Calling this venture quixotic doesn’t capture it. Gaming is a mature and crowded market, led by blue-chip corporations, like Sony and Microsoft, and dominated by titans like PUBG: Battlegrounds, which has been downloaded more than one billion times.
And Web3War? To date, about 5,500 people have signed up. Mr. Ryan is undaunted.
“I think if we get to 10,000, watch this space,” he said. “It proves we’ve got a product that people want.”
Mr. Ryan is a born optimist, he acknowledges, and that is true for most of the crypto faithful. This entails not just predicting a great future for blockchain, but ignoring its failures.
In November, the Australian Securities Exchange canceled plans for a blockchain-based system for clearing trades, incurring a $168 million charge. In November, the Danish shipping company Maersk unplugged its blockchain platform. In a statement, it said, “the need for full global industry collaboration has not been achieved.”
These failures do not surprise Lee Reiners, policy director at the Duke Financial Economics Center. Blockchain is essentially a database software, he notes, and not a very popular one. It would never have achieved its devoted following, or attracted billions in venture capital funding, without its connection to crypto. And that, he says, is a tragedy no one has fully reckoned with.
“Imagine if all the money and talent flooding into crypto over the last ten years had gone into combating climate change or cancer research,” Professor Reiners said. “It’s a tremendous misuse of societal resources, and it’s all because people wanted to make money fast. Despite what they’re saying, what attracted most folks was the perceived opportunity to get rich quick.”
The talent that Professor Reiners thinks has been misallocated begs to differ. The meet-up at Ruar ended late, with a small group discussing how the pandemic proved that governments could easily control their populations, and the ways that banks chipped in. One attendee mentioned that the account of a customer had been closed for refusing to wear a mask during a visit to a bank. If all goes as planned, that customer will someday have other options.
“From where I’m standing, there’s an opportunity to tell the world that there’s a paradigm-changing positive future that blockchain enables,” said Mr. Hernandez of Gitcoin. “But that’s not the story right now.”