Web 3 has stunned the world by forging a parallel system of finance of unprecedented flexibility and creativity in less than a decade. Cryptographic and economic primitives, or building blocks, such as public key cryptography, smart contracts, proof-of-work and proof-of-stake have led to a sophisticated and open ecosystem for expressing financial transactions.
Yet, the economic value finance trades on is generated by humans and their relationships. Because Web 3 lacks primitives to represent such social identity, it has become fundamentally dependent on the very centralized Web 2 structures it aims to transcend, replicating their limitations.
Glen Weyl is a researcher in the chief technology officer’s office at Microsoft and co-author of “Radical Markets.” This article is adapted from “Decentralized Society: Finding Web 3’s Soul,” a paper he co-wrote with Puja Ahluwalia Ohlhaver, a strategist at Flashbots, and Vitalik Buterin, the co-creator of Ethereum.
For example, the lack