Make hyperlinks work again.

#Web3Weekly: April 23–29, 2023

Peter A. McKay
The Modern Scientist
4 min readApr 30


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.

We’ve all been there. You see a headline on the web that’s of interest — a news article or maybe useful information for your work or a hobby. You click aaaaand… hit a paywall. The article flashes on the screen briefly, and then a pop-up prompt blocks you from seeing it unless you buy a subscription.

The good news: This common pattern is completely avoidable through a variety of workarounds that will allow you to read almost any article you want. Publishers have knowingly allowed these technical loopholes to persist for years now, or have even built them into their websites on purpose in some cases. (More on that later.)

Geekier readers already know this, I’m sure. But I point it out here for the benefit of my “normie” friends, as I want #Web3Weekly to be of value to you as well. The links in the newsletter are a big part of that, so I want them to be usable for everyone.

To that end, one particular solution that bears mention is disabling JavaScript in your web browser. JavaScript is the programmatic language of the web that controls dynamic website behaviors, including those infernal paywall pop-ups. If you simply turn off the JavaScript by changing a setting on your own computer you’re usually left with the full story text and no pop-up.

Voilà. Read to your heart’s content. That’s it.

If you’re using Chrome, which is currently the most popular web browser globally, the settings to turn off JavaScript should be viewable at the url chrome://settings/content/javascript. You can turn it off completely or site-by-site. (The latter worked better for me in terms of news reading, to be honest. But your mileage may vary.) You can also use that settings page to turn JavaScript back on, of course, as it does enable many cool features around the web as well.

If you’re using Brave, a pro-privacy browser that’s my own daily workhorse, turning off the JavaScript is even easier. Just click on the Brave logo in the main browser bar and toggle the “block scripts” option on and off as needed.

There are a variety of extensions that enable a similar toggle on other browsers, as well as YouTube tutorials about turning off JavaScript in various browsers that I haven’t mentioned here, covering both PC and mobile versions.

I estimate that disabling JavaScript will thwart 80% of the paywalls you’ll encounter on the web. The only exceptions are publications that have set up server-side paywalls that run on their computers, not yours, sometimes called “hard” paywalls in the media industry. These are usually financial publications like the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg News, and the Financial Times.

So why doesn’t everyone in the industry set up their paywall that way? It’s because they’re trying to balance two strategic goals for their businesses — generating subscription revenue and maximizing site traffic. These goals are often in tension, so publications purposely make their paywalls “porous,” as the traffic from users employing various workarounds still counts in their metrics.

There’s been coverage of this tactic in multiple media trade publications like the Columbia Journalism Review and So rest assured, publishers know about it. In fact, they purposefully exploit it in their own way.

On to the week’s (now totally accessible) headlines:

  • Former OpenAI researcher Paul Christiano told the Bankless podcast there’s a 50% chance of “catastrophe” if and when artificial intelligence achieves human-level capabilities. Yikes.
  • CoinDesk’s annual Consensus conference wrapped up in Austin. The site’s editors and reporters recapped some of the major themes they noticed, including an emphasis on regulatory issues and crypto adoption.
  • Almost half of millennials in a recent multigenerational survey by the trading platform Bitget reported owning crypto. The survey comprised 255,000 responses across 26 countries.
  • Security experts have identified a new malware targeting crypto wallets on Macs.
  • Lightning Labs released an update to its litd software package for running nodes on the popular Lightning Network for bitcoin payments. The latest version includes improved support for managing fees and custodial accounts.
  • A former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission and a former director of the National Economic Council complained in a New York Times op-ed that Europe is usurping America’s sovereign right to regulate antitrust issues in tech. Ummm…
  • Comedian John Oliver aired a followup rant about crypto on his HBO show Last Week Tonight. He initially covered the topic back in 2018, memorably describing crypto as “everything you don’t understand about money combined with everything you don’t understand about computers.” His latest installment updates his skeptical take to reflect the meltdown of FTX and other industry excesses.

That’s it for now. Thanks for reading the newsletter today! If you want to receive updates like this in your inbox every Sunday, please join our email list.

Note: #Web3Weekly content is intended 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.



Peter A. McKay
The Modern Scientist

I publish the newsletter #Web3Weekly. Former Head of Content & Writer Development at Capsule Social. Other priors: WSJ, Washington Post, and Vice News.