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The Killer App

January 4, 2022

One part where many people struggle with web 3.0 is the use case. They see the apes and the coins and they are not convinced. If it is so great, then what will it do? What can it do that wasn't possible before?

New technologies enable new things. By definition, they don't exist today. It can be hard to see exactly what that will look like. This makes it exciting but also not very convincing because there's a lot of new technology that doesn't change the world. So what is it with Web 3.0 that will make it so impactful? Here's one thing that I think is exciting:

Global collaboration can now transparently and fairly involve money transfer.

Global collaboration exists today. There are global corporations, but true global collaboration should mean that anyone who wants and can contribute is able to do that. One thing that's pretty close to that is open-source software.

One of the characteristics of open-source is that coders typically build what they want and share it. With a few exceptions, building open source is a hobby, not a job. Since the contributors are coders and built software for themselves, you probably need to know a little bit about coding to use what they built and tinker with it enough to make it work for you. The contributors don't want to spend time fixing all the minor bugs, compatibility issues that are not relevant to them, and packaging the software in an intuitive and friendly interface. Some tinkering is required to make it work and that means that it's not perfectly usable for the non-coders out-of-the-box, and it falls short of a fully-fledged product. On top of that, of course, there is not that much support except for what people want to do for free (which, admittedly, can be a lot)! If you know enough to look for help in a forum somewhere there can be good support there, but you might not get an answer, or get advice written for other coders, or be met with some slight arrogance.

Take software like Linux. It might very well be the OS of the future. The Linux distro that is probably the most common is Ubuntu, which is run by a company, Canonical. Canonical packages the software and makes using it a smooth experience. On top of that, they provide support. Ubuntu is free, but there is a tip jar when you download. Well, that tip jar can now be on the blockchain. The corporation can be taken out of the equation and there can be a sophisticated, fair and transparent algorithm that governs who gets what slice of that value. The open-source contributors are now incentivized to do the last 10% as well because even though they're not using that part themselves, that's part of the product. Now, they get paid for the trouble.

Today, there is a gap between what the open-source community is building and what the consumers want. Additionally, the open-source can't really handle payments in a sophisticated way. The corporation fills that gap by handling the payment and packaging the product. 90% of the work is done by the open-source community. 10% of the work is the packaging and the support. That's done by a corporation, and that's where the money ends up. Through Web 3.0, the open-source community can also handle payments. They will be paid for their work, and thus will also be incentivized to do the packaging of the product. The corporation has been taken out of the equation and open-source coders can be paid for their work.

Why would anybody work on building Microsoft Windows when they can work on building Linux, or something else that you own and believe in, and be paid for that?

The most brilliant minds of our generation are working on how to make people click an ad, someone said. Well, when the coders can work on whatever they feel is meaningful, and get paid for that, it doesn't have to be that way anymore.