in the last 100 years we got the ability to print and copy our own documents, to send emails and to write on forums, to use VOIP encrypted end to end, all without the permission of the government. It's based on open protocols that route around friction. Is it so far fetched that autonomous networks technology can also help obviate the need to trust intermediaries like we trusted the Post Office, the Newspaper Printers, Ma Bell and so forth? Really?
Betteridge's law (of headlines) is an adage that states "Any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no."