Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt thinks Web3 is “not normal” compared to other industries—but says it’s on the right track.
In a Wednesday fireside chat at the SmartCon conference in New York City, Schmidt shared his thoughts and concerns about the current state of crypto and Web3 with Chainlink Labs Co-Founder Sergey Nazarov.
“I’m historically a skeptic,” Schmidt said of his prior stance.
Now, he sees progress being made. The former Google exec told Nazarov the Ethereum Merge that occurred earlier this month—where Ethereum moved from proof of work to proof of stake—is “a sign that your industry is getting its act together.”
But Schmidt still has some gripes about Web3. He argued that today’s smart contracts—which are used to execute instructions on blockchains like Ethereum—are “poor in their capabilities” and thinks Web3’s overall marketing strategy “got a little ahead of reality.”
What does Schmidt believe in? For one, he’s into Chainlink, which uses data from “oracles” and node networks to provide blockchain-based information.
He claimed Chainlink has “better technology” and “scales better” than its competitors—a take not to be ignored considering the fact that Schmidt has worked as a top-level Web2 executive for over 30 years. He joined the firm as a strategic advisor in December.
“Your religion is ‘Don’t trust the human, trust the protocol,’” Schmidt said of Nazarov, who agreed with his sentiment.
“At the end of the day, people’s faith in mathematics is going to end up being stronger than their faith in institutions and brands and other people,” Nazarov conceded.
Schmidt also advocated for the emerging technology of Zero Knowledge Proofs, which are a type of cryptographic function that allow for data verification without revealing private information. Schmidt believes they will be transformative for blockchain networks and Web3 adoption, arguing ZK Proofs will change the experience of crypto transactions.
His advice for crypto companies and builders?
“Don’t ask for regulation early,” Schmidt said, explaining that he believes crypto regulation is still premature because the technology is still developing and evolving, and the full extent of crypto’s potential problems have yet to be revealed.
That said, Schmidt doesn’t think libertarianism is a viable philosophy for the crypto industry, either.
“Societies don’t reward libertarian thinking very much,” Schmidt said. “Governments will assert their authority.”