As Web3 spins up and becomes more widespread, young people are facing very real challenges, and not all of them are technical.
Last week we explored Web3 fundamentals, covering a high-level view of the direction of the “new internet.” We warned you: it isn’t all roses. Here’s why:
As with any new technology, there is plenty of room for improvement – and for bad faith actors to take advantage of the situation. Just like any real-life con men (or women), these opportunistic parasites take advantage of trusting or gullible users in a variety of ways. The most common exploits used by the criminal underbelly of Web3 are:
- Rug Pulls – wherein investors promise an exciting new project, then take the money and run.
- Phishing – sending links that look legitimate but end up skimming data or stealing
- Malicious Airdrops – similar to phishing, but involving sending enticing coins that encourage users to visit malicious websites
- Artificially Inflated Followings for Credibility
Now, each of these could use an entire article to navigate the ins and outs of the devious tactics targeting new and uninformed users. Instead, a blanket approach can be used, and it can best be illustrated with a parallel from good old Web2.
Back in the day, when dial-up was still prevalent and the internet was in its infancy, swarms of young people were learning to navigate the brand new space the only way they could – by exploring. Chat rooms and forums were unregulated and unpoliced, and the best advice any of these youngsters could use was to be cautious of any new interactions. They were meeting strangers, after all, and just because the a/s/l (that’s age/sex/location for you particularly old timers – a common introductory greeting in the early internet days) said 16/m/usa, that didn’t mean a young person from the US was on the other side of the interaction.
It could have been anyone, in other words. Just like today – a bit of caution is called for. And research; an ounce of prevention is still worth a pound of cure, even online. It’s so important for young people to feel empowered to explore this new territory, just like we did growing up. But doing it safe, smart, and careful – that’s the best way to ensure that Web3 becomes a mainstay, not a fad.
Because let’s be real, nothing ruins a party like someone trying to burn down the house or strip the pipes for copper. Web3 belongs to all of us, but especially to your kids – it’s time to empower its youngest users to learn it, use it effectively, and improve it for themselves and for the world!