Don’t let the door hit ya where the dog should’ve bit ya.
Yes, Web3 is more or less over and nothing of value was lost. People are barely talking about it anymore except in derision because all of it was a solution looking for a problem. The Metaverse, as I noted in my review of a game featuring a digital office complex, is not new in concept or even implementation. The first digital "space" was Habitat in 1986. The first 3D meeting space with voice was Onlive Traveler in 1996 a decade later. Second Life has been running since 2003. PlayStation Home took the idea of a digital space and put unusual focus on business in 2008 and rode the train until 2015, with the business aspect not really panning out. "The Metaverse" as little as it’s been defined has been a "thing" since Web 1.0, back when most techbros were anywhere from shoving crayons up their noses to not even a thought because their parents were busy being young and hip. And as of now, after losing billions of dollars and seeing the Facebook/Meta stock price drop to a mere third (⅓ (33.3̅%)) of its peak value, which is to say the world’s most socially acceptable gambling game where you buy speculation with real money had people lose so much confidence that you can buy 3 bets for the price of 1, nobody is talking about it, not even Facebook/Meta.
At the same time, on the topic of speculation, craptocurrency is basically as dead as disco at this point and the only people trying to say otherwise are those desperate to cash out. Unlike disco, which gave disenfranchised people a platform and resulted in a wealth of redeeming features that the same disenfranchised people are now starting to reclaim, crapto was just another form of wealth consolidation in the form of a pyramid scam and was by and large the worst way of handling money one could imagine other than burning a lot of it in front of a federal agent, unless you were using it for things a federal agent might be very interested in. Unlike the stock market, which, it should be noted, functions the exact same way as a game of confidence, just primarily with rich people’s money, it decided that playing with poor people’s money was A-OK, with several rich people now under investigation for encouraging it as insider trading and fraud laws start to get applied like they would in stocks. A lot of people were promised that it was going to fix their wealth problems and a lot of people with nothing they could afford to lose lost all of it. Never mind that most money is already digital. It’s true! I worked at a financial institution for a literal decade! As a programmer! If you rob a bank, you’re not walking away with millions, you’re walking away with thousands, even if you empty the vault. In contrast, a financial institution that can’t do ACH is broke and shuttered within a week or less. Most of the money in the world has been digital for decades. Credit is a centuries-old idea and somehow people still haven’t learned in 100 years since the original 1920s Black Friday that money’s not all lying in a physical vault. The traditional financial network handles orders of magnitude more transactions per second than blockchain is even in the same ZIP code of being able to match and when it comes to even trying, blockchain is at a fundamental disadvantage. The idea that blockchain could fully replace or even meaningfully supplement the well-oiled machine that is the financial industry just on a transaction basis is laughable, never mind that it’s literally so electrically inefficient that it’s undone decades of clean energy mitigations for the climate crisis. The only thing crapto is good for is speculation and it was always a bubble. That bubble has popped and people are going to jail for it. As they should, for all the fraud and other financial crimes involved.
NFTs by extension were barely even a bubble before it popped. More like a frothlet. If anything is proof that Web3 was a bad idea that ran on lies and smelling your own farts, it’s that game publishers insisted on shoving them down the throats of the gaming public, trying to sell them digital items that everyone who’s played an online game knows are going to poof in less than a year, and in this case, expect them to get excited about it when every last one of them knew it had destroyed the computer hardware market. And a good portion of that was releasing when NFTs were already on their way out! It’s like hauking a loogie in someone’s cereal and trying to sell them chunky milk! The sheer audacity some of them had to act like the gaming public didn’t understand the offering (they did) or needed time to get used to the idea (like romantic corpse flowers in the bedroom) or that people would just love it if you snuck it in without them realizing (like frosting a chocolate cake in turds) says everything it needed to about NFTs being marketing idiocy by and for marketing idiots. Because people who don’t smell their own farts all day can smell the stink.
And somehow their solution to this train crash in fast motion is to just keep adding more cars to it, because they’re desperate to get as much back out of it as they can. Even as currencies crash, companies and their leadership end up in court and jail, and the gaming industry trips and sails balletically face-first into a mud puddle over it and live services as their other infinite money grift dropping like flies (with Square Enix even seeing its CEO resign, probably because the alternative was a car-sized Twix® for his big mouth), we’re still seeing crapto bros hacking large accounts, with the latest victim being DidYouKnowGaming, which, get this, caused 20 thousand people to immediately unsubscribe. That’s 20 thousand people who happened to be on YouTube for a few minutes on one day immediately ditching the channel. Most of their subscribers completely missed the event. But this keeps happening to YouTube channels and even celebrity Twitter accounts, because nothing says you’re on the level better than electronic crimes to facilitate an account takeover with all the paper trail that entails, just like the best way of proving you’re innocent of murder is to shoot the judge on live TV.
But in the end, we can largely "thank" generative A.I. for being the next shiny object for any of them with half a brain, because nothing says "we like the truth" better than a machine that spews plausible BS with 100% confidence because it’s been trained on the world’s most complicated game of "fill in the blank."
Actually, maybe they don’t have half a brain. They’re literally investing in a technology that does what they do for a living. Like, aside from the fact that training these models relies on copious amounts of theft and electricity, which is certainly on-brand, saying stuff like it’s true regardless of reality is the only thing they’re good at. Artists and writers will never actually be replaced because all forms of art and writing ultimately capture some form of truth, but generative A.I. doesn’t have any kind of context to begin to understand what truth even is. Generative A.I. can only ever replace confident BS. So I guess if the Bullpocalypse happens, A.I. maybe actually WILL put someone out of a job; just the most deliciously ironic people who actually deserve it.