When I became a dad a week ago, I realized that my kid would grow up with the Internet so much different than what we have now, the Internet, where things we build today will be taken for granted.
The Web so intertwined more with our lives today than it is. Web so decentralized people will stop referring to it as decentralized as it will be the norm. Web so much on another level we think of it as sci-fi now.
But that future for my kid and its generation isn't certain. Fight for Metaverse has just begun.
Two different Metaverses
Metaverse or Web3 are terms used respectively to each other. But they don't necessarily mean the same thing.
The idea of a 3D online virtual space called the Metaverse connects individuals from all aspects of their lives. It would link several web areas, much as how the Internet connects various websites that may be accessed using a single browser.
Web3 is a broader term that may encapsulate Metaverse. It is an idea for a new iteration of the WWW, incorporating concepts such as decentralization, blockchain technology, privacy, ownership, and token-based economics.
What form will it take exactly, and how will we interact with Web3 in the future? We don't know; it may be through our phones, computers, or VR/AR headsets. But we know for sure that Metaverse will be in virtual reality.
Metaverse may inherit some of the concepts from cryptocurrencies and blockchain, like allowing for digital economy with different types of utility tokens and virtual collectibles in the form of NFTs. Furthermore, blockchain technology has the potential to establish transparent and dependable governance structures.
But it isn't certain that Metaverse will be using all of that. There are two major visions of what such a world should look. On the one hand, we have all Web3 developers working towards a decentralized future where everyone is created equal. On the other hand, we have Meta and its centralized vision of Metaverse, which will be played out solely on the Meta services and hardware. As we know, anything Meta (formerly Facebook) touches, we can say goodbye to our privacy.
We already give up a lot of freedom and data to big companies. People think Web2 services like Instagram, Facebook, Google, TikTok, etc. are free to use, but the reality is different. We don't spend any dollars on it, but we pay with our personal data; we pay with the willingness to be tracked by these companies and advertisement companies. Something like that shouldn't be allowed in Web3.
People should have an option on what they are willing to share with others. Sadly, we won't have that in Meta's future. But we may have that with Web3 enabled future.
Censorship in Web3
People don't realize this, but we're already in the Metaverse, but it's not as enticing as the vision of it in the future. Currently, we're in the 2D Metaverse, meaning we consume content and interact with other people on the Web through 2D screens on our phones, laptops, and tablets.
Some of us are already on the Web3 version of Metaverse and are participating in the new digital economy and digital ownership through NTFs or are unlocking new borderless potentials through Decentralized Finances. We still do it through our 2D screens, but in a few years, we may move to the 3D world where all that functionality would be built-in.
Sadly, this future is not as certain due to recent events rippled through crypto communities. When TornadoCash was sanctioned, and all TornadoCash contract addresses were added to the Specially Designated Nationals And Blocked Person List (SDN) by OFAC, the meaning of the word "decentralization" suddenly took a different meaning across various "DeFi" applications.
Protocols like Aave, dYdX, OpenSea, and others started blocking these addresses proactively, without being asked by the US Government. Anyone who ever transacted with TornadoCash is now blocked from using these services. It's only through the official front-end of the DApps, but this sets a bad precedence.
USDC added the addresses to its blacklist so people who were using TornadoCash legitimately couldn't withdraw their funds. With the upcoming Merge in September, people started to wonder if validators in Proof of Stake systems will be forced to stop including transactions to sanctioned addresses. The sanctioning of TornadoCash opened Pandora's box of doubt, censorship, and destabilization of the decentralized nature of crypto.
Something we took for granted was shattered to pieces by one action of the US Government, and it only showed how decentralization is fragile in the current implementation. We need to take a stand and show regulators and educate them why banning on-chain contracts won't do anything, as people can still access them. We need to rethink our approach to DeFi and focus more on its "Decentralized" part.
We were too comfortable in our position, focusing on the monetary aspect of the technology and losing sight of what made us jump into this space in the first place.
Not all is lost, though. Not everyone acted prematurely in the light of OFAC sanctions.
USDT (Tether) decided not to participate in such a proactive approach and released a statement on why. I recommend reading it
What does it all mean for the future of Web3 and Metaverse?
Red or Blue pill?
We don't know exactly how things will turn out to be. Will the people in decentralized fashion control the Metaverse, or will it be in the hold of the few, like Meta?
For better adoption of the technology and getting more regular folks invested in Metaverse, I think Facebook is doing a great job at that, but they have their own agenda. They want to lock them in, and people will decide to stay there until there is a better alternative.
Web3 is still in the infancy of technological adoption. There are great things ahead, like The Merge for Ethereum, but with the TornadoCash story, there is a need to rethink some of the Web3 fundamentals and fight for what's important. Until this is done, we can't be talking about broader adoption of the current systems.
I know one thing: I will do everything I can to help build a more secure decentralized future. I want my daughter to control her digital life, freedom of choice, and privacy; I don't deem Meta will provide this.
If you're not up to speed with the TornadoCash story, I recommend reading my thread on the subject, where I lay down every incident and scandal surrounding the story
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