I'm increasingly seeing "web 3.0" as basically a two headed beast:

1) a way to part greater fools from their money until the hype has died out

2) a hot topic to drive clicks and discussions for nerds and, increasingly, the tech press, from other more pressing issues that exist in terms of tech and culture and finance

In other words, its a bullshit scam, can we please move on already?

A few months ago I agreed with her entirely. Tether is an unbacked fraud and NFTs are being front-run [1, 2]. The mid-level marketing Ponzi vibe is crazy. The latency of applications on the blockchain is atrocious. But more recently after learning from and interacting with people building in the space my assessment changed. There is an interesting intersection between tech, communities, and economics. There exists a transparency in the open-source code of smart contracts that will disrupt the current gatekeepers like the internet did.

Certainly, there are problems, but some things will live beyond the crash that is coming and change things in ways no one can be sure of. The internet started in the 1960s and was opened up commercially in 1989.[3] It feels like we are somewhere between 1995 and 2000. The energy feels similar with people trying to shove old paradigms into a new world, vaporware companies, and insane investments. I don’t think we’ve seen the top and it will likely make the crash of 2001 look small by comparison. I may be wrong, but if I’m not, it still is early.

[1] https://bitfinexed.medium.com/tether-is-setting-a-new-standa... [2] https://twitter.com/Foone/status/1457749433844568066 [3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Internet

> All that to say, a lot has changed in the technology world in the past six to twelve years

It sure has. But not really that fundamentally, since 2009.

A lot has changed in the blockchain space too. Just because you don't know about it doesn't mean it isn't true. A lot of those changes are on par with some of the tech advancements mentioned before my quote in the article. In 2009, you had bitcoin, so basically a distributed consensus workaround that enables artificial scarcity of fungible digital items. Today, you have sharded blockchains, triple entry bookkeeping, proof of stake, blockchains that handle incentivized file storage, alternate name lookup systems, purchasing compute power on an automated order book, liquidity pools (a major, major fintech advancement if you're not familiar with then), arbitrary code execution with a canonical record of it.

It is absolutely still early days.

Because these are decentralized consensus networks, there's inertia. Bitcoin is never going to be cutting edge. Because there's a lot of money to be made, there will be scams. Most of the "cutting edge" isn't cutting edge at all. But there are some real developments happening, allowing novel use cases, enabling very interesting things to be done.

I'm not a fan of the whole web3 concept. I think 99% of the selling points that the charlatans hype every market cycle are nonsense. But a little digging beyond an animated JS bloat landing page (a red flag all it's own) and you can quickly figure out what projects potentially have something and what's bullshit. Or you can do what I do and assume a project is a scam until proven otherwise.

The central problem in this entire debate is two groups talking past each other. The skeptics say "what is it for?" expecting a detailed answer, and the response from crypto enthusiasts is vague and high level; most of what I hear is heavy on words like "revolutionize" and "decentralize" but very, very short on specifics. Or I get argument by analogy to other technologies.

If I heard a single use case where blockchain technology actually created real value in the world, and was better than other alternatives, I'd listen. But it has to create real value, based on the real world and not some fantastical notion of what money is or governments are for.

I think we skeptics want a grounded narrative, and we're stuck hearing a thesis statement and nothing to back it up.

I'm still very opposed to the idea of taking a technology and then searching a problem for it. Why? Back in 2017 during the first hype cycle, blockchain companies raised hundreds of millions with ICOs. I became very interested in the technology too, and some friends still work in this space. 4 years later in the web3 era, there is not a single product aside from trading/finance that got traction. Use cases like storing the history of a car on-chain, transparent supply chains, public voting... this all sounds interesting but never made it to product-market fit.

I always assume that I'm wrong, so I'll keep looking for successful applications and I'm sure you can prove me wrong :)

the final paragraph seems to summarize the article :

"The more you think about it, the more “it’s early days!” begins to sound like the desperate protestations of people with too much money sunk into a pyramid scheme, hoping they can bag a few more suckers and get out with their cash before the whole thing comes crashing down."

