Intro

If you’ve spent any time on the internet in the past few years, you will probably have come across a strange new vocabulary.

A whole new Web

If you’ve spent any time on the internet in the past few years, you will probably have come across a strange new vocabulary.

NFTs. Blockchain. Ether. DeFi. Tokens. Smart contracts. HODLing.

And of course – Bitcoin.

These are all crucial components of Web3. If you aren’t familiar with them, they can seem like baffling concepts. But Web3 may well represent a new chapter in the history of the internet. In fact, it may even represent an entirely new way to organize businesses, economies, and even whole societies.

Why so complex?

Web3 and the crypto industry can seem hard to get your head around at first.

This is partly because the technology is a little complex. But it’s also because Web3 deals with things that are so fundamental to our societies that it is actually quite hard to conceive of doing them differently.

For example – money. It’s not often that we are required to think about what money actually *is*, at a conceptual level. Similarly, many of us think of traditional corporations, with centralized, top-down decision-making, as the only way to do business.

To understand the true value of Web3, we need to examine these fundamental building blocks of our society, and dare to imagine alternatives – because that is what people are building, right now, in the Web3 space.

Who’s afraid of crypto?

The terms ‘crypto’ and ‘Web3’ can summon strong feelings – often negative ones. Much of the media coverage of the space has focused on its less admirable sides. 

Some of this is fair criticism. Tax avoidance, large-scale fraud, people losing their life-savings in ill-advised investments – Web3 has had more than its fair share of scandals. This new frontier of technology has developed at a pace that regulators could never keep up with – and bad actors have certainly taken advantage. 

But the core value proposition of a decentralized Web remains incredibly strong. Those who ignore it due to early scandals may well be missing out on the most important technology in a generation.

Why this matters

In the early days of the internet, it was routinely mocked as an impractical, dangerous place for oddballs and fraudsters.

Over the past 30 years, it’s become something that most of us use for many hours every single day.

Today, the very same debate rages about Web3. Will crypto revolutionize the Web, and permanently alter the shape of our economies? Or will this experiment be remembered as a useless fad?

Only time will tell. But anyone with an interest in what tech will look like in the coming decades should take the time to really think about these questions.

Few people are better positioned to guide us through this world than Michael “Jelly” Jelen. Jelly has authored blockchain policy and strategy for governments worldwide, contributed to top DeFi DAOs, and is a co-founder of Swan, a crypto fund focused on improving the efficiency of digital asset markets through arbitrage.

This pathway is written in collaboration between Kinnu and Jelly.

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