PingWeb3 is a column produced by Pinwan that focuses on the Web3.0 world.
At a time when the internet industry is going quiet and people only seem to care about stories of layoffs and recessions, Web 3.0 is also a reminder of what the buzz of the internet is like.
This is especially precious today. Even with the inevitable huge bubbles, as long as you have the slightest enthusiasm for the world, you can’t resist the temptation to build it or criticize it.
In our opinion, the biggest temptation of Web 3.0 is that its enthusiasm for “subverting everything” gives people an excellent opportunity to re-examine and correct the development direction of the Internet.
Of course, Web 3.0 is still blurry and noisy today. It’s like Calvino’s “invisible city.”
“The other place is a reverse mirror. The traveler can see how little he himself has, and how much he has not and will never have.”
We hope that this column is like Calvino’s traveler Marco Polo, telling you a little bit about this distant world that you can’t see clearly.
Welcome to pay attention.
Today’s column is the first in a series of reviews.
We named this series On the Birth of Cybercapitalism. It consists of three distinct chapters that discuss the symbolic meaning of web3, the framing of cybercapitalism, and the present and future of web3.
In this series, we will discuss:
- Why the current web3 is a “pseudo concept”, and how the socio-political philosophy in the name of technology will hinder the development of technology and society;
- How web3 will become a huge capitalist circulation network, and create a blueprint of super capitalism with the spirit of technocism and primitive capitalism.
- Finally, why should we let go of “ism” in the development of science and technology and return to the development of productivity by science and technology itself.
This group may be fortunate enough to be the first article in the world of Chinese Internet texts to really look at this web 3.0 event from a similar social science perspective.
The following is the text of the first article.
As you can see, web3 is dragging the world into a frantic campaign of “currency mismatch”.
In 2022, more than 2.3 million people believe that just through the blessing of a pair of StepN magic shoes, the act of “running” can be directly pocketed into their own income. Some of these players who spend huge sums of money with “excellent equipment” can earn more than 10,000 yuan per day by “running” – this is equivalent to the sum of the per capita GDP of the poorest countries on the planet for 10 years.
The success of StepN is only a microcosm of the frenetic web3 financial world.
With almost no value anchors, the price of Bitcoin rose from 0 to nearly $70,000 a piece, with a total market value of more than $1 trillion, becoming the first asset with a trillion for nothing in human history. The total market value of cryptocurrencies once exceeded 3 trillion US dollars, which can almost buy all Internet companies in Asia today (including unlisted).
This will probably be a monetary phenomenon that cannot be avoided in human history, a “miracle of capitalism” that even Marx would be amazed at. It is so huge and weird, surging with enormous monetary energy without creating any productivity value in the traditional sense.
It is difficult for us to explain this tens of thousands of times of “currency mismatch” in one sentence. On the one hand, we can indeed see the almost “obscurantist” features of capitalism behind this “fanatical behavior” and “moving story” – risk-taking, speculation, exploitation, involution and alienation; on the other hand, this kind of The characteristics of ignorant capitalism have been added with the label of “technologism”, and this barbarity has been dressed in a fashion of “progress”, “revolution” and “historical inevitability”.
We call this story of capital and technology “cyber capitalism” and hope to find an answer to this turmoil. And this article is the first chapter of “On the Birth of Cyber Capitalism”:
web3, a concept game.
” web3.0 ” : the uninteresting inevitability of human history
We live in a world of meaning (Man lives in a world of meaning) – GH Mead
In 2004, a man named Dale Dougherty promoted a now well-known concept at the conference – web1.0 and web2.0. Compared with the portal website model of web1.0, which transmits information in one direction like broadcasting, web2.0 prides itself as a website design form that emphasizes content interaction. In the web2.0 website, users can upload and create content.
This definition of serializing the web has been sought after by many practitioners after this conference. Especially for some new entrepreneurs, web2.0 is a good word to define their own business model era. At that time, the scene of the Internet bubble in the early 2000s was still fresh in Wall Street’s memory. The emergence of concepts like web 2.0 can help people update their imaginations about the new business model of the Internet.