Well, 10y ago is not ages ago. Email existed for 30 years before it was ready for consumers. Same is with the internet. Certain types of technologies require decades research and development. I would argue that in 20 years it will still be "early days" of blockchain. And only in mid 40 we will figure out apps and who nows what to fully utilize underlining technology. Right now we are just coping what we have outside of blockchain and put it on the blockchain. Same as people couldn't imagine how internet could possibly transform their business and life, we now can't imagine how Bitcoin and blockchain will transform our business and life in the future. It's too early.
I never understand critiques like these.

> "somehow no one appears to have managed to find a positive use for blockchains that wouldn’t be better served by blockchainless technologies"

There is now a sovereign nation state that accepted Bitcoin as a currency, and, mark my words, no doubt more will follow this 2022.

Replacing central banks, and by extension, their grasp on the limitless money printing, is the whole reason why bitcoin and it's blockchain exist. And it is working wonderfully well.

People in countries where the central bankers and politicians are letting them down are flocking to bitcoin and other later inventions (such as stable coins).

Just check these countries:

- Lebanon: https://www.aljazeera.com/economy/2020/2/25/distrust-in-leba...

- Turkey: https://etfdb.com/crypto-channel/as-turkey-lira-falls-bitcoi...

> "Rampant inflation is once again plaguing Turkey’s local currency, the lira, but one saving grace could be its citizens using bitcoin to supplant the plunging fiat currency."

- Also Turkey: https://www.nasdaq.com/articles/turkeys-inflation-is-an-exam...

- El Salvador: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jun/09/el-salvador-bi...

- And El Salvador again: https://bitcoinmagazine.com/culture/bitcoin-el-salvador-geop...

Kelsey Hightower said it best: https://twitter.com/kelseyhightower/status/14778718907230781...

"If something is too early to criticize it's also too early to evangelize."

IMO L1 (Ethereum, Solana, Fantom, etc.) development is closer to building out a communications or telco network.

From that “hard” technology perspective, it’s very early days. And the apps that run on top of these L1s are fully limited by L1 bandwidth, latency, and blockspace.

So, I think we’re in the pre-dial-up days for blockchains and will need a couple more orders of magnitude improvement to be (universally) on par with today’s app performance.

My purely anecdotal experience so far has been that crypto bulls have tended to be more business-y/finance type people and, even among technical people, the technical people who don’t actually know how a blockchain works. Not a good sign for the technology and its applications but I don’t think all crypto is useless… but a lot of the hype is definitely by people trying to get rich quick with a hand-wavy understanding of the technology.

A lot of people missed out on Bitcoin early days… best way to cash in is to fork it and voila, the crypto Cambrian explosion where most of the forks will eventually die off.

"Crypto" shat itself in the area of payments (noone really needs or wants it and it provides 0 value), so now they are trying other angles - NFT, DeFi. The problem is the crypto influencers are losing touch with reality. You could at least bullshit someone clueless about cryptocurrency and payments, but it's really hard to sell the idea of collecting JPEGs or investing into DeFi (which aggressively described in the terms of a classic ponzi scheme for some reason) to the general public.
In the same time, India & China got mobile payment revolution. 4b+ transcations per month are done in India.

Well which means 3B people dont ever need crypto.

So there is no progress in non Proof-of-Work coins today? Perhaps the author is saying that there are no blockchains that are being used as the basis of regulated stable-coins and CBDC projects that are being tested by central banks today?

I mean, the author is arguing as if Bitcoin, and Ethereum are the only blockchains that exist today. Hence why this is another blog-post that associates all cryptocurrencies having the same characteristics as Bitcoin, and Ethereum, which that isn't true and the author knows it.

This is all given that they 'claim' to have done 'research' even though they feel 'annoyed' by all of this. [0] If you are going to argue about cryptocurrencies and blockchains technologies in general, at least attack the current alleged 'state of the art' rather than using the same old arguments on the same old cryptocurrencies (Bitcoin, Ethereum) that everyone knows its faults already.

[0] https://blog.mollywhite.net/blockchain/

The hype around the blockchain reminds me of the hype around XML around 2000. People were blown away by the potential... but no one could quite demonstrate it with a product. Now the blockchain can point to cryptocurrencies as a success story, and XML can kind of point to HTML, but it is a reminder that real change in tech happens when someone comes out with a product where the rubber meets the road. When everyone is talking potential potential potential, I am very skeptical.
Not related to blockchain but just an interesting difference in perspective. Using 2010 to refer to "ages ago" is almost comical. The internet was created in the 60s and I'd say 2000-2010 was still early days for the internet. So saying something is old because it was created 10 years ago is just ridiculous.
It's truly incredible that people still confidently proclaim that there is "no use case" today.

