Mozilla, Brave founder says NFT ‘silliness’ is a necessary evil

CryptoKitties NFT
A CryptoKitties NFT (Image credit: CryptoKitties)

The founder of JavaScript, Mozilla and web browser Brave has said he considers aspects of the NFT craze a distraction from the long-term objectives of Web 3.0.

In an exclusive interview with TechRadar Pro, Brendan Eich described NFTs as part of the “silliness” that has historically preceded landmark transformations of the web. 

“We’re in the early stages of Web 3.0 and nobody knows what it means,” he told us. “With NFTs especially, there’s some silliness to it…and there has always been a scammy side as well.”

“However, there were a lot of silly sites and scams in the early days of Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 as well. That’s how frontier towns are, before you pave the streets and put up the street lamps.”

The making of Web 3.0

The concept of Web 3.0 is founded on the idea that the internet has so far progressed through two distinct eras, with a third now on the horizon.

The term Web 1.0 is used to describe the earliest form of the internet, which was populated with mostly text-based information by a small number of players. The web as we know it today, meanwhile, is characterized by the participation of users in the content creation process (via social media and platforms like YouTube) and the blossoming of surveillance capitalism.

With the arrival of Web 3.0, the theory goes, the internet will move towards a system defined by decentralization, disintermediation and greater user privacy. Most advocates for Web 3.0 believe blockchain technology and cryptocurrency will play a fundamental role in this transition.

Brave is one company attempting to accelerate the shift towards this new web, with its privacy-preserving browser and novel advertising model built around its Basic Attention Token (BAT), which rewards users for viewing opt-in ads.

Naturally, Brave has attracted a large number of cryptocurrency enthusiasts, whose ambitions with regards to economic freedom align closely with the company’s attempts to create a more equitable web.

“We’re all about providing choices and trade routes to this new world of user sovereignty, served by privacy, cryptocurrency and decentralization,” says Eich.

However, asked whether there are any other elements of cryptocurrency culture Brave would seek to distance itself from, Eich conceded that the tendency towards tribalism can prove problematic.

“When you talk about crypto culture, there is no single community. Instead, there are several subcultures and an increasing amount of tribalism,” he said. “There are people who are super enthusiastic about their project and view it as the one true way. I’m not here to condemn anybody in particular in the community, but I do think this cultic tribalism can go too far.”

“It’s a really tricky space, it’s quite conflicted. There are monied interests throwing their support behind proxy warriors. That makes me hesitant to make blanket statements [about crypto culture], but also makes me want to build. If you build something better, people will use it.”

Our full interview with Brendan Eich will be published soon.

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Joel Khalili
News and Features Editor

Joel Khalili is the News and Features Editor at TechRadar Pro, covering cybersecurity, data privacy, cloud, AI, blockchain, internet infrastructure, 5G, data storage and computing. He's responsible for curating our news content, as well as commissioning and producing features on the technologies that are transforming the way the world does business.