What do Web 3.0 and April 25 2022 Have in Common?
So what do “Web 3.0” and “April 25 2022” have in common? You might be asking yourself this question because it’s in the title. Examining the literal semantics, it doesn’t make any sense at all. Web 3.0 is the next-generation internet built with blockchain technology, based on the foundations of openness and greater utility for the individual user. Its defining features are bottom-up design and decentralization.
You might be wondering what those terms mean? Well, bottom-up design is code being transparently and voluntarily developed by everyone rather than a small group of experts like Facebook. That’s Web 2.0. Decentralization is when there’s no central authority that gives permission or decides what information can be shared, encouraging freedom from indiscriminate censorship. There’s also no single point of failure which could result in a shutdown of networks.
So how does this term relate to April 25th you may ask? If you have been following the news lately, Elon Musk reached a deal with popular social media platform Twitter to buy out the company for $44 billion.
Earlier this year, Musk put out a poll on the platform asking if Twitter “rigorously adheres” to the principle of freedom of speech which he described as “essential to a functioning democracy.” He warned that the results of the vote were important and had implications for what might happen next. An overwhelming majority voted “no” and that’s his mission to become a major influencer of the company and its decision-making took off.
After becoming the largest shareholder (9.2% stake in the company), he declined his seat on Twitter’s board of directors. He then offered to buy the company for $43 billion. In his purchase statement, he reiterated his stance that Twitter was the de facto “digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated,” therefore it was the “bedrock of a functioning democracy.”
Immediately, Twitter’s board announced a poison pill strategy to thwart Musk’s Twitter takeover. If a shareholder were to build up a 15% stake or more in the company without the board’s approval, the shareholder’s shares would be diluted. However, it did not prevent Twitter from accepting Musk’s offer or entering negotiations with him and other potential buyers. And it did not stop the Tesla king from purchasing more shares in the open market.
After a back and forth between him and the board, including him teasing them through his classic meming on Twitter, he finally negotiated a deal with Twitter’s board to purchase the company at $54.20 per share or $44 billion.
Besides the free speech argument, you might be wondering the implications of this purchase. Well, prior to Musk’s buyout of Twitter, he said he plans to take the company private and make the algorithms “open source to increase trust, defeating the spam bots, and authenticating all humans.” Does this sound familiar to you? If it did, it’s because we mentioned it earlier. It’s decentralization. Open source code is code that can be seen, modified, and distributed by anyone because it’s publicly accessible. It’s developed in a decentralized and collaborative manner, relying on contributions from the community and can be peer-reviewed by anybody.
A core tenet of Web 3.0 and blockchain technology is authentication. Authentication ensures that users of a platform are real people not bots. That was the issue of Twitter because there were so many bots and anonymous users on Twitter. The blockchain is a public ledger that verifies a user through digital identity verification and protects user’s data and identity. Here are some practical uses of blockchain authentication:
- Personal Identity Protection
- Improved Security in Financial Transactions
- Video games
- Protection of Intellectual Property
- Cyber Security
Could It Become a Full Web3 Platform?
Even though Twitter is a Web 2.0 concept, a social media platform whose revenue was ads-based by gathering people’s personal information, Twitter has been adopting blockchain technology and is trying to become a more decentralized platform.
Crypto Twitter is now a community full of new users and activity, growing by the day. Users can follow upcoming Metaverse games or NFT projects, make quick Bitcoin payments through Lightning, and flaunt their NFTs as profile pictures. Since Musk bought Twitter, there's been speculation about it becoming a fully web3 platform. He was, in fact, skeptical about web3 by saying the term seemed more like a “marketing buzzword than reality,” and he followed up by mocking it: “Has anyone seen web3? I can’t find it.”
For his automotive & clean energy company Tesla, he currently allows payments in Bitcoin and Dogecoin, two popular cryptocurrencies right now. Cryptocurrency is a member of the blockchain technology and it espouses decentralization as one of its core tenets. One of the core purposes of decentralization is that the user can control their data and privacy. The issue of web 2.0 was that the government decides what you can read and hear online. If web3 reaches its potential, you can control the information you access without social media companies policing the content, ensuring free access to content and freedom of speech.
It’s All About The Community
Elon Musk described Twitter as a social media platform with tremendous potential to the board and his Twitter followers. He believes that Twitter’s popularity and prevalence make it the place for public discourse and free speech; he hopes the entire company and its community made up of the people can help unlock its potential. That way people can express their opinions and beliefs without the fear of being banned, censored or “canceled.”
The key word here is community. Community plays a huge role in web3 because everything is decentralized so it relies on people to contribute and encourages maximum participation. Musk also stresses the importance of transparency and promotes Twitter’s algorithms to be open-source, thereby creating a community where people can share ideas on how to improve Twitter.