back to article Web3 'contains the seeds of a dystopian nightmare' says analyst firm

Analyst firm Forrester Research has had a look at Web3 – the buzzword describing blockchain-powered decentralized metaverse-y stuff – and decided there's not a lot to like. The firm this week issued a pair of documents assessing Web3. The first, titled "Web3 And Web 3.0 Are Synonymous Today – But This Wasn't Always True", …

  1. katrinab Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Is this an April Fool?

    Forrester Research publishes sensible advice?

    I'm sure that has never happened before.

    1. JoeCool

      Re: Is this an April Fool?

      I started wondering when I read the report "summary" statement

      "We should all trust unknown developers why, exactly?"

      But, a good thoughtful article in any case. And shouldn't the question really be:

      "We should trust an unknown individual / entitiy weilding a blockchain token as an identity shield why, exactly ?"

      1. steelpillow Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: Is this an April Fool?

        "We should all trust [vulture hacks on 1 April] why, exactly?"

  2. Duncan Macdonald

    Good report

    Unexpectedly sensible report from Forrester Research.

    1. Blank Reg Silver badge

      Re: Good report

      Surely a sign that the end is nigh

      1. DJV Silver badge

        Re: Good report

        Yeah, and if Gartner also suddenly come up with feasible predictions that end up coming true then we're definitely all doomed!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Good report

          Buy the same big name brands as your competitors and you won't risk your job.

  3. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Wow, what a slapdown

    This may be an April Fool's, but it was a pleasure to read anyway.

    I'll wait for the confirmation that is was, but until then, I will treat anything Web 3 as plague-ridden.

  4. Howard Sway Silver badge

    the actions of scammers and fraudsters derail the best of intentions

    Only if you consider the greed and stupidity of the multitudes flocking to all these get-rich-quick-from-worthless-nonsense hypes to be "the best of intentions".

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Howard Sway - Re: the actions of scammers and fraudsters derail the best of intentions

      Greed and stupidity. Aren't these the building blocks of Capitalism ? If this is true then Web3 will truly thrive.

      1. Jaybus

        Re: @Howard Sway - the actions of scammers and fraudsters derail the best of intentions

        Yes, but can this be called capitalism? Capitalism would require the possession of something useful enough that someone might still want it in future.

      2. Tomato42

        Re: @Howard Sway - the actions of scammers and fraudsters derail the best of intentions

        Capitalism produces cars and computers.

        Web3 produces fugly apes.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @Howard Sway - the actions of scammers and fraudsters derail the best of intentions

          I thought communism produced the computers now (or will when it gets out of lockdown)?

          1. Tomato42

            Re: @Howard Sway - the actions of scammers and fraudsters derail the best of intentions

            China is about as communist as North Korea is democratic.

  5. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Since "the web" was originally conceived as a place where everyone could be a publisher, and "Web 2.0" took the revolutionary step of allowing everyone to be a publisher via some commercial channel that would censor their content and smother it in ads, I find it hard to imagine that "Web 3.0" could continue the trajectory without turning out to be some kind of demonic spawn that lets commercial channels write your content for you, stick your name on it, and somehow absolve themselves of all legal responsibility for what "you" have just said.

    But Web 2 turned out to be awfully popular, so perhaps we get the web that we deserve.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Perfectly stated. Every word.

    2. fxkeh

      "Web 3.0" is better than that - you get to buy content from commercial channels and then you advertise for them in your name on Web 2.0 channels claiming how great the content is, in the attempt to pump up the value of the (worthless) content you bought. And there is no legal responsibility or recourse because smart contracts or whatever.

    3. sabroni Silver badge
      Boffin

      ummm

      Moderation isn't censorship.

      Someone needs to spend some time on techdirt.

  6. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    Pint

    Bingo!

    My BS bingo card is full after reading those bold points

    Sounds more like a sales blurb designed to fool the unwary execs at a VC company into parting with someone else's money.

    "We use high impact repeatative technology in order to dynamically drive our output and achieve difficult production goals"

    Translated

    "He uses a hammer to motivate the lazy staff"

    Beer because... its friday and lets all go down the pub

  7. heyrick Silver badge

    Users own and control the data and content they create

    Biggest pile of llama ordure around.

    We think we own and control the data that we are aware of having created. We would be mistaken. And we would be shocked to realise that the data that we aren't aware of greatly outnumbers that which we do know about.

