The writer is an investor in technology start-ups at Samos Investments
Web3 – or the new internet – is entering the mainstream. This new version of the web is built with blockchain technology, which is based on the concept of decentralization and allows for greater transparency. Blockchain supports digital assets, such as cryptocurrencies and fixed tokens (NFT).
The worlds of art, fashion, games and finance are already exploring the potential of this new area. From Starbucks’ plans to launch NFT for coffee drinkers to gain access to “experiences” to Gucci who sells NFT at auction to raise money for Unicef USA.
However, the complexity of the space and the lack of engineering knowledge to create tokens have been an obstacle to participation – many people simply do not know where to start. I adopted it late, but I was fascinated and decided I needed to learn a lot more.
A friend told me about a community where she was part of the Astro Girls Society. With a collection of 3888 painted NFTs “Astro Girl”, the initiative is to bring women to Web3 and is the perfect place to learn from other NFT owners. Of course, the first condition for membership was the purchase of Astro Girl NFT, which I did through the OpenSea NFT marketplace.
As a member I have access to learning sessions. More importantly, artists who design NFTs receive a portion of the proceeds from their sale. But choosing NFT is like choosing artwork – you won’t know if value will increase, so buy something you really like that gives you access to a community you value. After finding the NFT I wanted (“Peaceful Saturn”, with purple hair and covered in stars), I bought it using MetaMask, a cryptocurrency wallet. Then I was admitted to the Astro Girls Discord channel – an online group gathering. And so the learning began.
Switching the world of games to web3 is probably the easiest for beginners to understand. Sandbox, launched in 2012, is a metaverse of games where players can build, own and monetize their games. Sand, an auxiliary token built on blockchain technology called Ethereum, is used for transactions and interactions.
For those struggling with the concept of owning real estate in the metaverse, Sandbox helps put that in context. You need to own digital land to build digital assets. If you have experience with online gaming platforms Roblox or Minecraft, it’s similar to being responsible for creating a game patch that others may experience.
Web3 is also changing approaches to employment. TechTree, the job market, has built an online community for developers that encourages them to refer best developers to jobs using “rewards” as a reward. For anyone who is tired of recruiters holding a commission in their pocket or sending friends to work and not receiving any reward, this is the solution. The platform makes you feel like you are in a “metaverse,” and prizes can be cashed in or donated to charity.
But the intersection between Web3 and finance is one that could really accelerate positive change, reducing inequality and increasing economic participation. For example, in Africa “the potential and importance of DeFi [decentralised finance] it cannot be underestimated, ”says Yele Bademosi, co-founder of Nestcoin, a Nigerian startup focused on the availability of cryptocurrencies.
Those in hard-to-reach communities do not have access to bank accounts and other financial services, but Bademosi adds that anyone with an internet connection and a smartphone can access stable coins and savings accounts. Stablecoins are less volatile cryptocurrencies linked to assets or fiat currencies.
However, there are drawbacks. Some blockchains use algorithms that require enormous computing power and are therefore energy intensive. Furthermore, although the blockchain is considered very secure, it is not impenetrable. High-quality hacks include ether worth more than $ 300 million, another cryptocurrency, stolen from Wormhole, a bridge that makes it easier to transfer cryptocurrencies from one blockchain to another.
These concerns should not be taken lightly, but the opportunity to redistribute power and expand access to finance, and even employment opportunities, is exciting.