Big Tech is shrinking. Good.
#Web3Weekly: Jan. 22–28, 2023
This post is adapted from the latest edition of my newsletter #Web3Weekly. If you would like to receive it in your inbox every Sunday, subscribe here.
The headlines have been mostly dismal lately for tech’s 800-pound gorillas:
- Google is laying off staff and fighting a new antitrust suit from U.S. regulators over its advertising practices.
- Meta is facing formidable new competition from Apple, which plans to launch a headset for metaverse apps. But this might also prove to be a problem for Apple, considering how disastrously the “pivot” to a metaverse strategy has gone for Meta, formerly known as Facebook. Maybe Apple has discovered something Meta hasn’t, or maybe this just isn’t a product with mass appeal.
- An anti-hate group filed a lawsuit against Twitter in Germany for lax policing of antisemitic content, including holocaust denial.
- Microsoft was a rare positive, announcing decent earnings and a $10 billion investment in OpenAI. However, it has also announced layoffs and suffered during the longer tech bear market, down 20% in the past 12 months.
- Amazon is still implementing its previously announced layoff of 18,000 workers.
- Big Tech has lead the broader decline in stocks. The Nasdaq 100 Index, which tracks the largest U.S. tech companies, is down 19% in the past 12 months, compared to a 10% decline in the S&P 500.
Why this matters: If you’re keen for decentralized tech becoming mainstream, these developments represent opportunity. Frankly, Big Tech dominates the average user’s daily experience of the internet and computing in general. But if such companies are being cut down to size, either by market forces or regulators, it could create openings for other platforms and companies to emerge.
The week’s other notable headlines:
- Bitcoin is on pace for its best January since 2013, up about 40% so far, according to CoinDesk.
- Founder Vitalik Buterin proposed a system of “stealth addresses” to improve the Ethereum network’s privacy.
- Over 80% of Uniswap community members favor deploying the popular decentralized finance protocol on BNB Chain, giving users an alternative to the Ethereum version.
- U.S. authorities announced they have infiltrated and dismantled the Hive ransomware network. It extracted more than $100 million in crypto payments from victims, the Justice Department said.
- Glassnode analyst James Check discussed the best practices for securing crypto in 2023 in an interview with Cointelegraph.
- CoinDesk’s content chief Mike Casey noticed a certain aversion to the word “crypto” at the World Economic Forum’s recent Davos conference. Companies in the industry are increasingly trying to re-brand away from it, due to negative connotations from the bear market, he said.
- Comic book artist Sean Chen, known for illustrating Iron Man, the Avengers, Spider-Man, and more, is launching a new NFT-driven comic line. Chen called web3 a “paradigm shift” for creators in an interview with Decrypt.
- YouTube channel Star Wars Theory queried ChatGPT about fixing Disney-era storylines that have divided fans. Verdict: This might be the droid we’re looking for.
That’s it for now. Thanks for reading the newsletter today! If you want to receive updates like this in your inbox every Sunday, join our email list.
Note: This content is for journalistic purposes only, not as investment advice. Always DYOR and consult appropriate financial professionals before making investment decisions.
Best wishes for a healthy and productive week ahead.