Web3 is now the oxygen of the entire technology world. But first — context.
My digital agency is in the middle of a furious transition from Web2 to Web3.
But as my team and I embark on this journey, we have found ourselves thinking a lot about what exactly it means to “transition to Web3” — and what this moment in time actually represents.
“If you don’t know where you’ve come from, you don’t know where you’re going.” — Maya Angelou
This famous quote deeply resonates with me as the age of Web3 dawns. We are here now, but — WHY are we here, and where are we going?
2021 has been eye-opening, edifying and inspirational for so many — while juxtaposed against a backdrop of a furious health pandemic, a historic rise in inflation, a palpable deepening of income inequality, and levels of socio-political unrest rarely seen in our modern era.
We are in an information age where the amount of information published every 48 hours online is the equivalent of all the information that was available to mankind in over 6000 years of recorded history.
Take a second to ponder the impact of that statistic …
What that has unfortunately meant for the average person in today’s world is that with so much data to process and synthesize on a daily basis — even recent history can quickly be forgotten
The rise of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies has sparked talk about DeFi — decentralized finance. But why are we talking about decentralizing the financial sector?
2021 has seen the rise of NFTs — non-fungible tokens. We are talking about tokenizing art, and assets, projects and communities. But why are we having this discussion?
We are talking about redefining and re-constructing the very concept of ownership itself.
There are a voluminous amount of personalities, people, brands and companies currently jockeying for position in this new Web3 paradigm. No two entities are the same. Everyone has vastly different agendas — which has made things even more interesting.
On the one hand, you have the Bitcoin “maxis” that were instrumental in birthing the DeFi movement, many of them financiers, programmers and engineers with a heavy bent towards libertarianism, individualism and unfettered personal and financial freedom.
You also have pragmatic entrepreneurs like myself who are ever-focused on being on the cutting edge, innovating when the time calls for it. We love finance and business and markets and products and customers — but many of us also see this burgeoning Web3 landscape as an epic moment not to be ignored, a moment in commercial history that can lead to the oft-vaunted ideal of democratization of access — a levelling of the playing field that sees everyone get a chance at success, regardless of wealth or family connections or skin colour or any number of factors that have historically held people back.
And then on the other hand, you have countless creatives — artists, musicians, designers and makers who for decades have had to quietly toil and hone their crafts while always being told that their artistry is not worth anything if it can’t be monetized by ads or social platform algorithms or by the whims of investors.
We must be cognizant of history.
Before we set about decentralizing finance, we must explore the history of the central banking system — and clearly identify why it is proving to be such a dreadfully insufficient structure to lead society deeper into the 21st century.
Before we acknowledge the rise of cryptocurrencies and the seemingly magical technology called blockchain, we have to talk about the greed and hegemony of the trust-based financial system, how it has traditionally been the arbiter of order in Western society, and the wreckage of inequality and injustice it has left in its wake.
My colleagues and I regularly give thanks for the blessing — and privilege — of having the opportunity and ability to deep-dive and deepen our education and understanding of the tech sector. We also recognize that the vast majority of people on planet earth are still trying to catch up to the rules of engagement of Web2 — never mind Web3!
Someone I was speaking to recently lamented quite aptly that “all of a sudden the goalposts are being moved”: before fully understanding and dominating Web2, the pages of history are turning, without regard, as they always seem to do, and people are now being told that non-fungible tokens are the new websites and that if they don’t understand this then too bad — they will be left behind.
My dog in this fight is that I seek to level the playing field, lessen the pain of uptake, promote transparency and an ethos of information sharing that leads to a robust democratization of access.
Web3 is not just a playground for crypto bros — it is the future upon which equality for our entire planet rests.
I was once someone who worshipped everything about Wall Street, who could recite the infamous Gordon Gecko “Greed is Good” speech with fervour, who thought the capital markets could no wrong, who really believed in Adam Smith’s Invisible Hand thesis. I truly believed that quote — “if you’re born poor, it’s not your fault, but if you die poor, it IS your fault.”
I studied the biographies of the great banking families of the last 500 years and aspired to follow in their footsteps, to become an uber-capitalist, and to not have the “emotionality” of inequality and injustice be a distraction along the pathway to wealth amassment.
But I guess I can’t escape being an empath. I care about my fellow man. The gap between the haves and the have-nots in our modern era is too palpable to ignore. Whenever I try to ignore this reality, I feel unrest on a deeply spiritual level, and in my bones I know that it’s possible for everyone to win and not just a few.
We have teamed up with an esteemed colleague in the Web3 space — Clarence Guillory lll aka Sensei Shui. We will be publishing in the coming weeks a 2022 Web3 Playbook featuring profiles of leading personalities in the space, some of the amazing NFT communities and projects that are getting off the ground, and Web3 trends and investments to look out for in 2022.
It will be made available in Web2 and Web3 format, underlining our thesis of democratization of access — it is fundamentally critical that all people, no matter where they are starting from along the knowledge spectrum, can have a chance to create success for themselves in this emerging Web3 landscape.