Web3, Not Crypto - The Daily Gwei #385

Coming to terms with terminology.

The term “crypto” has become a loaded one over the years for a variety of reasons and at this point it tends to turn off non-crypto native people from this industry. This is why there has been a bit of an effort lately to basically rebrand the crypto ecosystem as the next evolution of the web by simply referring to it as “web3”. This term is much cleaner, doesn’t have years of negative connotations attached to it, it’s much easier to relate to for traditional tech people and it references something everyone is already familiar with - the web.

I’ve written about web3 a few times before and to be honest up until recently the term was used to refer to a very specific set of crypto-related use-cases such as decentralized social media and NFTs. Though there has been a wind change recently and now the term is being used to describe everything in this industry from DeFi to DAOs to even layer 2 scaling. It’s kind of like what happened when people stopped calling the internet the “information superhighway” and started just calling it the “internet” and these days younger generations either call it “wifi” or because the internet has become so ubiquitous in their lives they don’t even think about the terminology at all.

If we take a look at an in-industry example of another thing that has gone through a terminology change we need only look at NFTs as the term “metaverse” has entered the mainstream lexicon. This term is so popular that Facebook basically changed their entire company focus to encapsulate the metaverse - though most people still have no idea what it is. It also makes me wonder if those who have been hating on NFTs for months now are going to change their tune simply because the same products are just referred to by a new name - one that is more “mainstream” than a term like NFTs. After all, branding is very powerful.

In saying all of the above, I’ve always been of the belief that you can’t win a narrative war in the age of social media because we live in a “post-truth” world where most people don’t fact check anything. So given this reality, the only way to win a war against bad narratives is to build better products/services so that even the most ardent of detractors just end up using them because it brings value to their lives. And after the initial adoption phases, no one really cares what terminology people use to refer to something anymore - the thing is now just part of their everyday lives.

It’s going to be interesting to see how all of this terminology evolves over the coming years and it’ll be even more interesting to see if people still talk about “Ethereum” and not just the projects that live on top. The one thing the internet protocols didn’t have was a way to invest in them - there’s no TCP/IP token and so hardly anyone talks about TCP/IP - so people invested in the companies building on top and that’s what the internet is known as these days (Facebook, Amazon, Google etc). But Ethereum has a native asset that incentivizes people to always talk about it even though Ethereum is a protocol like TCP/IP - so I suspect the Ethereum name to persist for decades to come.

Have a great day everyone,
Anthony Sassano

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All information presented above is for educational purposes only and should not be taken as investment advice.