Let’s Build A New Internet
We can, and should, build web3. Just not the way you think.
Web3 is one of the hottest topics in Silicon Valley at the moment. For infrastructure technologists it’s also one of the most divisive. Mirroring the mid-2000’s era controversy of its predecessor, Web 2.0, the vague but alluring promises to create a bottoms-up refresh of the internet’s architecture to meet modern challenges related to privacy and security have drawn billions of dollars of venture funding within the last 18 months.
Yet for all of the overhype and potential over-funding, there are some valid challenges that common interpretations of web3 raise. We do live in a world where core protocols of the internet do not satisfy elements of identity and networking critical to securely and scaleably leveraging the internet in modern and near-future society.
In less words: web3 proponents have some good points. We do have some work to do in building a better internet.
So how do we do it? Realistically?
Lessons from Web 2.0
Before we begin, it’s important to define what we’re actually trying to solve in building web3. Lack of clarity around what challenges necessitate major renovations to common internet protocols and architectures has led to a cultural divide between the infrastructure technology community and communities touting web3 such as the blockchain and cryptocurrency communities.
Perhaps the worst example of this is Tim Feriss’ interview of Naval and Chris Dixon. In what’s quickly become an infamous interview in infrastructure engineering circles, clear use cases requiring bottoms-up renovations of core internet fundamentals were few and far between.
This isn’t anything new. I was in college studying computer science when the precursor to web3, web 2.0, entranced Silicon Valley with similar challenges to “upend the internet” using then-nascent technology such as HTML5 and virtualization. Much like today, in the late 00’s and early 2010’s there was arguably too much hype and too little substantive review of what…