Some thoughts on decentralization technologies and current web3 developments

Web3 is a controversial idea, and I know some have pretty strong opinions regarding why it’s bad/won’t succeed. Personally, I can’t help but believe it will have a massive impact on the future of the web. There are some really positive possibilities with decentralization technologies, but there are also a lot of ways things could go wrong and leave us with a system that is either just as bad or worse than the current system. For our own good I strongly believe Christians need to be involved in the conversation.

I’ve been following the ENS story closely since the whole Brantly Millegan ordeal. If you’re familiar with that you probably think it’s a use-case against web3. I agree it wasn’t a great look, but there were nuances at play someone might miss if they were just reading the headlines. The situation was complicated and there were both positive and negative outcomes.

It’s a little bit of a read, but if you’re interested in the space (and if you’re a Christian who wants Christian expression to be tolerated on the web, in my opinion you should be) then I would encourage you to give it a pass and let me know your thoughts.

The key point is that there are competing narratives in web3, and the protocols that will eventually get adopted will subscribe to one narrative or another depending on what the market (the users of web3 itself) demands. We are at a critical point in the technology’s adoption, and the protocols being written right now could define the rules of the future internet for a long time to come.

Christians can’t stand aside and let those with values contrary to ours define the rules in this space. We let that happen with the early internet and are now fighting powerful enemies (“Big Tech”). We also can’t take for granted that web3 is a “better” technology. It can be, but that’s not guaranteed.

https://medium.com/@ccmahoney/the-ens-controversy-a-case-study-in-decentralized-governance-vs-immutable-code-adc0f36ae8ef

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Agreed. A new Book Coin project is soon to come. They plan to upload all books to the blockchain & allow for ppl to “mine” their coin by reading. Whether this includes the Bible & other similarly themed works I don’t know, but it would be nice for it to. What other Christian/blockchain-oriented, ideas we have people?

Martin Shkreli mentioned wanting to do something with books in the web3/nft space. The Vatican is also going to be digitalizing their collection as NFTs. I think there’s room for innovation in the book industry. The blockchain could definitely validate the authenticity of works. Maybe there’s also value in having a record of edition updates? Or a personal record of books read? Haven’t really thought about it too much, but web3 offers some pretty cool opportunities.

Check out Reformers for an explicitly Christian web3 project. They’re helping other Christians create on web3: https://twitter.com/ReformersNFT

Web3 has been conceived of as a space that ensures freedom-of-access for everyone regardless of belief. Instead of Centralized content moderators, the protocols themselves moderate, so no one can get censored because of their beliefs.

Now I’m pushing back against that narrative somewhat in my article, but there are a lot of Christians building on web3 because they buy into it and believe they are building a system that will free Christians from web2 restrictions. They may not make their faith explicit (a mistake imo), but there are a lot of web3 projects that will be incredibly valuable if and when web3 gains adoption.

For the most valuable web3 projects, just look at the web platforms where Christian thought is getting the most censored: Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, etc. Even Christians that host their own websites get shutdown by file storage hosts (e.g., Amazon web services), payment processors (Paypal, Visa, etc.), and their domain name providers. Anything that can replace these services is worth considering.

There are are lots of services needed to build a web3 without a single point of failure (not relying on a centralized web2 service at any point in the chain), but to make things simple, if you’re looking to host a platform on the web that is free of censorship you’re basically going to need to source computing power, file storage space, an identity (a domain name, but also the method of how people find you on the web, like a browser with a resolver that will connect a domain name to your site), and possibly some method of processing transactions.

Some web3 projects to look into:

File storage: IPFS, Arweave, Filecoin

Identity (domain name services): ENS, Unstoppable Domains, Handshake

Computing power: major blockchain including Etherium, Solana, Fantom, or even Bitcoin via the lightning network. I know BSV is popular with some here as well.

Payment processing: this is by far the biggest topic in crypto. Just linking a simple bitcoin address basically solves this, but you also have to consider the ease of use and how wide adoption is if you intend to make sales. There are many projects that support crypto payments (broadly labeled DeFi).