There are no good guys, and certainly no women at all, in the latest Silicon Valley high school drama that pits Jack Dorsey and the bigwigs at Andreessen Horowitz arguing over the true meaning of crypto.
It’s difficult for normal human beings to understand concepts like “blockchain” and “Web3,” which may be the point, or it may be a sign that a tiny community of insanely rich tech titans have duped themselves into betting the farm on something with negligible mainstream appeal that will ultimately flop like Google Glass. And it reflects even more poorly on these allegedly promising new currencies and technologies that, as Medium’s OneZero reports, the biggest players in the field are engaged in infantile meme wars, blocking one another, and then posting battling memes congratulating themselves for blocking one another.
It’s somewhere between a and z— jack⚡️ (@jack) December 21, 2021
This is drama that goes back weeks, and starts with — who else? — Elon Musk. Musk playfully tweeted in late December, “Has anyone seen web3? I can’t find it.” (Web3 is a trendy term for some completely aspirational future version of the internet, brought to you by the same VC geniuses who bet big on changing the world with Juicero, Theranos, and WeWork).
Jack Dorsey responded to the tweet by saying that Web3 is “somewhere between a and z” a not-veiled reference to the investment firm a16z, which is the new name for the old venture capital firm Andreesen Horowitz. Dorsey and a16z both have competing investments in cryptocurrency, the still-not-widely-adopted digital money which Web3 sill supposedly revolutionize and make popular.
And who knows, maybe Dorsey really does see some force for good in cryptocurrency. (He stepped down as Twitter CEO, and is now focused on making Square more blockchain-centric, even renaming the company Block.) OneZero reports that his newfound blockchain evangelism is “rooted in Dorsey’s November 2019 trip to Africa. On the trip, Dorsey saw Bitcoin’s potential to help people circumvent a failing global financial system.” That sounds like a lovely goal and all. But it’s hard to see how we will save Africa by having new ways to buy fur coats for our Metaverse avatars using Dogecoin.
Anyhoo, Dorsey’s snarky comments about rival investment firm a16z caused a16z head honcho Marc Andreessen to block Dorsey on Twitter. Which… who even gives a shit? But apparently this was huge news in the tech sector, and Dorsey’s Tweet caused Andreessen, who rarely tweeted in the past, to spend the last several weeks on a Twitter warpath and shitpost constant subtweet memes about blocking Jack Dorsey.
OK admittedly, the one above is pretty fucking funny, but most of them are really immature. And as The Verge points out, this may have less to do with the future of Web3, and more to do with how Dorsey fucked over a16z’s prized app Clubhouse by creating a knockoff called Twitter Spaces. So fundamentally, this might not be a philosophical debate about decentralizing the blockchain, but instead a dick-swinging contest over money.
And apologies to people who may have great aspirations about how cryptocurrency and blockchain will forge a better future. But it is hard to have faith in emerging technologies when their leading evangelists and innovators are people who post the kind of childish nonsense seen above.
Images: (Left) C-Span, (Right) a16z