How Big Tech is Taking Over the Blockchain

Table of Contents

I. Introduction

Web3, an extension of cryptocurrency that utilizes blockchain technology in novel ways, has garnered significant attention in recent years. It represents a paradigm shift in how we interact with the digital world, promising decentralized systems and user empowerment. However, as Web3 evolves, concerns are arising regarding the centralization of this nascent technology. This article delves into the centralization of Web3 and examines how big tech companies are exerting influence over the blockchain.

II. Explanation of Web3 and its Potential

  • The Evolution of the Web3 Internet
Web3 builds upon the foundations of blockchain and cryptography, introducing new possibilities for trust, transparency, and decentralization. It extends beyond digital currencies and focuses on utilizing blockchain to store various types of data, including token balances and self-executing contracts. This paves the way for decentralized applications (dApps) and protocols that offer enhanced security and user control.
To comprehend the significance of Web3 and its potential impact, it is crucial to understand the evolution of the internet. The internet has transformed the world, revolutionizing communication, commerce, and information dissemination. However, its evolution has been marked by increasing centralization and dominance by a few tech giants, shaping the way we consume and interact with digital content.
While Web3 holds the promise of reversing this trend, it is still in its early stages, and critical questions regarding scalability, usability, and governance need to be addressed. The current state of the internet, dominated by centralized infrastructure, highlights the need for a more open and user-centric digital landscape.
  • The Disruptive Potential of Web3
Web3 signifies the third phase of the internet, seeking to transform  the existing centralized model. It aims to provide users with greater control over their data, identity, and online interactions. In contrast to the early days of the web, where open protocols fostered innovation and collaboration, today's internet is dominated by a few tech behemoths that control vast amounts of user data and dictate the terms of engagement.
Web3 offers the promise of a decentralized and inclusive digital ecosystem, where users have ownership and control over their data, interactions, and digital assets. It envisions a future where users are not merely consumers but active participants, shaping the evolution of the internet.

III. Big Tech's Takeover of Blockchain

Web3 is still in its early stages, but experts recognize its potential to create a fairer web ecosystem that is not monopolized by big tech companies and does not require users to compromise their personal data. McKinsey identifies Web3 as a significant force and a third phase of the internet, signifying a reversal of the current user experience. At its core, Web3's distinctive feature lies in the decentralization of business models, challenging the dominance of centralized platforms.
Proliferation of Blockchain-Focused Companies:
According to The New York Times in December 2021, numerous companies have emerged with a focus on blockchain technologies. This includes cryptocurrency exchanges like Bitpanda, Gemini, and CoinList, as well as NFT and art collectible companies like OpenSea and Dapper Labs. Infrastructure companies like Dfinity and Alchemy are also making strides in the blockchain space. This proliferation showcases the increasing interest and involvement of diverse entities across industries in leveraging blockchain's capabilities.
Big Tech's Recognition of Web3:
Recent events indicate that big tech companies are taking notice of Web3's potential. In November 2021, Facebook rebranded itself as Meta Platforms, emphasizing its focus on developing a metaverse—a virtual space that aligns with Web3 principles. In December 2021, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced his intention to step down to concentrate on building decentralized social media platforms. These developments illustrate the growing acknowledgment of Web3 by major tech players and their pursuit of decentralized alternatives.
Valuation Reckoning for Blockchain-Embracing Tech Companies:
In May 2022, Forbes reported that the world's largest tech companies embracing blockchain were facing a valuation reckoning. This indicates a recognition of the transformative potential of blockchain technology and its impact on traditional business models. The integration of blockchain by these companies signifies their attempt to adapt to the changing landscape and position themselves for the future.
Blockchain Adoption by Top Companies:
Blockdata's report from 2023 reveals that 81 out of the top 100 companies are actively using blockchain technology. This list includes tech giants such as Microsoft, Amazon, Tencent, Nvidia, financial institutions like J.P. Morgan, and e-commerce giants like Walmart and Alibaba. Additionally, payment processors like PayPal and tech conglomerates like Samsung and the Bank of China are actively exploring and developing blockchain solutions. This demonstrates the broad adoption and growing significance of blockchain technology across various sectors.
In light of these developments, the influence of big tech companies on the blockchain landscape cannot be overlooked. While their participation brings potential benefits such as accelerated adoption and increased resources, it also raises concerns regarding centralization and the preservation of Web3's foundational principles. Striking a balance between established players and fostering an ecosystem that encourages innovation, diversity, and decentralization becomes crucial for the long-term success of Web3.

V. Conclusion

To sum it up, Web3 has incredible potential as a decentralized approach that can revolutionize how we interact online. It represents a shift towards user-centricity, empowerment, and the democratization of data. However, the centralization of Web3 by big tech companies raises concerns about the preservation of its foundational principles.
To ensure the long-term success and vitality of Web3, it is crucial to maintain a delicate balance between the involvement of established players and fostering an ecosystem that encourages innovation, diversity, and decentralization. As the journey of Web3 continues, it is imperative for the community to actively engage in discussions, collaborations, and collective decision-making to shape a decentralized future that benefits all participants.

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