So rather than Dougherty promoting the concept of web 2.0, it actually promotes an explicit way of web serialization. And this rhetorical model of adding serial numbers to the web actually conveys the “technological” assumption in Silicon Valley’s subconscious:
(1) Human web technology will continue to iteratively develop forever;
(2) This iterative method is presented in a leap-forward revolutionary form;
Now, “serial numbering” has basically become a common way of marketing in the IT industry. Whether it is a smartphone, a technical route, or a business model, everyone likes to put a serial number on it, and the similar technical value is conveyed invisibly.
But what Dougherty didn’t know was that its invention of marketing words had inadvertently opened a “Pandora’s Box”.
Since there are web1.0 and 2.0, there should be web3.0. And as the concept of web 2.0 passes for a long time and the craze for Internet dividends fades faster, people are more interested in the discussion of “what is web 3.0”.
Because people believe that the Internet will continue to have revolutions, and each revolution will lead to a new distribution of wealth. And as the form of revolution changes by leaps and bounds, the hierarchy of wealth distribution will expand geometrically—just as 2.0 happened to 1.0.
From this perspective, the emergence of web 3.0 is an uninteresting inevitability in human history, and it is a natural but imprecise issue that conforms to human “cognitive aesthetics”. From the moment web2.0 was born, Web3.0, as a “word concept”, has actually been born (just like the concept of web5.0 has been born when web3.0 has not yet succeeded).
Therefore, for a long time, web 3.0 has become a little girl who can be dressed up.
In less than 18 months after the popularity of web 2.0, many people can’t wait to formally organize forums about web 3.0 discussions. Many well-known entrepreneurs and scholars are trying to make their own predictions about the future on forums like web3.0. You can even see that behind this “prophecy”, a lot of your own “private goods” are actually entrained.
● For example, Eric Schmidt, then the CEO of Google, predicted the web3.0:
“A cobbled-together application, main characteristics: relatively small application, data in the network, can run on any device (PC or mobile phone), very fast and can have a lot of customization features, spread like a virus ( social networks, email, etc.)”
This sounds a lot like the direction Android has been evolving.
● Another example is the prediction of Netflix founder Hastings for web 3.0:
“Web 1.0 is dial-up Internet access, with an average bandwidth of 50K; Web 2.0, with an average bandwidth of 1M; Web 3.0 is a 10M bandwidth, full-image network.”
But now that gigabit broadband is commonplace, Netflix’s bandwidth anxiety is still unresolved. The only thing that can “relieve” this prophecy recently is that Luo Yonghao has finally started to do AR.
You see, web3 is a basket, and bigwigs in different industries put their imaginations in it.
But there is a fundamental difference between web3 and web2.
First of all, the essence of web1.0 and 2.0 is an explanation of what is happening , while web3 is destined to be a kind of “a priori” prediction .
Strictly speaking, when web2.0 was widely known in 2004, the technological phenomenon described by web2.0 had existed for seven or eight years. At least in 1997, Jorn Barger set up a blog called robotwisdom.com, and officially used the term “weblog”.
By 2004, service providers like Wikipedia and Google had already become the mainstay of the Internet. In China, websites such as Blogbus and BlogChina are already very popular.
These new things were not born because of the concept of web2.0. On the contrary, web 2.0 explained their birth “in hindsight” with a slightly catered attitude.
But when people were initially keen to discuss “what is web3.0”, it became a battle for the right to speak and fell into a kind of rambling discussion.
Secondly, there is an obvious “non-mainstream” feature in the battle for the right to speak in web3.
Although the helmsmen of large companies have tried to put forward their own imaginations, it is clear that these are only small chats between forums. Before Meta, there was no mature Internet company that officially took web3 as its development orientation.
After all, a mature company wants to emphasize its vision and positioning:
Netflix wants to be the best streaming company, and Apple wants to know that it is the best smart hardware company. These simple and clear positioning can help them gain a competitive advantage; using some inexplicable new words will only increase the cost of understanding their own business. Therefore, the competition of technology itself is more important to these companies than the concept of technology.
