Decrypt Executive Editor Jeff John Roberts on How Web3 is Changing SocietyNov 22, 2021
"Discussing Web3 often feels like the parable of the blind scientists and the elephant," said Jeff John Roberts. "It's just too big and too hard to see all of it. That's where we are right now—and it's really exciting."
Jeff is the Executive Editor for crypto news outlet Decrypt and author of the 2019 book about Coinbase, Kings of Crypto: One Startup's Quest to Take Cryptocurrency Out of Silicon Valley, and Onto Wall Street. He joined Orchid's Derek Silva on this week's episode of the Priv8 Podcast.
From John's perspective as a tech journalist, Web3 technology is the first development that has meaningful potential to change today's fragmented Internet infrastructure.
"For so long, we've been trapped in this horrible world of Facebook and Google. As a tech reporter, I've seen companies claim that they're going to disrupt Facebook or Google for many years. I always thought, 'No, you're not, because these are big, powerful monopolies, and they're not going anywhere.' The advent of Web3 tech was the first time I've actually seen something with the potential to transcend all of that."
While it may take time for Web3 tech to fully displace the tech monopolies, Jeff noted that it is already causing societal changes beyond Facebook. "I've got a colleague in Venezuela who told me that half the teenagers there are making a living off of play-to-earn blockchain games," he said.
"In the past, people in low-income communities might have been forced to work at Walmart or McDonald's. But since the play-to-earn option is available, people would rather spend their time playing games. Just think—instead of back-breaking work in a warehouse or waking at 4:00AM to go work in a restaurant all day, you can make a decent living by playing a game.
"It's a fascinating phenomenon. It's too early to say what it all means, but there is something happening here. It almost feels like we're heading towards a real-life Ready Player One, or perhaps a dystopian version of that world, where people spend their days hooked into some crazy virtual reality setup. Or even just sitting in front of a laptop all day—which, come to think of it, we're already doing."
You can listen to Derek's full conversation with Jeff here. And don't forget to subscribe to Priv8 on your favorite streaming service.