How Web3 Decentralization Can Dismantle Big Tech Monopolies in 2024

How Web3 Decentralization Can Dismantle Big Tech Monopolies in 2024

The staggering market dominance of Big Tech gatekeepers like Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple, and Microsoft (GAFAM) has raised growing concerns about privacy infringement, centralized control, and stifled innovation across the tech landscape.

However, 2023 emerged as a breakout year for Web3 – a decentralized version of the internet built on open blockchain architectures – with the potential to disrupt the profit-hoarding data monopolies of Big Tech.

According to market intelligence firm Gartner estimates, global investment in Web3 doubled year-over-year in 2023, swelling to over $50 billion.

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This figure surpasses the total early internet investment of the dot-com era. Meanwhile, despite market volatility, the combined valuation of cryptocurrency assets, which power most Web3 networks, exceeded $3 trillion for the first time.

This explosive growth in funding and adoption sets the stage for Web3 technologies to significantly erode Big Tech monopolies as early as 2024 across major sectors like social media, cloud services, digital payments, and app distribution.

Here is a detailed look at key decentralization trends that can reshape these digital industries and redistribute power back toward individual users:

Decentralized Social Platforms Attack Data Monopolization at the Core

Facebook alone accounts for a staggering 80% of global social media revenue. And Google-owned YouTube dominates online video with over 50% market share.

This data dominance enables the social media giants to track user behaviors and preferences across the internet to serve ultra-targeted ads. Facebook’s ads business alone generates nearly $120 billion annually.

However, 2023 marked significant adoption momentum for decentralized social media platforms like Lens Protocol and Mastodon, which offer enhanced user privacy and ownership controls.

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Unlike Facebook or Instagram, these blockchain-based networks allow users to selectively share personal data across applications while retaining ownership rights and monetization abilities.

Lens Protocol, which focuses on Web3 social features like NFT profiles and tokenized content creation, grew over 400% in 2023 from 200,000 to over 1 million monthly active users.

Meanwhile, the open-source, decentralized social network Mastodon nearly doubled from 1 million to 2 million monthly activities despite no venture backing.

Extrapolating even conservatively from current growth rates, Lens could exponentially scale to serve 16 million users in 2024. Adoption analysts predict Mastodon could also swell dramatically to 9 million users.

As blockchain-powered alternatives like these gain mainstream traction in 2024, they can capture significant market share spanning social connections, content creation, and messaging.

This user shift from centralized networks towards decentralized alternatives cuts directly into the total data pool monopolized by social media titans.

Early experiments in decentralized monetization models show promise as well. For example, Lens Protocol lets creators tokenize posts and earn royalties for viral content. More user funds flow directly to creators instead of getting swallowed by Facebook’s ad-targeting machine.

If Facebook’s dominance decreases by even hundreds of millions of users in 2024, the reduction in data concentration and targeted advertising power weakens its monopoly stronghold and outsized profits.

Users also regain more privacy, ownership, and agency over content. 2024 could mark a watershed year for decentralized social networks entering the mainstream and rebalancing power on the internet.

DAO Collective Fundraising Loosens the VC Chokehold Over Startups

Concentration issues exist not just among Big Tech companies but also among their investors. Venture capital funding into tech startups remains heavily allocated towards sectors like AI, Big Tech, biotech, and crypto, centralized around famous Silicon Valley funds.

Research shows that in 2023, just 5 prominent VC firms provided over 78% of early-stage investing in blockchain projects.

However, decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) emerged in 2023 as grassroots funding vehicles that could challenge this VC chokehold over startup financing in 2024.

DAOs are collectives of crypto token holders who pool funds and make investment decisions together programmatically based on transparent proposals and majority votes.

Total assets held in DAO treasuries soared in 2023 from around $700 million to over $5 billion by the end of the 2023 and is likely to double in 2024.

Key funding DAOs such as BitDAOShapeShiftDAO, and FlamingoDAO bankroll Web3 projects spanning areas neglected by traditional VCs, like public goods development.

If funding pooled in open DAOs doubles again to exceed $10 billion in 2024, their rapid, decentralized decision-making could divert more investment from narrow VC interests into internet infrastructure, privacy initiatives, and underserved industries.

For example, if DAOs fund alternate smartphone operating systems, open-source routers, or independent ISPs, it loosens Big Tech’s grip on access, connectivity, and device layers.