Because of the technical nature of the underlying tech, it's hard for the average individual to recognise how and why it's different. However, it's not possible to explain away the particular applications and their properties.

Here are 2 use cases which are live and working today:

-Taking a collaterised USD loan without permission or interference from a third party.

- Creating a public digital object which lives forever and can be exchangeable and extendable without a third party involved.

The immediate response from critics then is to question the validity of the use case. But that requires to admit that the use case is there.

The author's description of 2015 doesn't sound like some ancient era to me.. Have things moved on and changed so dramatically from ML hype, Microsoft Edge, Apple Watch, and ES6?

I'm not really here to argue about blockchains being good or not, I just don't feel great about how the article tosses out a body of technology for not keeping pace with Uber. It's a bit like saying it can't possibly be early days for reusable rocketry, mm-wave communications, or quantum tech, because all those things were being developed decades before some guy named Satoshi wrote a very popular blog post.

Memorable moments from interacting with the Internet -- and web3

It's 1993. We are given a tour of the university I just got admitted to. I peel off the group at the physics building where the university VAX is. Something, something Internet. What is that. I get an account. I begin to use Usenet and IRC where I can talk to people so far away. Usability of these are on par with any other application (say, WordPerfect 5.1 for DOS) at the time. My mind is immediately blown. No one needs to give a pitch how useful or how fundamentally different this is to anything we had prior.

It's 2006. I began travelling the world, settling in Canada in 2008. I can chat with family for free. Later, even do video calls. I remember the weekends when we wrote a letter to my uncle who moved to the United States in the 80s. It took months to get a reply. Phone calls were rare and short. By the time my grandfather passed in 2011, my uncle was talking to him daily for a long time for free -- thanks to the 'Net.

It's 2007. I am wintering out in Israel. Moving around is very challenging, as I don't read Hebrew and I don't drive.

It's 2015. I am again in Israel. For a week, every night I sleep in a different apartment, booked online. Moving around is trivial, my phone tells me where and when to get on and off buses.

It's 2022. This a quote from someone touting the advances in the so called crypto"currency" space:

> Today, you have sharded blockchains, triple entry bookkeeping, proof of stake, blockchains that handle incentivized file storage, alternate name lookup systems, purchasing compute power on an automated order book, liquidity pools (a major, major fintech advancement if you're not familiar with then), arbitrary code execution with a canonical record of it.

Excuse me for being skeptical about web3.

How's this any different than the typical technology hype and adoption cycle? Perhaps we are just at the "peak of inflated expectations" right now, and are about to dive into the "trough of disillusionment".


This certainly happened with AI at least twice... remember the AI summers of 1970 and 2010 and the AI winters in between...before certain applications of machine learning became industrial tools.

I'm personally in agreement with the author that crypto is probably a waste of energy and a way to scam people, but I can look at the 30,000 foot view and admit there might be some applications in the future as we climb the "slope of enlightenment".

My wife recently suggested a possible one: NFTs minted by your university as proof of your diploma. Or perhaps your academic transcript. No way to forge a fake diploma again.

The article suggests that using the phrase "it's early days" is incorrect in blockchain technology because Bitcoin and Ethereum have been around for 13 and 6 years respectively.

The author goes on to give examples like smartphones, Uber, and Tesla, all of which have had serious developments in terms of impact and usability in around the same time period. Then given that Bitcoin and Ethereum have not made similar progress in that time period suggests it is not "early days".

Users continue to get scammed and lose funds. So what is it instead? Middle days? End of life? Pre-early days?

Open to ideas here. The author seems to suggest that what we're seeing in blockchains is the best we're going to get out of it. If Bitcoin were middle aged, would users put up with all the warts knowing they won't go away?

(Disclosure I own Bitcoin and Ethereum)

The author exemplifies people in the digital field who are making it their life mission to criticize blockchain/crypto all day.

