Bundestag experts warn against Web3 and Metaverse

How do you assess the opportunities and risks of cryptocurrencies – in general and in the
Web 3.0 context? What specific use cases and what added value, apart from virtual game worlds, can the metaverse provide (eg in medicine or engineering)? Can consumer protection rights and principles be implemented in decentralized blockchain systems such as those of Web 3?

The Bundestag’s Digital Affairs Committee addressed these and other questions regarding the topics of the Metaverse and Web3 in a two-hour session today. Various experts were invited to the Marie-Elisabeth-Lüders-Haus for this purpose. The selection of experts attracted attention in advance. The committee has been accused of gathering too many critical voices.

Experts view Web3 with a critical eye

In line with these fears, a critical atmosphere emerged during today’s hearing. Most of the nine guest experts highlight the risks posed by blockchain technology and Web3.

When asked if we in Germany would still miss the next big thing, Dr. Malte Engeler, judge at the Administrative Court of Schleswig-Holstein: “If we want to miss out on the technological implementation of autocratic ideologies , so here I am”.

Molly White comes to a similar conclusion, as an expert who refers to the misconception that blockchain contributes to the decentralization of power.

“Blockchain proponents generally point to decentralization as a benefit of blockchain-based technologies. However, they tend to overlook the incredibly important difference between decentralizing the web and decentralizing power. Moreover, they tend to exaggerate the decentralization of the network of blockchain projects.

Molly White is a member of the Library Innovation Lab at Harvard University and is best known for her blog, Web3 is doing very well, which critically examines new use cases for the Internet. BTC-ECHO previously spoke with White during the Web Summit in Lisbon. You can read here why she thinks Web3 is just marketing.

Another criticism raised by several experts is that entries in a blockchain log cannot be deleted. Software developer Lilith Wittmann pointed out in this regard:

“The whole thing has only the small problem that in Germany everyone is within the framework
of the GDPR has a right to rectification and deletion of its own data. Data
in blockchains are precisely immutable”.

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Not everything is bad about Blockchain and Co.

However, there were also positive voices. Ludwig Siegele, writing for The Economist, highlighted the potential associated with expanding web extensions and their use cases. He cautions against an indifferent evaluation of keywords such as metaverse, blockchain and Web3:

“What is often overlooked by critics of Web3 is that it is not a
consistent trend. First, there is the highly commercial world of
Cryptocurrencies and DeFi (“decentralized finance”), in which many things are simply
cheating is. On the other hand, there is also a more cooperation-oriented one
Web3, also known as “Decentralized Web” or “Platform
cooperativism’.

In rhetoric that meaningfully sums up the committee, committee chair Tabea Rößner closes the meeting: “We are about to have a committee meeting that is not open to the public. That’s why everyone must quickly leave the web or the room”.

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