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According to Netscape's founder, Web3 is similar to the early internet's ascent

Marc Andreessen, a billionaire software entrepreneur turned venture capitalist, compares Web3 and its underlying blockchain technology to the early internet’s emergence.

Photo by GuerrillaBuzz Blockchain PR Agency / Unsplash

Andreessen experience speak

Andreessen, who is now best known as the co-founder of blockchain-focused VC fund Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), rose to prominence by creating Mosaic, the first widely used web browser, and then founding Netscape Navigator, which dominated the browser industry for much of the 1990s.

Andreessen, who appeared on the Bankless podcast with investing partner and colleague Chris Dixon, said that the increased acceptance and bustle of work in Web3 looks strikingly similar to the frenzy of activity that characterized his early years in tech.

Andreessen emphasized that he wouldn’t make such a broad analogy on the spur of the moment and that it was the first time he’d ever made one:

“This is the first and only time I’ve ever suggested [Web3] is similar to the internet.” Looking back through all of my past utterances, you’d think I’d have said this at least 48 times with my expertise.

“This is the first time I’ve ever made the analogy.”

“I’ve never stated that about any other type of technology because I just wanted people to know that I’m serious about the comparison.”

While crypto fans have frequently drawn comparisons between the adoption route of blockchain technology and the early internet (much to the displeasure of crypto opponents), Andreessen’s front-line experience gives him unique credibility to make such claims.

He went on to say that the current Web3 environment is attracting the world’s brightest minds:

“The simplest way to think about it is that when you get something like this that has a movement behind it, that has this type of collective impact and is pulling many of the world’s smartest people to work on it, the criticisms fundamentally play out differently than the critics think.”

According to Andreessen, in response to the “long list” of accusations made against crypto and digital assets, ” Web3 entrepreneurs see these “issues” as opportunities.

“The detractors construct a big list of all the issues, yet you get these brilliant engineers, and entrepreneurs [who] come into the field.” They take that list of challenges and turn it into a list of opportunities.”

“It’d be like having a house project go sideways and getting all these complaints, and then having all of the world’s greatest architects and master builders turn up the next day to fix your house,” he said. “All of a sudden, you have the nicest home on the planet.” This is a real possibility.”

Web3 is the “missing” link for the internet, according to Andreessen, adding trust, sovereignty, and financial utility to the ecosystem:

“We lacked trust, authority, and authorization.” We could not interact with individuals for reliable connections, transact, send money, keep money, and then have all of the other economic arrangements that the world desires [such as] loans, contracts, insurance, and all these other things.”

Andreessen was among the early investors of Web 3.0

a16z, which was previously recognized for its early investments in Instagram and Slack, initially entered the crypto industry in 2013 with an investment in Coinbase and has since funded important cryptocurrency-related companies such as Polychain Capital, OpenSea, Solana, Avalanche, and Yuga Labs.

It announced the establishment of its fourth cryptocurrency fund, valued at $4.5 billion, increasing Andreessen Horowitz’s total investment in crypto firms to a little over $7.6 billion.

According to managing partner Chris Dixon’s letter, a16z formed the latest fund to take advantage of the “golden era” of Web3 development.

Andressen wrapped up by explaining why a16z is so bullish on the industry:

“In 30 or 50 years, we may see the entire global economy functioning on the blockchain.”