Web one, two, three . . .



This is Joseph.

As I understand it, Web 1 is the original internet tools (e.g., email) that were completely distributed. The downside of these tools was that they were decentralized and hard to update. Which led to Web 2 (applications like Facebook) that could be centrally updated and maintained by a single company. 

Web 3 is a strange beast. It involves distributed blockchains that can't be changed and are a permanent record. They are maintained by distributed updates. By calling it Web 3 there is a sense that it is the future of the web. But there are some challenges that I think might be understated. 

One, there is a classic libertarian problem. Look at color museum where people can own (and get royalties) on colors that are used in NFTs (or the thing that NFTs point at). How does this improve anything? it does not create new colors that were previously unknown. It does not improve market efficiency but rather, if successful, creates a big source of rent seeking for those who successfully gambled that this would work. Will we need see an alphabet NFT with a race to mint both large and small case "e"? But why should early adopters get permanent property rights on what was previously communal property that they put no effort into creating or making available. It is not like minting the NFTs increased the range of graphics cards. 

Two, the blockchain itself is not easily able to handle errors. Look at Ethereum, where (Read more...)