The death of Web 3.0 is a cautionary tale of greed, and the consequences that come with it.
In the early 2010s, the tech world was abuzz with talk of a new era of the internet, one that promised to be more open, decentralized, and user-focused than ever before.
Dubbed “Web 3.0,” this next iteration of the web was supposed to be the antidote to the surveillance capitalism and platform monopolies that had come to define the internet of the early 21st century.
But something went wrong.
Instead of realizing the promise of Web 3.0, the tech industry seems to have squandered its potential.
Today, the internet is more centralized than ever, with a small handful of companies like Google, Facebook, and Amazon controlling vast swaths of online activity.
Meanwhile, users are subjected to increasingly invasive tracking and advertising practices, and the power of big tech seems to only be growing stronger.
So what happened?
How did Web 3.0, a movement with so much potential, end up fizzling out before it even really began?
The answer, I believe, lies in the dark side of human nature: G-R-E-E-D.
To understand the role that greed played in the death of Web 3.0, we have to go back to the beginning.
The concept of Web 3.0 emerged as a response to the failings of Web 2.0, the internet era that gave us social media, user-generated content, and the rise of mobile devices.
While Web 2.0 had promised to democratize the web and empower users, it had ultimately led to the rise of a handful of platform monopolies that controlled vast amounts of online activity and user data.
Web 3.0, by contrast, promised to be a more decentralized, user-controlled, and privacy-focused internet.
It would be built on blockchain technology, which would allow for the creation of decentralized applications and services that couldn’t be controlled by any single entity.
Instead of relying on centralized platforms, users would be able to interact with each other directly, using digital tokens and smart contracts to facilitate transactions and interactions.
At first, the idea of Web 3.0 was embraced by a small but passionate group of developers, entrepreneurs, and activists.
They saw it as a way to create a fairer, more equitable internet that would be resistant to censorship, surveillance, and corporate control. And for a time, it seemed like they might be onto something.
But as Web 3.0 began to gain traction, something started to change.
Instead of being driven by a desire for a better internet, the movement became increasingly dominated by a desire for profit.
Investors and entrepreneurs began pouring money into blockchain startups, hoping to get in on the ground floor of the next big thing.
ICOs (initial coin offerings) became a popular way to raise funds, with some startups raising millions of dollars in a matter of hours.
The problem with this rush for profits is that it led to a situation where many blockchain startups were more interested in making money than in creating useful products or services.
Many startups raised money based on little more than a white paper and a flashy website, with little consideration for how their ideas would actually work in practice.
Others simply used blockchain as a buzzword to attract investors, without any real understanding of how the technology could be used.
This focus on short-term profit also led to a proliferation of scams and frauds.
Some startups raised money through ICOs only to disappear with the funds, leaving investors with nothing.
Others promised the moon and the stars, only to deliver products that were buggy, incomplete, or simply useless.
All of this had a chilling effect on the Web 3.0 movement as a whole.
Instead of being seen as a legitimate path to a better internet, Web 3.0 began to be associated with greed, scams, and hype.
Investors started to pull back, and many promising projects were left without the funding they needed to succeed.
But perhaps the most damaging aspect of this focus on greed was the way it undermined the core values of the Web 3.0 movement.
Instead of being a decentralized, user-focused internet, Web 3.0 began to resemble the same old centralized, profit-driven web that it was supposed to replace.
One of the main reasons for this was the rise of “centralized finance” (DeFi), a term used to describe blockchain-based financial services that are still largely controlled by centralized entities.
While DeFi promised to be a way to bring financial services to underserved communities and disintermediate traditional banks, it has instead become dominated by a small group of power players who control the majority of the industry’s capital and influence.
This centralization has had real-world consequences.
In recent years, we’ve seen a number of high-profile DeFi hacks and exploits that have resulted in millions of dollars in losses for users.
And in many cases, the response of the DeFi community has been to bail out the affected projects or simply sweep the problems under the rug, rather than addressing the underlying issues.
All of this points to a stark truth: greed has killed Web 3.0.
Instead of being a movement driven by a desire to create a better internet for everyone, it has become just another vehicle for people to get rich quick.
And while there are still some truly visionary projects and people working in the Web 3.0 space, they are increasingly overshadowed by the hype and the greed that have come to define the industry.
So where do we go from here?
Can Web 3.0 be resurrected, or is it doomed to be yet another footnote in the history of the internet?
The answer, I believe, depends on our ability to recognize and confront the role that greed has played in the death of Web 3.0.
First and foremost, we need to acknowledge that the pursuit of profit alone is not enough to create a better internet.
Yes, startups and entrepreneurs need to make money in order to survive and thrive.
But if that’s all they’re focused on, then they’re unlikely to create anything truly innovative or transformative. Instead, we need to embrace a more collaborative, user-focused approach to building the internet.
This means putting the needs and desires of users first, and working together to create products and services that truly meet those needs.
It means being transparent about our goals and intentions, and avoiding hype and empty promises. It also means being willing to confront the darker side of human nature, including our tendency towards greed and selfishness.
This is not an easy task, but it’s a necessary one if we want to create an internet that truly serves the needs of everyone.
Bottom line, the death of Web 3.0 is a tragedy that could have been avoided. By succumbing to greed and hype, the tech industry squandered a chance to create a more decentralized, user-focused internet.
But all hope is not lost. If we’re willing to confront our own greed and work together to build something truly transformative, then we still have a chance to create the internet we all deserve.
Ivan is a professional advertiser and digital content marketer. Here are some famous brands he’s worked with.
When he’s not running ad campaigns, Ivan is helping people get more customers with free ai-powered interactive chatbots (i.e., virtual assistants for your website that turn prospects into paying customers).