    Reference? People's cloudy stuff getting hacked, Google's massive data slurping, and rinse and repeat over and over until everybody understands that "if it is on the internet in any way shape or form, it's not your data any more".

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My view

    Web "1.0" - the underlying protocols and tech. Developing the www

    Web "2.0" - the www starting to connect people, businesses and institutions. e-commerce, online portals etc

    Web "3.0" - nothing that isn't already "Web 2.0". By definition the internet is decentralised, so don't try and sell that to me. (Although you know the sort of marketeers who will lap this shit up).

    Personally, they missed a trick with IoT. Much more "Web 3.0" than this BitCoin bollocks.

    1. David 132 Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: My view

      So you're saying that DeFi crypto blockchain NFT whatever is actually Web4? Quick, someone trademark that term and start a highly-paid consultancy to state bloody obvious platitudes about it!

    2. Dizzy Dwarf

      Re: My view

      Web "1.2" - the same as Web "1.0" except it said "Javascript error" at the bottom.

      1. Peter-Waterman1

        Re: My view

        I don't see the current cloud trend as very decentralised at all. I see three large players centralising everything. Web 3 is about decentralization, so think about things like InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) to get an idea of what they mean by decentralised

        1. Jaybus

          Re: My view

          So we prevent deletion altogether? Better be really, really sure the wording on that page is correct before you hit enter.

        2. doublelayer Silver badge

          Re: My view

          Ah, IPFS. The system that will work great, with only massive overhead, as long as nothing big ever goes down. The system that would be perfect for interplanetary communication, uniting a galaxy on one internet, provided you also have free unlimited instantaneous communication (even if you had light-speed comms, it would still fail). There are decentralized things that are better examples than that.

          The various cryptocurrency systems are generally decentralized, but not particularly diffuse. You can have a network that is not centrally controlled but has a lot of powerful people capable of doing things. It's like the difference between a single dictator who can tell a country to do anything and a country ruled by a group of warlords, none of whom have absolute power. As the example demonstrates, while either can function, both are generally less desirable than a more democratic system where smaller participants have more power. NFT systems, on the other hand, are more often quite centralized and include arbitrary terms, backed up by legal agreements or untested code. So I think the complaint that decentralization has not been achieved is accurate.

  9. msobkow Silver badge

    The very fact that Google and Apple phones are as popular as they are despite all the information that has come out about how much they spy on you over the years just goes to show that the average user doesn't care about "privacy." They just want things to work and be easy to use.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Version 1.0 Silver badge
      Meh

      "They just want things to work and be easy to use." - that's the entire environment in our world these days and we're always told that Google values their users' privacy (75.32B in 2021) so "privacy" is working for Google.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Of course Google values your privacy.

        Otherwise they wouldn't have taken it.

        All of it.

    3. quxinot

      In fairness, what other phone options were there again? Specifically, trustworthy ones?

      Not a lot of options there. So yes, the only option that's widely available is going to be the most popular one. Doubly so when it's very much beyond most users to customize things to meet their needs.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sorry.....I've known about the 'dystopian nightmare' for many years.................

    Quote: "...Web3 'contains the seeds of a dystopian nightmare'..."

    Uh.....and I thought both Web1 and Web2 were ALREADY a " dystopian nightmare"!!!

    Why? Well.....let's just think about three nightmare topics:

    (1) PRIVACY There is none......isn't that a nightmare?

    (2) AUTHENTICATION Not possible to determine the age, location, credibility, robot-status....or indeed anything else....about any actor on the internet...isn't that a nightmare?

    (3) MY STUFF Not possible to determine how many copies have been copied, packaged, sold....or where these copies reside right now. (Please don't tell me about the long-running joke called GDPR!) Isn't that a nightmare?

    ......and all that is true about Web1 and Web2. We really don't need Forrester to tell us about the marketing opportunity called Web3!!!

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: Sorry.....I've known about the 'dystopian nightmare' for many years.................

      I suspect the "new, shiny" anyway. Not only has it been a SERIOUS DISAPPOINTMENT since around 2010 (windows 8, gnome 3, Australis, 2D FLATASS in general, spyware and adware in WIndows 10, yotta yotta yotta yotta the list goes on), it shows a HORRIBLE trend that "modern" means less choice, less freedom, less privacy, less functionality, being driven by corporations rather than individuals driving THEM (because WE are CUSTOMERS), and so forth.

