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Jack Dorsey Ignites Battle Over Competing Visions for ‘Web3’

Jack Dorsey Ignites Battle Over Competing Visions for ‘Web3’

A brand new imaginative and prescient of the web is already beset by controversy.

Jack Dorsey,

the previous

Twitter Inc.

TWTR -1.04%

chief government and boss of financial-technology firm

Block Inc.,

SQ -1.81%

kicked off a sometimes-heated debate this week over what proponents name Internet 3.0 or Web3, a loosely outlined imaginative and prescient for a decentralized web that makes use of applied sciences together with blockchain—a system of distributed public record-keeping—to disperse the present company management over the net.

Whereas Web3 remains to be largely conceptual, it has develop into a sizzling matter amongst tech futurists and a buzzword for startups in cryptocurrency and comparable cutting-edge areas. Mr. Dorsey, who has backed many endeavors that embody Web3, this week disavowed involvement in it and urged that it’s already overrun by highly effective enterprise capitalists and the restricted companions who again them. That prompted pushback from venture-capital buyers and Web3 proponents.

“You don’t personal ‘web3.’ The VCs and their LPs do,” Mr. Dorsey tweeted to his six million followers on Monday evening. “It is going to by no means escape their incentives. It’s in the end a centralized entity with a special label. Know what you’re entering into…”

Proponents of Web3 see it as a option to escape large expertise firms which have traditionally managed swaths of the web and bought customers’ knowledge to advertisers. As futurists see it, Web3 wouldn’t be dominated by a handful of big firms and would offer for a extra egalitarian digital infrastructure that can also be much less vulnerable to authorities controls. Advocates say blockchain and associated applied sciences can be utilized for every part from operating new types of cash to creating different social-media platforms the place customers have extra management over the content material.

Mr. Dorsey’s voice carries specific weight as a result of he has championed many matters which might be seen as foundational to Web3, together with blockchain and cryptocurrencies. This month, his fintech agency renamed itself from Sq. Inc. to Block, citing blockchain as a part of the inspiration. He has additionally emerged as one of many highest-profile backers of bitcoin, the seminal cryptocurrency. “I don’t assume there’s something extra vital in my lifetime to work on,” Mr. Dorsey mentioned at a bitcoin convention earlier this yr.

Bitcoin has additionally been the topic of questions on centralized possession. A current examine by the Nationwide Bureau of Financial Analysis confirmed roughly 0.01% of bitcoin holders management 27% of the 19 million bitcoin in circulation.

Mr. Dorsey’s feedback prompted a response from

Chris Dixon,

a normal associate at Andreessen Horowitz, a number one Silicon Valley venture-capital agency that calls itself “a16z” and that has been a serious backer of cryptocurrency startups and different Web3 ventures. “In web3, all of the code, knowledge, and possession is open supply. Learn it and determine for your self. VCS (together with a16z) personal little or no of it,” wrote Mr. Dixon.

Erik Voorhees,

an early bitcoin advocate and founding father of a cryptocurrency platform, additionally swiped back at Mr. Dorsey. “Saying you don’t personal web3 as a result of VCs personal a few of it’s like saying you don’t management your Bitcoin as a result of VCs additionally management some,” Mr. Voorhees tweeted, later including that he’s a fan of Mr. Dorsey.

Different tech executives waded into the controversy with various ranges of seriousness.

Aaron Levie,

CEO of cloud-company

Field Inc.,

BOX 0.77%

raised his personal considerations in regards to the imaginative and prescient for Web3 this week. “I’m very professional innovation, however a lot of the pitch for web3 is pessimistic in nature: it depends on saying we are able to’t belief platforms, and explaining how damaged the net is at this time when it’s manifestly not,” he tweeted.

Elon Musk,

CEO of

Tesla Inc.,

who himself has been an advocate of cryptocurrency, tweeted: “Has anybody seen web3? I can’t discover it.” Mr. Dorsey replied: “It’s someplace between a and z,” seemingly referring to Andreessen Horowitz.

The verbal sparring at occasions appeared to tackle a private word. Mr. Dorsey tweeted a screenshot Wednesday morning that appeared to indicate his Twitter account had been blocked by a16z co-founder

Marc Andreessen’s

account. “I’m formally banned from web3,” Mr. Dorsey’s tweet mentioned.

Write to Meghan Bobrowsky at Meghan.Bobrowsky@wsj.com

Copyright ©2021 Dow Jones & Firm, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

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