Web 3.0: A dangerous social experiment
January 4th, 2022

A unified system that integrates blockchain, bitcoin , NFT, and meta universe.

Do you know what Constitution DAO is? Have you heard of Axie Infinity, Chain Roblox ? Maybe you are still relatively new to these English words, but Web 3.0 will definitely be a word you often see recently. In fact, the aforementioned species are the hottest gameplay and applications in the Web 3.0 system.

There are very few new technologies like Web 3.0 that derive so many fresh concepts, vocabulary, and gameplay:

There is DAO, a decentralized organization that promotes "co-construction", which is similar to small economic communities. People advocate voting and decision-making by the masses;

There is a Decentralized Finance (Decentralized Finance) that claims to overwhelm all intermediaries. Of course, it is not an exaggeration to increase the value of assets by 30 times or 300 times within a few months;

There is also a decentralized meta-universe, which is rebuilding the rules of the world in a 24-hour uninterrupted game...

Web 3.0 is a technological revolution that is sufficiently subversive, and bigwigs are arguing about the prospects that human imagination can reach.

The negative Blockstream developer Grubles and one of the founders of Twitter, Jack Dorsey (Jack Dorsey) said that Web 3.0 is just a conceptual tool for VC to make money;

Chris Dixon, a partner of A16z, a well-known investment institution in Silicon Valley, is a staunch supporter of Web 3.0. He criticized opponents, "First they ignore you, then laugh at you, then criticize you, and then the day of your victory will be yours." Partner Marc Andreessen even blocked Jack Dorsey's Twitter account;

Musk's attitude is rather ambiguous. He believes that "Web 3.0 is just a marketing term", but then he agrees that the best way to predict the future is to start building it.

The team of the big brothers has nothing to do with their respective backgrounds and interests, and because of this, no one can act as an authority in the face of this sufficiently new wave of technology.

Mutual tearing, controversy, speculation, sudden wealth, and mass movement are all staged in the Web 3.0 world. Some technological disruptors are emerging, some new social models are being explored, and a dangerous large-scale social experiment has also kicked off.

Hotter than Yuan Universe?

While the "meta universe" is still being discussed in China, the United States has already pulled the regulators and began to discuss the world system behind the meta universe-Web 3.0.

On December 9, a congressional hearing to discuss the future of Web 3.0 was held. Six crypto companies from FTX, Circle, Coinbase, etc., made their voices and appeals for new species such as "cryptocurrency" and "Web 3.0" in front of members of Congress. Supervision.

Among them, Brian Brook, the CEO of BitFury, dressed in a black suit and a pair of brown-frame glasses, gave a 5-minute explanation of the ins and outs of Web 3.0, because the statement was clear and easy to understand without a word of nonsense. , Created the "highlight moment" of the conference, and made "Web 3.0" completely popular in the United States.

Prior to this, the congressional discussions on cryptocurrency were mostly questioning and criticizing. At this meeting, the vast majority of parliamentarians released a positive attitude. This unprecedented change may mean that the regulatory authorities have begun to accept and pay attention to Web 3.0. .

Before this wave of fire, the warm-up took place last summer.

DeFi stands for decentralized finance. It is the financial market in the Web 3.0 world. It can provide financing, payment, issuance, listing, circulation and other services for Web 3.0 applications, including mortgage lending infrastructure.

From June to October 2020, a movement called "DeFi Summer" broke out and shattered briefly in the currency circle. People are crazy about a game called "Yield farming"-as long as you provide liquidity for the platform, such as pledge stablecoins or valuable tokens, trade on the platform, lend money, and borrow money, you can get the tokens sent by the platform as award.

Many classic scenes were staged in this game:

Sudden wealth is naturally indispensable. For example, YFI tokens have skyrocketed from $6 to over $30,000 in less than 2 months, a 5,000-fold increase, and it is just one of thousands of DeFi projects; a kind of absurdity Dozens of food-themed projects such as SushiSwap, BurgerSwap, Cream Finance, etc. became popular. Hackers followed suit. One day in August, hackers stole about $610 million worth of encryption in just 34 minutes. Currency, the post-mortem statement was just for "fun"...

It is the first time that people have seen the explosion of large-scale financial applications in the Web 3.0 system. Although it is short-lived, this stimulating taste will never be forgotten after a bite.

After that, many applications of Web 3.0 have blossomed in other fields.

