This article is the continuation of the “Web3 Use Cases: Present and Future” series, where we’ll focus on the future and discuss whether Web3 is worth the hype.
Earlier in the series we covered the Web3 use cases that exist today, in a nutshell:
- NFTs: $31.3 billion in trading volume last year alone on OpenSea;
- Decentralized Exchange: Leading DEX Uniswap has processed over $1 trillion in trading volume;
- DeFi Protocols: Compound, Maker, Aave, and other DeFi lending protocols performed well during the sell-off, while centralized lenders struggled;
- Lending in the real world: Goldfinch and Jia help close the credit gap in developing countries;
- User-Owned Marketplace: Braintrust has doubled its total service volume to $74 million over the past five months, while maintaining its acquisition rate at the lowest 10% in the industry. ;
- Network of connected devices: Helium and DIMO facilitate user-built networks and application ecosystems built on user-owned data.
- Stablecoins: USDC, DAI, and other fully/overcollateralized stablecoins facilitate payments, especially international payments. There are $155 billion in stablecoins in circulation.
- Use Cases by Evan Conrad: In a blog post, Evan Conrad highlighted non-government funding, cheap loans, Filecoin, Lab DAO, Radicle, Helium, Toucan, and Golden.
Nowadays, more and more people are starting to actually consume in Web3 applications, even if some of the products seem “dumb”. But I think that these Web3 use cases that have landed will justify all the venture capital, investment, and talent going into the space.
This article will unfold in two time horizons, and I will delve into the potential of Web3 that will excite me from the dimensions of the next few years and decades.
If there is another bull cycle in the next few years, I think it will happen when people use real products at scale, not speculation. Speculation will follow when these products emerge, but this will look more like a traditional tech bull market than pure speculation. These products are already on the way — apps are coming, and infrastructure continues to improve.
Over the next few decades, I believe that Web3 infrastructure will be the fabric of most of our online and financial lives. I also believe that experiments with the Web3 protocol in economic design, incentive adjustment, and governance will jump out of the Internet and affect “real world” institutions.
Today, I’m going to dive into some future use cases and potential benefits that I’m excited about.
decades to come
So, let’s start with the future. If all of this is successful, so what?
Personally, I’m excited to see faster iterations, more upside for ownership and users, new governance and economic models, more liquidity, efficient and global capital markets, and a more interesting world.
While it’s hard to see a path through all the short-term technical, financial, and social challenges in a bear market, it’s actually equally hard to imagine a world decades from now where Web3 doesn’t play an important role.
When I think about where this is going, I have a diagram like this in my head.
When people say that Web3 is accelerating the development of financial markets, what they mean is that we are making a whole bunch of mistakes that have been made before, faster than ever.
In the early stages of the process, it looks pretty silly. “That’s a Ponzi scheme!” “Of course direct democracy doesn’t work for DAOs, there’s a reason America is a representative democracy. And at this point, are you really decentralized?” “Are these people from Haven’t we learned anything in 200,000 years of human history?”
But I think, there is a logical bifurcation point where you have to believe that one of them is correct:
- Existing economic and governance models couldn’t be better.
- This is not the case, any method that allows the fastest iterations of new models will eventually yield superior models.
If I had one idea to describe why I’m excited about Web3, it’s this: Web3 allows for the fastest iteration of new economic and governance models of any system ever built by humans.
Every new application, game and protocol is simultaneously a small experiment in economic design. Every DAO, even some NFT projects like Nouns, is also a small experiment in governance. In the early days, this meant that Web3 entrepreneurs faced more complex problems than traditional entrepreneurs—they needed to build great products, a thriving economy, and a resilient and productive governance system. Some skeptics argue that the three represent too much complexity to build something users understand and love.Centralized products can develop on their own more quickly. But I think Web3 startups will act as a hive to experiment, learn, and grow rapidly, with each successive startup building on the software and creative LEGOs of previous startups until they accelerate beyond the current establishment.
Some of these experiments will be microscopic: for example, a Web3 version of Twitter with an open protocol on which anyone can build a client, which will drive more innovation in the design of the Web3 Twitter client.Other experiments are macroscopic: for example, how large groups of token holders can fairly manage lending protocols that control billions of dollars. In both cases, there will be more failures than breakthroughs.
