DiscoverHard ForkAs Bitcoin Busts, What’s the Future of Web3? And What Even is Web3?
As Bitcoin Busts, What’s the Future of Web3? And What Even is Web3?

As Bitcoin Busts, What’s the Future of Web3? And What Even is Web3?

Update: 2022-06-162
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Chris Dixon is one of Silicon Valley’s most ardent crypto-evangelists. A general partner at the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, he leads a16z Crypto, which invests in web3. At the beginning of the year, his proselytizing seemed to be paying off: Bitcoin had doubled in value in the last half of 2021, NFTs were all the rage, and crypto seemed poised for mainstream acceptance. Nowhere was this more evident than the Super Bowl broadcast, crammed with cryptocurrency ads featuring celebrities like LeBron James, Matt Damon and even the curmudgeonly Larry David.

But it’s all come crashing down. This week, Bitcoin reached its lowest point in 18 months — at just above $23,000 — and Ethereum is worth about a quarter of its November peak. The cryptocurrency exchange platform Coinbase announced it was laying off nearly 20 percent of its work force while the crypto-lending platform Celsius paused withdrawals, in a moment that looked a lot like the run on the banks in the film “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

In this conversation, Kara Swisher asks Dixon if we’re watching the beginning of an all-out crash for the industry. They discuss parallels to the 2008 financial crisis, dig into how much of crypto is “scam at scale,” and contemplate what regulation from the government could help. And they talk about whether web3 will really be the decentralized utopia enthusiasts paint it to be, another iteration of an internet that profits too few, or something in between.

This episode contains strong language.

You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more information for all episodes at nytimes.com/sway, and you can find Kara on Twitter @karaswisher.

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As Bitcoin Busts, What’s the Future of Web3? And What Even is Web3?

As Bitcoin Busts, What’s the Future of Web3? And What Even is Web3?

New York Times Opinion