For example, "Everything can be NFTized" prevailed this year, and the essence of NFT is a non-homogeneous token asset based on the Web 3.0 decentralized architecture. It attracted many celebrities to come to "play". Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey turned his first tweet into NFT and sold it at a high price. The wine estate founded by Yao Ming launched a limited edition NFT collection "THE CHOP", Musk Want to make a song about NFT into NFT and sell it...

For another example, a game called "Axie Infinity" has become a dark horse. It turns the elves in the game into NFT, allowing any player to control their pets to fight, collect, grow and build their own "elves kingdom." Data in August this year showed that its highest daily income of the month reached 17.5 million U.S. dollars, and its DAU (Daily Average Number of Active Users) exceeded 1.5 million.

Unexpectedly, 80% of players come from underdeveloped countries such as the Philippines, Indonesia, and Latin America. Many users say that Axie has become a means of making a living.

There are also many search engines and browsers that also use decentralized technology, which have sprung up this year. For example, the Brave browser, which was founded in 2016, focuses on "the attention market on the blockchain." The account data and browsing data generated by the user in the browser are only stored locally and kept encrypted. If users are willing to browse advertisements, they can get 70% of the platform's advertising revenue share based on the number and duration.

Finance, entertainment, search, e-commerce, social networking...Almost all applications you can think of, Web 3.0 entrepreneurial projects have emerged. There is no doubt that a whole new world is opening up. To understand the rules, one fundamental problem cannot be avoided:

What exactly is Web 3.0?

Decentralization in the ideal

The most original explanation has to go back to 2014. At that time, Ethernet Square co-founder Gavin Wood first proposed the "Web 3.0" term. He is in "Why do we need Web 3.0?" ”Explained in the article:

"Web 3.0 is a set of compatible protocols... These technologies provide users with a strong and verifiable guarantee of the information they receive, the information they provide, the information they pay, and the information they receive. Through authorization Users act for themselves in a low-threshold market, and we can ensure the reduction of censorship and monopoly opportunities."

There are also big guys who compare Web 3.0 with Bitcoin.

Chris Dixon, partner of Andreessen Horowitz (A16z), a venture capital firm that has issued two cryptocurrency investment funds, said in an interview that Web 3.0 is an Internet owned by users and builders. It is similar to Bitcoin. This kind of research and development organization helps create these agreements, but over time, the company will gradually disappear, and the value or control of the Internet will be vested in network users.

Draw a key point to the big guy's explanation- Web 3.0 is a brand-new Internet system, the keywords are "antitrust", "confrontation platform", "user-owned".

CSDN vice president & CEO of Bailian Daojie Meng Yan told "Jiazi Lightyear" that four questions help us further outline the basic framework of this system: who created it? Who owns it? Who manages, controls and controls it? How is the value created by it distributed?

During the Web 1.0 era, companies such as Netscape, Google, and Baidu dominated the Internet with their browsers and search engines. You can think of it as the stage of "electronicization of traditional newspapers and magazines", where content creators are hired by the platform to produce text, pictures, and videos, and users are fed by the platform and read only and do not write.

In this mode, the user is just a passer-by, and the right to create, control, manage, and profit all belong to the platform.

Web 2.0 has created a more open era. Social applications such as Facebook and YouTube have made distance no longer a problem, but this is also the most unfair generation, and the value relationship has been quietly distorted.

A privacy leak case made it difficult to reconcile the contradiction between the platform and users. The Prism incident, Facebook leaking user privacy, Google was accused of tracking users quietly... The root of the scandal was that users provided content and contributed data on the platform, but did not Belongs to him.

User creation, but platform ownership, platform control, and platform distribution are the essence of Web 2.0.

The change of Web 3.0 is to return the value relationship to "who creates, who owns" through decentralized technologies such as blockchain. The content created by the user is owned and controlled by the user, and the value created by the user can also be distributed according to the agreement signed by the user and others.

Meng Yan told "Jiazi Lightyear" that to enter the world of Web 3.0, you must first experience an ideological change: you need to truly "pay for consumption" and understand that "the one that is free is the most expensive."

Data and land, labor, capital, and technology are both factors of production. They are valuable and can be registered, mortgaged, financed, and traded. This has already been published in the Opinions of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council on Building a More Complete Market-based Allocation System and Mechanism of Factors in 2020. "Clearly pointed out.