But breakthroughs can be very important. They could affect how we design traditional economies and institutions, and even the economic and governance models we build from the ground up on Mars, asteroids, and elsewhere.
At the heart of the rapid iteration of Web3 is the concept of superstructure. Jacob Horne’s article on Hyperstructures, which I shared in the last post, is literally fundamental reading. A superstructure is “a cryptographic protocol that can run forever for free, without maintenance, disruption, or intermediaries.”They are “entirely on-chain, public goods, creating a positive-sum ecosystem for any participant.”
“Hyperstructures” in ground view of Paolo Soleri’s Hyperstructures
Superstructures, like open protocols like http, IP, DNS, SMTP, etc., are the foundation of the Internet we know and love, with additional capabilities as Horn elaborates:
- Unstoppable: The protocol cannot be blocked by anyone. It has been running for as long as the underlying blockchain exists.
- Free: There is a 0% in-protocol fee that runs entirely on gas costs.
- Valuable: Accumulates value that can be acquired and used by the owner.
- Scalability: There are inherent incentives for participants in the protocol.
- Permissionless: Universally accessible, censorship-resistant. Builders and users cannot be deprived of information.
- Positive Sum: It creates a win-win environment for participants to utilize the same infrastructure.
- Trusted Neutrality: The protocol is user-agnostic.
This concept shares the same idea with Chris Burniske’s “Protocol as a Minimal Extraction Coordinator”, a classic I have quoted a lot.
The important takeaway from these two articles is that Web3 introduces the opportunity to create software infrastructures that are free to use forever and that anyone can build on, but rewards “builders and participants” Create and contribute to these invaluable systems that will serve society as a whole for many years to come.”
The most successful example so far is Uniswap, which I highlighted last week. Despite not charging its users a fee, Uniswap has a market cap of $4.1 billion (fully diluted: $5.6 billion). Horn believes that every financial and non-financial instrument should have a single superstructure: exchanges (Uniswap), marketplaces, lending pools, options, domain names, registrations, identities, curation, tags, reputations, emojis, reading receipts, etc.
Each will be a piece of free infrastructure that can be combined with other free infrastructure. Entrepreneurs of every generation can use it to build, allowing them to focus on the things that make them unique, increasing the speed of innovation and the abundance of creativity. Hyperstructure excites me for the same reasons that API excites me, with the added benefit of being free, perpetual, extensible, and permissionless.
The superstructure will underpin a global, fluid marketplace of digital and physical items.
As Zach Weinberg highlighted in our debate on DeFi and housing, there is still a lot to figure out in bringing real-world assets (RWA) online. First, what happens in the event of a default? While defaults are relatively rare, occurring on less than 2% of loans, they still require a written settlement in court. There needs to be a hybrid solution that reflects some analog workflow. But handling legacy processes for a small subset of cases to make the majority faster, cheaper, more efficient, and more composable is a feature, not a bug.
I personally think it’s inevitable, and I’ll quote our friend Jeff Bezos to explain why:
In our retail business, we know customers want low prices, and I know 10 years from now. They want fast delivery; they want lots of options. It’s impossible to imagine that 10 years from now, customers will come up and say, “Jeff, I like Amazon, I just wish the prices were higher, or I like Amazon, I just wish you could deliver slower.” Impossible .
What customers want is low prices, fast shipping, and plenty of choice. Web3 has the potential to bring all three of these to financial markets. Whether in 10, 20, or 30 years from now, I expect that most large financial assets and transactions will be exposed to Web3 — whether it’s homes, cars, project financing, or corporate ownership. Bringing these assets on-chain will connect them to global capital and liquidity pools, as well as all the currency Lego bricks created in DeFi.
As Sam Lessin puts it, “Most of the things people own, real estate, small businesses, etc., don’t have access to liquidity, leverage, etc.” The reward for solving this pain point is huge – tokenization of everything – and will Attract waves of talent, capital and creative approaches. Obviously, this will need to go hand in hand with smart regulation. When cryptocurrency hits RWA — when small business owners can get cheaper capital, when homeowners can get more competitive home equity loans, when users can seamlessly own a portion of the product they use, Regulators will be incentivized to find solutions that protect people without restricting access.
With hyperstructure, everything tokenized, and rapid iteration of economic and governance models, Web3 will be an important piece of the puzzle to solve some of humanity’s most complex challenges.
