Web3/Crypto: Why Bother?



One thing that keeps surprising me is how quite a few people see absolutely nothing redeeming in web3 (née crypto). Maybe this is their genuine belief. Maybe it is a reaction to the extreme boosterism of some proponents who present web3 as bringing about a libertarian nirvana. From early on I have tried to provide a more rounded perspective, pointing to both the good and the bad that can come from it as in my talks at the Blockstack Summits.

Today, however, I want to attempt to provide a cogent explanation for why bothering about web3 makes sense. This requires telling a bit of a story and also understanding the nature of disruptive innovation. The late Clayton Christensen characterized this type of innovation as being worse at everything except for one dimension, but where that dimension really winds up mattering a lot (and then over time everything else gets better also as the innovation is widely adopted).

The canonical example here is the personal computer (PC). The first PCs were worse computers than every existing machine. They had less memory, less storage, slower CPUs, less software, couldn’t multitask, etc. But they were better at one dimension: they were cheap. And for those people who didn’t have a computer at all that mattered a great deal. It is exactly this odd combination that made existing computer manufacturers (making mainframes down to mini computers) ignore the PC. They only focused on all the bad parts and ignored the one positive dimension (Read more...)