The self-defeating allergy to web3

There’s something weird going on. For what it’s worth, some tech progressives developed a heavy allergy towards anything related to crypto and web3, Tante and Cory Doctorow being just two examples. Of course there’s many things to validly criticize around blockchains et al. But a common thread around their critiques looks like this: 

  • It’s an all on assault on progressive values AND the technology will never scale.
    Wait: if it’s not going to work out anyway, why would you even care?
  • It’s all about scamming retail investors in a big Ponzi scheme AND big VC money is pouring in to drown all decentralized visions in a shitload of money.
    Wait: so the VCs are cashing out the early retail Ponzi victims and that’s a bad thing for retail, even if you’re quite convinced that nothing ever might work?  

Hmm. Most lines of arguments seem actually quite the contradictions in themselves. But in the end, Tante puts it like this:

Web3 is dominated by libertarians. I don’t see libertarians as my political allies which doesn’t make me want to do their homework for them.

Of course he’s right: the cryptosphere seems to be run by Lambo Libertarians. They are loud and crass, many nouveau riche, some openly sociopathic. To create your own set of crypto related antibodies, just watch some bits and pieces of Bitcoin 2021 in Miami, probably last year’s most spectacular meet & greed. 

But, well: that’s what’s happening if you excuse yourself from participating in a discourse. You cede the ground, and here come the huns. It’s a self fulfilling prophecy. 

Let’s quote Tante again:

Web3 is a project that runs against my personal political beliefs of more access, more sharing, less exclusion, less financialization. That’s why I don’t work on fixing it.

And if you see something in the world that you consider wrong on a fundamental and structural level, you usually don’t try to patch it or fix it. You try to remove it, stop it. That’s what I am working on.  

Well, is there really something inherently “libertarian” in the underlying technology? And: what’s the alternative? Let’s look at alternatives first and leave the tainted tech idea for another day.

I think we can all agree that money and momentum are currently quite in favor of web3 technologies. That’s actually the main reason for the aggressive backlash. 

So I was actually quite baffled, when one tech influencer I don’t want to name here pointed into the following solution. A promising way to tame the power of the mighty monopolistic platforms may be platform socialism. What is it? He linked to a Youtube video with currently 193 views. I suspect the platform socialism approach to be ideologically sound and clean. But to dethrone the abomination run by the company formerly known as Facebook, we probably need a little bit more momentum. Or lots of patience. Or prayers that FB is destroying itself, sooner or later. At least they shrunk last quarter to a mere 1.9 billion DAILY active users.  

That’s not even carrying a knife to a gun fight. That’s preparing to battle the galactic empire with a tooth stick. And don’t start macgyvering me, please.

Don’t macgyver: it’s just a tv show and you will loose.

One thought on “The self-defeating allergy to web3”

  1. PS: I retract my remark re. platform socialism. It’s actually quite an interesting concept. But that’s happening, when we just put our fingers in our ears and shout at each other.

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