I’m working on a list of “superpowers” of blockchain and Web3 for an upcoming article. I want to discuss the things that applications built using these technologies are uniquely capable of, when compared to Web2. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far. Any thoughts? Anything missing? Thanks!
- Better institutions: we can use these tools to build institutions that are more transparent and accountable, more participatory, etc. (like DAOs)
- More open data: since users own and custody their own data and it’s not siloed the way it is in Web2, everything is much more interoperable
- Better privacy: obviously not true of everything in blockchain today, such as base layer transactions on platforms like Bitcoin and Ethereum, but in theory, and increasingly in practice, users have control over their identities and data
- More participation: typically, today, most of us are forced to be second-class citizens in the networks that we’re a part of: banks, schools, governments, companies we invest in, etc. Blockchains level the playing field and allow us to participate and transact as peers instead.
- Permissionless innovation: you don’t need anyone’s permission, any paperwork, or any API keys to deploy a smart contract on Ethereum or a similar platform. Same goes for composing existing applications and their data. This will lead to (and indeed, is leading to) an explosion of innovation and creativity.
- Censorship resistance: censorship is becoming more and more of an issue in the Web2 world, and it’s beginning to have a serious impact on even large-scale politics. A sufficient degree of decentralization, and communities with robust tools for sorting and filtering content, should go a long way towards addressing this.
- More robust digital communities: communities built around tools like blockchain, smart contracts, and DAOs can interact in ways that Facebook groups can only dream of. As a result, many of these communities will evolve from casual social groups into things resembling firms offering products and services.
- Lower transaction fees: this is one of the most exciting things about smart contracts. Nick Szabo wrote about this in the context of “social scalability.” Because they’re much cheaper and less burdensome than negotiating legal contracts and forming companies, smart contracts will open up entirely new classes of transactions that simply were not possible before.