For Web3 to mature, there must be recognition of the value of sovereignty, and UX must continue to improve
It’s no secret that institutions are sizing up blockchain and cousin technologies today. As their tone fluctuates, mainstream media attempts to keep pace with volatility and its sponsors. The disruption of common narratives with Web3, NFTs, metaverses, and Bitcoin are present outside fintech, but these conversations are frequently short-form, narrow views.
Web3 is still a loosely defined phrase, but without scalability, interoperability, and shared security, it’s doomed to the same cycle of euphoria-taboo as the ICO craze just six years ago. The comedy of “Web5” is an easy way to describe the fumble of Web3 as a meaningful phrase today.
We know going backwards won’t heal misunderstandings or improve consumer experiences. A small group of corporations (Big Tech) will feed their needs for profit by any means (especially in this climate of inflation), extorting data like oil in the hopes of slicking more user-activity data products.
Corporations have strangled digital privacy and hampered their reputations, but their need to grow profit margins and public trust can’t end. It’s unrealistic to expect these organisations will grow public trust to the detriment of their other culturally-entrenched responsibilities.
Web3 should be the cure, but the disease is mostly undiagnosed
Web3 invoking “read + write + execute” is still foreign to most internet users, similar to the moderate-low literacy of average internet users in the late 2000s. Like those free AOL CDs, there’s a plethora of free, easy-to-use Web2 applications available, so venturing into applications establishing data sovereignty requires an educated customer.
The dramatic changes that Web3 brings are still emerging, and with notable public confusion, the differences in monetisation models are frequently lost in the conversation. With significant benefits ahead, Big Tech has to drive its narrative harder, insisting that its products are safe, trustworthy, and ethical.
This leaves an open lane for Web2/SaaS products to claim some undeserved shine, especially in head-to-head UX and overall task latency. Because dapps require more operations across more systems, they seem closer to the 1990s internet in the eye of the layman. Comparing blockchain transactions and web app latency is an easy way to bend a narrative away from consumer rights towards instant gratification.
Blockchain organisations know this; they’re buckling down efficiency for the bear market. Speed isn’t going to revamp in a glamorous refresh but caching, glossy UIs, and new features give hope to a new swell of users. Some of these components are already in progress, but some solutions require difficult work, especially when acting in the best interest of users over a single chain.
While tribalism guides Twitter, blockchain organisations behind the scenes are watching liquidity dwindle, affirming their survival needs more than inflows from CEXs. Bridges, oracles, and sidechains are emerging more frequently in smaller-scale structures like app chains, often built as structures to aid traffic between multiple blockchains. Mobile apps today are more interested in a suite of blockchain integrations than a single option, knowing that most users are looking for a series of different dapps and chains.
With interoperability growing and establishing as a staple need, bridges are pushed to deliver more products more quickly with the goal of streamlining UX. Some products have built to their limit inside the network effects of EVM and are starting to focus on Rust chains like NEAR Protocol, Solana, and Stacks, hoping to cover as many features, dapps, TVL and liquidity as possible.
Any successful buildout in Web3 requires the availability of secure, reliable, and cost-effective tools at the same [or better] efficiency than Big Tech. Projects like Octopus Network offer tools that address elastic-scaling needs, including a blockchain endpoint, indexer, and explorer.
These solutions, which commonly cost more than US$1 million in their first year to build and run, are provided free to app chains that choose to build on Octopus Network. Compassion in support of growing projects utilising these tools is an often overlooked driver that makes adoption immediately more attainable.
Accelerating growth in Web3
Octopus Network was designed specifically to accelerate the growth of web3 by directly addressing critical qualities for success, scalability, interoperability, and shared security.
- Scalability: Octopus Network resides on NEAR Protocol which utilises a modular consensus called Doomslug in a sharded design, Nightshade. When network congestion is seen, Octopus Network will lobby the validator community to deploy a shard, dedicating a small subset of validators to prioritise Octopus Network transactions. Total chain throughput has been charted at 100,000 transactions per second, with shards commanding over 10,000 TPS without performance optimisation.
- Interoperability: With the unique development of the Substrate-IBC pallet opening fungible asset transfers and trustless bridges based on merkle mountain ranges, there are at least three ecosystems with cross-connectivity and cross-compatibility available today (and improvements in progress).
- Shared Security: Shared security is built into the infrastructure of Octopus Network through a leased-proof-of-stake (LPoS) model. This mandates that chains configure how much the total validator set will earn [and delegators as contributors to validator escrow] not to pay validators themselves. This elastic market of supply and demand derives equilibrium from the price of each app chains’ core asset against planned rewards.
For Web3 to mature, there must be recognition of the value of sovereignty, and UX must continue to improve. Bitcoin is much faster than bank wires and low-cost ACH transfers, but Ethereum is not faster than modern cloud computing services or mobile apps.
For the “Internet of Money” mentality to grow in virality, cultural understanding of operating value has to grow too; innovation is blitzing forward, but culture doesn’t shift nearly as fast.