Web3 is what you do

A call to action

Actions speak louder than words is a very common phrase, but in online communities words are so much easier the see and share than actions are. As a counter example the open source community broadly speaking has long taken action by valuing the contributions of members with resources like github allowing for credit to be given where it is due. In many crypto and web3 spaces this ethos has continued with developers knowing well who is contributing to projects in a meaningful way and valuing the relationships they have with those that are contributing to projects they care about. As web3 opens up to non-developer participants I want to encourage myself and others to take this to heart and consider the value of our actions vs our words. Web3 is open to everyone, so looking at your skills and talents and finding a way to get involved is the best way to see the web3 you want come to existence.

A possible problem

We all have our pet peeves. I want to acknowledge that I may be seeing a problem where there is none. Regardless I believe that encouraging my peers to build more is worth doing, even if there isn't a problematic alternative going on. In my view it is tempting to be a keyboard warrior and to spend a lot of time talking about things rather than to contribute meaningful work. That is not to say that there is never a time to express a thought or an idea. Much meaningful work begins with collaborative discussion, goal setting, and alignment of ideas. This way the work can progress smoothly with all participants in concert rather than working against or parallel to each other. I want to speak out against those who enter a space and seek to impose their ideals, biases, traditions, or whims without due consideration to what has been built already and what the rest of the community wants to build. Rather than bringing work and creating the things they want to see many wish to just argue and push their ideas on others.

The web3 debate

We are still in the early days of web3. One of the most common questions I hear asked in any place where this topic is discussed is the simple and straightforward "what is web3" but as many of us know there is not a simple and straightforward answer. When defining a new term many ideas rise up from the masses who are engaging in the discussion. A myriad of backgrounds make up the body of people interested in crypto, blockchain, the internet, the connectedness of people, and the political and social issues that surround all of these things. These different perspectives can come together to create rich collaboration, but very often they also lead to clashes and debate.

 I asked google "what is web3":

Put very simply, Web3 is an extension of cryptocurrency, using blockchain in new ways to new ends. - Harvard Business Review

Web3 is an idea for a new iteration of the World Wide Web which incorporates concepts such as decentralization, blockchain technologies, and token-based economics. - Wikipedia

Web3 can be understood as the “read/write/own” phase of the Internet. -Coindesk

Web 3.0 is a paradigm shift for the internet that is defined by a collection of decentralized protocols and networks run by network participants worldwide. - Cointelegraph

Different Perspective - Different Emphasis

I highlighted the top 4 results of the google search "What is web3" and here I want to pull out some of the key emphases that I see in each one. 

I think many people who are active in exploring, using, and building web3 would agree with most or all of these ideas but I want to point out the different emphasis. For each participant the part of web3 that is the most important is different. Some people do not see decentralization as a key or critical component of web3 where as for others it is so critical that anything without it is not really web3.

On platforms like reddit.com/r/CryptoCurrency you will regularly find people debating or arguing about what is important. This can be fine but in many cases these communities become isolated echo chambers where all of the active members must adhere to certain dogmas about web3 or crypto else they should retreat to a different community that better aligns to their ideas. Rather than having productive discussions where people are learning and exploring ideas I too often see popular talking points being stated as fact with no real engagement or concession from any party. This is especially true online where there is little accountability for how we treat and talk to one another.

Communities make a difference

There are a large number of diverse communities on a variety of platforms when it comes to crypto and web3. Two particularly popular platforms for protocol specific communities are discord and telegram. These communities have a variety of moderation styles, cultures, and community members. In my experience it is very apparent early on what kind of discussion you can expect to have in one of these groups. It could be endless memes or charts with wild price speculation and talk of striking it rich, in which case web3 is only interesting as a function of more hype or more adoption which hopefully translates to more profit for anyone invested early in a project. In a group like this any attempt to have a philosophical discussion about the value of decentralization will not get very far because it is not exciting or directly contradicts a mentality of accumulating wealth. In another group such price talk or moon speak will not be welcome and instead only details about project news or fundamentals is welcome. In a group like this talk of decentralization or trustless and permissionless systems is more welcome. I don't bring up this dichotomy of groups to claim that one is good and one is bad, instead I want to make the argument that the space has enough room for both and that rather than worrying about winning over the members of a group we should instead maximize the time we spend engaging with the members we enjoy and collaborating to create content and build things together. 

So how do I get involved especially if I can't code?

I am someone who has tried to get myself to learn to code dozens of times. Each time I try I get pulled away by something I'm more interested in. I didn't want that to prevent me from contributing to web3 so I am incredibly grateful that The Graph Advocates actively encouraged people from every background to apply to their program. The Graph is a decentralized protocol that currently provides an indexing and querying service to dapps for blockchain data. The current network and the roadmap gives a clear picture of their dedication to decentralization and utilizing cryptographic proofs to build a trust minimized and permissionless system. The advocates program enables participants in the graph ecosystem to better collaborate with other contributors and be recognized for their contributions not only to the graph but web3 as a whole. There are a variety of ways to participate from generating blog posts, youtube videos, memes etc to organizing in person events or simply hanging out in chat rooms and assisting with answering questions or pointing people to answers. It is amazing what the community members have already accomplished and built together. 

As a recently onboarded advocate I have limited contributions under my belt, but I feel so much more a part of web3 and I believe in it now more than I ever did. I am living the reality that web3 is open to anyone even someone who can't program in solidity. I hope that we can break down the barriers even further and truly open up web3 to the whole world, because it will open the flood gates to ideas and creations that will transform the world.