Robin Sloan on Web3

I’ve been meaning to link to Robin Sloan’s “counterweight to the growing hype” of Web3 for many weeks and forgotten. I think it pairs nicely with my link to Molly White’s Web3 hype damper.

Robin’s piece does more than simply attempt to squash the excitement of someone curious about Web3. It is a fair and balanced argument, showing why someone would be and could be excited about cryptocurrencies and how we’ve all been exhausted by our forfeiture of ownership in the big tech web silos.

If I could tease one tidbit out, that is altogether unrelated to Web3, but that I can’t help but comment on:

As a philosophy, Web 2.0’s success was incomplete, to say the least: there was a whole thick strand of ambition around the exchange of data in modular, permissive ways between platforms, which basically died — or was killed.

I totally agree that the potential of Web 2.0 was not fully realized. Both Twitter and Facebook pulled many people in under the promise of Web 2.0 but then yanked the rug out from under everyone. However, many amazing internet services were built expressly with data interoperability in mind. Just the fact that most of our data can be exported from any platform at all is a remnant of Web 2.0. It was a major factor in the growth of the web and why we ended up with great protocols and specifications such as RSS, OAuth, and many of the blocks of the Indie Web. I don’t think it is dead. In fact, the embers from Web 2.0 may be the very spark that will help create the flame of whatever comes after the flash-in-the-pan Web3*.

If you’re Web3 curious, go read the piece. And be sure to subscribe to Robin’s work. I first mentioned him in #75.

* I realize this is flippant. Web3 may not end up being a flash-in-the-pan. But I do hope some parts of it end up being so.

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