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Is Web3 THE Litmus-Test for Big Tech?

By Dominic Klopsch – Co-Founder TIVAN Consulting

Is Web3 THE Litmus-Test for Big Tech?

Andreas Antonopoulos knows quite a bit about Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies. In the Netflix-Documentary „Cryptopia“ he said something that caught my attention:

„Cryptocurrencies represent a litmus-test for governments. It reveals how much your government believes in the fundamental freedoms and human rights because if they don’t trust their own citizens to have control over their own money that says a lot about the government and says very little about cryptocurrency.“

Andreas Antonopoulos, 2022

This led me to think about whether Web3 is THE Litmus-Test for Big Tech…

So let’s dive into this: 
1️⃣ What is a Litmus-Test actually? 
A Litmus-Test is a question asked towards potential candidates for high offices and the answer to this question determines whether the potential candidate is acceptable or not. In a broader sense, a Litmus-Test has a defining character towards a decision.

2️⃣ Why are Cryptocurrencies a Litmus-Test for governments? 
If you follow Antonopoulos’ logic, if governments are not accepting cryptocurrencies, this automatically indicates that they are not willing to provide their citizens with control over their own money. He further indicates, that control over ones own money is something like a basic human right.
? This perspective is arguable and it is a hypothesis that is often mentioned by advocates of cryptocurrencies. If that holds true however is a different discussion. 

? And what about Web3 being the Litmus-Test for Big Tech? ?
Apple, Google, Meta, TikTok, Snap Inc., etc… Regardless of the focus, the differences in products or the details of the business model, all of these companies gain massive insights by accumulating as much data as possible, selling the insights they have as well as providing ad-customers access to these user-groups. 

And eventually, Big Tech has a (natural) tendency towards monopolization by collecting exclusive data from their users wherever possible, storing them in silos and monetizing this data. 
In #Web3, this data is not exclusive anymore as it is publicly available on-chain. With increasing adoption of decentralised platforms, these silos start to break apart as everyone has access to everything. 

To give some food for thought:
Take permissionless innovation and the many lobbyists working against this as mentioned by Albert Wenger in the OMR-Podcast this week.
Or take PayPal, being in the middle of a shitstorm for their statement they would start freezing up to 2.500 USD from accounts in cases of misinformation.

? There are many more points that are relevant for this and should be taken into account. And obviously this discussion has a variety of arguments and counterarguments which I haven’t mentioned here. 

IMHO, I do believe that Web3 is at least some sort of a Litmus-Test for Big Tech BUT it’s far too early to say how the answer to this question will look like. 

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