Reputation in Web3: Ships Built on the Great Flood

What is actually wrong with Web2?

In 2004 “Web2” was popularized at a conference which sought to ask the very same question: “What is wrong?” The organizers of the first Web2 conference felt that the industry “had lost its way” after the dotcom bubble burst and needed an injection of confidence. In particular, there was a sense that the vertically integrated portals, like America Online and Yahoo, had created unsustainable monoliths ‘evilly’ trapped users and their data, prevented creative innovation from smaller startups, and led to bubble and bust. Web2 at its outset was about understanding and emulating the ideals and design concepts of the open source movement, but also the success of companies that were still expanding despite the drought, like Google and Amazon.

  • Platform wealth and economic sharing: Today, creators & consumers contribute to a platform to gain social or economic status. But this status is rented (status on platform only, revenue shared directly with platform). In Web3 this status is owned. Not only is social reputation portable, but the relationship with IP created on platform can be owned and portable as well.
  • Content ownership and rights: Web3 introduces ownership as a process. As IP is put out on the web, IP is minted on chain in order to show provenance and give creator control to its distribution and usage rights. This is done on the individual level vs. the platform level.
  • The happy accident of NFTs: it seems increasingly evident that certain objects on an open, interoperable world computer will be treated and valued like, well… real objects. This is not yet fully understood, but insofar as NFTs are unique to blockchain-style architectures this would represent quite an advantage.
  • Lies, hype and bots: Actors can still choose to create as many personalities, handles, keys, etc. as they’d like. However, the incentive for building reputation is to accumulate as much good faith on a single identity as possible. This will enable better positioning and recruiting into more lucrative and socially beneficial opportunities than those handles that lack reputation.
  • Governance, individual influence and moderation: As we discussed in previous articles, ownership is less about financial upside and more about social influence. In Web3, the individual is now influential within the organization it holds tokens of, giving s/he the ability to drive decision making that will bring better health and effectiveness to the community.
  • Permissionless development and composability: Today’s platforms control what can and cannot be published on their network. It also starts every user from the same starting line. In Web3, development is unrestricted because the permission is tied directly to that individual’s reputation. Every decision they make is tied to their identity, so it’s a choice as to whether or not you want to carry these decisions with you throughout the web. Everything built on the protocol is foundational to what others can build on top of it. So instead of everyone acting independently and starting from scratch, everyone works in collaboration and builds on top of foundational legos from other members before them.
  • New models of work and collaboration: The business models of Web3 encourage collaboration. In Web2, all revenue streams reward the action of the output (advertising against what’s already published, subscribing to a finished piece of work). In Web3, there’s now a business model on the input. Crowdfunding and social tokens are an investment in the idea before there is any output generated, encouraging strong collaboration at the onset which rewards all participants throughout the creative process
  1. No — Web3 is best understood as a sort of ‘economic’ extension of Web2, especially of social media, and it will grow as Web2 grows.
  2. Sort of — key aspects of Web2 will be better performed by Web3 systems and there will be a symbiotic relationship between two parallel but similarly powerful models.
  3. Yes — over time, all of the key aspects of Web2, including centralized social networks, will be replaced by web3-style user-owned and governed protocols.



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