What is Web 3?
Many people use the words Web 3/Blockchain/Crypto interchangeably. We will use Web 3. Web 3 is a new computing paradigm.
Web 1 (read) was the first version of the web, it allowed us to view information anywhere in the world at almost zero cost from a browser (think newspapers online).
Web 2 (read/write) introduced the ability to read and write to the web (via complex server based software/database systems) and has given us the web as we know it today. Unfortunately a fundamental problem with Web 2 is that it allows global scale centralisation and disintermediation that has now resulted in global monopolies such as Google, Facebook, Amazon, Uber etc and unelected people having huge power. These organisations effectively “own” your money, your data, your identity.
Web 3 (read/write/own) allows anybody to own their money, data and identity without needing a trusted intermediary. Programmable blockchains such as Ethereum allow us to create Smart Contracts. Smart contracts are simply programs stored on a blockchain that run when predetermined conditions are met. They typically are used to automate the execution of an agreement so that all participants can be immediately certain of the outcome, without any intermediary’s involvement or time loss. That means we can make transparent systems that are theoretically unstoppable or incorruptible and without any centralised control.
In theory we have a way to fundamentally change our entire global commerce systems to one that doesn’t rely on centralised control and counterparty risks. It’s kind of like open source but with an economic model and incentive structures wrapped around it.
What are crypto currencies?
It is important to distinguish between Web 3 and Cryptocurrencies. Cryptocurrencies (sometimes shortened to crypto) are a subset of Web 3, i.e. using Blockchain to create digital tokens that show similar properties to currencies. Unfortunately the speculative nature and the lack of regulation of cryptocurrencies means that it tends to attract the money speculators, bad actors and news headlines.
What are Decentralised Autonomous Organisations (DAO)?
If we can build the rules that define an organisation (e.g. governance, resource allocation, reputation management etc) as transparent and auditable smart contracts then we can create organisations that run autonomously. Theoretically these organisations can be fully transparent, incorruptible and global.
Over the last few years there has been a cambrian explosion of DAO experimentation that have challenged the traditional view of what and organisation is (often the line burring between an organisation, a community and an economy). The regulators and law makers are stuggling to keep up.
Why is this important for The Wellbeing Protocol?
Our end goal is to create hyper local DAO’s. Each DAO would be owned and controlled by the members of the local community that it serves (and not by, for example, Facebook or Government). Each DAO would have a suite of governance options, tools (e.g. savings pools or volunteer co-ordinations/incentive) and configuration/template options that communities could choose to use. The Wellbeing Protocol would act like a foundation to support the build of the tools and the communities as they onboard. Ultimately The Wellbeing Protocol will decentralise and become a DAO under governance control of the communities it is serving.
The architecture and design of the systems we are creating have been heavily influenced by decentralisation and DAO architectures and governance patterns.
We believe that for the first time in human history the forces of decentralisation and localism can be used to start to push against the huge forces of centralisation and capitalism that dominate western society.
Which blockchain are you building on?
Our initial focus has been on the user experience. To be successful we need 'real' people from all walks of society to be able to interact with the system. This doesn't need a blockchain so our first release, the participatory grantmaking tool has been build using standard Web 2 technologies. We are currently planning our on-chain migration. It will be on the Ethereum ecosystem (at this point likely Optimism Layer 2). Aya Miyaguchi (Executive Director of the Ethereum Foundation) recently gave us a personal donation to support the Rātā Rangatahi trial.