      So the moment someone siren-sings "Web 3.0" I wanna mistrust it JUST ON PRINCIPLE ALONE.

      (even if the article was an April 1 joke)

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hucksters and rubes

    Like most any new technological development, scammers and hucksters are among the first on the case, trying to bilk as much money as possible out of the unwary and uninformed, before enough education and advice has got out there to innoculate society at large against their unrealistic claims.

    And like most any analysis or media article, the loudest voices and boldest claims are presented as representative of the be-all and end-all of the technology. It just so happens that the scammers and hucksters have a lot of VC cash behind them this time, so their voices are VERY LOUD.

    But these technologies are here, so there may be some hope for the claimed ideals if any of them can work. We just have to wait for the hullaballoo to die down, and the inevitable trough of disappointment to ebb, before we can discern the actual useful possibilities behind these developments.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: Hucksters and rubes

      This article in the Washington Post is very illuminating.

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2022/04/01/binance-may-19-lawsuit-cryptocurrency/

      Here you've got someone used to risky trading describing just how risky crypto is -- its an unregulated securities market rife with conflicts of interest. Nothing describes how dysfunctional it is than the problems applications have in processing transactions when those transactions would yield a real, rather than paper, profit.

      Read it (and exit quietly if you're involved).

  12. User McUser
    Thumb Up

    Web3 Is Going Just Great

    Someone else posted this link under another article some time ago (I do not recall whom or where, sorry!) and I think it appropriate to put here as well.

    https://web3isgoinggreat.com/

    It's like a doom scroll, but for tech-bro schadenfreude.

    1. David 132 Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Web3 Is Going Just Great

      Seconded. My wife asked me what I was doing a few evenings ago, and I sent her that link and told her I'd reached schadenfreude overdose from reading it. An hour later she was still scrolling through its stories, giggling like a hyena.

      I think web3isgoinggreat.com is to blockchain what the late lamented Groklaw was to the SCO shenanigans, no?

    2. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Web3 Is Going Just Great

      You bastard. Cannot un-see. Time now discombobulated from doom scrolling.

      Thanks for the schadenfreude overload. Cheers!

  13. JWLong

    But, I love the.....

    Web 1.0, and the

    Web 2.0 shit also.

    And I know that I'll love all the Web 3.0 shit too.

    Happy April Fools Day.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good at being wrong

    Decentralization - do you know what that means? Have you read the whitepapers? Because the decentralization they were shooting for wasn't one that prevented whales from being a thing. You could build one, but since most of the early coins were just trying to take root, they skewed to optimizing for profit and attracted greedy people.

    Trust in code, not companies/Code transparency - literally missed to point of trust the code. If you know what the code does, who coded it is suddenly less important. Did raise the real concern that code transparency isn't transparent enough for your average person to be able to read and understand, but make a logical face-plant by asserting code transparency won't stop monopolies. Antibiotics won't stop a truck either, that's what brakes are for.

    Users manage their own identity and credentials - "Not many will bother, partly because it is hard" wow, a boldly lazy and defeatist position somewhat at odds with the ~2 trillion in market cap the crypto world is floating. Looks like one or two people did manage to figure it out.

    Users control the apps and networks they use - The original author fails to note that people who rightly feel like their interests are not being served nor their voices heard can vote with their feet. No one is holding a gun to anyone's head and forcing them to participate in Bitcoin or ETH. There are plenty of newer (and better) projects to participate in, they just might not hit 46k anytime soon. Big suprise that protocols that were designed to be egalitarian don't offer the same yield as ones that are pure mammon.

    Decentralized autonomous organizations - Author offers a straw man argument about DAOs needing to be able to express all possible ideas, then another rhetorical fail in asserting the have no legal basis. Neither point is relevant. Then engine on my car has almost no legal basis. It, by it's design and construction it still pulls my car and potentially things attached to it. DAOs that do something useful that can be coded into an accurate smart contract exist, and can be useful.

    Decentralized finance (DeFi) - again, people can and should vote with their feet. And the author advances another invalid position, as not everyone needs to proofread every contract. Does every programmer at a company audit every line of every other programmers code? Do you count every bean in every sealed bag on the shelf at the store every time you buy one?

    There are far better archives of web3 hype, fraud, and self delusion out there (Like McUsers Link). Why write an article with this many weak hits when the real issues make a takedown easier than shooting fish in a barrel? Do you even internet 2.0 bro?