I invested a significant amount in bitcoin very early and am now retired thanks to that decision. My hunch was that it was the combination of interesting innovative tech and a vector for greed that would be unstoppable. I never talked about this publicly, very few people know. Crypto is not my identity. I honestly don’t care about whether it gets banned, disappears, or ends up replacing parts of our digital experience. I recognized from the beginning that it would be unstoppable, whether it was to be a net negative or positive contributor to humanity being completely irrelevant. You can’t stop an idea.

But since I’ve been watching this space from day 1, literally installing the bitcoin client the day Satoshi posted it here, I’ve noticed that people who criticize blockchain tech tend to be folks who could have made the same bet I did and didn’t. At the time I invested I worked in a tech company and some people were already going on and on all day about how bitcoin is a scam, etc.

These folks were aware of the tech very early, considered it a scam. And now they’re making this crypto bashing their identity. I think a lot of that drive comes from the frustration that despite the space having so many negative aspects, they missed out on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. They personally know people like me. And now the only way to make peace with that decision is to publicly bash it constantly, to revolt against it. This becomes who they are, as much as crypto bros make it their identity too.

I don’t see people from the general public criticizing blockchain/crypto with as much passion as them. It’s only people from the tech field who go on personal vendettas against that space. People who had the tools and the information to transform their lives and even leave that space since… and didn’t.

As much as people who promote blockchain constantly probably have a vested interest in it due to the money they’ve put in it, making their opinion less interesting, the same is true for people who bash blockchain constantly because their vested interest is to make peace with the fact that they didn’t put money in it when it was really early.

The problem is that we’re still in the phase of “it’s good because it’s blockchain” so people are trying to get in early to make some free bucks. It will only work when someone comes up with a decentralized product backed by blockchain that simply works, and users don’t even need to know it’s a blockchain. It needs to be a blockchain use case instead of attempts to retrofit the blockchain into current problems.
I guess I'm old bacause all the he things listed as exapmle how far away was 2009 and especially 2015 feel new or at least newish to me.
Depends on how you define early.

When comparing the situation of crypto to the internet, I would say we are at around 1997 now. 1996 was the year when Yahoo went public and 2021 was the year when Coinbase went public.

The usability of crypto solutions also reminds me of 1997. It is still so bad that it makes them almost unusable. Reminds me of acoustic couplers where you had to manually plug your cable bound phone into some device and dial a number to connect to a bulletin box. Just that today the bad usablity looks very different. It has to do with complicated, privacy violating KYC processes, no standardized secure way to make a socially recoverable secret key, lightning network only used in very few places etc.

TCP/IP and DNS were both developed in the early 70s (1972 I think). So over 20 years before the first internet company went public.

So the adoption of the internet evolved more slowly than the adoption of crypto it seems. As the Coinbase IPO came already 13 years after the Bitcoin whitepaper.

As this series of blog posts detailing why the crypto/bitcoin/ntf/web3 ecosystem is bad and wrong, I am continually reminded of two quotes from people worth listening to:

“Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.”

― Mark Twain

"Don't believe the hype!"

-Flavor Flav

I'm not long on anything blockchain related.

But I don't understand why people get so invested in it being a scam or failure.

Maybe it is, and it'll all die. That's fine. Why do people spend so much time insisting that it's the inevitable outcome. Let it do its thing, find something better to do.

It's all about consensus and enforcement. The courts hold power because we all agree (actively or passively) that the decisions made by the courts are legitimate. We choose to keep our citizenships and pay taxes to enforce these decisions with coercive/violent means (police). If people lose faith in this arrangement and start disregarding the legal systems - e.g. if the police refuse to do their job - you could very well end up with blockchain officers taking their place and kicking down doors with the approval of the masses. For now, though, it doesn't really matter what you own on the blockchain because you have no shotgun to back it up (no legitimacy nor means of enforcement).
I wonder if this will be one of the “Show HN: Dropbox” type threads in a few years…
Comparing Bitcoin with companies and software products is not a good comparison.

Replacing software or products is not the same as exchanging government-issued fiat money to a new decentralized non-governmental form of money. The transition between different forms of money depends on trust which takes time[1]. E-mail and internet (web) took of faster but these inventions did not require people to exchange their money into an alternative system.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_money

I've been against the whole blockchain space for some time but I only just realised the one big positive to come from it - a new market.

