My company has pivoted to focus more energy on the Web3 side. This was a tough decision for me, as I’ve spent the majority of my career evolving from nonWeb, to Web1(?) and then Web2, yes, I’m old. I like to believe I’ve been at the forefront of change as an early adopter of Client server, blade server, virtualization, cloud, and more, yet Web3 was for some reason elusive to me. I’ve been watching Blockchain specifically for many years, but alternatively was not an early investor in crypto, which is why I still work for a living.
What I think many of us are missing about Web3
What does Web3 solve, why is it different from Web2? Is Web3 different from Web2 in any real way beyond the name. There are differences, mostly involved in trust and access. Will those two things hold true and will they be enough to extend the gold rush that has been Web3/Crypto to date, I can’t say for sure. There is certainly opportunity to and dare I say it, “need” to gain more freedom from the largest of internet players. There is also a need to extend capabilities in finance and exchange to everyone. Capabilities that have historically belonged to large financial institutions and even governments could in theory be delivered in ways that allow a specialist in Angola to work directly with a buyer or exchange in Alaska. Will this “decentralization” be meaningful, only time will tell. There are certainly reasons to suggest that decentralization efforts today are similar in difference from centralization as Tomato and ToMAHto. Same fruit, just sounds different.
What to do, what to do?
I hesitate to give advice directly to individuals on anything that might appear to be investing, but for the enterprise, I will say that this trend isn’t likely to go away and I believe there are a number of key reasons for that, and I’m just going to focus on 4:
- Our current security and identity mechanisms are largely patches and or Ibuprofin for our headaches, but they aren’t cures (See my prior blog on current security challenges). I really believe that the use of Blockchain for identity and even as an authentication and approval chain for other applications has a very bright future.
- Many of the solutions that are trending in IT today and which are unlikely to go away (I.e., Metaverse) are directly supported by Web3. You can listen to a recent podcast I did on this subject. In short, I believe the business without a metaverse presence in 2027 will likely not be a business at all.
- If we can get past the fact that many of the leading Web3 companies are owned in large part by a few huge VC funds (centralized), and instead focus on what the networks can provide as alternative transaction methods for finance, trade, and more, we are likely to open up a new frontier for global access that could potentially deliver on the promise of the original internet.
- Maybe I’m saving the most important for last but I am also a believer that Web3 will bring with it more power for the buyer. Today we sell our souls for a “free” search or image posting opportunity, it doesn’t have to be that way and Web3 has the potential to deliver that power.
Could the above be done without Web3?
Anything is possible but, like attempting to fix your friend's terrible paper, you often find it’s easier to just rewrite it from scratch. The internet today is layered with fixes for the last fix for the last fix to a legacy decision. Not too dissimilar from many older internal IT shops. Web3 has the potential to provide, dare I say it, cures.
Like my early advice for approaching edge, you should ID a clear use case and try it
I’m a believer that IT organizations should be entrepreneurial in spirit and action and as such, I highly recommend that creating a startup in your IT organization that is focused on how Web3 might enable new business models or improved service and engagement. Waiting another three or four years for the market to decide might just mean you're left permanently behind.