In his new book, “Web3: Charting the Internet’s Next Economic and Cultural Frontier,” Alex Tapscott explores the potential of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies to shape the future of businesses and society. Tapscott, a well-known figure in the blockchain world, has previously co-authored an international bestseller on the subject and founded a blockchain research think tank. His latest book provides a lucid account of the major themes in the Web3 sector for a mass audience.
Tapscott believes that the early promise of the internet has largely gone unfulfilled. While it has enabled easy access to information, most value capture has been concentrated in the hands of a few large platforms. However, Tapscott argues that new technologies like cryptocurrencies, decentralized finance (DeFi), and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) offer new models of digital ownership that can challenge the dominance of these platforms.
A pragmatist when it comes to Web3, Tapscott sees it as a toolkit that businesses can incorporate into their existing operations. He points to companies like PayPal, Visa, Nike, and LVMH that are already leveraging Web3 tools without fully committing to it. Tapscott envisions a future where today’s internet giants will have less power due to the innovations brought by Web3, but he doesn’t see traditional models being replaced overnight.
Tapscott compares Web3 to a frontier, attracting a mix of dreamers, visionaries, criminals, and shrewd business people. He identifies three groups in the Web3 space: missionaries, motivated by idealism; mercenaries, driven by opportunism; and pragmatists, occupying the middle ground while still believing in a better digital world. Tapscott sees himself as a pragmatist.
He also acknowledges the concerns about the impact of technology on democracy, social discourse, creator livelihoods, and economic concentration. While Web3 originated from similar concerns after the 2008 financial crisis, Tapscott believes that if implemented correctly, it has the potential to rewrite the economic power grid and improve human affairs.
Tapscott sees Web3 as the first technology wave emerging when human capital and tech tools are equally distributed worldwide. He emphasizes that frontiers bring both risks and opportunities and hopes that his book can serve as a guide to navigate the positive potential of Web3 while avoiding pitfalls.
Overall, Tapscott’s new book offers insights into the transformative power of Web3 technologies, highlighting the need for a pragmatic approach and outlining the possibilities for a better digital future.