The first article I wrote this year is called “The Lab for Complex Problems”. It’s about Web3’s opportunity to be a simulator for solving complex problems that require large-scale human coordination, such as climate change.
The theory is simple. All tokens, votes, and even NFTs are in a golden zone: enough to contain the stakes for most people, but the economic consequences are bigger than the $20 that students play in academic economics research. Furthermore, the Web3 ecosystem is dynamic and interconnected, more like simulations run by complexity scientists than formulas and theories, with real people rather than “economic people”.Read this article for the full argument; now, I’ll give a quick introduction to two complex problem areas that Web3 is starting to address through regenerative finance and decentralized science.
One of the challenges with our current financial system is that it is too prone to negative externalities, leaving public property to pay for it. Regenerative Finance (ReFi) is a bold attempt to rethink the system. As I wrote in Celo: Building a Regenerative Economy:
ReFi is a beautiful idea – a reimagining of the financial system, using the tools humans now have at their disposal to better consider the needs of all stakeholders, now and in the future. It puts a price on externalities, charging those who create negative externalities and rewarding those who create positive externalities.
Specific ideas for ReFi include UBI, lending, data ownership, community commerce, and the many Web3 x climate projects supported by Not Boring Capital, incl.
- Toucan: The Web3 carbon stack, including tokenized carbon credits, has so far bridged over 21.9 million tons of CO2.
- Loam: Creating an agricultural data marketplace, a fast, simple, and transparent platform that incentivizes farmers to participate in regenerative practices.
Do you need blockchain for these use cases? Maybe, maybe not. Carbon credits already exist. Maybe create a web2 marketplace for agricultural data and exchange credits based on carbon credits that carbon farmers put back in the ground. Web3 just makes both more efficient, more transparent, and more composable – imagine a pool of Loam Credits on Toucan with access to global capital markets. In a recent episode of Bankless, Mark Cuban talked about how much easier it is to buy and burn BCT (Basic Carbon Tons) on the Toucan to offset his carbon footprint than to buy carbon offsets from a broker.
(To be fair, he said he hasn’t seen a killer app like streaming, which I agree with).
By simply making carbon credits more accessible, and providing a liquid global market, ReFi has the potential to increase demand for offsets (Toucan, Flow Carbon), which should spur the supply of more carbon offset projects (Loam, Open Forest) Protocol).
ReFi projects have exploded over the past year, but I put it in the “future” chapter because it will take decades to see how much of an impact they have.
Decentralized Science (DeSci)
Another Web3 category with physical world implications is Decentralized Science (DeSci). As Phas3 founder Sarah Hamburg wrote:
DeSci is still in its infancy, and it’s at the intersection of two broader trends. 1) The scientific community’s efforts to change the way research is funded and knowledge is shared, and 2) the cryptocurrency-focused movement’s efforts to shift ownership and value away from industry intermediaries.
Hamburg highlighted the potential applications of DeSci – specific areas such as funding, peer review, access to incentives, pace, biotechnology, and some open questions, including whether DeSci is really the best name. Decentralization is not like a core value prop; instead, she highlights several areas where blockchain is useful.
- Smart contracts mediate between authors and peer reviewers without going through the academic publishing industry.
- Incentivized communities may use tokens and NFTs to encourage the scientific community to share, review and curate different resources.
- Fight censorship by storing data and information forever to avoid political interference.
- Blockchain-based funding models might use public goods, DeFi, NFTs, or DAO Lego to obtain project funding, return value to funders, and create self-sustaining scientific communities.
- Verifiable reputation, allowing anyone to contribute science, peer review or funding based on what they know, not which institution they have a relationship with.
- Ownership, allowing the scientific community to own their work and the results of their work.
I suspect that one of the most successful early applications of DeSci will be grants.
Vibe Bio, a Not Boring Capital-backed company, last week launched plans to create a DAO to fund research and drug development for rare diseases whose markets are by definition smaller than more profitable blockbuster drugs. According to Vibe, “the biggest obstacle to treating people with neglected diseases isn’t finding potential treatments — it’s funding them.”
By bringing together a community of patients, scientists, and other partners, they plan to fund treatments that aren’t worth the fuss of Big Pharma, smooth the approval process by bringing together trial participants, and provide patients with potential financial aid if the drug is successful (other than medical) benefits. Vibe launched with two partner communities – NF2 Biosolutions and Chelsea’s Hope – to find treatments for NF2 and Lafora diseases.
