It’s no secret that digital assets are currently experiencing a bear market. After the whirlwind bull market of 2021, all the hype and energy that everyone felt around November last year has mostly died. A bunch of people I know (or knew) in the space have capitulated and vanished without a trace. It’s also no secret that just about every media outlet is more than ready to pounce on any opportunity to bash Web3 tech, be it NFTs, lending platforms, or the Metaverse itself. But why all the hate? Is it really all just trash? Or is it just en vogue to feed into people’s existing sentiments in order to satisfy their userbase and remain in the public eye? Let’s explore this matter in a little more detail…
How the Media Works
Information (or knowledge, if you will) is a very valuable currency. You could argue that it’s the most valuable one out there. Having control over how information is made available and how it is disseminated allows you to control narratives and define the nature of “The Truth.” Over and above this, we have the attention economy that exists as a result of social media platforms like Twitter and YouTube that reward top content producers with views and likes (and in some cases, cash too).
The problem here is that we have a lot of different parties competing for the attention of a very diverse international audience, and the more sensational, shocking or controversial something is, the more likely it is to receive attention. Maybe you consider this something of a cynical view, but if you look at how both social and traditional media operate, it’s pretty hard to debate that this isn’t the reality we have to deal with.
To this end, most so-called news outlets no longer worry about objectively reporting the news and stating facts. If anything, they simply exist to reinforce, rather than challenge, the widely-held beliefs people have concerning the economy, politics, technology and so on. Notions of journalistic integrity and accurate reporting are cast aside in exchange for ratings, uptake and subscriptions. And many people simply accept what they are told wholesale and never even begin to question what they consume if it already fits in with their narrow-minded perspectives.
The War on Web3
Call it conspiracy theory or whatever you like, but the vitriolic hatred people have for NFTs (and to a lesser extent, the Metaverse) is pretty incredible. While not all of their criticisms are invalid, many are the result of a huge amount of misinformation or a limited understanding of the potential applications of the underlying technology. A huge issue is that people tend to approach concepts they don’t understand from one perspective and never bother to consider other points of view. In addition, they also carry a reductive mindset, labeling NFTs as “stupid JPEGs that have no use and are bad for the environment,” for example.
Again, while many NFT projects are fly-by-night pump-and-dumps, this doesn’t apply to all of them. However, because of the poor reputation NFTs have garnered as as a result of bad actors and so-called influencers who shill garbage to the masses, many people outright hate the mention of the term. Oh, and then of course, there’s the media that publishes articles with headlines like this:
The media basically does their very best to frame narratives and essentially tells people what to think about something instead of letting them decide for themselves. There’s no doubt that the technology behind the Metaverse and NFTs is still limited, and, big surprise, a lot of this is still experimental. And yeah, it’s really easy to bash on Eminem and Snoop Dogg, but like it or not, they’re into NFTs and Web3 tech, and unless something catastrophic happens, I doubt they’ll be abandoning their stance anytime soon.
I can’t tell you that I’m a big Mark Zuckerberg fan, but much like the criticism leveled at Snoop and Eminem, Horizon Worlds has come under fire from YouTubers and traditional media outlets as well.
And that’s just one video bashing on Meta’s Metaverse and the Metaverse as a whole. The truth is, the Metaverse we hope for straight-up doesn’t exist yet, and it may still be a ways off. So anything you’re seeing right now is limited. It is buggy. And obviously, it is flawed. Trying to build something like this isn’t a few months of work: it’s years. If I’m real, I’m not entirely sure what to expect at this point, but a complete, immersive product is not it. What is clear is that people have much higher expectations, and whether these expectations will ever be met is a matter of conjecture.
But Why All the Hate?
Aside from the stuff I’ve mentioned like scammy projects and people entering into the NFT world to rip people off and make off with all their cash, there’s plenty of reasons why people hate Web3 or are indifferent to it. Some have heard their friends trash crypto, NFTs and the Metaverse, and so they simply adopt the same mindset in order to fit in. Others associate this developing unregulated space with criminal activities, money laundering, predatory capitalism and big corporations looking for new ways to make money. Others still see blockchains and NFTs as detrimental to the environment, and others assert that none of this has any real utility.
I’ve been in this space for several years, and a lot of projects are total garbage that I would never expect anyone ever to buy in to, and yet, these projects often make people a whole lot of money (and also cause a lot of people to lose all of theirs). I’m not surprised that we haven’t reached mass adoption with all the terrible things that go on, but I can tell you that there are some really amazing minds in the Web3 space that are making real strides at creating workable solutions that will change the lives of countless people in the not-too-distant future. Whether it’s by using NFTs or developing experiences that will help educate and better equip people for their careers, Web3 will fundamentally change the way things work and eventually bring about an internet that is completely different from the one we see now.
It’s also true that a lot of entities don’t want to see the internet democratized and are actively working to ensure that doesn’t happen so they maintain their hegemony for the foreseeable future. They have their interests at heart, so rather than adopt Web3 technology, many of these players are doing everything they can to ensure that the internet of the future never sees the light of day. On the flip side, we have a bunch of companies and even entire countries looking to be leaders in the Web3 space since they believe it is indeed the future, and obviously, they want to be part of it. Personally I prefer the adapt and overcome approach, but what do I know?
Don’t Abandon Hope, My Friends!
So I guess to wrap up, if you can see past all the garbage and understand the true potential of the technology and solutions arising out of all this chaos, then you’re already 80% there. The fundamentals haven’t changed. There’s still a huge amount of activity going on, and I have no doubt that we’ll see some amazing new tech and creations within the next few months. We’ll never fully escape fear, uncertainty and doubt, but if you play your cards right and take the time to think and learn, I’m pretty sure you’re gonna do just fine…