Random Observation/Comment #794: Death to Crypto. Long Live Web3! Let’s work on tech crypto instead of money crypto.
Why this list?
I’ve been trying to foster enterprise adoption of web3 since 2014 (with slow and incremental luck). Around 2019, I gave up the “replace post trade financial services settlement layers with better technology” and went full degen exploring DeFi, NFTs, and DAOs. The adoption of Web3 by the old guard will likely be similar to that of Electric Vehicles – filled with vested interests to keep things moving slowly.
What we try to build within Web3 is aligned with what we wanted the original World Wide Web to be. Then it was quickly taken over by advertising everywhere, poor music deals for streaming, and social media misinformation. This is why we can’t have nice things. What do we value in web3?
- Self Custody / Ownership – Not your keys, not your coins! It’s important to be careful with your assets and the personal security around it. Even adding a few layers will make you less of a target. More importantly, don’t be a target.
- Decentralization – The distribution of power, control, and decision-making across a network of nodes is the key to building on Web3. We want to disintermediate the single centralized entities mining our data.
- Transparency – This is a feature rather than a bug. The data and transactions are recorded on a public blockchain, which allows for accountability and third party verified checks for that data. We can only get redundancy because of the shared versions of data.
- Immutability / Permanence – Part of the highly distributed and transparent nature of the technology means that the older versions cannot be tampered without your personal key’s signature (i.e. permission). There’s no backdoor super admin that can update balances.
- Anonymity – By default, if you didn’t dox yourself then you’re pseudonymous and people cannot resolve your addresses. If you’ve bought ENS addresses or own certain tokens then someone can airdrop you new tokens or at least know your wallet activity.
- Verifiability – Don’t just trust, verify! We get verifiability with transparency and accessibility.
- Security – Tokens help secure the network and prevent bad actors from DDOS takeovers. This should be the only reason why tokens have value. Security is a core tenant of trust and therefore needs to also be verified.
- Interoperability – Different blockchain networks should be able to interact with one another for an open connected system. Unfortunately, you can say the same thing about “interoperable” likes/hearts on any of our existing social networks today.
- Community-driven – The network and its development is guided by its users and community rather than a centralized entity. The community should agree on the direction. Sometimes this is the community members that make the most noise.
- Inclusivity – The technology is open and available to everyone, regardless of their background or location.
- Permissionless-ness – Similar to inclusivity, we want equal access to participation on the network and dapp level.
- Community Participation – With separation also comes the ability for anyone to be any role in the ecosystem. There might be limitations on the amount of ETH needed to be a validator, but the community still allows anyone to run software and learn the details (while also being rewarded)
- Censorship resistance – This is also a feature, not a bug. The transactions we send should be processed (full stop). The applications or individuals submitting this data should be responsible, but this is normally a split role from the validators/block proposers from the CeFi entities around the infrastructure portion.
- Native value in payments – Since infrastructure/native tokens have value, this can act as a payment and bootstrapping mechanism for funding new projects launched on the network. This becomes a native value of payments (even better if it were less volatile).
- Collaboration / Coordination – We’re constantly fighting human tendencies towards chaos. Without collaboration, we wouldn’t be able to get as far as we’ve gotten.
- Democratization – An outcome of adopting web3 could be disintermediation, but we really want to be able to provide access to yields and opportunities without selling orderbook flow or providing crappy yields on savings accounts when banks can lend funds directly with bonds.
- Build for & with the Ecosystem – We need to be open advocates of the space to have it’s culture survive. If we don’t give back to the ecosystem what we got from it then I think we’re not in the right industry.
- Open Source – Almost be default, all contracts fall under a GNU open source license, which means you can only monetize the smart contracts if you also open source them. This creates a trust and transparency that can only be built and maintained by open source advocates.
- Cross company collaboration – I love The Merge as a case study of collaboration. The companies that implemented the same spec and tested for interoperability across multiple clients was pretty insane. It’s literally upgrading multiple planes while they’re all flying in formation.
- Education is a tide that lifts all boats – While I could personally benefit from educational courses, I’ve made a majority of my material free for review because it helps the industry advance. If I keep presenting the same material then I’m the one holding back the industry. I rather be on the cutting edge and sharing new things than rehashing old methodologies.
- Credibly neutral layers – Neutrality is super important. I think it matches to DnD matrix of Good/Neutral/Evil and Lawful/Neutral/Chaotic. The true neutral center is hopefully where we sit with the vision of a settlement layer.
- Choose your own adventure – I may have been thinking this way because of DnD. Every technology has a choose your own adventure aspect based on your expertise. It’s even more relevant in web3 with the separation of roles that you can contribute to the community naturally with your own strengths and skills.
- Not a gig economy, but a Creator economy – Yes, the creator economy was already prevalent with influencers prior to the growth of gamified Uber economics and systems, but I think there’s a resurgence in creativity with creators linking to properly aligned incentives.
- Removing barriers of entry – Actively breaking down barriers is a big part of my job. I do a lot of this for free.
- Anti-walled gardens and anti-fragmentation – Each team building one product for the same users will not work. We need dapp compatibility and defragmentation of web3.
- Non-fungible People – This applies to onboarding and sadly offboarding those to the ecosystem. It’s easy to add people and grow, but much harder to talk to the frustrated OGs and console them with hopium. I do agree the old money crypto ways can get in the way of the potential of tech crypto.
- Reframing the business models – It’s easy to build a web3 version of a web2 company, but it doesn’t necessarily yield to more adoption. All companies are optimizing on creating value and garnering attention. The market where these come from honestly stem from real value. I think we just need to focus on valuable product market fit instead of crazy speculation.
- Keep it weird – I’ve never been a part of a more ridiculous industry. I’m not surprised we’re not taken seriously. I have to admit the creativity is a part of the charm.
- Don’t hodl, buidl – The BUIDL meme started because of the Bitcoin HODL meme. We want to expand the ecosystem instead of waiting for the digital gold to have intrinsic value.
~See Lemons Believe in Web3