The right to never be forgotten

How blockchains square with privacy

This is the first in a two-part series on privacy and Web 3. Next week, I’ll continue my riff on the origin of modern conceptions of privacy.

Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops.-Luke 12:3

Web 3 is the reverse of web 2 in severals ways, and that ‘flippening’ can be disorienting

Take the usual ordering of consumer usefulness followed by monetization, as one clear example.

In Web 2, you first find a viral consumer use case and then, often much later, find some way to pay for it. Meanwhile, you float the company with speculative capital from VCs. As late as the time of Facebook’s IPO, the ads system was a mess and did not generate the sort of revenue growth that justified the company’s massive valuation. The second half of my memoir Chaos Monkeys documents just that mad (and successful) scramble fix the company’s broken monetization.

In Web 3, companies achieve liquidity early via ‘tokenomics’ and other novel mechanisms to raise capital from users (often highly speculative in nature), and build the necessary technical infrastructure to create an alternative internet: decentralized servers, identity-management ‘wallets’, token exchanges allowing easy movement among various ecosystems, etc. The viral consumer use case (if there is one) comes much later, much to the derisive trolling by the latest wave of crypto-skeptics.

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