The essence of web3

#Web3Weekly: Jan. 15–21, 2023

Peter A. McKay
The Modern Scientist
3 min readJan 22


“Fawkes, Not Monroe” by Peter A. McKay × DALL·E

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.

I recently spotted a blessedly terse definition of web3 and how it differs from previous versions of the web:

  • Web1 = Read
  • Web2 = Read + Write
  • Web3 = Read + Write + Own

Credit goes to the website of the Web3 Gallery in New York for that summary. If you’re curious for more detail on the evolution of the web, check out my own explainer here. But for a quick summary, the gallery’s definition is spot on.

The week’s notable headlines:

  • Bloodletting among crypto asset managers continues: Genesis filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, citing $3.4 billion owed to its top 50 creditors. And Silvergate said it swung to a $1 billion loss in the fourth quarter, compared to a slight profit in the year-ago period.
  • U.S. authorities arrested the founder of Bizlato, alleging the exchange laundered more than $700 million in illicit funds.
  • Bitcoin mining is expected to get about 10% harder due to a network update today.
  • Developer activity on web3 projects rose in 2022 despite the market decline. A report by the platform Alchemy found that work on crypto projects increased by 493% in 2022’s fourth quarter, aided by a 293% increase in deployment of smart contracts on the Ethereum network compared to the previous year. Separately, research by venture firm Electric Capital showed that there were 23,000 monthly active developers working on crypto projects in December, up 5% from a year ago.
  • GitHub released its annual ranking of most popular programming languages, based on code committed to repositories on its network. As in every previous report, JavaScript topped the list.
  • The Polygon network completed a hard fork designed to stabilize transaction fees.
  • Oxygen CEO Nemo Yang believes crypto has an urgent influencer marketing problem akin to the one that caused the Fyre Festival disaster.
  • Crypto was a popular topic at the World Economic Forum’s annual conference in Davos, Switzerland. A consortium of organizations, including the Solana Foundation and Ripple, announced a new climate partnership. In general, attendees sought to shift the public narrative about crypto away from FTX’s collapse. In an interview with Bloomberg TV, Circle CEO Jeremy Allaire said of FTX: “The technology didn’t commit fraud. The technology didn’t commit poor risk management or leverage decisions. Firms and people did that.” (Full disclosure: I’ve previously freelanced for WEF.)
  • CoinDesk reports that 196 U.S. lawmakers, or more than one-third of the current Congress, received political donations from FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried prior to the company’s meltdown in November.
  • Google is cutting staff, and management is deeply worried about potential competition in search from OpenAI. Founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, who stepped away from daily roles in Google in 2019, have recently returned to help strategize, according to the New York Times.
  • In a New York Times op-ed, financier and former Obama advisor Steven Rattner discussed the growing competition among nations to secure access to computer chips as a vital economic resource, similar to past struggles to secure access to oil.
  • “Every flight between Boston and New York is a policy failure.”@mcplanner
  • An editorial cartoon from 1923 depicted a device that generated ideas and drawings for an artist, saving him a lot of work. This sounds familiar…

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: 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.



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.