Is Web3 a Solution Seeking a Problem?
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I recently wrote about how we can build web3 onramps for the next 1 billion people. But I didn’t cover why people should care about web3 in the first place. From Vitalik:
Ultimately, the goal of crypto is not to play games with million-dollar pictures of monkeys, it’s to do things that accomplish meaningful effects in the real world.
So is web3 a solution seeking a problem or can it meaningfully improve the world?
I think web3 can meaningfully democratize access to:
Let me explain how this might work and what problems stand in the way.
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Democratize access to work (DAOs)
Today, people often spend more time chasing credentials than on work that they actually care about. An Ivy League degree, 5+ years of experience, and months cramming leetcode are all artificial steps to get the most coveted jobs.
Tomorrow, DAOs could let people prove their worth through actual work. A girl from Indonesia could join a DAO, design a website, and earn crypto while building an on-chain resume for her next opportunity.
That’s the promise at least. DAOs are still incredibly messy and few have built good products. We need to solve:
DAO discovery: “How can I find DAOs that interest me?” We need tools that help people find and join DAOs that interest them.
DAO onboarding: “How can I contribute to this DAO?” We need tools that match people to DAO tasks based on their skills and interests.
DAO compensation: “How can I get recognized for my contributions?” We need tools that help people earn crypto rewards and on-chain credentials for doing great work.
Democratize access to finance (DeFi)
Today, the traditional financial system is opaque, run by middlemen, and inaccessible to 1.7B people in the world.
Tomorrow, DeFi could create a more accessible and transparent financial system that puts control back in the hands of regular people. A father could put his hard-earned into a protocol that offers 10x the yield of his local bank. He can then use these funds to pay for his son’s education or invest in his friend’s new venture.
That’s the promise at least. DeFi today is a playground for traders and crazy yield farming strategies:
We need to solve:
Payments: “How can I send money to someone instantly without fees?” Bitcoin whitepaper’s promise remains unfulfilled. We need broad consumer and merchant adoption for stablecoins and simple fiat on and off-ramps.
Saving: “How can I save money?” Rather than promise 10,000% APYs through some degen strategy, we need simple platforms that offer good stablecoin yields that people can access with just a mobile phone.
Crowdfund: “How can I get funding for my project?” We need platforms that make it easy for anyone in the world to find and fund a project that they believe in.
Democratize access to assets (NFTs)
Today, creators and fans barely make money after platforms take their cut and valuable assets such as homes and higher education are out of reach for many people.
Tomorrow, NFTs could democratize ownership of all types of assets. A student could buy an NFT to get access to a learning community’s paid courses and events. They could then see the NFT grow in value before gifting it to another student.
That’s the promise at least. NFTs today are dominated by a few traders flipping jpeg collections. Scams and rug pulls are also rampant.
We need to solve:
Discovery: “How can I find an asset that I like?” There are over 250M NFTs - we need personalized discovery based on each user’s activity.
Creator: “How can I make a living?” We need platforms that help creators issue, price, and use NFTs to make a living and mobilize their fans.
New types: “How can I own asset X?” Beyond jpegs, NFTs can represent credentials, membership, tickets, real estate, and much more.
It’s thanks to crypto that I was able to convert a tweet to a DAO that’s providing high-quality web3 education for free.
If you’re a builder working on democratizing access to work, finance, and asset ownership through web3 - I’d love to get in touch to see how I can help.
Hi Peter. Aspiring to create my own DAO that puts on live comedy sketches.
Currently my day job I work at a young startup helping British creatives secure grants through Arts Council England.
Would love to connect!
Hi Peter, I'm working on this kind of projects in France. I would love to discuss with you if that's ok. My Twitter account: thomasfnlo