- For those of you wanting to understand the path towards web3, we can clearly distinguish between 3 generations in the evolution of the internet.
- Internet was born in the '80s, distributed across nodes, with open protocols for web and email ( HTML and SMTP ). In the '90s, we adopted hyperlinks and graphic interfaces. It was the beginning of the information economy; We were readers in a few-to-many, read-only model, with no significant social networks and no user-generated content yet. The business model was content-hosting and content removal.
- By 2005 users had populated social networks; we had mobile multi-touch interfaces and faster internet connections. Powerful platforms were born, providing new functionalities to users; writing content was a paradigm shift for users. Tim O'Reilly coined Web 2.0 to signal the transition to a user-centric and collaborative World Wide Web.
- But soon, the platforms proved to be not user-centric. Their benefits grew disproportionately, to the point platform-owning companies ended up also owning big chunks of the infrastructure, the websites, and the services. Big techs turned into platforms and became the gatekeepers and the lessors of the internet.
- Today not users, but platforms monetize content ( less than 1% of most popular creators monetize in YouTube and Instagram, and typically platforms yield creators $5,000 USD for one million impressions).
- Platforms can unilaterally decide to take away your identity/brand/business because they own the space (the platforms) that host them.
- A recent article in The New York Times describes how an artist on Instagram Identity vanished suddenly, for no apparent reason. Her Identity was @metaverse. Thankfully, Instagram decided to return it two days after the NYT reporter's inquiry.
- Users' privacy also depends on intermediaries. As a result, petabytes of users' data flow to the best bid because privacy clashes with the advertising-based business models. We would call that "a wolf protecting the flock" in Spain.
- But there was an even more significant problem derived from the advertising business model. Platforms would welcome anything, any content, any news that would maximize retention. That resulted in an effervescent rise of fake news, social polarization, teenagers' addiction to social networks. Ultimately, Trust was lost during the Attention Economy.
- In 2020, Web 3 is trying to correct all that. Now builders, content generators, and users can create and own the Read-Write platforms and even participate in their governance using tokens. That is the new paradigm change. Early 2012, a failed example was Arcade City, an Uber owned by users and drivers. A successful model today is Mirror.XYZ, a writer-owned platform where writers participate in government and monetize their content directly.
- Following Web3.0 standards, different open-source platforms connect and interoperate to make one digital fluid space. We are still early in the game in UX, but users can verify their identity without relying on centralized institutions. (using DID/ VC, Decentralised Identity, and Verifiable Credentials). That is another paradigm shift.
- But thanks to NFT's (more to come on Non-fungible Tokens), users can have control of their content or data if they decide to. The ownership of physical and digital assets can be mathematically encoded using blockchains, traced, and transmitted at unprecedented (digital) speed. Currencies are digitized (CBDC, Central Bank Digital Currencies, and Stable Coins ), reserve assets (such as gold) are also digitized ( Bitcoin is more a reserve asset than a currency). The implications escape my understanding.
- It is the beginning of the Token Economy. It is still early in the process; the curve is deceptive and seems scammy when watching massive speculation of Crypto Art, the fluctuations of BTC, and the meme Crypto. But the beauty of Web3 lies precisely there; Satoshi found a perfect alignment between the incentives of decentralization and the economic incentives. Hopefully, Trust will be decentralized, marking the great rebalancing to a decentralized internet.
- Interestingly, there is yet another paradigm shift running parallel to Web3.0. The surge of the metaverses promises to redefine how we interface with digital technologies. Whether it is a meta 2.0 or metaverses, 3.0 is now up to the users.
Connaughton, Maddison. "Her Instagram Handle Was' Metaverse.' Last Month, It Vanished." The New York Times, Dec. 13th, 2021.
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This article was originally published on LinkedIn.
Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not those of OpenExO Inc., its members, affiliates, or associates. The content is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be relied upon as legal, business, investment, or tax advice. You should consult directly your own appropriate advisors and professionals as to those matters.
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