Notes from the field + All the Web3 news you missed this week
For the past year, I’ve been consulting and advising companies in 2 main areas: their web3/crypto/blockchain strategy and helping startups scale up. It has been a natural and gratifying way to share what I’ve learned working as an operator over the past 10 years in web3 and 20 years in tech.
My time advising larger corporations has really helped me understand the perspective of companies outside the industry and the challenges they’re facing as they navigate the development of web3/crypto. The most common challenges I’ve seen are:
Keeping up with the rapid evolution of trends within different web3 sectors
Finding an authentic entry point to the web3 world
Coming up with the right way to experiment with crypto/blockchain within the constraints of a larger organization
Struggling to hire experienced crypto/web3 talent due to both the lack of an experienced talent base and their attractiveness as an employer
Educating and preparing their workforce for changes to the technology landscape
A common analogy I hear to the early internet days, the mid 90s. As the internet was rapidly changing how businesses operate and the technology struggled through the early bumps in the road - people started to recognize that the internet presented both threats and opportunities. Whether we’re going through a similar moment wiht web3 remains to be seen, either way its clear nobody wants to be caught unprepared.
A personal note: So far, my consulting/advising has been with people who are already in my network, but today I’m excited to share that I’m now bookable for anyone through Intro- a new platform designed to democratize access to industry experts in time segments as short as 15 min. You can use the button link below to book my time.
And now, here’s all the other Web3 news you missed this week.
Here’s the Web3 news from the past week
After Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida named Web3 an area for economic reform, politicians began a full court press to push the sector forward by making policy recommendations and publishing white papers. This has dramatically accelerated the drafting process, which is usually led by bureaucrats and involves numerous meetings spread out over months.
Creating the internet we deserve: The case for Web3 (Venture Beat)
Web2 has centralized power among a few large corporations, many of them search engines born in the late 1990s and early 2000s that now serve as gatekeepers for the internet. “The problem with this concentration of power is that it can be abused,” writes Daniel Saito of StrongNode, noting issues like censorship and non-consensual data collection. Web3 has the potential to right many of these wrongs, Saito argues, by making the internet accessible to everyone, energy efficient, censorship resistant, respectful of user privacy, and algorithmically responsible.
Lessons From a DeFi DAO Divorce (CoinDesk)
When two hot DeFi players, Rari Capital and Fei Protocol, decided to merge, it was a “massive moment” for the space. Now the two have dissolved their union, after one of Rari’s products was hit by a $80 million attack, leading to a relationship-ending conflict over how to reimburse users. “Governance will always be a messy issue, especially in times of crisis,” writes Daniel Kuhn. “DAO mergers are not impossible going forward, but it’s becoming clearer that supposedly unified communities can fracture whenever there are multiple economically incentivized groups.”
Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin defends DAOs against critics (Cointelegraph)
In a blog post, Vitalik Buterin argued against the position that DAOs are necessarily more inefficient than traditional corporations when it comes to decision-making, though he noted that DAOs can benefit from some centralization in certain situations. Categorizing decisions as “convex” (better suited to a coin flip) versus “concave” (better suited to compromise), Buterin wrote that decentralized decision-making can slow things down when it comes to convex issues but provide better answers for concave issues, thanks to the “wisdom of the crowds.”
Sushi DAO holds Election for the Next Chief Executive (The Crypto Times)
Sushi DAO, which operates the crypto exchange SushiSwap, will hold an election for its next CEO (aka its “Head Chef”) on September 26. The 5 candidates have spent recent weeks campaigning, holding AMAs, and participating in public debates. “The election is a novel experiment in corporate governance and the decentralized business models,” writes Ritu Lavania, and, per one candidate, a bid for transparency in the otherwise opaque finance world.
Waves founder: DAOs will never work without fixing governance (Cointelegraph)
Despite the egalitarian ideals of decentralized organizations, many DAOs perpetuate inequality and leave themselves vulnerable to hostile takeovers through token-weighted governance, which concentrates power among a small group of individuals. Instead, Sasha Ivanov proposes a meritocracy-based system that determines voting power using KPIs like engagement and development.
The Year of the NFT (The Verge) *note: this was published in June, but still wanted to post it
In case you missed it: The Verge published a collection of articles looking at the “rollercoaster” ride that NFT have been on, from Beeple’s record-setting $69 million NFT sale in March 2021 to the sector’s subsequent crash. Topics include the state of NBA Top Shot, the breakdown of a CryptoPunks auction, and the dubious creative merits of NFT art.
At Adweek’s Brandweek summit, Verizon chief creative officer Andrew McKechnie detailed the success of the company’s 2021 Super Bowl activation on Fortnite and advised organizations to approach their forays into the metaverse with authenticity. “Any new tech is going to have an element of hype,” said McKechnie. “What I try to get my teams to think about is as we venture to anything that exists in Web3, let’s make sure there’s a level of brand authenticity in the way in which we do it. It’s okay to go play, experiment and try different things, but make sure you’re doing it through the lens of an authentic brand experience.”
Why the metaverse? (FastCompany)
In a project between Meta and Fast Company, four experts from Meta, Decentraland, XR Goes Pop, and George Mason University shared their insights into how organizations can make use of the metaverse in their businesses. Speaking to current trends in corporate metaverse activations, Decentraland’s Sam Hamilton noted a movement toward narrative journeys: “Tell them a story that somehow enlightens them to something about your brand, and then give them something for completing the quest.”
After Wintermute suffered a $160 million hack on Tuesday, it was revealed, per on-chain data, that its loan book includes $92 million owed to TrueFi, $75 million owed to Maple Finance, and $22.4 million owed to Clearpool. In a series of tweets, CEO Evgeny Gaevoy affirmed that the organization is in fact solvent.
Off topic stories I found interesting
No one is actually boiling chicken in NyQuil (Garbage Day)
“Sleepytime chicken” is a joke recipe that originated on 4chan’s message boards in 2017, involving boiling chicken in whiskey and NyQuil. This year it has twice been resuscitated as a TikTok trend, inspiring concern from users and also the FDA, which issued a memo asking people to please not cook chicken in cough syrup. The whole thing is a lesson in the ways that different internet platforms work, writes Ryan Broderick: “On 4chan, sleepytime chicken is a funny story about a weird thing a weird guy did once. On TikTok, it has become a moral panic two separate times in the same year.”
In case you missed it - this was the most opened article from last week’s news roundup
On September 15, Ethereum completed “the Merge,” a transition that moved it from a proof-of-work blockchain system to a proof-of-stake system, which promises to be more secure, more scalable, and much more environmentally friendly. “Ethereum should now consume 99.9% or so less energy,” reports CoinDesk. “It's like Finland has suddenly shut off its power grid, according to one estimate.”
Finally we can stop speculating what a “post merge” world looks like! And now on to all the other Web3 news you missed this week.
Hi, I’m Andrew Chang - I created the Web3 Roundup to share what I’m learning in this space. I’ve spent my career at the forefront of the technology industry in areas such as crypto/blockchain (Former COO @ Paxos, co-founding partner of Liberty City Ventures), video and adtech. I learn by meeting with founders, investors and other thought leaders and approach Web3 with the same enthusiasm – and skepticism – I had about crypto/blockchain technologies 10 years ago.