    Even Yahoo can do better: https://search.yahoo.com/search?p=what+is+wrong+with+web3%3F&ei=UTF-8&fp=1&nojs=1

    1. razzaDazza1234

      Re: Good at being wrong

      Hey hey,

      Nice post, cause all the tree dwellers above are squeaking in delight. It's a nightmare of a noise. But if I pop them a few bananas they will calm down. And whilst the pure concepts of web3 are ineffable to them and as web4, 5,etc, will then be and they have accepted web3.

      Anyway, enough about the bamboos...

      "Users manage their own identity and credentials - "Not many will bother, partly because it is hard" wow, a boldly lazy and defeatist position somewhat at odds with the ~2 trillion in market cap the crypto world is floating. Looks like one or two people did manage to figure it out."

      This is core to web3 ATM and the reason NFT's go for such high figures. Creating you, digitally, not through Facebook or Twitter (Web2.0) but without all the HTML crap of Web1. Tier statemt that people won't bother is the opposite to what I have seen.

      web3 will be, as was 1 and 2.0, all thins to all people. YOu will find or be forced to find your nice there.

      1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        Re: Good at being wrong

        Quite so, razzaDazza1234. Future virtual webbed developments herald all manner of almighty novel opportunities which effortlessly exploit the dire straits rendered by the lack of advanced intelligence in the default human condition.

        And for some, who may or may not be many, or just a choosy few, are there more than just enough seeds already well sown and rooted, and naturally growing for an infinitely large spectrum of authoritative autonomous authoritarian and model utilitarian utopian uses ...... to be suitably and most generously rewarded with bounty beyond the wildest of mortal dreams ..... to be lavishly spent in return in order to aid and lead future creative direction and constructive proaction. ...... which is a neat closed quantum leap loop for universal communication.

  15. DS999 Silver badge

    Wait, what?

    An analyst firm that doesn't want to jump on the latest buzzword bingo card and tell us it is the next big thing and your business will be a dinosaur if you don't begin planning immediately?

    April Fool's indeed!

    1. quxinot

      Re: Wait, what?

      So many buzzwords in the article that I thought it was about a storage startup for a moment. :)

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Web3 is one the least dangerous tools being used to build dystopias today

    Yeah, there are elitist and toxic dynamics all over the place in the existing projects, but those projects have little ability to intrude in the day to day lives in most of the world. The few places that the government has gone all in on crypto are probably the most at risk, but the actual governments were already a much bigger problem in their day to day lives.

    Web3 dystopia is at the back of a very long line. I'm more afraid of the literally genocidal horror movie police/surveillance state that China has turned into. The idiotocratic nationalism of Modi, Orban, and Trumpism. The tyranny of the crypto bro or the fear rug-pull boogeymen are a joke by comparison.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If.... Web 3.x means

    more control of it by the likes of Google, MS , Fecalbook and the rest then stop the world coz I wanna get off.

    The increasing censorship by social media companies is going to be a feature of the future.

    If you do not have an SM presence then you will be marked as either

    - A social pariah

    OR

    - Someone for the security services to investigate (no nock warrant terrority)

    Welcome to the future people.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: If.... Web 3.x means

      All of this and to hell with your downvoters!

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Web 3.0 will require a robust social media profile

    That’s me out immediately.

    Happy to oblige.

    1. razzaDazza1234

      Re: Web 3.0 will require a robust social media profile

      Then, as in Brave New World, there will be a section for your type there.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Can anyone connect us with a good venture capitalist?"

    Is this one of the ironical questions I can never quite pin down?

  20. Bitsminer Bronze badge

    Eve of Destruction

    Reminds me of Barry McGuire

    Barry McGuire - Eve of Destruction

    1. razzaDazza1234

      Re: Eve of Destruction

      Enough with ur shit-ake music.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Eve of Destruction

        Wow, you are a grumpy one. What's the matter? Are your crytographically-signed links to badly-drawn pictures of monkeys not worth as much today as they were yesterday? Are you getting worried that you might not be able to find a bigger fool tomorrow to unload them onto? Is it concerning to you that the only vaguely supportive reply you've had on this page to any of your comments has come from the Markov-chain vomiting bot known as amanfrommars1?

