The inaugural episode of “Untangling Web3: A New Era” set the stage for what listeners can expect each week as hosts Jack Davies and Alec Burns unveil insights and examine developments in the “wild and wonderful world of Web3.”
Davies and Burns introduced themselves as professionals in the blockchain space with research and product development backgrounds. They welcomed the opportunity to learn more about Web3 via their new podcast, especially how this rapidly evolving landscape ties back into the blockchain.
“There is an extremely high barrier to entry,” Burns said of Web3.
“I’m hoping this podcast can help demystify some of the things that are going on out there,” he added.
The first point of discussion was how to define Web3.
With the caveat that Web3 is still in its vision stage and not yet fully defined, Burns described it as “the next generation internet with a focus on the peer-to-peer technology.”
Davies also described Web3 as “peer-to-peer,” with much less reliance on social media giants and more control of our data, who sees what and when.
The pair went on to discuss how Web3 is the third iteration of the web. Web1 was the static web, spreading and sharing information but with limited interactions. Web2 is the second phase, a distributed system with more of a centralized playing field, purposefully drawing users in so big players can monetize the data.
“You know that classic line, if you’re using a service that is free, then you are the product,” Burns said.
The pair discussed how only recently, users are becoming weary of how social media giants are controlling their data. However, the user experience is so good with these platforms, despite the lack of control over their data, users won’t leave the platforms.
Enter Web3, a combination of the benefits of Web1 and Web2.
“You have the fantastic user experience that Web2 currently provides, but you also have control of the data, ownership of the data,” Burns said. “One of the core focuses of Web3 is how we can incentivize people with this data ownership.”
Davies covered some of the other issues that come along with free services as we have with Web2, for example, trolling, click farming, and endless subscription services.
Burns concluded the topic by explaining that Web3 is so much more than digital currencies and NFTs.
“I think we’re seeing that more and more utility is coming from the Web3 world…and that’s very exciting,” he said.
Web3 + blockchain
Where blockchain fits into the Web3 paradigm was up next for discussion.
“Both the technology and principals of blockchain are the fundamental principals of Web3,” Burns confirmed.
How to enable data ownership is a huge theme of Web3, and most people don’t even know what this means (or how blockchain is involved), so there is a “massive paradigm shift” set to happen, according to Burns.
The hosts discussed interoperability between platforms, a concept that is not possible with Web2 by design. Silicon Valley is not a fan of interoperability because they can best monetize users if they are “locked in” to each platform.
“Interoperability—that’s a big part of Web3 and the Web3 agenda,” pointed out Burns.
To close out the first Untangling Web3 episode, Burns and Davies revealed their top picks for Web3-powered use cases.
Efficiencies surrounding certificates, for example, university degrees, was Burns’ top pick. Verification of credentials, ease of moving records, and sharing of these records to approved parties only are all areas that excite Burns.
Davies’ favorite use case was micropayments.
“Micropayments and the huge space of possibilities that they open up are massive,” Davies said.
“Before this Web3 paradigm came along, we didn’t really have a good way of doing [small payments], then Bitcoin and blockchain came along and gave us a practical, credible way of doing micropayments,” he explained.
The idea of paying a small amount to read an article vs. getting locked into a subscription or paying for a movie by the minute versus paying for the whole movie up front was also discussed.
“I think not only is the business model new, but I think this could have profound changes for how businesses operate, for how they compete,” Davies noted.
Burns agreed and pointed out that gaming is another area with much to benefit from Web3. He teased the concept of the metaverse and gaming is a topic the pair will dive into during a future episode of Untangling Web3, so stay tuned!
Watch: nChain creates the knowledge & tools to build Web3
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