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Elon Musk and Jack Dorsey are talking about ‘Web3’ – here’s why


Elon Musk (founder and chief engineer for SpaceX) speaks at 2020 Satellite Conference and Exhibition on March 9, 2020 in Washington DC. Musk addressed a variety of questions about SpaceX projects while he was there.

Win McNamee | Getty Images

TeslaElon Musk is the CEO Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey ⁠— two of the world’s best-known tech billionaires ⁠— have been voicing their thoughts on a hypothetical new iteration of the internet this week: “Web3”.

Web3, also known as Web 3.0 or Web 2, is still an undefined concept. It has been described by its proponents to be a decentralized internet that uses blockchain technology, which powers many major cryptocurrency and NFTs. Many entrepreneurs are working around the globe to develop and implement the protocols and technologies that will support Web3.  

Web3 advocates, which would be similar to Web1 and Web2, claim that online platforms today are too centralized and controlled only by a few large internet companies. AmazonAppleAlphabet and Facebook parent company Meta. These businesses have amassed a vast amount of data and other content, which can all be shared over the internet.

Musk on Sunday tweeted a TikTok of an interview about the internet between Bill Gates and David Letterman in 1995, asking: “Given the almost unimaginable nature of the present, what will the future be?”

He followed up saying: “I’m not suggesting web3 is real — seems more like a marketing buzzword than reality right now — just wondering what the future will be like in 10, 20 or 30 years. 2051 sounds crazy futuristic!”

Musk responded a day later with: “Has anyone ever seen web3?” “I can’t locate it.”

Dorsey suggested that the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz is already in control, much to the dismay of Web3 supporters. Andreessen Horowitz was an early Facebook backer, and Web3 advocate.

Dorsey stated, “It is somewhere between an and z.” stepped down as Twitter CEOThe focus was on Block, his payment start-up (formerly Square) last month.

Web3’s supporter base wants the internet to be in the control of people and not VCs. The Web3 supporters believe that it is too large and vital for only a handful of investors or businesses to manage.

The internet plays an important role in the world’s economy today and is used to power everything, from hospitals to nuclear plants.

Dorsey thinks that VCs, and their few partners, will end up with Web3. He tweeted that “It won’t escape their incentives” which triggered a backlash among fans. It’s a central entity that has a distinct label.

He received more than 26,500 hits and 5,900 retweets within nine hours. Many people said that he was either “dead wrong” but others disagreed.

There is a lot more to the internet than just the internet. Decentralizing finance (DeFi), is a major push that’s being driven by crypto entrepreneurs and supporters of coins such as bitcoin and ether.

The energy industry is witnessing a similar trend. All energy was once generated only by select companies, and sold to the general public. Some people now have more control over their energy and make it less centralized.

— CNBC’s Ryan BrowneThis report was contributed by you.