"If someone took away your land and labor for free, and still had the right to resell it at a premium, what would you think?" Meng Yan told "Jiazi Lightyear", "This situation is happening in the data field now: your data assets Being possessed by the Web 2.0 platform for free, but thanking it, because it provides platform services for free, this ideology needs to change-you should really pay for consumption, provided that no one captures your value."

People who believe in this set of values ​​have outlined the general framework of the Web 3.0 world:

In the infrastructure layer , around the core technology blockchain, decentralized storage, computing, network nodes, payment and other technologies are booming.

For example, Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin (V God) shared in the latest public speech that the Ethereum expansion solution Rollup can be expanded to approximately 4000 to 5000 transactions per second. Assuming that the entire Ethereum ecosystem can use Rollup, its speed will reach as much as 100,000 transactions per second, which is enough to support large-scale application operations.

At the application level , projects are blowing up. Social applications such as Dline and Parler, workplace applications such as Indorse, game applications such as Axie Infinity, and financial wallets such as Metamask and Imtoken are attempting to penetrate the corners of food, clothing, housing, and transportation.

Meng Yan told "Jiazi Lightyear" that many entrepreneurs are rushing to the Web 3.0 market. In the future, all mature applications that have been verified in Web 2 will be translated and copied to Web 3.0. At the same time, the new world is still creating new gameplay such as NFT.

However, the idea of ​​decentralization is wonderful, but in reality, there will always be gaps.

Where there are decentralized applications, there are cryptocurrencies, and where there are cryptocurrencies, there are people who are lost in the frantic pursuit of wealth.

Moving forward in speculation and bubbles

If you hold an OpenDAO token SOS on December 24, you will gain 30 times the value-added space in just 3 days.

This project suddenly emerged without any announcement, and the tokens were airdropped frantically, and there were many onlookers. As the price of tokens continues to skyrocket, voices questioning the hype have gradually increased. The co-founder of the cryptocurrency community Canary Collection, osf, questioned the rationality of random airdrop tokens on Twitter and called on people not to participate irrationally.

More serious than hype is the risk of fraud. The DAO super ecology was established in Hainan. According to official propaganda, it aims to build a new business ecology that connects users and merchants' business behavior value. Since the beginning of this year, the project has continued to attract people to join in the name of high-yield.

However, at present, news of "difficulty withdrawing" and "running" in major posting bars, web pages and WeChat groups continue to burst, and many netizens have shared the painful experience of being "cut leek".

The latest data from Chainalysis, a blockchain data platform, shows that global cryptocurrency fraud caused investors to lose US$7.7 billion this year, a surge of 81% from 2020. The most prominent of these is a new scam called " carpet pull " .

In a nutshell, this kind of scam launched cryptocurrency under the name of the game, continuously attracted buyers to enter, and then suddenly sold all the tokens at a certain moment, causing the value of the tokens to drop to zero.

According to Agence France-Presse, due to the difficulty of detecting and locking down the manipulators behind the scenes and the lack of supervision of cryptocurrencies in many countries, there has been no precedent for criminal prosecutions against such deceptions.

This year's hot NFT is not as glamorous as the surface. According to blockchain data analysis company Chainalysis, citing Opensea data, it is whitelisted (a practice that allows certain people to buy NFTs at a much lower price than other users within a certain period of time) and subsequently sells its newly generated Among NFT users, 75.7% have made a profit, while only 20.8% of users who have not been whitelisted have made a profit.

In other words, a small number of insiders on the whitelist have special low-cost purchase rights to capture benefits, while most people are almost impossible to obtain excess returns.

This is the unglamorous B side of Web 3.0. As Tim O'Reilly, the founder of O'Reilly, said, Web 3.0 is a microcosm of today's excess speculation, and this economy is rife with fraud.

Cryptocurrency and NFT, these meta-universe infrastructures, are bringing "original sin" to the virtual world. Not only that, because of the lack of supervision, it will expose more governance issues.

CCTV Finance once pointed out that a decentralized mechanism does not mean a decentralized result. Metaverse logically bypasses the need for platforms and intermediaries, but it cannot prevent virtual assets from tilting to major investors and institutions. In the absence of supervision, not only will there be monopolies, but there will even be cases of capital violence.

In addition, because the parallel world operates 24 hours a day, players are easily addicted, blurring the boundary between play and labor in the meta-universe. Isn't this another kind of exploited "community animal"?