But for a startup, a new concept means a quick way to challenge big companies and get funding.
A recent little video that went out of the circle suspiciously explained the attitudes of different subjects towards the new concept of web3.0 at that time:
In the 2007 “Win in China” column video, a Taiwanese entrepreneur, Li Zongen, took a self-proclaimed “web3.0” Internet project to Ma Yun, Xiong Xiaoge, and Shi Yuzhu for a roadshow in the program.
● Li Zongen wanted a new revolutionary concept to make money, and when he threw out the term web3, Ma Yun and others adjusted their sitting postures, leaned slightly, and listened attentively;
● But in fact, Li Zongen’s web3 project is to use content form and algorithm innovation to do so-called “brainwashing advertising”, similar to today’s Xiaohongshu – obviously it is difficult to succeed in 2007;
● Entrepreneurs thought it was nonsense, and the Melatonin boss Shi Yuzhu said on the spot that this is not just the rest of the game;
● When Jack Ma was the most emotional in the audience, he actually refuted Li Zong’en’s statement that Alibaba’s website is essentially web 1.0 – “If it is useful to customers, it doesn’t matter if it is web-0.1.”
● In the end, Li Zongen didn’t get the money, and he has transformed into a Chinese medicine doctor;
Why there is no “web3.0”
If we look back carefully at the history of the ancient web 3.0 just stated, we will find that there are always some confusing points in the concept competition of the ancient web 3.0:
First of all, everyone’s imagination about web3 is too different. They all seem to be describing the future development of IT technology, but they don’t seem to be talking about the same thing.
Secondly, the origin of web 2.0 was put forward in 2004, so from 2004 to 2022, the human IT career has experienced many very profound developments. And this level of development actually surpassed the technological leap from 1990 to 2004.
- We have a multi-terminal based operating system (as Schmidt said);
- Our communications migrated from 2G to 5G (probably a hundred times more than Hastings said);
- We have a media revolution based on information flow and algorithms (not quite like what Li Zongen bragged about);
- Not to mention, the popularization of our mobile smart terminals, cloud computing-based de-server-based IT computing methods, etc.
All in all, we’ve got an IT world beyond what Dougherty ‘s generation imagined , with some radical disruption of the underlying architecture.
But none of these great technical achievements have won the crown of web3.0. In other words, according to the perspective of “web sequence theory”, there is no essential difference between us and 2004, and we are still in the era of web 2.0.
Why is this happening? Has human IT entered an era of “technological stagnation”?
It can be a little comical to think about this mismatch between technologies. After all, the definition of web1.0 revolution by web2.0 is probably to make a blog and build an encyclopedia. Relying on a few people, I tinkered with a website with a different interaction in the garage, that’s all.
Could it be that even the advent of a “human prosthetic limb” like the iPhone can’t match the invention of blogging?
· The birth of algorithms and information flow, can’t even compare with Google Reader?
·Can’t 5G technology, which has invested hundreds of billions of R&D costs, be comparable to the transformative nature of ICQ?
A subversive industry like cloud computing cannot even find its precise position in the narrative of the web sequence. In the eyes of “web sequence theory”, after the popularity of blogs, the old DOS machine that could only be used to view Yahoo portals has advanced a whole generation in the sense of the times; but it is different from the Mac computer equipped with M2 chip and MacOS. is the same generation product.
Why are we so friendly with the concept of web2 and so harsh with the narrative of web3?
In fact, the reason is very simple : the essence of web1.0 to web2.0 is a “philosophical concept” packaged as a “technical concept” .
The sophistication of Web 1.0 and 2.0 is that its core is the relationship between the network and people:
Web1.0 is the one-way flow of information from the network to users, while web2.0 is the two-way interaction between the two.
It’s actually nothing new. Jorn Barger, the earliest proposer of web2.0, is actually an interaction designer himself. He is neither a great scholar at the technical level, nor a forward-looking technology historian. When he proposed this concept, his original intention was to talk about web design concepts.
