Although Web3 is gaining momentum and attracting significant attention in many parts of the world as it promotes decentralization, well-known entrepreneurs like Elon Musk and Jack Dorsey reject the concept.
“You do not own” web3. “The VCs and their LPs do. It will never escape their incentives. It is ultimately a centralized entity with a different brand,” Dorsey tweeted in December.
Is Web3 a fashion phenomenon and too idealistic? Or is it the future?
We spoke these questions to Chris Siriserepaph (Partner at Singapore-based VC company Saison Capital), who has been trying out Web3 for the past few months.
Below are the edited excerpts from the interview:
Web3 is gaining popularity globally, including in Southeast Asia. What does Web3’s future look like in this region? What changes can it bring to the region’s start-up ecosystem?
Southeast Asia is one of the best markets for Web3 to take off; consumers and businesses accustomed to higher traditional challenges with finance infrastructure may be more open to fintech innovation.
In our region, tokens have enabled companies to build strong and authentic communities around their products and brands. It will not be surprisingly increasingly to see founders use these communities as a resource to develop their businesses and brands.
Also read: The transition is now: These Web3 apps are transforming global finance
The implications can mean significant changes in the dynamics built into the technological ecosystem as we know it. It will no longer include only founders, VCs and operators, but also anyone involved in one of these communities through token ownership and active in community engagement. The founders will have more resources available and it will become increasingly easier to build a product to solve a problem.
What are the uses of Web3 and metaverse technologies in real life? Can you share some examples?
Adidas recently launched an NFT sale where holders of their NFTs will have access to the limited edition Adidas merchandise. The owners of these NFTs have also become a community of adidas’ most ardent fans.
FlamingoDAO is a DAO that makes investments in NFTs and other assets through collective decision making among token holders.
Is Web3 a fashion phenomenon as it is still in its early stages of development and remains abstract and speculative? Why is the concept attracting so much attention?
Web3 is certainly in its infancy, but the growing traction and real use cases have made it undeniable that Web3 as an industry will grow rapidly and become huge. Decentralization and authenticity can seem like expressions that have been overused in the context of blockchain history. But with Web3, we see the theory of these terms turn into real cultural shifts.
While its supporters describe Web3 as the next framework for the next digital age, many like Jack Dorsey and Elon Musk have dismissed the concept as too idealistic, suggesting that its promise of broad ownership is too good to be true. How do you view these comments?
Absolute decentralization will hardly be a panacea for everything. In some cases, centralization can be helpful in ensuring that there is a way for appropriate intervention when prejudice or sinister activities arise.
Also read: 7 Metaverse companies in Southeast Asia that caught our attention in 2021
However, Web3 should have more distributed ownership because tokens have introduced new ways to build communities around any business or product with custom incentives.
A British-based engineer and blogger, Stephen Diehl, says web3 is a silly marketing campaign that seeks to turn the public’s negative associations of cryptocurrencies into a false narrative about the disruption of the old technology company’s hegemony. Is there any truth in that?
The layman in the digital age is smarter than most people expect. Most people recognize that the ideological advantages or disadvantages of both cryptocurrencies and Web3 are very much the same. We see potential contrasts in the application, and in reality this is what the individual users will take the most from. Every piece of technology used in different hands will result in different results.
Facebook recently expressed its intention to become a metaverse company and re-branded it as Meta. Do you not think that metaverse in the hands of one company will be detrimental to the entire Web 3.0 decentralization movement?
Yes, that would be it. However, it is too early to say whether that will happen. A more certain assumption would be that Facebook will have many skilled competitors with the same goal, and the end state will not be Web3 in the hands of one company.
Some say that Facebook’s monopoly on metaverse will encourage competitors to come up with their own versions, leading to more ‘closed’ metavers, which would be the Web 2.0 system again. Your comments…
Web2 ended up with closed ecosystems, mainly because no other model was available. Now both businesses and consumers have options and choices. Blockchain as a technology also has the basic advantage of being interoperable. These two factors coupled will ensure that the metaverse is unlikely to be a monopoly.
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The post ‘Absolute decentralization will hardly be a panacea for everything’: Chris Siriserepaph from Saison Capital first appeared on e27.