In addition to the chaos in capital, Web 3.0 also triggered avant-garde social experiments, exposing more serious social and regulatory problems. This may be a problem that is more complicated and difficult than the wealth effect.

From technological change to social experiment

Many applications set off by Web 3.0 are already burdened with "experimental".

DAO, or Decentralized Autonomous Organization, is the most basic organization of Web 3.0. It is spontaneously formed by the people, each organization has a common goal or value, and any decision-making needs to be done through democratic voting by members.

Friends With Benefits (FWB) DAO is a typical DAO organization. Within one year, it has gathered 15 million cultural enthusiasts around the world, organized membership activities in Europe and North America, created its own ticketing system, and will launch its own Periodical platform for members to exchange various aspects of art, politics, life, etc.

The pass of this organization is FWB tokens, and different amounts can unlock different functions. For example, 1 FWB can be used to read community blogs, and above 75FWB, you can visit the DAO branches of FWB around the world to communicate with different community members.

If this kind of social interest based on tokens is just a small test, then the Constitution DAO, which has just passed, even seems a bit magical.

A group of spontaneous crypto believers in the organization wanted to buy the original U.S. Constitution at auction. If the bid is successful, they can vote to decide whether to display this precious copy of the constitution publicly, and if it fails, then the members can also decide where the funds go.

Participants gave this event a sporting meaning of "returning the constitution to the people". In just one week, without any leadership or supervision, the masses raised more than 40 million US dollars spontaneously. The last time we saw this feat was in GameStop stock at the beginning of this year.

However, the Constitution (Constitution) DAO did not profit from the auction later. After intense discussions, the organization finally decided to close it and let contributors refund indefinitely.

The closing announcement read: "This project is a milestone event. It shows to the whole world that a group of Internet friends can use the power of Web 3.0 to face a seemingly insurmountable goal, and at an impossible time. We have achieved incredible results within. We sincerely hope that this project will inspire many other projects, draw inspiration from the enthusiasm and achievements of each participant, and use the power of Web 3.0 to have a positive impact on the world."

The speech of Mask Network founder Suji Yan in the public interview represents the voice of many Web 3.0 supporters, "DAO allows real participants and workers to become shareholders and stakeholders... It breaks the existing nation. , The boundaries of the country."

If DAO is only a partial social organization, doing avant-garde social experiments, then some games have tried to explore the order of social operations.

ChainRoblox's meta-universe game world is based on real Google Maps. Similar to the real world, this meta-universe consists of four levels: land, city, country, and planet. Users can select a country and pay CAX tokens to purchase and build land for self-occupation, commercial use or other purposes. In this meta-universe, any assets you own can be monetized, and through strategies such as mining and trading, liquidity can be created and room for appreciation can be obtained.

Currently, the players of this game are trying to build a new system of economics, politics, social governance, etc. in the virtual world, and explore new social models.

Many decentralized meta-universe games similar to ChainRoblox are being built. Developers are only responsible for establishing the basic physical and economic rules of the meta-universe world. Once the rules are established, the trigger is triggered and the game runs in a parallel world for 24 hours without anyone , Company or organization control.

Proponents of Web 3.0 strongly oppose the centralized meta-universe. In their opinion, the centralized meta-universe built by giants led by Facebook is the most dangerous—the giants have built a brand new virtual world, and when it attracts With enough people stationed in and indulged, giants will become the "gods" of this world. They can not only modify the rules at will, but even control everyone's every move and truly override supervision.

These applications that despise centralization are creating an unprecedented large-scale social experiment. They promote a culture of co-construction in an attempt to revolutionize grabbers, monopolists, and even some regulators with decentralized technology. However, the frequent bursting of bubbles and the outbreak of fraud cases have also become the price of freedom.

In the book "Technical Revolution and Financial Capital", the author pointed out that almost every major industrial transformation, including the first industrial revolution, the steam power era; the era of steel, electricity, and heavy machinery; automobiles, oil, and large-scale The era of production and the Internet are all accompanied by financial bubbles.

The beginning is a period of new technology infrastructure development, in which financial capital will try to seek continuous excess returns. Then the bubble burst and the market corrected. After that, the technology is widely spread to application, ushering in the maturity period, and finally the capital is transferred to the next new technological revolution, and the above process is repeated.

Web 3.0 is no exception. As Tim O'Reilly said, we should pay more attention to the interface between decentralized technology and real life than those easy wealth stories, and focus on solving the problems of trust, identity and decentralized finance.

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