Yet much of Web3’s promise remains theoretical. When it comes to NFTs, some proponents say it will transform not only how art is bought and sold, but also the art and artists we enjoy and how artists get paid. “NFTs create opportunities for new business models that did not exist before”, James Bowden and Edward Thomas Jones write in The Conversation. “Artists can attach stipulations to an NFT that ensure they get some of the proceeds each time it’s resold, meaning they benefit if their work goes up in value.”
At the highest levels of Web3 discourse, the prospect of a decentralized Internet is presented as a bulwark against authoritarianism. “Conceptually, Web3 is naturally more beneficial to Western liberal democracies, which value democracy and privacy,” Anthony Vinci and Nadia Schadlow Argue in the Washington Post. “China and Russia already have mechanisms in place to spy on and control existing Web2 infrastructure through firewalls, censorship and coercion of technology platforms. Web3 would make such authoritarian controls much more difficult.
How much of a hype or a scam is Web3?
If there’s anything the social media iteration of the internet has highlighted, Recode’s Peter Kafka thinks even the most exciting technology can have unintended consequences. “At first, Twitter seemed like a fun way to tell people what you had for lunch, then for a while like a tool that might help liberate oppressed populations,” he writingadding: “This time we should be much more aware of possible downsides.”
A downside is that cryptocurrency is an unnecessary, even dangerous, speculative investment. Binyamin Appelbaum of The Times argues. Unstable, cumbersome, and expensive to use, cryptocurrency is no substitute for government-backed currencies. What it does, however, is encourage market frenzies and use huge amounts of electricity – more than the nation of Finland.
Some commentators, as Moxie Marlinspike, the creator of Signalalso pointed out that Web3, for all its heady promises of democratization, is actually not very decentralized: it still depends on centralized organizations to maintain the servers, cryptocurrency wallets, and websites where NFTs are stored. .