With the help of Derek Robertson and Sam Sutton
It’s been an eventful few days in the world of blockchain.
After another drop in crypto markets over the weekend, all eyes are on Celsius, a crypto lender that suspended payouts due to market volatility. Celsius has offered depositors Terra-like returns of up to 18 percent, and now it threatens to follow in Terra’s footsteps in the next major crypto collapse (more below by POLITICO’s Sam Sutton).
Meanwhile, neither snow nor rain nor the deep freezes of the crypto winter are stopping the tech moguls from pursuing their grand visions for a blockchain future.
On Friday, Jack Dorsey’s TBD escalated his crusade against the nascent and amorphous Web3 by revealing his vision for Web…5.
It was like this Elon Musk-like announcement So people asked, is this a real development or a joke?
Web3 hardly exists yet. And as Dorsey antagonist Marc Andreessen asked on Twitter, “What happened to Web 4?” That joking answer to such questions from Dorsey’s subordinate Mike Brock: “We’re not talking about web4.”
But Dorsey means business. His vision is to build this version of the web using bitcoin and a range of non-blockchain tools – without sacrifice the many VC-backed blockchain tokens vying for a spot on Web3.
Dorsey has been a vocal critic of Web3 since leaving Twitter last year to pursue Bitcoin full-time at his payments company Square (which he promptly rebranded to Block as in Blockchain). He describes the whole concept of “Web3” as a money grab by venture capitalists like Andresen and a betrayal of Bitcoin’s open-source spirit.
His pitch for Web5 (elaborated in a slide deck by TBD – Block’s Bitcoin-focused unit) is that it will provide a decentralized internet where users control their own data and identity.
Yes, that sounds a lot like the pitch for Web3. But Web3 applications typically use blockchain networks — like Ethereum, Solana, and Cardano — which often offer more features like faster speeds, more customizable apps, and lower power consumption than the Bitcoin network. Dorsey has argued that Web3 blockchains are more centralized than their supporters admit and are largely designed to help small groups of insiders. TBD envisions Bitcoin playing a role in payments in Web5, but generally eschews blockchains in favor of other decentralized tools, including TCP/IP, the set of fundamental communication rules the internet has relied on for decades.
As John Hendel of POLITICO explained earlier this monthinvolves the transition to the next generation of cellular infrastructure, 6G, a consortium of large companies, years of planning and long-term consideration of national technological competitiveness.
In the heady and ethereal world of blockchain, on the other hand, with little more than a PowerPoint presentation and a few witty tweets, you can jump to whole new generations of the internet. As much as that may sound like an abbreviation, the battle for web design [insert preferred numeral here] will involve lots of money and ego – and probably more philosophically charged Twitter duels.
Back on Planet Earth, I wrote this morning over growing tensions between governments of developing countries interested in adopting Bitcoin and the administrators of the global monetary system.
The ongoing defeat in crypto markets only adds weight to arguments by institutions like the International Monetary Fund that cryptocurrency volatility makes them a poor choice for national currencies.
But, as I’ve learned, efforts by major international institutions to roll back national crypto experimentation run into another complication: many of their rank and file are genuinely enmeshed in the technology.
As a former IMF staffer told me, “Even though the fund was somewhat anti-crypto, there are people like me who buy and sell crypto.”
The already grim news from the crypto world is only getting worse. POLITICIAN Sam Sutton has the storyand reported, “With Celsius’s reported $11.8 billion in assets under pressure, the disruption accelerated a sell-off in risky digital markets already reeling amid rising interest rates and a possible recession.”
“Bitcoin, the most traded digital asset, has lost more than 17 percent of its value in the last 24 hours and is now trading below $23,000 – about a third of where it was valued in late fall… Celsius’ problems are Landing just a month after another popular DeFi protocol, TerraForm Labs, suffered tens of billions of dollars in losses following the collapse of its algorithmic stablecoin, TerraUSD.
It is rather grim news amid the so-called “crypto winter“That got investors thinking. But as DFD reported last week, even amid the horror of the market, mainstream institutions continue to do so formalize their relationship with technology, with 19 of the G20 countries active exploration of a central bank digital currency. – Derek Robertson
Out of classic novelty songs to horror movies to Saturday morning cartoons, Summer camp has been an integral part of the American cultural experience for decades.
That’s exactly why it seems to need to be moved to the Metaverse. Camp Integrem is a self-proclaimed “AR Camp” with virtual and in-person offerings at its 10 Bay Area locations that offers programs in coding, game design, digital AR art, and animation, according to its website. It might come as a surprise that something so stubbornly forward-thinking and screen-centric would stick to branding and iconography more associated with mosquito nets and leaky canoes.
What is not surprising at all is that an AR startup like integers would want to fuel the civic good vibes generated by bringing STEM education to youth, particularly in Silicon Valley – and also as digital literacy and safety for children evolve into some of the most important political issues and public concerns in the metaverse as it takes shape. – Derek Robertson
Keep in touch with the whole team: Ben Schreckinger ([email protected]); Derek Robertson ([email protected]); Konstantin Kakaes ([email protected]); and Heidi Vogt ([email protected]).
Ben Schreckinger reports on technology, finance and politics for POLITICO; he is a cryptocurrency investor.
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