"Has anyone seen web3? I can’t find it," Musk tweeted.
"It’s somewhere between a and z," replied Twitter’s former CEO, seeming to make a thinly-veiled jab at a16z, a venture capital firm that has invested heavily in blockchain and cryptocurrencies.
The term "Web3" is used broadly to refer a decentralized internet that will run on the record-keeping technology blockchain, rather than on centralized services.
In this model, users would have ownership stakes in platforms and applications and would supposedly contrast with today’s model – Web2 – where a few major players like Facebook and Alphabet’s Google control the platforms.
Musk's and Dorsey’s tweets sparked a debate among critics who disagreed with their conclusions on Web3.
Dorsey later downplayed the notion that Web3 will ever be truly decentralized as venture capital firms and their limited partners will be in the driving seat.
"It will never escape their incentives. It’s ultimately a centralized entity with a different label," Dorsey tweeted. "Know what you’re getting into…"