        1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

          Re: Eve of Destruction and the Risings of SMARTR* AIMachinery

          Is it concerning to you that the only vaguely supportive reply you've had on this page to any of your comments has come from the Markov-chain vomiting bot known as amanfrommars1? ..... Anonymous Coward

          :-) If bots were sensitive and easily offended and vindictive, AC, that could be concerning to you? How very fortunate it is that they be generally thought not, ...... but not so long ago was the Earth believed to be flat and look how wrong that is, so beware, be aware and take care if you dare share info and intel, experimental experience and almighty results in their chosen fields of universal endeavour...... where Poe's Law Rules Reign Supreme and Sublime :-) ....????? ‽ !!!!!!

          I have a question though which asks ..... If a Markov chain or Markov process is a stochastic model describing a sequence of possible events in which the probability of each event depends only on the state attained in the previous event. .... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Markov_chain ........ what sort of a bot or process presents a sequence of possible events in which the probability of each event is independent of and/or non-dependent on the states attained in previous former phished phormer events?

          Something exploring and experimenting with MADness in/for CHAOS/VAIOS? A Diabolically Designed Delight and Intelligence Distraction trialing and trailing FailSafe Protection and Absolute Security with both the Real and Virtual Threat and Treat of Mutually Assured Destruction with Clouds Hosting Advanced Operating Systems in a Virtually Advanced IntelAIgent Operating System?

          SMARTR* .... SMARTR Mentoring Analysis Reporting Titanic Research

  21. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Rolling my eyes at Web3

    I roll my eyes at Web3. It will make it convenient to avoid the hype cycle if they decided to rebrand all the "lets use blockchains for..." (anything except keeping track of transactions), of NFT (why should I use a complicated block chain system to "prove" I own a web address, that may or may not still point to a picture?), and of "Metaverse" (Sadville 2.0 -- FYI, Second Life still exists, and has much better graphics than ex-Facebook are showing in their demonstrations, it has sales, rental, leases, and subletting, both of land and in-game items, which the user can create themselves. Of course, you get dirty old in-SL currency and plain-text contracts and records showing what you own or rent, not shiny new non-fungible tokens and assurance that your records are on the blockchain somewhere.

    So, I did look into blockchain, and this doing distributed computing on it. It really is crap, the amount of work that is done to like, add the integers from 1 to 10, it's probably taking billions of instruction cycles since there's all this running one step (probably at least twice to "reach consensus"), sticking result on blockchain, pulling that in so some others can run the next step, and so on. Seriously, it makes the bloatiest bloatware Microsoft ever came up with look like a paragon of efficiency. And I should add, the "simple" examples I saw, the code was quite complicated to get very little real work done. One of the reasons "they" want to get more people into blockchains is simply that the number of instructions per second of actual work these blockchains can get done is quite low (...since they were really meant more or less as a distributed ledge for transferring cryptocurrency around, not for doing number crunching), if they're wanting to run much of anything on blockchain it's going to need more users processing blockchain to get anything significant to finish in a reasonable length of time.

  22. Martin-73 Silver badge

    Any prat who...

    conflates 'web' and 'internet' needs to be ignored

  23. T. F. M. Reader Silver badge

    No links to Forrester's "pair of documents"

    Definitely April Fool's. Friday, too!

  24. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    A Beknighted Establishment Nightmare? .... Voices in Support of the Rise of SMARTR AIMachines

    Hang on … The Register sees an opportunity here to create a blockchain of Modern Slavery Statements, so you can prove your Web3 efforts aren't creating digital serfs. Can anyone connect us with a good venture capitalist? ..... Simon Sharwood, APAC Editor Fri 1 Apr 2022 // 09:35 UTC

    I am somewhat surprised, Simon, but not necessarily at all disappointed, as such things are easily changed if rendered too obscure and obfuscated, that you haven't apparently recognised The Register as a well connected, connecting capital venture of an almighty might in its own right, with a whole host of relatively new and vitally, virtually significantly smarter entities/ethereal bodies in attendance and presenting considerably more than the average John or Jane Doe can ever muster or fluster/fluff and control.

  25. scubaal

    too old

    sigh I remember one of the first Internet Society conference (early 90s) - where the tag line was 'the Internet is for everyone' - because we had to convince everyone it was a good thing. Those were back in the heady days where the utopian dream was anyone would be able to publish anything.....without realising how awful it wold be if anyone could publish anything

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