Why DAO? Why not Kickstarter or a series of LLCs? The answer is simple: DAOs are able to tap into the global funding market of cryptocurrencies. Additionally, when projects produce successful outcomes, the money goes back to the DAO and the community can vote on which other projects to fund with the proceeds.
Molecule also uses Web3 tools to fund life science research, starting with three DAOs:
- VitaDAO focuses on longevity research
- PsyDAO focuses on psychedelic research
- LabDAO is an open, community-managed network of wet and dry laboratory services.
At the heart of Molecule’s approach is an IP-NFT, through which they attach items pre-screened by their community of scientists and practitioners to an NFT. People can fund projects by buying NFTs, and if the IP-NFTs are sold, the funders get the money. This is a novel way to provide early-stage research and development funding for research projects that may not otherwise be funded through traditional channels.
DeSci is in very early stages and you should read Hamburg’s DeSci Guide to understand the current state of the market, including some very real challenges and open questions. But if DeSci succeeds in making it easier to fund scientific research and scientists to share knowledge, this small portion of Web3 may be enough to justify the hype.
Even more clearly, Web3 will affect the Internet economy. On the rise, Web3 will serve as the value layer of the Internet, connecting the global digital economy. Let’s jump into the Metaverse.
Metaverse. The best way to get people to stop taking you seriously is to say “Metaverse” outright, but here we are.
The Metaverse is already here. People are spending more and more time online, almost twice as much as a decade ago. As I wrote in The Great Online Game, cryptocurrency is the in-game currency of our online activities. If the Metaverse is to become a more important part of our lives, then our digital goods will require the same property rights as our physical goods. Simply put, cryptocurrencies give digital items physical properties that make them ownable, tradable, composable, portable, and usable across platforms.
Whether the Metaverse is made up of immersive multiplayer virtual spaces like Twitter, Zoom and video games or like Cyber, being able to own items and transact with minimal friction is very important to the smooth functioning of the economy.
Cyber X RTFKT Pod
The first article I wrote about Web3, The Value Chain of the Open Metaverse, describes why I think Web3 will be a necessary part of the digital economy.
The idea that Web3 might be helpful to the Metaverse is not controversial. In Cartoon Head, Jon Wu and Zach agree that, at this point, the problem is believing that the future will turn out a certain way, and waiting and seeing if that turns out to be a reality. I won’t spend any more pen and ink here.
For all of the above reasons, I believe Web3 is well worth the hype and the money if we get it right. But are we right? What’s going on now? Can Web3 get past the hurdle to the point where ordinary people can use and benefit from it?
With a utopian vision for the future, and acknowledging that we’ll have to wait and see, let’s talk about some of the things I’m excited about in the near term.
The next few years
Getting to the utopian future I described above will require a lot of effort, experimentation, and mainstream use over the next few years. There are use cases beyond guesswork to drive adoption and add value to people’s numbers and even real life then we’ll be in for the next bull cycle. People are unlikely to be lured by the ‘risk-free 20% yield or baseless bitcoin to $250,000’ prophecy
Not surprisingly, there aren’t many Web3 applications out there that have broad appeal beyond speculation and entertainment. Great products take time to build. Great networks take longer to build. Smart contracts are 7 years old.
However, without a killer Web3 app that emphasizes great experiences over speculation, patience can quickly run out. I’ll cover a few of the most promising areas that could yield these killer applications.
I was skeptical about Web3 social – thanks in large part to Bitclout, it’s just Twitter + tokens – because I don’t think adding money is enough to overcome the deep network effects of existing social media platforms. And as things stand, building a fully decentralized social network on Web3 rails would be too slow, too clunky, and too technical for all but the most ardent cryptocurrency fanatics.
My perspective changed when I read Varun Srinivasan’s Adequate Decentralization of Social Networks. Varun believes that decentralized social networks can challenge centralized social networks by making two promises. “They can guarantee that users have a direct relationship with their audience and that developers can always build apps on the web.”
To believe that Web3 social will take off doesn’t require you to believe that any single social product will benefit from building a token. Instead, it requires you to believe that a well-designed social protocol—and possibly the hyperstructure itself—will give every more focused, performant, and novel application built on it a better chance, through Leverage a shared social graph to build and maintain network effects.