More startups can build directly on protocols or other base layers instead of centralized cloud services from AWS or Azure.

DAOs may remain niche, but their threat model could check VC tendencies to overfund data monopolies. 2024 may prove that decentralized grassroots vehicles can counterbalance strong titans in reshaping what thrives online.

Decentralized Apps Unbundle Big Tech Business Models

Beyond just social media, GAFAM tech cartels currently dominate key 21st-century business verticals, including cloud services, e-commerce, digital advertising, entertainment, and mobile app distribution. However, 2023 marked growing traction for blockchain-based decentralized applications (dApps) looking to unbundle chunks of these massive models.

For example, decentralized data storage projects like FilecoinArweave, and Sia posted 50-100% user growth, providing blockchain-powered alternatives to AWS, Google Cloud, and Dropbox for distributed app data security.

NFT marketplace OpenSea became the first dApp to surpass $20 billion in total transaction volume, offering decentralized e-commerce to challenge eBay and Amazon.

Brave browser, which blocks ads and trackers, grew to over 50 million monthly active users in 2023 while enabling privacy-first models to counter Google’s search and Chrome browser ecosystem.

Decentralized mobile app stores like App.co and Apla bypass Apple and Google’s 30% commission duopoly, connecting developers directly with device users.

If momentum for these dApps accelerates in 2024 from 200-400% growth, they stand to erode chunks of Big Tech’s core businesses materially.

For example, if OpenSea expands its decentralized e-commerce ecosystem and doubles in transaction volume to $40 billion+, it captures an extra slice of Amazon’s near trillion-dollar empire. As more infrastructure moves peer-to-peer, Big Tech’s middleman position weakens across cloud services, marketplaces, advertising, entertainment, and more.

Mainstream Crypto Adoption Distributes Financial Power

Beyond the tech sector, decentralized cryptocurrencies also directly counter Big Tech and Wall Street’s dominance over digital payments and the circulation of money. Visa, PayPal, and Apple Pay control how payments move across the internet, extracting up to 5% in profitable fees per transaction.

Meanwhile, consumers and businesses have little choice but to hold rapidly depreciating fiat currencies like USD or Euros issued by governments and central banks. However, mainstream crypto asset ownership among 113 million Americans (35% of the population) remained steady in 2023 despite down markets.

BitPay, the largest crypto payment processor, set a new record in 2023 by settling over $75 billion of global merchant transactions on the blockchain.

If these trends persist into 2024 alongside another expected wave of institutional adoption, direct use of programmable crypto could redistribute financial power by cutting out Visa and PayPal as unnecessary payment intermediaries.

Transfers flow peer-to-peer across decentralized networks like Bitcoin and Ethereum as digital cash. Fees decrease exponentially to cents while settlement speeds improve from 1-5 seconds.

Unlike USD or other fiat, decentralized cryptocurrencies cannot be devalued by inflationary monetary policies. If even 20-25% of online payments occur over blockchain by the end of 2024, slashing intermediary fees, Big Finance will lose its payments oligopoly and trillions in money circulation influence.

National governments also got serious about Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) in 2023, with over 100 countries now developing government-backed digital currency alternatives to decentralize fiat.

Meanwhile Facebook and its Diem consortium still plan mainstream payment token launches in 2024. If stablecoin adoption inflects alongside crypto payments in 2024, then more internet users will transact natively across blockchains – opting out of banks, fees, and data exploitation.

Conclusion: Power Slowly Returns to Individual Users

Despite recent storms in the crypto industry, usage data shows accelerating adoption of Web3 building blocks with decentralization and user ownership at the core. This firmly sets the stage to erode entrenched Big Tech data monopolies in 2024 across social, financial, infrastructure, and app verticals.

The path remains uphill, however, as blockchain-based models still need better UX and accessibility design to reach the non-tech mainstream. Meanwhile, Big Tech has also woken up to the threat and pours billions into its token and metaverse projects to co-opt decentralization trends.

Yet grassroots developer momentum seems unstoppable as the wider world recognizes how centralized gatekeepers have choked innovation and competitive balance across the internet economy while exploiting user data.

By further decentralizing key layers like money, identity, data ownership, cloud services, and social graphs in 2024, early Web3 apps can redistribute power and profits.

The door cracks open for decentralizing an internet that has mostly enriched a handful of US data monopolies for decades since the dot-com era. But the Web3 movement’s

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