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Web3 can potentially change the world and the internet for the better but there are plenty of hurdles and roadblocks that must be dealt with before it will completely take over the digital reins.
Many changes will occur with power returning to smaller developers and independent users. One of the more noticeable changes that will be shocking to most users is that many services built for Web3 will become paid services. This does not always mean there will be a monthly subscription or that these services will be expensive. Some web products and platforms will undoubtedly be kept free with the help of donations or nonprofit organizations.
But with the destruction of ad tracking and the revenue that comes with it, creators will be forced to fund projects through different means. At Internxt, we can only run the open-source and data-safe services we provide by charging users a small subscription fee.
Ad Money, Tracking, and Greed
If you had a ton of money and were still making more each day doing what you are doing now, would you want things to change? Of course not. Currently, the internet runs on revenue generated from ads and data tracking.
Asking large corporations to give up consistent cash flow is no easy feat, and asking smaller websites and projects barely getting by to give up what little income they generate may be even harder. Web3 must find a simple way to transition off ad money that doesn't put livelihoods at risk. The larger the leap required to switch to Web3, the less likely we'll see full implementation soon.
There is a genuine gatekeeping problem with the internet. Though the internet is massive, expansive, and accessible once you're online, how you access it is anything but. Google Chrome holds roughly two-thirds of the market.
At around roughly 20 percent, Apple Safari takes up most of the remaining shares. In contrast, all the rest (Firefox, Opera, Brave, etc.) barely combine to make up 10 percent of all traffic online. The options are also minimal regarding what internet service providers (ISP) users and operating systems (OS) can choose from. Lack of substantial competition is a bad thing but it's an even bigger problem when designing applications for the web.
Building programs is time and resource-intensive. Many web services and products also need to be optimized for specific browsers. Developers will not see much value in building programs to run well on a browser that only reaches 5 percent of internet users. On top of that, browser providers have many aces up their sleeve they can deploy to counteract web services (especially competitors) they see as a threat to their shareholder's bottom line.
Reputation and Cryptocurrency Speculation
Oversaturation of the crypto market with tokens explicitly created for speculation is a bad look for Web3's token economy.
Bitcoin did some fantastic and groundbreaking things to bring blockchain to the masses. The awareness generated by Bitcoin and the emerging crypto market was definitely a net positive for Web3 adoption. Still, now the market has been watered down by light-on-substance projects and many outright scams. Gaining the public's trust will play a big part in the adoption of Web3, and Web3 developers will need their users to trust token economics to get their companies off the ground.
The future of crypto and digital tokens is probably best left to economists. Still, the visibility these cryptocurrencies have can be a huge boon or bane for the decentralized web movement.
Big Tech Versus Big Gov
There's no reason to detail every way Big Tech has acquired and locked down control over most of the functions of the internet. You likely have Gmail; you probably run Windows on your PC and checked your Facebook feed 10 minutes ago. You just upgraded to a new iPhone. You're using it to listen to an audiobook or order something off Amazon.
We're likely going to need government help in breaking the stranglehold tech corporations now have on the internet. That's a tall order when these companies are known to pump large sums of money straight into legislators' pockets.
Google, or Alphabet Inc., routinely spends over $15 million a year lobbying the US federal government. To have the people's voice heard, we will need to all come together and say no loudly enough to make tech lobbies irrelevant. Or get rid of private money in politics, but that's a stretch.
How Internxt is Working Around Web3 Roadblocks
There is no simple fix to many of these significant issues, though time and pressure are our best friends in the fight for Web3 and a decentralized internet. Things are trending in the right direction. But to speed things ups, Internxt has taken a few approaches to make Web3 a hard reality for its users.
We have created partnerships with other Web3 companies and organizations to help build a kind of Web3 bubble free of Big Tech interference. We have reached out to many web-focused NGOs and created a Privacy Organization Directory to help users get involved with nonprofits working to protect digital rights. We also have doubled down on educating users by releasing helpful and informative content about Web3 and accompanying technologies like blockchain and encryption.
We are working to make Internxt's cloud services a shining example of what Web3 applications can be. In the quest for Web3, it's important to remain transparent and open-source while sticking to the values that we preach. We must all keep our eyes on the prize and work together to return agency to users and build a better, fairer internet for all.