Why Web3 Requires Complete Decentralisation by@finchpr

Why Web3 Requires Complete Decentralisation

image
Minima HackerNoon profile picture

Minima

Ultra-lean blockchain protocol that fits on a mobile or IoT device.

We invited Jonathan MacDonald, from Minima, about Web3 to talk about Web 3 and he advised that it will only be possible with complete decentralisation, which the crypto world does not have - yet!

He explains in greater detail below:

The 2021 Wired interview with Gavin Wood, who coined the term ‘Web3’ in 2014, sets out a stark differentiation between ‘Web 1.0’, the earliest version of our WorldWide Web that comprised open, decentralised protocols, ‘Web 2.0’, today’s web, controlled by closed, centralised platforms (think Facebook, Google and Amazon), and ‘Web3’ a decentralized online ecosystem built on blockchain, meant to “break the world free of that monopolistic control”. The ideology is that anything built on Web3 won’t be owned by any central actor, instead, users control their own experiences and earn ownership by developing and maintaining the Web3 services.

This approach suggests inherent disintermediation by removing 3rd parties, an inbuilt resilience due to a decentralised infrastructure, automatic accessibility meaning nothing is restricted, and personal data ownership where everyone has control over their information. Paradoxically, if one were to take a cursory look at the organisations proclaiming to be Web3 today, one would notice that many, if not all, are centralised actors who are operating in the exact same way as Web 2.0 does.

Web 2.0 is about control, Web3 is about freedom.

Web 2.0 is about conglomerates, Web3 is about people.

And yet, the current trend is for Web 2.0 companies to attempt at ‘greater relevance’ by aligning themselves with today’s keywords such as ‘metaverse’ and, of course, Web3. Yet, a tagline does not an infrastructure make.

Conversely, the only way of constructing anything as a Web3 offering, unlocking the potential in collaborative cooperation, is to reverse the organisational structures of Web 2.0 and develop networks and services where the only people in control are the people.

That’s a bold move. Predominantly as it requires the surrendering of control - and how many Web 2.0 organisations are up for that?

In 2021, Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the WorldWide Web and long-term freedom advocate, envisaged a return to the original, open protocols and principles of Web 1.0 where “no permission is needed from a central authority to post anything…there is no central controlling node, and so no single point of failure… no kill switch”. This is a fundamental re-think from where we are today.

Today, the news we read, the images we share and the conversations we have, are controllable by the few centralised platforms that have their own agenda.  For the future of Web3 we need to place the power firmly in the hands of the people. This human-centric approach is the default starting point for Minima, the completely decentralised network enabling everyone to freely connect, but the hope is that many will build offerings on top. Minima is an enabling protocol, the possibility for applications on top are, literally, limitless.

This differentiation is simple as a concept, but in practice, it is tremendously difficult to bring to market; not least because nobody has ever attempted it before. Another challenge is that the world has been so conditioned and controlled by centralised structures, that a vast amount of education needs to happen so that people believe that they are allowed to have power. Adjacent to this is the overuse of the trendy terms, so an offering that actually is Web3 is seen as just another offering like the rest.

Will Web3 and Web 2.0 exist alongside one another? Yes. I believe that the entire construct of Web3 is not suitable for everyone and everything. The commercial structure of organisations is not something that should either be surrendered or ignored. Equally, however, putting people first does not mean that profitability is not possible. Double negatives aside, perhaps the most profitable approach is to start with what people would find most valuable. And that, arguably, is what Web3 is all about; freedom.

It will only be when networks are run by people where everyone has equal power and nothing can shut it down, when we will no doubt see past the posturing of DINO (Decentralised In Name Only) structures and blockchain offerings. As proponents of a better digital future for all, we must be diligent in looking deeper behind claims. We must maintain the prioritisation of a citizen-first initiatives. This won’t be easy and no, bypassing the true semantic nature of Web3 and jumping straight to “owning Web4” isn’t the answer either. The only way to make the promise happen is to reorganise our approach at a grassroots level.

Web3 requires a philosophical commitment to an alternative view of network architecture and human empowerment…but for those who share it, the next WorldWide Web awaits.


