About Bitcoin And “Web 2.5,” HackerNoon’s First Documentaryby@eduardoprospero
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About Bitcoin And “Web 2.5,” HackerNoon’s First Documentary

by Eduardo PrósperoJune 15th, 2023
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We can say with confidence that Web5 uses bitcoin and only bitcoin as a backbone; while Web3 is about all of the other cryptocurrencies, especially the ones in which users can deploy smart contracts. HackerNoon's "Web 2.5" documentary should be about Web5. This is why.

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I have mixed feelings about the trailer for HackerNoon’s “Web 2.5” documentary. On the one hand, HackerNoon is the coolest publication, it’s a net good for writers all over the world, and its leaders are adorable. How could you hate on them? And they release on Amazon Prime!? The whole world should celebrate that. That documentary puts the publication one step closer to the big leagues and helps each and every Hackernoon collaborator. Plus, Linh Dao Smooke is right, “a new reimagined version of the Internet is desperately needed.”

On the other hand, “Web 2.5” seems to be about Web3 when it should be about Web5.

Before reading, consider, and let’s be clear about this, that I haven’t seen the film yet. This short article is exclusively about the “Web 2.5” trailer.

What Do You Mean Web5?

There are no two ways about it, the cryptocurrency industry is riddled with complex concepts and that’s that. There are endless pages of discussion about exactly what Web3 is and humanity’s still far away from a consensus on that definition. However, there’s a clear distinction.  We can say with confidence that Web5 uses bitcoin and only bitcoin as a backbone; while Web3 is about all of the other cryptocurrencies, especially the ones in which users can deploy smart contracts.

According to Jack Dorsey’s TBD, the proponents of__the Web5 concept__, it also has to do with identity:

“The web democratized the exchange of information, but it's missing a key layer: identity. We struggle to secure personal data with hundreds of accounts and passwords we can’t remember. On the web today, identity and personal data have become the property of third parties. Web5 brings decentralized identity and data storage to your applications.” \ Even though it’s a separate protocol, we could argue that Nostr is Web5’s first great success. Using it right now feels like the early Internet, in which nothing was true and everything was permitted. And watching it advance at warped speed in real-time is nothing short of amazing. It seems like a new earth-shattering project drops every other day, and progress accelerates over time. To the untrained eye, it seems like Nostr is a Twitter clone, but it’s much more than that. This information-heavy site defines it as:

“Nostr stands for “Notes and Other Stuff Transmitted by Relays”. Like HTTP or TCP-IP, Nostr is a protocol; an open standard upon which anyone can build. Nostr itself is not an app or service that you sign up for. Nostr is designed for simplicity and enables censorship-resistant and globally decentralized publishing on the web.”

What’s Wrong With Web3?

Recently, the SEC decided to sue Binance and then Coinbase, respectively the biggest and the more compliant cryptocurrency exchanges out there. According to Reuters, “The SEC said Coinbase traded at least 13 crypto assets that are securities that should have been registered, including tokens such as Solana, Cardano and Polygon.” And the Coinbase lawsuit also mentioned Ethereum staking, even if it didn’t specifically call Ethereum a security.

The difference between bitcoin and the rest of the cryptocurrencies is elusive, but as I say in the “Why BITCOIN ONLY? - Bitcoin is NOT “Crypto” article:

“Altcoins exist to generate fiat money for their creators (and, if lucky, some for the traders) Bitcoin’s reason-to-be is to save the world from itself. To grant property rights to every person on the planet. To allow us all to transact with one another without interference.”

Then, I go on to quote the remarkable bitcoin thought leader known as Der Gigi. After the SEC sued Binance and Coinbase, another one of his articles started to make the rounds. In “Dear Crypto & Fiat Bros: An open letter to the confused and dismissive,” Gigi wrote:

“Many bitcoiners have strong opinions when it comes to bitcoin vs. “crypto”—and for good reason. One is a breakthrough of enormous proportions. The others are cheap imitations, copy-cats that have been riding the coattails of said breakthrough for way too long, confusing noobs and retail investors alike.”

The gist of the situation is that these other cryptocurrencies are not decentralized at all. There’s always a messianic figure, a foundation, or both behind the great majority of them. That’s a gigantic single point of failure. And it’s not censorship-resistant at all. Can the other cryptocurrencies handle the identity problem TBD mentioned? Sure they can, but not in a decentralized way. Because central entities control those protocols.

Can you build a decentralized protocol over a centralized network? No, you can’t, because people at the top always have the ability to close you down. And those people are vulnerable to government intervention, among other things.

Bitcoin Fixes This

Only leaderless bitcoin has the hashpower and the network of nodes necessary to claim to be decentralized. And sure, bitcoin could improve a lot in that aspect. And it probably will, because the incentives are there for this to happen. The bitcoin blockchain is lean and mean precisely because it aims to remain relatively light to allow normal folks to run nodes in modest equipment.

Smart contract-enabled blockchains are the other way around.

Those layer 1 networks are gigantic and growing larger by the minute. A normal folk might run a node today, but it’s not guaranteed that he or she will be able to do it tomorrow.

To summarize, why would you build on shaky ground when you can build on bitcoin?

Create your Nostr identity, explore what's already built, and have a glimpse of humanity’s future. You’re all welcome. Especially Hackernoon.

This was a dispatch by Eduardo Prospero, bitcoin’s ambassador to Hackernoon.

In case you missed it,here’s the first BITCOIN ONLY article, and here’s the second one.

A proper third one is coming, this was just a ploy to promote HackerNoon’s first documentary.

Also published here.