Web3 is a polarizing issue. It’s difficult to find balanced views on the topic, which means you have to traverse the two extremes (for and against) to form your own view.
Here is a collection of Web3 resources to help you understand more about the ‘next generation of the internet’ and make up your own mind. Take your own tour to see where you arrive. I summarize my position at the end.
1️⃣ Start with this episode of the Web3 Breakdowns podcast about the Ethereum Name Service (ENS). If you’re familiar with the concept of DNS, this is nice way to start your journey.
2️⃣ Next go to the Chris Dixon episode of the same podcast: The Potential of Blockchain Technology. At the end of the episode, Chris sums up Web3:
“It’s about power and money on the internet. Who has that? How has it governed? How is it controlled? How does the money flow? What’s the economic model? Those are really important questions. This is why crypto and blockchains matter.”
Note that Chris Dixon is a general partner at Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), an influential company investing in crypto and blockchain.
3️⃣ Now that you’re primed, the next thing to do is read Moxie Marlinspike’s article, My first impressions of web3. Moxie is the founder of Signal and he’s a respected person in tech. His article raises some criticisms about the web3 space so it caused quite a splash when it came out in January 2022.
While you’re in the zone, you can read some responses to Moxie:
- Vitalik Buterin’s response. “Moxie’s critiques in the second half of the post strike me as having a correct criticism of the current state of the ecosystem, but they are missing where the blockchain ecosystem is going.” Vitalik is the co-founder of Ethereum.
- Suzuha’s On Web3 Infrastructure.
- Mikeal’s In response to moxie’s awesome nft.
4️⃣ Next it’s story time. Back to the Web3 Breakdowns podcast for the fascinating tale of when a DAO tried to bid for the United States Constitution: The Week Crypto Bid for The Constitution.
5️⃣ Keeping that in mind, let’s head to YouTube for Line Goes Up – The Problem With NFTs by Dan Olson. This is 2 hours of your life, but you can watch it on 1.5x playback speed. The video has chapters so you can jump around. Pay attention to his perspective on the Constitution DAO, as well as his points about IP and copyright.
6️⃣ Following on from that nicely is Can the law keep up with crypto? with Professor Tonya Evans on the Decoder podcast. She covers copyright law and how to enforce smart contracts in DAOs in real life.
7️⃣ Next, have a look at Robin Sloan’s Notes on web3 for the “cautiously curious”. He offers his notes as a “meager counterweight to the growing hype”. While down this path, you could visit Molly White’s tongue-in-cheek website: Web3 is going just great.
8️⃣ Prepare for the delicious ear onslaught that is Balaji Srinivasan. He is a general partner as Andreessen Horowitz (a16z). He spoke on The Knowledge Project podcast, episode 134, The Network State. This is an epic episode, almost 3 hours. I listened on 1.5x playback speed. It’s totally worth your time—Balaji is a deep thinker and compelling speaker.
9️⃣ Finally, round it all off with a trip back in time:
- Visit 2015 for this non-technical primer from Vinay Gupta: Ethereum, Smart Contracts, and the World Computer. This is a long read, but a good one.
- Pop in to 2016 for one of the most viewed TED talks of all time: How the blockchain is changing money and business by Don Tapscott, founder of the Blockchain Research Institute.
That’s it. We’ve arrived. Where did you land?
I think that the internet my 4 year old daughter interacts with tomorrow is going to be very different from the internet I’m using today. Blockchain technology is going to play a big part in that - and I would argue it’s already happening. That’s a lot of toothpaste to get back in the tube.
To continue the journey, I recommend the TechCrunch newsletter and podcast.
Image credits: Hexagons by duncan c on Flickr