One of the most challenging aspects of building a web2 social product today is bootstrapping the network and attracting enough people that others will want to stay.
When users come for a specific application, possibly including those built by the same team that built the protocol, they can create usernames, information, and connections in an application and be written into the protocol, and they can use it in the ecosystem used in any other application. Importantly, the applications themselves can be built in a centralized manner, maximizing the quality of the user experience. Some apps will become very popular, others like many social apps created over the past decade, get super popular early on and then die out, but all will help increase the strength of the protocol network and quality to make the next app easier to enter and tap more users. This should mean that app developers can focus more time on building great, targeted user experiences rather than finding ways to reinvent the wheel of the web.
Additionally, by connecting these apps, users will be able to build followers within one app that can accrue across all other apps used in the ecosystem. For example, imagine if all your Twitter followers followed you on Clubhouse, or if every follower you gained on Clubhouse automatically (or via opt-in) followed you on Twitter. I bet things would have developed differently – Twitter probably wouldn’t build Spaces, and more creators would find it more valuable to create content on Clubhouse – if both were built on the Web3 protocol.
Of course, there will be challenges. For example, a lot of people I follow on Twitter don’t use a Web3 product, and if it were in the form of a Web3 product, the experience would be worse than regular Twitter. The killer app for Web3 social software will likely have to feel like normal social software and focus on simplicity rather than Web3 bells and whistles. Even so, the killer app may gather a legion of cryptocurrency enthusiasts in the first place, or attract a younger cohort more likely to try a new social app.
In this space, I’m excited about what Farcaster and Lens Protocol are building. As I mentioned in the conclusion, for Web3 social software to reach its potential, a winning agreement may have to emerge.
Web3 games are also evolving
In 2021, playing and earning games is all the rage, driven by the crazy rise of Axie Infinity. When I wrote about Axie last July, it did $79 million in revenue in the first 18 days of the month.
It peaked at $364 million the following month, most of which came from the cost of nurturing new Axies.Volume has since dropped sharply, to less than $1 million last month. Mainly due to lessons learned from Axies, playing earned games has fallen out of favor and better games have emerged – Axie Infinity creator Sky Mavis himself recently released Axie Infinity: Origin, which offers users a free entry NFT, Instead of letting players buy NFTs to play games.
If good web and mobile products take a long time to build, AAA games take even longer. A AAA game can take anywhere from 2 to 5 years to develop with a team of 100+ people. In the past year or so, game developers at AAA studios have started building for Web3, and they’re still a year or two away from releasing their work. These games will leverage Web3 patterns and infrastructure where useful, using centralized technology where necessary. First is the great game, and ownership is an added bonus.
I’m excited that one of the games Not Boring Capital has invested in is GOALS, a “playability-first football game”. GOALS will be free to play, but also allow users to own and trade assets. Essentially, this is a fun, fast-paced, free football video game if you just want to play. If you want to get into franchise mode, there will be a thriving economy around players, training, equipment, stadiums, teams, tournaments, etc., allowing players to earn money for their talent. However, the focus is still on the gaming experience. Earlier in June, the team released this trailer showing the quality of what they’re building.
My guess is that early breakout Web3 games will follow a similar path. My guess is that early breakout Web3 games will follow a similar pattern: top-notch gameplay, a free-to-play mode for those who just want to have fun, and a cryptocurrency-driven game for those who want to win or earn through gaming and building economy. From there, the gaming world will become more complex and connected, as James Gwertzman, an investor in a16z Games, said in this tweet.
There are challenges here too, on the one hand, a lot of gamers hate Web3, and when Discord CEO Jason Citron shared a screenshot of the Discord/Ethereum integration in my reply, I had to mute notifications because his In most of the company’s game user base, there were many abusive voices right away. It takes a lot of work to convince gamers that Web3 isn’t a scam, not primarily in the language, but in the way game developers design their economies.
But the reward is worth fighting for. Video games are an absolutely huge market, generating $165 billion in 2020 and $180 billion in 2021.
Compared to other forms of entertainment, such as music, they have an interesting feature: new platforms tend to complement overall revenue rather than eat into previous revenue. Games with a rich interconnected economy can be a rich new layer on this revenue stack and ultimately provide new ways to monetize console, PC and mobile gaming.
