I like to think I’m pretty smart. I follow the news, educate myself constantly, ask annoying questions and generally try to keep up. But there is one area that I am not getting. And that's Web 3.0 “stuff.”
Before I confess my ignorance, I’ll note that of course I’ve done some homework. I have read countless articles and watched a ton of videos. I specifically looked for anything that had “for beginners” or “for dummies” in the title. It hasn’t given me the answers. So here we go:
Number one: I wish I understood the very basics of blockchain and crypto.
I understand blockchain is a technology that allows for tracking in the virtual world. But what makes a blockchain a blockchain? What does it describe and what is it that is new and helpful versus what we had before? What does it do, and how, and what makes it better?
I understand crypto is a currency, but why does it require a decentralized ledger and mining? I get that a ledger keeps track of payments, but why is a decentralized ledger positioned as a safety guarantee? To me, a decentralized ledger sounds like a messy way of bookkeeping where, because everybody is in charge, nobody is in charge. Plus: the more decentralization, the higher the chances of bad behavior? This seems to be proven as there now have been a number of hacks where bitcoin was stolen.
Also, I don't think a currency/technology linked with organized crime stands a good chance to become something broadly accepted in general. Every time we hear about hackers and ransomware from places like North Korea, China, Iran and Russia, we hear about cryptocurrency as the payment platform.
Then again, most every established financial institution in the world has been nabbed for money laundering, tax evasion or even pyramid schemes. So perhaps the argument should be that BECAUSE crypto is linked with organized crime, it will become a success. After all, online payments only became a success after the sex industry built it out.
And regarding mining: Why? We are not mining for bonds, dollars or hedge funds, so why mine bitcoin? I understand it requires computation time, but why does it require so much of it? More apparently than Amazon requires to track its packages, or NASA to land a Rover on Mars. Why?
Finally, NFTs. Again, I understand (I think) what it is. Essentially, and perhaps unfairly, and perhaps wrongly, I think it is a digital work that you can buy and own. But why make it so mysterious and difficult to buy them? When a music or book download is so easy and low threshold, why does an NFT even have to be called that, and why make the purchase so murky? Why not just buy it on Amazon?
Perhaps... and this is a big PERHAPS because it is uttered by a Luddite who admits to not understanding this whole thing at all... but perhaps it is made mysterious and murky to throw sand in your eyes and obscure the fact that some (all? a very small part?) of it is snake oil?
So that’s my rant. Maybe it’s time to gracefully bow out and become that person trapped in whatever current reality I can still kind of keep up with. Like my father-in-law with his flip phone. Unless you can help me?