Blockchain technology has come a long way. It wasn’t until long ago that crypto was on the edge, propagated by a vocal minority. The story unfolds when the Kovid-19 epidemic pushes people home with a lot of time to immerse themselves in new interests. Crypto has benefited from increased attention by entering into daily conversations between friends, family and colleagues.
Even so, owning one is still beyond the reach of the average person. Widespread adoption remains elusive and traditional technology gatekeepers maintain their hold on the digital economy. To loosen that grip, those of us who are building decentralized Internet or Web 3.0 need to do a better job of defining the description of what is at stake if we are to continue with the status quo.
We have a particularly compelling opportunity to capture the narrative after this last month when the emotion against the centralized regulators of Web 2.0 became particularly sour. The beginnings are becoming clearer as we see how the structural disparities of Web 2.0 affect all of us.
First, Facebook testified in front of Congress because a former employee came forward with suppressed research to show that the platform “benefits its users more than security.” The testimony was met with a major upheaval on Facebook, which affected all of its products worldwide. Then, finally, an anonymous hacker, Amazon.com Inc.’s video game streaming platform Twitch Data, released a True in which the source code and the creator were paid in an effort to “further disrupt and increase competition in the online video streaming space.”
While I do not deny unauthorized access to information owned by a company, I certainly understand the emotion involved. As a Web 3.0 Entrepreneur focusing on building an open infrastructure for video streaming, Twitch, YouTube and Facebook can stifle innovation. There is not much room for upstart services to muscle their way into areas affected by the scale economy (and eye access) that these companies enjoy.
So, how do we get the web back to the original vision of being an open platform and global utility where anyone can contribute and create? We need to capture the essence of welcoming more developers and users to the core of a prosperous Web 3.0 ecosystem.
Open the code
The open-source nature of Web 3.0 means that instead of hacking and leaking proprietary code, contributors can collaborate on technology and features from day one. In contrast to the walled garden built and protected by Big Tech doormen. Once locked inside, there is little shelter or ability to leave. People, companies and developers are only forced to adapt to changes in products or conditions at the whim of centralized authorities.
I have witnessed the huge impact of these doormen on the developers. Since our first company was bought by Groupon, my co-founder and I have created a company that relies on application programming interfaces (APIs) from major technical gatekeepers: Facebook, Google, Pinterest and Twitter. Initially, these platforms were more open, which allowed us to plug our services into these platforms. All of a sudden, our access to these platforms was blocked due to the decision to block access to third parties. Our service failed because those platforms weren’t open, which was a living lesson in the risk of creating someone else’s technical stack.
This experience led us to the next step: creating an open video infrastructure for live streaming. By building on an open and decentralized approach, we’ve been able to re-align incentives that attract developers, nurture a community, and protect all stakeholders. It is a process that requires a shift from a protectionist mindset to an abundance. The pie is only so big. Therefore, competition must be suppressed and resisted at any cost or the sum will be more than its share, and a community can build up more value together than it can do alone.
Related: Striking is a chord: DeFi’s domino effect on NFT and Web 3.0 adoption
Most accurately, Web 3.0 Economy is transparent and unambiguous, which gives stakeholders the confidence that the vested interests are not secretly pulling the strings and controlling the results in their favor. This form of creative sponsorship is becoming more popular every day, as it is much more manufacturer-friendly than current alternatives.
This is the transparent economy that lacks creators from the existing Web 2.0 dynamics. Since builders build in walled gardens, they stick to the economy no matter what platform they choose. And if the platform changes those economies, the manufacturer has very little recourse: with a few options, the quit option is often economically ineffective.
Web 3.0 builders must underscore how eliminating tax-paying doormen allows builders to keep more of the money they earn from their community. “Keep more than you earn” and “Support more than you like” are great descriptive boosters because Web 3.0 looks to displace Web 2.0. Through that messaging, it not only empowers creators, but also empowers fans to pay more to their favorite creators.
The ultimate pillar of Web 3.0 is the alignment of motivation between creators, users and platforms. These incentives affect the accountability and governance of a platform, which in turn affects toxicity, inclusion and control.
Related: DeFi and Web 3.0: Expressing creative juices with decentralized meaning
Accountability and governance are key when it comes to aligning incentives. Web 2.0 gatekeepers have little incentive for developers and users to “work properly.” Why would they? Since there is little competition, users are stuck in walled gardens. And, as a privately owned entity with little external control, they can do whatever they want. It’s a “we set the rules, so take it or leave it” attitude and a “us vs. them” mentality.
With Web 3.0, governance is often decentralized through a decentralized autonomous body, or DAO, or other underlying community response process. By decentralizing community management away from centralized authority, there is a tendency for self-restraint. Communities built around shared emotions enjoy natural restraint and when community members move out of line, the community takes action. And if a community member dislikes something, they can submit a proposal for a community vote to change the direction of the platform.
Ultimately, creators want more direct relationships with their fans and influence on the management of the platforms they use. The Web 3.0 paradigm seeks to solve this by enabling creator-driven platforms that allow users to own the platform, often integrated through tokens. As they directly benefit from the growth of platforms, users are encouraged to provide important services such as restraint to prevent things like hate campaigns.
Of course, nothing is perfect. Web 3.0 will still struggle with some of the restraint issues faced by other major platforms. Critics of decentralized platforms say the lack of a centralized authority would make moderation more difficult.
But, as more platforms emerge to serve particular communities (capturing everyone in walled gardens instead of a single entity), these smaller communities are less attractive targets for toxins that plague larger platforms with global reach. Having dozens or hundreds of platforms makes it even more difficult to get involved in spreading misinformation and trolling.
Related: Adapt or Die: Venture Capital vs. Crypto, Blockchain, DAO and Web 3.0
What’s next for Web 3.0?
The creators of Web 3.0 must retrieve this narrative and move from “winner takes everything” to “community above all”. It will not be easy. And there is a way to go until Web 3.0 creates more creative resources than the Internet.
As with the Web 3.0 scale, we need to protect ourselves from going back to the average. It would be a shame to copy the existing gatekeeper model. That’s why we must continue to cleverly message the Web 3.0 narrative to help both the developer and the everyday user understand the value of Web 3.0 and the problems of course with the current dynamics of Web 2.0.
After watching the recent stumbling block of Web 2.0, it’s clear how far we’ve come from the track – and will continue to be gifted with influential examples of what we need to do to restore the Internet to its original appearance. A place that is conducive and creative for society.
We’re doing this for a long time. It is up to us to spread the good news, listen to the users and, first and foremost, create a community mentality.
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The opinions, thoughts and opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect or reflect the views and opinions of the author alone and with Cointelegraph.
Doug Petkanix A co-founder of Livepeer, where the team is building a decentralized live video broadcasting platform to enable the next generation of video streaming. Prior to LivePear, Doug was the co-founder and CEO of the mobile browser Wildcard. He co-founded HyperPublic, which was acquired by Groupon. He was both VP of Engineering.