Decentralized Content Creation
Web3’s social and gaming may end up being a different version of what we’re used to. Not all use cases will be so straightforward. Probably because I write for a living, one example I’m particularly excited about is decentralized content creation. While different projects in the space have taken different approaches, the general idea is that communities and fans of a particular story and character can participate in creating a universe of their favorite stories.
Not Boring Capital has invested in two companies in this category. Tally Labs, the team behind Jenkins the Valet, and StoryDAO. Mythos, led by founding chairman of Marvel Studios and my friend Clint Kisker, and Adim, founded by Rob McElhenney, creator of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, are also worth watching.
Decentralized writing is trying to solve two problems at the same time:
- How content and intellectual property are funded and developed. Under the current model, studios and streaming services like Netflix buy the rights to IP and put a cap on creator upside. Since building great intellectual property can cost hundreds of millions of dollars under the traditional model, creators often have no choice but to sell.
- Community engagement in world building and storytelling. Fan fiction — fans writing their own stories based on Star Wars or Harry Potter or other popular IP — is surprisingly popular, but these creators don’t influence the core IP. Decentralized stories will allow fans to help create universes and tell stories, all based on the backbone of a central IP with characters they love.
As an example, Jenkins the Valet is releasing a book written by Neil Strauss with input from the Writer’s Room bearer. The book acquires character authorizations from holders of Bored Ape and Mutant Ape and shares with them the profits from book sales (done as NFTs).
When Alex Danco visited Not Boring to write about tokenized commerce and how his team at Shopify made wallets aware to Shopify, I got a lot of feedback that it was the most compelling and understandable Web3 use case people had come across .
According to Danco, Danco said that token commerce “started with an observation: There is a new kind of Internet user in the world called people with wallets.” In these wallets, people may have fungible tokens or non-fungible tokens tokens, but the fact that they can show up on online stores with the contents of these wallets turns them into irreplaceable buyers. Merchants can see these people as irreplaceable, having never seen them before.
For example, if you own a Doodle NFT, the Doodle store might let you buy a hoodie that’s only reserved for Doodle holders. What’s even more amazing is that any merchant, Doodle-related or not, gives Doodle holders access to something that alternative buyers might not. The Yankees may have Doodle nights and offer discounted tickets to Doodle owners. Supreme may keep a certain number of products for Doodle holders in its upcoming offerings.
Tokens have the potential to add richness to the online shopping experience, making it feel more like physical shopping. Read the full article here to learn more about how it works, why it matters, and why blockchain and tokens are necessary ingredients.
This is already happening, and Shopify has four amazing tokenization apps: PERC Engage, Manifold, Shopthru, and Lit Protocol for merchants to plug into their stores.
People are willing to do crazy things to get exclusive products. Popular merchants will be the driving force behind new Web3 users and will show a larger mainstream audience that NFTs can do more than jpegs.
Data Ownership and Wallet-Aware Websites
Tokenized commerce is a subset of a broader concept that I’m excited about: wallet-aware websites. When Nikhil Basu Trivedi asked me to contribute to his annual Next Big Thing article in December, I wrote:
Tokenized commerce is an example of this idea, but I think developers will start building a wide range of wild wallet-aware products. Here are some potential applications:
- Personalized recommendations: Spotify has a huge data advantage — it knows what you listen to, how often, and can build tailored playlists that keep you coming back for more. If I could put my listening history in a wallet on the internet, plus all sorts of information about myself from different sources, and make it accessible to third-party apps, of course it would be possible to recommend different playlists, but also Could recommend movies, books, product recommendations, or even food recommendations, so what?
- Koodos: Koodos is a Not Boring Capital-backed company that lets people turn their favorite things on the internet into NFTs, not for financial gain, but to showcase what they care about, like a digital scrapbook or a wall full of poster. Developers may build experiences on top of Koodos that are even better than personalization from the throat of data. Or creators can surprise their biggest collectors with a special experience.
- Reason for the discount: After the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe V. Wade, many businesses came forward to say they would pay for out-of-state travel for abortions. In a way, it’s a way of supporting their employees; in a way, it’s a way for them to show that they support women’s rights.What if those companies also offered discounts to those who could prove they were donating in support of women’s rights? Some friends of mine started ChoiceDAO, which is raising $1 million and donating it in batches to various organizations based on community input. What if the donor received an NFT that Dick or Disney could read?
Over the next few years, we will start to see more wallet-conscious experiences appear on the internet. They may have been created by Web3 companies, or by established companies like Shopify merchants offering subtle options.