That’s right, it doesn’t even have anything to do with IT technology, it’s a web (web page) 2.0 concept that can be understood purely literally.
Jorn Barger faithfully recorded his idea of how the website should operate at the time, but gave this idea a cool name, web2.0. Such naming has brought “endless pain” to his descendants.
Due to web 2.0 and 1.0, all interactions between the web and people have been factually summarized at the philosophical level. It is difficult for us to propose a third way of flow from the one-way flow of information and the two-way flow of information. Between humans and non-humans, in our foreseeable future, it is almost impossible to insert a third party – is it human-machine fusion?
Even if we rely on simple brainstorming, it is difficult to extract the third dimension in such a highly refined philosophical relationship.
Therefore, it is not difficult for us to understand that the so-called web3.0 proposed by the big guys is roughly the advanced level of web2.0:
Whether the algorithm understands people better, the imaging method is more cool, and the device interaction is more process, the essence is still the interaction between people and devices. Some people try a different subject, such as machine-machine interaction. Of course, this is nonsense. First of all, this is no longer the web, and secondly, human’s attempts to the Internet of Things are not much shorter than the Internet.
You could say that this web2.0 definition is fundamentally buggy, and it shouldn’t be “serialized” in the first place.
We fell into an involuntary but extremely absurd logical trap from the very beginning:
- “Technology” makes us feel that technology is developing infinitely, so we fall in love with “numbering” technology, and the web naturally needs a number;
- The web is a “big word”, so it needs a very grand concept that conforms to the human “aesthetic algorithm” to match its sense of power;
- The development of IT power has also changed the common extension of the word web. It has developed from a context that refers more to the form of web pages to a context that refers to “worldview”.
However, the attractive technological prospects, fanatical technicalism, and human obsession with “serial number aesthetics” make people constantly look for the theoretical possibility of 3.0 and 4.0 for this philosophical concept that is originally a dichotomy.
The “blockchain web3” was born
As mentioned above, “web serialization” itself is an unnecessary logical error. Without the concept of web3, human beings have also made great progress in IT technology. And the careerists who are exploring web3 should be like ants in circles, and they will always go on without results.
But in 2014, this “web sequence paradox” with huge logical loopholes was actually “unsolved”.
This concept was first proposed by “Ethereum” co-creator Gavin Wood, and then quickly became the “official” way to open the global web3. How does the blockchain do this “impossible” thing?
The most recognized version of this web 3.0 statement so far comes from researcher Eshita.
In her opinion: The feature of Web1.0 is “read”; the feature of Web2.0 is “read+write”; the feature of Web3.0 is “read+write ” “Writable + Owned” (read+write+own).
This is an expression that feels very high-level as soon as you see it.
First of all, in terms of presentation, it maintains the narrative tradition of the interaction between “content” and “people” in “web sequence theory”. In this way, a technical discussion perspective like that of former Google CEO Schmidt is truly wiped out.
In addition, it also continues the strong, concise and beautiful feeling in the narrative from web1.0 to web2.0, which makes people feel a sense of hidden power when reading. It successfully hides the sense of the devouring of the Internet energy to society, but instead makes people feel that the power of a very human being extends infinitely in the Internet, and then unconsciously stirs up readers’ desire for free will.
Therefore, it seems to have successfully solved the logical dilemma after web2.0, making 3.0, 1.0 and 2.0 seem to be an organic whole.
As a matter of course, this expression has become the most popular expression in the entire IT technology circle, and has achieved good results in terms of emotion and communication.
So, has history been made?
Wait a minute. In fact, as long as those who are familiar with social sciences and a little careful screening can find that “readable”, “writable” and “own” are actually concepts of completely different dimensions.
Readability and writability are actually the interaction between people and content. They are tangible actions that can be recorded and implemented. Imagine if the hard disk can last forever, it will become a permanent observable objective fact that exists in the universe forever.
But the essence of “owning” is a social contract relationship, and its essence is a ” consensus ” of human beings on distribution, and it is an ideology of human society. Furthermore, “owning” even represents an actual power relationship.
