What's Possible vs what's Prevalent
  • This is mainly a commentary on the current discourse around the potential (and lack of potential) of web3/blockchain technologies. I've noticed that many discussions are had on both sides of the argument, without making this key distinction.

  • Web3 evangelists say "Web3 makes this new thing possible (that wasn't possible before)". Yes, but the big question - will that new thing, at any point, become prevalent? If so - why? And how is your theory for why consistent with previous patterns of human behaviour? Or inconsistent.

  • Web3 detractors say "It's already possible to do that thing. You don't need a blockchain". This is true, but ignores that many things are possible for years or decades before they become prevalent. Often, the tipping point from possible to prevalent is borne from culture as much as it's borne from new possibilities unlocked by technology. And web3 is very much a cultural phenomenon as much as a technological one.

  • Some examples:

  • It's "possible" to use RSS - but the most popular browser doesn't have support for it - and the average internet user doesn't know what it is. Google built a browser that doesn't support RSS, and killed the most popular RSS product.

  • It's "possible" to host your own email server, but most people don't. Google built a product that sat on top of SMTP, and gave away free storage to everyone.

  • It's "possible" to find information without using google, youtube, twitter, or facebook, but most people don't. Google built a product that sat on top of the internet, and gave it away for free to everyone.

  • It's "possible" to use a social network other than Facebook, but most people use Facebook.

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