One of my favorite Not Boring Capital-backed companies, Vana, is working to make it easy for people to own and access their data, which will help open up this new world of digital experiences.
Wallet awareness will make the entire internet a more magical, personal and connected place.
There are also zero-knowledge proofs, soul-bound tokens, DAOs, and other use cases, and due to space constraints, I’m going to quickly highlight these critical infrastructures that may be useful in solving large open challenges and helping some of these applications become mainstream useful.
Zero-knowledge proofs have the potential to remove a major trade-off inherent in life, work, and online transactions: the convenience, speed, scope, and scale of the internet in exchange for our privacy. One of the big challenges with Web3 today is that unless you use a bunch of wallets and try to mask their connections, you end up exposing a lot of information you have. For real-world assets to flow online, for people to use their Web3 wallets like bank accounts, or even to send DMs on Web3 social networks, there needs to be a way to transact and interact privately while proving something about yourself . Zero-knowledge proofs are a key piece of the puzzle. I’m excited about companies working on solving this problem, including Aztec Network (where Jon Wu works), Espresso Systems (whose co-founder Jill Gunter is), Aleo, Starkware, and zkSync. Read more here.
Soulbound tokens are powerful building blocks for experiences like token commerce and governance, but they are non-transferable. One party might buy up a lot of governance tokens for a DAO or protocol to influence decisions, or someone would lend me their Doodle so I could buy a product for Doodle holders (not a big deal, but Depending on the content of the token, it may be). In January, Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin proposed a solution to these problems: soul-bound tokens. The tokens will be non-transferable and tied to a specific person or wallet, meaning they can only be used by the intended user. Additionally, being unable to trade will help definancialize all aspects of Web3, which will be more stable without speculation.
DAO: Most of the superstructures, protocols and projects we discuss in this post will be governed by DAOs after a period of gradual decentralization. Over the next few years, DAOs will be a hotbed of governance innovation as they iterate on the best ways to govern online.
There will also be more interesting, purposeful, culturally relevant DAOs that will capture the public’s imagination: they are the fastest way to build an Internet organization that captures the trends of the times.There will be more moments like ConstitutionDAO. DAOs like Krause House may realize their dream of buying an NBA team. Arkive, a company backed by Not Boring Capital, is building a decentralized museum of objects to attract more people.
DAOs will be as important to mainstreaming Web3 as LLCs are to mainstreaming the Internet. They are just a structure. But they are a dynamic structure that will evolve and allow organization to match the imagination.You can learn the basics of DAO here.
Personally, there are a lot of things that get me excited about Web3 in the far future. To reach such a future state, the Web3 project needs to prove useful in the short term, and the examples I’ve shared are some of the ones I think it’s possible to achieve. That said, people who are actually building will have a better idea of what’s to come and have things in their heads, IDEs, and Figmas that I can’t imagine.
I’m optimistic that Web3 deserves the hype, and we’ll start to see more signs that even the skeptics can agree over the next few years. That doesn’t mean the road will be smooth, nor does it mean there won’t be challenges. There will be tons of questions and frustrations! Let’s discuss some of the problems at the end, and the opportunities to overcome them.
Challenges and Opportunities
The best part about the debate is that it reveals some very legitimate concerns and challenges. For example, after the previous article in the series was published, Aaron Levie, CEO of Box, sent me a well-thought-out set of technical and game-theoretic problems that he believed would be difficult or impossible to overcome.He’s very smart, and his logic for many of these issues is sound.
Yesterday, we had a conversation on DM about the idea that choosing a protocol built by different developers is actually a split — whether it’s an L1 protocol like Ethereum vs Solana, or a Farcaster vs Lens use-specific protocols, slow innovation and hurt network effects by splitting the interests of developers and users.He shares a blog post from Signal’s Moxie Marlinspike 6 years ago about the challenges of building federated services.
This challenge is compounded in Web3 because people have interests in the game – in the form of tokens – which may make them choose to build or use inferior protocols. However, we ultimately agreed that if the ecosystem were cohesive around one protocol for each use case – Uniswap for liquidity, Farcaster for social, XMTP for messaging, etc – these problems would be less challenging . In other words, like Horne, we concluded that everything should have a single superstructure.
