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Securing Web3 and Winning the Battle for the Future of the Internet

The next generation of the internet, known as Web3, has the potential to revolutionize the role the internet plays in our personal and professional lives.  And the reverberations of that transformation will be felt globally, disrupting our social, economic, and national security paradigms.

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The next generation of the internet, known as Web3, has the potential to revolutionize the role the internet plays in our personal and professional lives. And the reverberations of that transformation will be felt globally, disrupting our social, economic, and national security paradigms. 

Web3 transforms the architecture on which our current financial systems, telecommunications systems, and other foundational institutions operate. Web3 will bring together new networking technologies and economic infrastructure in a way that blurs the traditional boundaries of telecommunications and finance. 

The impact of such outcomes cannot be overstated, nor can the implications of who controls the internet. China seeks to dominate ever-larger portions of the world’s digital infrastructure and reshape internet governance around centralized authoritarian models. If such autocratic standards become the dominant force behind the internet of tomorrow, the world will likely become a less stable, more dangerous place, including efforts to compromise confidentiality, commit financial crimes, and deny or disrupt services, any of which can easily undermine Web3’s capabilities—and wreak havoc on our way of life.

The security of Web3 depends on a robust, government-led national strategy to maintain U.S. S&T leadership and ensure a democratic future for the internet. We need a national strategy to address the risks and opportunities a decentralized web brings. 

MITRE’s call for a national strategy for securing Web3 offers three policy recommendations for government to consider: 

  1. Develop national cybersecurity frameworks, standards, and best practices for Web3 
  2. Establish a public-private partnership for cyber-threat information sharing to help mitigate detrimental outcomes for both cybersecurity and financial crimes aspects 
  3. Offer incentives to Web3 entities that support standards, participate in audits, and comply with monitoring and reporting of financial and cybersecurity components

This paper series offers an approach to developing this important strategy. MITRE provides key insights based on our experience working with federal agencies across the government on the generational arc of web technologies and the new, unique features of Web3. Additionally, these papers emphasize the critical need for individual privacy protections as the government considers assuming a leadership role in the Web3 community.

This is exactly the type of problem MITRE takes on. Through our federally funded R&D centers and public-private partnerships, we work across the government and in collaboration with academic institutions and industry to tackle challenges to our nation’s safety, stability, and well-being.  Novel Web3 technologies must be secured against attackers who want to exploit this new internet architecture. Engineering such security cannot be an afterthought. If we can do more to engineer security into the web of tomorrow, we can better manage the threats and position Web3 for success as a powerful tool for economic growth and innovation. The time to start is now.