How far is Web3 at scale?

There is still no official and accurate definition of Web3, but this does not prevent the recent discussion of Web3 in full swing. The author of this article, Jarrod Dicker, has frequently defined Web3 and Web2 on his Twitter recently:

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Jarrod Dicker is well known in the digital media world. He was named one of the 30 most creative social media marketers by Business Insider in 2013. Dicker joined The Washington Post in 2013 as vice president for innovation and business strategy, and founded the newspaper’s research, experimentation and development team, RED, helping the newspaper achieve eight-digit operating income and turn a profit for two consecutive years. Profitable year. At the beginning of 2018, Dicker announced to join the blockchain start-up media, which became the focus of discussion in the industry at that time. In Dicker’s view, both Web 2.0 and Web 3 represent radical changes in communication and business models, respectively.

The radical ambitions of the early Internet had some similar effects on users as what we commonly refer to today as Web3. Let us first take a look at the scale process of the early Internet, can we find some clues about the scale of Web3 in the future? In the early 1990s, Internet enthusiasts were faced with the challenges of setting up modems, installing drivers, and using commands to find servers. Each of these steps is an obstacle that requires self-encouragement to overcome. As now, the early Internet required people to step out of their comfort zone with a maverick mindset. The similarity to Web3 is undeniable.

Blockchain advocates like us often see these setbacks as harbingers of optimism. The development path of the Internet proved that the complex problem of bringing in a large number of users could finally be overcome with great success. But this comparison tends to take a long-term perspective, but cannot test it in the process. Little attention has been paid to how most early consumers understood and accessed the Internet. In the early days of the Internet, this functionality emerged through online services, specifically through America Online.

It’s hard to imagine now how confusing computers, let alone the Internet, were to most users in the mid-90s. Even by 1997, only 35 percent of American households owned a computer. For many of these early adopters, the value of the Internet, primarily email, was compelling. But “going online” is so complicated and time-consuming that it often requires help. It is because of this that online services have emerged.

The first online services were launched in the 1980s, long before the commercialization of the Internet. These services include chat, bulletin boards, stock quotes, and other text-based UX, but in most cases, users can only send emails with other users on the same service. After the Internet became generally available in 1992, online service providers such as DELPHI, Compuserve, and Prodigy, along with independent ISPs, made it possible for users to access the larger world. They had small success.

America Online is the most groundbreaking of them all. The company dates back to 1983 – providing games for the Atari, later Commodore 64, and then partnering with Apple to provide online services. By the early 1990s, the company had settled on a new strategy – giving non-technical people the easiest way to get online. In retrospect, this decision that influenced all of America Online’s subsequent product design and marketing strategy seems pretty obvious. But it only does so if you assume the internet is a mass product that needs a mass market. This was not without reason at the time: the Internet was a powerful tool for professional users, and distribution strategies reflected this. There is reason to believe that the Internet is not very simple, or that it may be relatively simple.

American Online chose the other side of that bet — even at the risk of looking stupid or going against the ideology of the internet user community at the time. Whenever it is possible to eliminate or reduce one step of surfing the Internet, they will do so. When talented marketer Jan Brandt realized that limited access to American Online’s software was holding back growth, she led the most audacious disk distribution campaign in history. “There was a time when 50 percent of the world’s CDs had the AOL logo on it. We had a new user every six seconds.” Then, in 1996, they preloaded the software into Windows 95. When the company’s testers learned that users wanted buttons to look like buttons, every important UX control was given a bevel and a shadow.

All design and marketing are optimized for performance and user engagement. American Online built a massive 1-800 network so that users’ modems could always find an open phone line. They preload a lot of graphics on these disks, so users don’t have to wait for images to load. Ted Leonsis, who bought Steve Case’s company in 1994 and decided on many of those strategies, once said, “I’m simplifying things most of the time.” There’s no audio that rewards users who log back into the server again and again More famous and more appropriate examples. It declares this in four simple words: “The mail is here!”

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These measures really worked! From 1993 to 1996, American Online’s subscribers jumped from 300,000 to 8 million. For the first time in the history of the Internet, a company has achieved “scale”.

Its slogan – “So easy to use, it’s no wonder it’s #1” – is very accurate. When it launched the browser, was by far the biggest site, not because it had anything interesting, but because it was the default browser. Then, American Online suffered a fatal blow for online service providers, and its pricing changed to a flat fee. (Flat-fee was so popular that it overwhelmed the company’s modems, leading state attorneys general to force AOL to take down ads promoting flat-fee “Jetsons.”) By 1998, America Online had acquired all of its competitors, even including Netscape. America Online’s vision – for convenience at all costs – came true.