This is the value of productive debate. I hadn’t thought about it this way before, and it changed the way I think about competitive dynamics. There is one definite problem to solve, not inevitable or impossible, and one that is familiar to anyone trying to build a platform in a competitive environment: how to attract a sufficient number of developers to a protocol.
This is not a challenge unique to Web3. Even Meta, with its Hall of Fame network effects, is in a fierce battle to turn Oculus into a VR platform. As I wrote in Everyone Hates Facebook.
To make the platform successful, Zuck predicts the company will need to sell 10 million Oculus headsets to attract enough developers to build an ecosystem. That’s why the company dropped its price to $299.
Protocols should fight the same way: how do we become the protocol for developers to build applications for this specific use case? How do we attract developers to attract users, attract developers, attract users, and so on, until a client is built? These are questions that any platform needs to answer, and Web3 presents unique challenges and unique tools to answer them.
From there, there are more challenges. What if the best social product was built on Ethereum, but the best lending product was built on Solana? What does this mean for composability and user experience?
What I’m saying here is that the market will figure this out. For example, LayerZero is an “all-around chain interoperability protocol” that “can implement cross-chain applications with a low-level communication primitive”. (Listen to my conversation with Bryan Pellegrino, co-founder and CEO of LayerZero.) It makes it easier for developers to build products that work across chains, and for users to trade assets across chains. At the user level, I have invested in a company that is building a wallet that will abstract away the need to trade tokens or cross-chain assets to interact with Web3 applications. Put in USD, connect your wallet, and transact in whatever currency your specific application requires. These are just two examples of many companies’ efforts to make the Web3 user experience less cluttered.
However, for many cases, the question remains: why does this need to be on the blockchain?
Nathan Schneider answers this question well in Web3 is the opportunity we’ve always been. I largely agree with his argument that the hype surrounding Web3’s impact as a democratizing force for the economy and governance is justified to some extent, “This is only partly due to the availability of the technology itself. Perhaps more What matters is the amnesia it induces, the novelty of which, as a paradigm of innovation, predisposes people to ignore once-stable norms.”
Technical aspects aside, one of the things that excites me most about Web3 is that it pushes people to rethink many of the patterns and systems we take for granted, and provides a laboratory for experimentation. In many cases blockchain is really needed – token commerce is possible because any merchant can read what’s in your wallet – but in many other cases the magic comes from real life willingness to experiment and try new things in the laboratory.
It’s OK to look at monkey pictures, unsustainable yields and volatility, “enjoy poverty” tweets and billion-dollar hacks and think “Yes! This is how we’re going to solve all the world’s problems!” understand. It is even harder to imagine that the same system that generates so much fraud, scams, and rug pulls would have a net benefit to society, especially when there are so many other pressing problems to solve.
To put it bluntly, is there something people can do that have a more immediate and significant impact on humans than building Web3 products? Of course, yes, if you’re a scientist who thinks you might have a cure for cancer, stop reading this article now, turn off your Metamask, and get to work.
However, I don’t think it’s a zero-sum problem. First, as highlighted above, DaSci may provide new funding and knowledge-sharing mechanisms to accelerate the development of cancer treatments. Plus, Web3 isn’t stealing away scientists and aerospace engineers — it’s attracting software entrepreneurs who might work on less open products, and traditional finance folks who apply their skills to more liquid global markets, And academics such as economists, mathematicians and policy experts who would rather spend their time experimenting with new models in a living laboratory than refining old ones in formulas.
Ultimately, this will not be resolved through debate. It will be solved by usage and usefulness, by what I’ve written here, and a whole bunch of other stuff I can’t imagine, whether it’s achievable, or if scams, margin calls, fraud overwhelm the positive potential. Through this debate, I realized why it’s important to point out bad actors and unsustainable patterns even though I’d rather focus on the positive: by proving skeptics right and by bossy Regulation, bad stuff can stop good stuff from happening.
While it feels bad in a bear market, and Web3 feels harder to defend than it did a few months ago, the upside is real, huge, and worth fighting for if this space reaches its potential. I hope that when we look back on this period in 2050, we can see the seeds of a fairer economic and governance model, a more interesting, diverse, and weird internet, and one that will help us address these most difficult issues. A lab with complex challenges.
Posted by:CoinYuppie，Reprinted with attribution to:https://coinyuppie.com/what-are-the-future-use-cases-for-omnidirectional-analysis-of-web3/
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