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Web3 and the transition towards true digital possession 


Aug 14, 2022
Web3 and the transition towards true digital possession 

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How do you suppose you’ll reply if I requested you the next query: What do you personal on-line?” 

In actual life, you personal your own home, the automobile you drive, the watch you put on, and the rest you may have bought. However do you personal your e-mail tackle or your enterprise’s web site? How concerning the footage that populate your Instagram account? Or the in-game purchases on Fortnite or FIFA video video games or no matter else you might be taking part in? 

My finest guess is, after casting your thoughts by the belongings you use the web for (which for everyone is just about every part, social {and professional}), you’ll wrestle to discover a strong reply. 

Possibly you’ll ask me to elucidate what I imply by “possession.” But it surely doesn’t actually matter. And whereas I don’t imply this to be a trick query, it sort of is. As a result of within the present model of the web, we don’t have possession rights on-line


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Digital possession: Individuals and merchandise 

To know why we don’t personal something on-line, we should first perceive the evolution of the web and the way it gave rise to the enterprise mannequin that has dominated its present iteration. 

Within the Nineteen Nineties — the last decade of desktop computer systems and dial-up connections — the web was predominantly a content material supply community consisting of straightforward static web sites showcasing data. What we seek advice from at this time as Web1 was gradual, siloed, and disorganized. 

Subsequent got here the platforms, similar to Fb (now Meta) and Google, pushed by wi-fi connectivity and the event of handheld units like laptops, smartphones, and tablets, which gave us free-to-use providers that enabled us to edit, work together with and generate content material. These platforms centralized the net, setting up a top-down construction that noticed customers reliant on their methods and providers. 

This evolution of the web happened within the mid-2000s and is the model we all know at this time. We name it Web2. It’s a mannequin primarily based on connectivity and user-generated content material, made within the picture and pursuits of corporations like Fb, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. 

On this setting, netizens are each contributors and merchandise. We join providers in alternate for our knowledge, which is offered to advertisers, and we create content material that generates worth and fuels engagement for these platforms. We do all this whereas having no rights to something on-line.

Our social media profiles will be taken down and our entry to e-mail accounts or messenger apps suspended. We don’t personal any of the digital property we buy and don’t have any autonomy over our knowledge. Companies we construct on-line are sometimes reliant on platforms and are due to this fact susceptible to algorithms, knowledge breaches and shadow bans. 

The deck is stacked in opposition to us. As a result of the choice to not be concerned, when a lot of the commerce and communication on the planet takes place on-line, will not be actually an choice in any respect. And but there may be nothing that we will level to and name ours. Nothing we’ve any precise authority over.

And, it’s this dynamic that Web3 is set to alter. 

Web3 and the “web of worth” 

Proper now, when most individuals hear the time period “Web3” they in all probability suppose “metaverse”. However a greater approach to consider Web3 is because the evolution of the web. 

At present, the digital expertise could be very company and really centralized. Web3 will provide the dynamic, app-driven person expertise of the present cell internet in a decentralized mannequin, shifting the ability from massive tech again to the customers. It is going to do that by spreading the information outward — placing it again within the fingers of netizens who’re then free to make use of, share and monetize it as they see match — and increasing the dimensions and scope of interactions between customers and the web. 

Underpinning that growth might be assured entry, which implies anybody can use any service with out permissions and nobody can block, limit or take away any person’s entry. 

The concept then is that Web3 is not going to solely be extra egalitarian however that it’ll create an “Web of Worth” as a result of the worth generated by the net might be shared far more equitably between customers, corporations, and providers, with a lot better interoperability. Customers could have full possession, authority, and management over each the content material they create and their knowledge. However how will this assist us transition towards true digital possession? 

NFTs maintain the important thing to digital possession 

The reality is that digital possession will not be too laborious an issue to resolve. And we have already got the answer: NFTs. 

Within the public consciousness, NFTs are recognized for the initiatives which have garnered probably the most media consideration, similar to CryptoPunks and Bored Ape Yacht Membership. Whereas initiatives similar to these have catapulted the time period into the zeitgeist, the usefulness of the underlying expertise has been a lot much less mentioned. 

Merely put, NFTs act as proof of possession. The small print of the NFT’s holder are recorded on the blockchain, all transactions and transfers are tracked and clear and out there to the general public, and every part is managed by the token’s distinctive ID and metadata.

So, how does this work in observe? Let’s say I create an NFT. As quickly as I add it, a “sensible contract” is created that tracks its creation, the present proprietor, and the royalties I’ll obtain. If somebody decides to buy it, they personal that NFT and any extra perks that include possession. Their particulars are registered on the blockchain and no one can edit or take away them. 

Now, let’s say that the marketplace for my NFTs begins to warmth up, demand grows and the worth of my assortment begins to rise. If the proprietor decides to promote, they make a revenue and I earn a small royalty from the resale. The change in possession is tracked on-chain in real-time and the sensible contract ensures my royalty price is deposited straight in my pockets. That is the important thing worth proposition of NFTs: Verifiable possession and the choice to liquidate digital property. 

What’s subsequent for Web3? 

That is what possession appears like in Web3. It’s the promise that netizens will have the ability to personal their digital property in the identical approach that they personal their dwelling, automobile and watch. NFTs will usher in a extra equitable digital economic system and can play a central function in the way forward for digital commerce. 

The very fact is that as of proper now, we’re nonetheless writing the Web3 rulebook. That is nonetheless a really new, very younger area. And whereas few issues are sure, what we will say for positive is that the web is barely transferring in a single path: possession. 

The tenet in Web3 is to speed up the transition in the direction of a extra equitable digital setting. It is rather a lot opt-in, an web constructed by the folks for the folks. It’s one through which possession is the inspiration upon which new merchandise, networks, and experiences are being constructed. And it’s elementary to establishing the web of worth. 

Over the subsequent few years, as Web3 develops it can function alongside Web2. The infrastructure supporting Web2 could be very robust and I don’t see us utterly shifting away from that any time quickly. Nevertheless, within the medium-to long-term, Web3 will utterly reshape our relationship with the web.

Filip Martinsson is cofounder and chief working officer of Moralis.


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