A fairly innocuous tweet from Mozilla soliciting donations in Dogecoin, Bitcoin, Ether, and other cryptocurrencies has drawn huge criticism on Twitter, including from the founder of the browser company.
Dabble in @dogecoin? HODLing some #Bitcoin & #Ethereum?We’re using @BitPay to accept donations in #cryptocurrency https://t.co/EOsLD1Z88ODecember 31, 2021
At the time of writing, the tweet has 1,500 Replies and 1,400 Quote Retweets, almost all of which are negative. The most stinging criticism came from Mozilla's founder, Jamie Zawinski, who wrote:
Hi, I'm sure that whoever runs this account has no idea who I am, but I founded @mozilla and I'm here to say fuck you and fuck this. Everyone involved in the project should be witheringly ashamed of this decision to partner with planet-incinerating Ponzi grifters.January 3, 2022
Now, saying "fuck you" to someone who is simply soliciting donations to keep the Mozilla Foundation, which makes the Firefox browser, going might seem a little harsh but it comes against the backdrop of an increasingly heated conversation over Web3, the moniker applied to cryptocurrency by some Silicon Valley investors and founders.
The most prominent proponents of Web3 are Andreessen Horowitz, or a16z, who have recently been feuding with Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, who recently left the company. According to them, Web3 offers a "decentralised" alternative to Web2 – think Facebook, Google, et. al. – albeit an alternative dominated by a16z portfolio companies, such as OpenSea and Coinbase.
Whether blaming Mozilla for asking for donations in cryptocurrency is fair or not is somewhat besides the point: the overall topic is so heated that any mention is red meat for critics.
As the founder of Dogecoin, one of the more puzzling crypto success stories, put it:
reading the comments in this thread, as much as i rag on crypto bros being counterproductive at marketing, the vitriolic, hateful, hyperbolic, hypocritical, sanctimonious whining coming from the anti-crypto people is 1000x more insufferable than the pro-crypto people 🤷♂️ https://t.co/lJE8GJdYt3January 5, 2022
All of the debate obscures another important detail: Mozzila has been collecting donations via cryptocurrency since at least 2015, with very few issues.
In 2022, people are rightly worried about the ecological impact of cryptocurrencies, especially Bitcoin (which uses huge amounts of energy to "prove" ownership), and the outrage is likely linked to these factors.
As Zawinski put it, accepting cryptocurrency is accepting "planet-incinerating Ponzi grifters", a view that isn't entirely off the mark.
Agreeing with Zawinski, Peter Lins – who helped build Gecko, the Mozilla-backed engine behind Firefox – argued that Mozilla is "meant to be better than this."
Hey @mozilla, I expect you don’t know me either, but I designed Gecko, the engine your browser is built on. And I’m 100% with @jwz on this.What. The. Actual. Fuck.You were meant to be better than this.January 3, 2022
More like Web2.5?
The future of the crypto space is hard to know: there have been too many ups and downs to make accurate predictions. Who, after all, would have thought Bitcoin would reach £50,000 a few years ago? (If you did, then you're now very rich.)
The core technology, the blockchain, has some exciting applications but the existing problems – high transaction fees (especially for Ether), centralisation around certain companies, huge price swings, endless scams – are pretty numerous.
Separating what is true about crypto and what people have a financial interest in saying (because, for example, they own a lot of the coins) is really difficult and it's no wonder that many "normal" crypto holders end up losing money. Much crypto activity is, in its current guise, mostly an unregulated form of gambling.
- Stay safe from crypto scams with the best malware removal tools around
Via The Register
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Max Slater-Robins has been writing about technology for nearly a decade at various outlets, covering the rise of the technology giants, trends in enterprise and SaaS companies, and much more besides. Originally from Suffolk, he currently lives in London and likes a good night out and walks in the countryside.