Today I wanted to share this article from Ian Bogost published by The Atlantic about NFT and web3. I have been quite vocal myself about my unease (and sometimes plain nausea) about where many are trying to push the internet:
First the internet made it easy for people to conduct their lives online. Then it made it possible to monetize the attention generated by that online life. Now the digital exhaust of all that life online is poised to become an asset class for speculative investment, like stocks and commodities and mortgages.
When the web was started as a utopia we ended up with cheap assaults on our democracies. Now? Any pretense of building commons, working for the greater good or enhancing our lives has been dropped. Whatever is pitched nowadays is about building speculative assets.
Web3, the nascent third age of the internet, represents a turn away from Web2’s goody-goody idealism and back toward Wall Street’s brazen greed.
The central role of blockchain in all this is also beyond worrying. If this technology should be disqualified on the spot for its sole shamelessness about producing tons of CO2, it’s also betraying its only supposed redeeming quality: decentralization.
Web3 proponents insist that the blockchain is necessary to produce a public account of the records, which no one agent controls. Or, in the case of smart contracts and decentralized autonomous organizations, computer code that automatically enforces rules. But that decentralized aspiration is already devolving to centralized control, as NFT marketplaces such as OpenSea (which serves Twitter’s profile-pic feature) and crypto wallets such as MetaMask achieve Web2-style scale.