For example, the exclusive power of people over things – my house can only be lived in by me, and others cannot violate it. This is a social consensus.
It could also be a person-to-person power relationship—for example, the rich can use money to buy the labor time of the poor. If the distribution system of money itself is seriously lacking in fairness, then this kind of purchase can be understood as a kind of “exploitation”.
Readability and writability are an objective fact, and possession is a social ideology. To juxtapose the three is as strange as juxtaposing beef, pork and fish-flavored shredded pork.
And if Eshita writes honestly, the development trajectory from web 1.0 to 3.0 is readable, writable, and decentralized. Then people will naturally suspect that these three are not necessarily a progressive relationship.
The reason why ordinary people can’t feel this difference at first impression is because we have tacitly accepted the long-standing social values such as private ownership, and regard these similar ideas as air. Ultimately, we internalize this external perspective into an internal perspective in our thinking.
Therefore, the essence of Eshita theory is actually to invent a new ideological dimension that belongs to human society in addition to the two dimensions of web2, and hopes to “objectify” this ideology through a technical means.
This once again proves that the essence of “web serialization” is a “philosophical concept” and “logical game”. So, in this game, only abstraction can perpetuate abstraction.
But technology can only “defend” ideology, but it is impossible to code and objectify an ideology. This is reflected in web3, that the narrative concept of “possible” is much more fragile than the concepts of “readable” and “writable”.
First of all, the blockchain itself can reduce the risk of anti-theft, but it is not a super anti-theft technology, nor is it a power center that is divorced from the real world’s ability to redeem, it can only achieve decentralization – just like your pocket the same as the banknotes.
However, because the concept of “owning” behind web3 is too deeply rooted in the hearts of the people, netizens will even be surprised that Jay Chou’s NFT will be stolen, and then send it to Weibo hot search.
And something like “Jay Chou NFT was stolen” is just the beginning. As long as web3 takes “owning” as a “selling point”, it will inevitably challenge the general public’s understanding of “owning” more and more frequently and continuously:
● It turns out that the basis of “owning” is that you can accurately remember the account number and password. If you unfortunately forget your password, you will lose your belongings;
● Hackers can take away astronomical assets from Jay Chou’s wallets once and for all, and the police can’t do anything about it;
● The effect of telecommunication fraud is the same, and the effect of extortion and money laundering is better;
In addition, the token flow itself eats up the tokens in the flow in an endless manner according to the number of transactions.
And miners are becoming the underlying necessity of flow in a way that is no less than the existence of data centers. And your assets simply cannot survive without this system.
In the end, even decentralization has become a kind of “lie”, and the property just depends on a “centralized” credit institution to a “decentralized” system – unless the system is really It “devoured” the world and evolved into a low-level operating logic that you cannot perceive.
This is a very interesting thing: code may be objective, but philosophy is dialectical; philosophy based on technology is also dialectical.
We can see in many places the shadow of web3’s ideological “technicalization”.
For example, web3 advocates regard web3 not only as a technological innovation, but also as an action of a social and political concept, and believe that the blockchain will become a good medicine to solve the taint of the current social and political operation.
web3 entrepreneurs will actively participate in local politics and form alliances with the rulers of third world countries; they propose new organizational forms, trying to change the organizational form of companies; they issue their own currency, build their own “Federal Reserve”, and try to subvert the country’s The form of currency operation; they attack and despise “dissidents” such as the alliance chain, and are committed to building a public chain of great harmony in the world, etc.
It can be said that web3 is the first digital revolution to closely integrate technology and ideology on such a large scale.
But simply relying on deconstructing the noun of web3 is obviously not enough to explain the web phenomenon we want to explain. Therefore, in this series of articles, we will present a complete “cyber capitalism” worldview.
In the next article, we will talk about:
What kind of worldview is implied behind web3.0? Why can this worldview be called “cyber capitalism”? And why is this tendency toward “cyber capitalism” dangerous?
The second article will meet you in this column next week.
Posted by:CoinYuppie，Reprinted with attribution to:https://coinyuppie.com/web3-0-a-game-of-concepts/
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