In the world of Blockchain, it doesn’t get more legendary than Dr Gavin Wood! He not only coined the term Web3 eight years ago, but he is also the co-founder of Ethereum. He’s a fierce advocate of decentralisation and trust-less systems and president of the Web3 Foundation, a nonprofit development organisation that promotes decentralised internet infrastructure and technology.
Any power structure — regardless of initial purpose — will ultimately view retention of power as its primary goal. It’s no surprise that those endowed with power find it difficult to hand over to a structure they don’t control.Dr. Gavin Wood
He also created Polkadot, an open-source blockchain and cryptocurrency. Polkadot supports interconnectivity and interoperability between various blockchains and uses proof-of-stake consensus for validating transactions. Polkadot’s blockchain network is also the foundation for Project Liberty, the Web3 initiative to democratise and decentralise social media using the open-source, publicly owned infrastructure.
Tuesday’s discussion was a collaborative session about the opportunities of Web3 with Polkadot founder Dr Gavin Wood, Project Liberty founder Frank McCourt, and Andy Serwer from Yahoo Finance.
Where Web1 gave us digital connectivity in its raw, untapped form, Web2 saw the rise of monetisation and centralisation, as corporate interests took over the development of technology and turned the focus toward data collection. Now, although we are embarking on Web3 with its goal of decentralisation and transparency, projects are often still stuck in “a Web2 mentality wrapped in Web3 clothing.”
Irina Heaver questioned the panel on what needs to change to get us to Dr Wood’s vision of Web3:
Back in 2014, you coined the term ‘Web3’, and you outlined your vision for the future of the internet. Today we all know that in Web2, we, the people – we are the product. But unfortunately, in Web3 right now, we, the people – we are the exit liquidity. So what needs to change for Web3 to change, so it’s closer to your vision, which you had envisaged, rather than what is happening now?
Dr Gavin Wood: “The answer still lies within the Web3 motto of ‘Less trust more truth’. I think the exit liquidity remark is largely due to people placing too much trust in opaque entities. So ultimately, we have to, as technologists and product creators, ensure that when people economically move into a product, they have all of the information about that product and service at their fingertips.”
“We need more truth. We need less need to trust “
“… because in my mind, a lot of the bad stuff that goes on in the world can be explained by people misplacing trust. And exit liquidity being perhaps one of those instances, especially when it’s egregious, where people have misplaced trust.”
Frank McCourt of Project Liberty: “I also think that what we are seeing in the early innings of Web3 is really a wolf in sheep’s clothing – it’s Web2 mentality and focus, quite centralised versions. It’s [still] really about how to create value quickly in a specific use case. It’s not about a fundamental sea-change in how it all works. I would also add that DSNP and having a core internet protocol that’s not tokenised, that’s public and part of the common good, is really important as well. There are pieces of the internet that are private which should be public, in my opinion, and then you can build privatised commercial things on that. But right now, we have pieces of the internet that should be public but are private.“
The importance of growing Web3 with resilient decentralised applications is evident as more users demand control of their own data and push for individual privacy online. This, in turn, leads to more secure transactions since information is exchanged only between the points that need it and not maintained in centralised, vulnerable, corporate-controlled databases. The internet in Web3 will be centred around people rather than data-harvesting platforms. In short, “Less trust, more truth” is the motto and the answer.