I think that's why it's become so popular, you can actually invest in ideas just as they're being born now. The stock market is a marvel but the barrier to entry for companies is insane. It's also why there's so much money flowing through VC channels these days.

I'm just hoping the resolution to these issues that sticks, a proper market for investing in early stage startups, is created outside of the blockchain.

This article feels like it's just riding the crypto bandwagon for clicks.

The "early days" of something is relative to the lifespan of the thing. If crypto lasts for the next 1000 years then yes we are very much in the early days.

Moreover, a label like "early days" is entirely irrelevant, because really the question that needs to be asked is "Is it still changing, evolving, growing?" Based on what I've seen (I'm not a crypto enthusiast) the answer seems to be yes.

I don’t think the “early days” will be over until we can in fact see a few of the big projects crash and fail AND THEN some new projects survive and take over with killer products as we saw with the dot com bubble.

At the moment there are already some successful private blockchains, some of those the end user interacts without knowing about them.

> How long can it possibly be “early days”?

70-ish years. I'd say we just recently came out of the early days of computing around the 1990s or 2010s.

>How long do we need to wait before someone comes up with an actual application of blockchain technologies that isn’t a transparent attempt to retroactively justify a technology that is inefficient in every sense of the word?

Currency is inefficient? It's sure better than trading cows.

Smart contracts? Writing things using english and then every side involved hiring lawyers to be used as bad just-in-time compilers for what was written is way more inefficient.

"Bitcoin was the beginning of the end for the state" – geohot. And I can't imagine much more of an inefficient system than the state and central banking.

> How much pollution must we justify pumping into our atmosphere while we wait to get out of the “early days” of proof-of-work blockchains?

Energy production problem, not a blockchain problem.

> How many people must be scammed for all they’re worth while technologists talk about just beginning to think about building safeguards into their platforms?

God, devs, please don't put restrictions on your platforms under the guise of "safety". Same goes for governments. Stay out. If you have no clue how something works, it's partly on you if you gamble all your savings on it. But also, who is excusing scams? We all think scams are bad. Nobody is seeing someone who fell for BitConnect and saying "Well, it's the early days, so it's fine that you got scammed."

It seems to me that this lady really wants to dislike. In general. She enjoys disliking things.

While i agree, ultimately i don't think it would matter if it was.

Either you have a product that does something interesting or you don't. I don't think it matters at what stage you have the interesting thing at.

(Fwiw, i don't find recent blockchain interesting)

Very precise criticisms. I wish she would have mention her thoughts on proof-of-stake blockchains.
interest rate at 2-4 % will do the trick. not so long.
I've started telling my tech-following friends and relatives: Whenever you hear somebody say "Web 3.0" you should think "YABS" (Yet Another Blockchain Scam).

History will not be kind to @pmarca for promoting this shite.

Those crypto hate articles are so trite. By this point, either people get it, or they don't.

We could even agree it isn't for everyone. Some people suffer from or dislike centralization, others don't. Some even explicitly WANT centralization.

I just can't take the power and pollution argument seriously. There's just nothing salient about it. I might have otherwise agreed with the author on their other points but if you can't see the issue with this argument it disqualifies your opinion (which js just my opinion).

"Bitcoin requires lots of electricity". No, nowhere near the scale human activity sans blockchain does and to provide it we burn coal. Like we've done for a looong time before bitcoin. Removing bitcoin doesn't remove the coal we burn. Genuinely daft argument.

And that's before we get into looking at the numbers from areas like the mining sector. Aluminum smelting isn't cheap from a power perspective, yet I don't see this argument leveled against coke.

The answer is renewable energy. Obviously.

