Note — Nov 14, 2021

Notes on Web3

In the fog of topics and people I pay attention to, some kind of tipping point seems to have been passed with regards to Web3 because an unusual number of takes came out recently. I’ve piled a few in a file and it might become a future members’ Dispatch but in the mean time, start with these Notes by Robin Sloan. I’m not sure if I’m “genuinely neutrally curious” (as an interviewee for Offscreen said to me this week) or “cautiously curious” as Sloan is, but he’s pretty close to where I’m at on the subject, except that I’m mostly skeptic and he’s “a full-fledged enemy of Web3.”

I feel like this simple premise is often lost in the haze: the Ethereum Virtual Machine, humming heart of Web3, is a computer that charges you many dollars to execute a very small program very slowly. It does so in an environment with special properties, and in some cases, those properties are worth the expense. In others … it’s like running your website on a TRS-80 with a coin slot. […]

A key characteristic — really, a key aesthetic—of most (all?) blockchains is immutability. They are ledgers, after all. But, these days, where the internet is concerned, I find myself more interested in the opposite; in mutability and ephemerality. I like things that can change and grow, then vanish.