We are now in the blockchain technology, if compared with the development stage of America Online, how popular is it? For consumers, the difficulty of using encrypted services is comparable to the difficulty of using the Internet in the early 1990s. There are currently two prominent companies that are easy to recommend to non-crypto friends: Dapper and Coinbase. But we’re still in the pre-consumer stage of Web3. While games have emerged (see: Axie), and Web3 related to specific interests has captured the attention of a small segment of users, there are still large non-technical gaps in understanding and onboarding. Most practical applications have little appeal, such as digital sports collectibles and token investing. The value of America Online is that it develops new users in a way that shows the Internet can exist in all walks of life. Current blockchain protocols and products lack this user channel. The bottom line is:

“America Online’s solution is not equally suitable for making it easy and fast for newcomers to understand the beauty of blockchain.”

We know there will be protests from crypto skeptics as well as their enthusiasts for this claim. Skeptics will argue that the analogy doesn’t make sense, at least not now, since there’s no crypto value proposition as useful as email, instant messaging, or web browsing. From this perspective, it doesn’t matter how easy it is to access the “blockchain” if there is no imminent necessity for most people. On the other hand, crypto enthusiasts might also argue that the crypto community is slowly addressing the difficulty of getting started. After all, the nature of decentralization rejects a single solution.

These opposing views, perhaps contradictory, are true. It’s not hard to see how they might interact to hold down the market. Decentralization makes it difficult to use, which in turn results in a relatively small number of tech-savvy crypto users, which in turn results in a limited number of users. And, in a radical departure from the early days of the internet, the massive amount of money surrounding blockchains compounded this “problem.” In other words, it is profitable for crypto service providers to serve a small number of relatively wealthy and sophisticated users. These encryption service providers do not need to face the problem of acquiring new users.

So it’s interesting to think about what Steve Case, Ted Leonsis, and Jan Brandt are going to build on the blockchain now. First, we can be fairly confident that it will focus on NFTs. why? Because while we’re in the early days of its development, collecting and trading “items” is significantly more appealing to mainstream users, and better suited to everyday life than abstract “currency”.

Imagine services around categories like hobbies, sports, health, etc. Within each category, there will be products that users can buy, although many of these are “giveaways,” mostly from brands that users approve of, such as fashion brands, movies and games, sports teams, and cooking shows. These services range from digital services (such as paid podcasts or Q&A lines) to physical items (such as shoes or cookware), or tickets to an online or offline event. These can all be NFT projects, although they may be called by other names. When a user buys an NFT, they will have access to a community of others who also own that NFT. Imagine buying a piece of fitness equipment and getting access to chat rooms, message boards, and community events made up of the company and its fans. All NFTs owned by the user will be held in a profile (wallet). They are private by default, but users can choose to let friends see them. If they are real-world products, users can choose to redeem them, in which case the NFT will become a stub for the return. If users lose interest in the product or the price goes up, they want to sell the NFT, which can be easily managed through the interface. On top of that, users receive customized notifications based on their profile, telling them about products they may want to buy or trade.

Today, much of this imaginary is slowly happening in an increasingly large crypto community. AIM is being replaced by PFP. Chat rooms have been migrated from communication hubs to business coordination between community members through DAOs. Paying and buying has been made simple and providing an interoperable experience to be able to buy and hold across the internet. The purchasing power is in the hands of the promoters, who can set the price and contract rules for the secondary market, building a business around virality and recycling. You could of course argue that these early attempts at social structure and community were driven by influences from the AOL era, but much depended on the ability to do so anywhere, not just in one particular place . This is a whole new Internet. For decades, we have believed that virtual items are less valuable than physical items, and that the Internet is more about connecting reality with digital and managing real life online. For NFTs, this has changed. Not only is the digital world completely disconnected from the real world, but we are now truly able to live online. And this change is significant.

Web3’s America Online will break this new value in every way. Similar to how Web2 showed users the convenience of the Internet, now we need to work together to demonstrate the utility of Web3. Mind you, it won’t be the decentralized, chaotic, high-stakes, but fun-filled world of the current crypto world. It only offers affordable and fraud-free services. It even offers a money-back guarantee for dissatisfied buyers!

The teams behind such efforts will be ruthlessly attacked by the crypto community as security risks and “centralizers.” In fact they may even have been attacked more than Steve Case, Jan Brandt and Ted Leonsis have ever been. We may see elements of the concept in bits and pieces, possibly from large platforms like Facebook, Amazon, and Apple, rather than as a stand-alone single product. In any case, the success of such a platform is likely to be short-lived, like a child who thinks a bicycle auxiliary wheel will become cumbersome and even embarrassing in a few months.

Regardless, the need to develop blockchain is real right now. Is there a way to scale? Is there anything like a 3.5″ floppy disk that makes every American who’s fallen for change apply for an email address? Let’s think a little bit bolder, I always believe we should be brave enough to try.

Posted by:CoinYuppie,Reprinted with attribution to:
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