The author admitted in her opening that she doesn't understand the point of decentralization. Reading anything beyond that point is a waste of time.
To me, the most promising use cases for a blockchain would be activities that are today carried out by government agencies, states or lawyers. Anyone who has ever bought a property in central Europe knows how much money has to be spent on trustees and notaries. If such transactions can be carried out in a secure way between buyer and seller without an intermediary, that would be a huge win. However, the lobby of lawyers and notaries is big, the connections to politicians are tight and they will not give up this business easily. Additionally the public sector is not known for its fast technology adoption.
I think it's still early days in terms of what's been built and what valuable applications have been created, i.e. nothing of note. But it's definitely not early days for investing in tokens - almost all of the top tokens seem completely overvalued. I think the token prices will crash and rise continually over the next 5-10 years as developers and entrepreneurs take the ridiculous amounts of VC money that has been raised to invest in crypto, and ultimately (perhaps) build a handful of useful and popular applications.
A rare article on the realities of blockchain
To be fair, it took decades for e-commerce on the web to become mainstream. Remember what a joke Webvan used to be in 2001?
The blog post conflates several issues together:

(1) why is the blockchain still so inefficient?

(2) why is the blockchain still so lacking in practical use cases with widespread adoption?

I think she is totally fair in complaining about (1). Either it is impossible to have decentralization and efficiency or it's just a technical problem that will be solved given more time. I don't have the answer here - only time will tell.

For problem (2), I think it's mostly an over-exaggeration of the use case(s) where web3 that beats web2. As far as I can tell there is one and only one use case: web3 can do things while having a middle finger pointed at major governments. Web2 cannot. In that bitcoin and eth can offer people of Argentina a some reliable store of value (against their own currency which depreciates at 50% per year) it has generally achieved that. You can't even buy a Tesla in Argentina so the adoption of that wonderful technology there is zero.

To claim that it's the next web2 or mobile tech is both an exaggeration and an underestimate. Web3 will not be much of a challenge to web2 or mobile. Instead it will be a huge challenge to existing political, monetary and taxation systems. It will be the tool of the rich to evade taxes, for libertarians to evade control and for those living in high inflation countries to build wealth.

Those who complain that this is hardly revolutionary are both right and wrong.

this article misses the forest for the trees.

it's the early days for smart contracts and applications like defi

once the barrier of entry drops in contract creation i suspect there will be exponential growth in exotic securities/financial-arbitration

Reminds me of something Elon Musk said. A lot of the content on the internet is a "projection of our limbic system". (Elon saying this https://youtu.be/ycPr5-27vSI?t=1074)

I see the craze around crypto the same way. It is a representation of something in our limbic system. Perhaps greed?

If there would be a legal framework in place that can tie a DAO to basically be legally binding bylaws of an actual org. and the smart contract lang. is expressive enough for this to work this would be extremely valuable. Outside of this most of web3 looks like hype.
Substitute “NASA” for “blockchain” in this article, and I agree:)
Blockchain denialism is the new remote work denialism
people have the tendency to quickly categorise things into "good" or "bad". as scammy as the crypto world is, there are a lot of potential uses for the blockchain. think fault-resistant backends, think open and transparent data flow and storage. "the early days" is subjective but in my opinion there are still so many things that'd run better if it were run on a blockchain instead of a traditional centralised server
Platforms develop quickly.

Protocols develop slowly.

Following the same logic, the late 90s were not the web “early days” because the web started in the early 90s
First video call was made in the 60s. It took 50+ years before it was ubitiquous.
Spot on.
Automation has not delivered his full potential but only side effects which favored the few sociopath over the many. Internet has delivered as much as possible in the early days, not its full potential, and has been regulated so that the orwellian side effects will be prevalent. Bitcoin put a dent in the banking system, and it is being normalized. But the ideas behind blockchain and trustless consensus have a great potential. They will probably fail like the rest but why not give it a chance. I do NOT mean invest money. I mean invest time in understanding how those principles can be applied so technology can fight soulless technocracy.
Why is it that in 2021 if I accidentally transfer btc to an eth wallet I lose it all (into the actual ether)?
Blockchains exist for a reason completely other than performance. Of course a centralized database would perform better. That’s not the point. I think engineers keep getting hung up on this and don’t zoom out and see the big picture.
I think the author hasn’t heard about DeFi. It’s pretty mind blowing what people are building on top of blockchains these days. But of course users who are not directly affected are oblivious to the advances and are just upset that they are not being served as users. If you think blockchain is useless: you are not the target user. The day it becomes useful to you, then you can choose to use it or not, but that day you’ll probably use it without knowing you’re using it. After all, do you have a clue what backbone your bank is using to perform wire transfers?