Welcome To The Web3 Writing Contest

We invited Jonathan MacDonald, from Minima, about Web3 to talk about Web 3 and he advised that it will only be possible with complete decentralisation, which the crypto world does not have - yet!

He explains in greater detail below:

The 2021 Wired interview with Gavin Wood, who coined the term ‘Web3’ in 2014, sets out a stark differentiation between ‘Web 1.0’, the earliest version of our WorldWide Web that comprised open, decentralised protocols, ‘Web 2.0’, today’s web, controlled by closed, centralised platforms (think Facebook, Google and Amazon), and ‘Web3’ a decentralized online ecosystem built on blockchain, meant to “break the world free of that monopolistic control”. The ideology is that anything built on Web3 won’t be owned by any central actor, instead, users control their own experiences and earn ownership by developing and maintaining the Web3 services.

This approach suggests inherent disintermediation by removing 3rd parties, an inbuilt resilience due to a decentralised infrastructure, automatic accessibility meaning nothing is restricted, and personal data ownership where everyone has control over their information. Paradoxically, if one were to take a cursory look at the organisations proclaiming to be Web3 today, one would notice that many, if not all, are centralised actors who are operating in the exact same way as Web 2.0 does.

Web 2.0 is about control, Web3 is about freedom.

Web 2.0 is about conglomerates, Web3 is about people.

And yet, the current trend is for Web 2.0 companies to attempt at ‘greater relevance’ by aligning themselves with today’s keywords such as ‘metaverse’ and, of course, Web3. Yet, a tagline does not an infrastructure make.

Conversely, the only way of constructing anything as a Web3 offering, unlocking the potential in collaborative cooperation, is to reverse the organisational structures of Web 2.0 and develop networks and services where the only people in control are the people.

That’s a bold move. Predominantly as it requires the surrendering of control - and how many Web 2.0 organisations are up for that?

In 2021, Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the WorldWide Web and long-term freedom advocate, envisaged a return to the original, open protocols and principles of Web 1.0 where “no permission is needed from a central authority to post anything…there is no central controlling node, and so no single point of failure… no kill switch”. This is a fundamental re-think from where we are today.

Today, the news we read, the images we share and the conversations we have, are controllable by the few centralised platforms that have their own agenda.  For the future of Web3 we need to place the power firmly in the hands of the people. This human-centric approach is the default starting point for Minima, the completely decentralised network enabling everyone to freely connect, but the hope is that many will build offerings on top. Minima is an enabling protocol, the possibility for applications on top are, literally, limitless.

This differentiation is simple as a concept, but in practice, it is tremendously difficult to bring to market; not least because nobody has ever attempted it before. Another challenge is that the world has been so conditioned and controlled by centralised structures, that a vast amount of education needs to happen so that people believe that they are allowed to have power. Adjacent to this is the overuse of the trendy terms, so an offering that actually is Web3 is seen as just another offering like the rest.

Will Web3 and Web 2.0 exist alongside one another? Yes. I believe that the entire construct of Web3 is not suitable for everyone and everything. The commercial structure of organisations is not something that should either be surrendered or ignored. Equally, however, putting people first does not mean that profitability is not possible. Double negatives aside, perhaps the most profitable approach is to start with what people would find most valuable. And that, arguably, is what Web3 is all about; freedom.

It will only be when networks are run by people where everyone has equal power and nothing can shut it down, when we will no doubt see past the posturing of DINO (Decentralised In Name Only) structures and blockchain offerings. As proponents of a better digital future for all, we must be diligent in looking deeper behind claims. We must maintain the prioritisation of a citizen-first initiatives. This won’t be easy and no, bypassing the true semantic nature of Web3 and jumping straight to “owning Web4” isn’t the answer either. The only way to make the promise happen is to reorganise our approach at a grassroots level.

Web3 requires a philosophical commitment to an alternative view of network architecture and human empowerment…but for those who share it, the next WorldWide Web awaits.

Comments

Signup or Login to Join the Discussion

Tags

Related Stories