There’s an unbelievable amount of creation going on right now.
I’ve been an online native since my early years, using dial-up to read about my favourite superheroes. But I haven’t felt this much excitement and energy online in years - maybe even a decade.
Take a look at recent initiatives I’ve come across:
- ConstitutionDAO and Krause House - Online groups to buy the US Constitution and NBA teams
- Grim Syndicate - Lore-based story-telling
- DefiSpot - A decentralised trading exchange
- ENS - Ethereum-based web domains
- Vibes.art - Randomly generated visuals with full rights ownership
- SJP-backed wine club membership
- Ziggurats - 1/1 songs by Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park
- The Sandbox - An online world where users can create and play games, rewarded through play-to-earn cryptocurrencies
These aren’t new meme coins or pixelated profile pictures. These are engaged communities, insane creativity, and valuable tools.
I’ve spent more than I wish to admit on various profile picture-based communities / memberships (Woodies, Grim Syndicate, and ThorGuards to name a few). Each is seeking to share the collective value of the associated IP in different ways but the community within each is welcoming, supportive, and knowledgable. Woodies raised $217,000 for woodland charities and has created a phone-based AR game to get the community active outdoors; the Grim Syndicate has released the original art files for user owned Grims, resulting in dozens of remixes and riffs; ThorGuards is granting users exclusive access to new DeFi projects.
And using these tools unlocks memorable experiences that genuinely improve accessibility and reduce the friction to use new services. With wallets acting as the core block for web3 activity, users can try new services with a simple QR code scan or ‘connect’ permission.
Look at that magic. A user can go from never using a service before to loading all their transaction history and ownership entitlements, quicker than you can say Open Banking.
There are drawbacks to this rapidly evolving space. You’ll be aware of the scams surrounding crypto - there’s little else to say there. The drawbacks I face are more focused on the user experience of it all.
- A web3 life is difficult-to-impossible to run on iOS
- Many products are engineering-led, with complex / technical designs and language
- Traditional financial institutions have decide to “protect” users by simply blocking any and all associated transactions
I’ll admit - part of the excitement of this may be the novelty and gold rush. It’s hard to ignore the stories of crypto-millionaires and their overnight success. And you could argue half of the projects see the world as full of nails for their blockchain hammer, when a good ol’ traditional software solution would do the job fine.
Soon the real world impact of projects will become apparent - it could be financially with KLIMA or BACON, culturally with BAYC, or politically with CityCoins. And it’s hard not to be excited about this brave new world!