I can’t be the only one that’s had this conversation with a family member, skeptical business person, or humanoid:
Me: “Decentralization is cool. Blockchain is a novel technology. Smart Contracts are great.”
Them: “Why do I need Crypto? Why do I need Blockchain? Can’t I just do all of this the way that I am doing it now?”
Going down this rabbit hole can be confusing for those that have not been baptized in the fires of a crypto winter, however it is a fair question to ask because the asthetic of Web 2.0 interfaces and applications often leaves the conversation one dimensional.
The thinking might go: What does it matter if a single company owns every social media network? So what if they know my location data every time I open my phone? Is it really a big deal that my post was banned because it goes against a company’s policy? To the individual, these actions feel opt-in. Even though basically monopolized, there is a sense that we made the independent decision to take the action on the service. In an open world, these decisions are under our control.
We should have no expectation that the next generation of digital environments, now firmly known as The Metaverse, will come with this characteristic. Digital worlds owned by for-profit corporations are not open worlds. Period.
In a framework on community building, the set of human environments can sometimes be broken down into three distinct groups: Our homes (first place), where we work (second place) and places that are important to civic society (third place) (Wikipedia). This third place can include clubs, cafes, parks or city blocks. What is unique about these places is that they are not policed by a single private entity, and, in theory, allow us to interact freely, without censorship and (minimal) overview.
As we move into digital environments, this distinction begins to blur. A social network that allows us to share 240 characters now has a ‘fact-checking comm...