Department or Program



Advocates of the Web3 movement want the next stage of the internet’s evolution to be characterized by the decentralization of virtual assets and the democratization of digital participation via possibilities afforded by blockchain technology. In this ethnography, the researcher contrasts the ideologies and material practices of individuals and communities composing said Web3 schema, including enthusiasts of the emergent metaverse, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and blockchain-based institutions called decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) that rely on a blend of human and algorithmic governance to operate. Based on fieldwork in London, England during the summer of 2022, this thesis uncovers patterns of hype making and hype ambivalence that inform belonging within Web3 spaces and conversely establish parameters for exclusion. The auratic qualities of NFTs the researcher acquired at Proof of People, a three-day NFT and metaverse festival hosted in London’s Fabric nightclub, are also investigated. With data compiled from a mix of in-person and virtual settings, the claims presented in this thesis arrive at a critical moment for crypto. Universal devaluation of blockchain assets following a market freefall in 2021 has battered the decentralized movement, but the Web3 informants featured herein remain optimistic about the vitality of a digital paradigm in its alleged nascency.

Level of Access

Open Access

First Advisor

Hughes, Jen K.

Date of Graduation


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Number of Pages


Open Access

Available to all.