Build Community in Web3
After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:
- Describe and define the metaverse.
- Describe main components of the Web3 community.
- Explain the utility of DAOs and dApps in building community
Where Worlds Collide: The Metaverse
As we’ve discussed, we’re in the early days of a new version of the internet called Web3. It’s being built on trusted, decentralized technology accessible to all. Platforms, apps, and data won't belong to large platforms—they’ll belong to users.
Some people are calling this new internet the metaverse. The metaverse is a new reality that reimagines how we interact with the world around us. Playing Fortnite or roaming around Roblox are great examples of Web2 metaverses, the difference is that the Web3 metaverse is backed by the chain.
The terms metaverse and Web3 have been used interchangeably, but they have inherent differences. According to Oxford Languages, the metaverse is “a virtual-reality space in which users can interact with a computer-generated environment and other users.” Users will only be able to jump between digital worlds with ownership of their assets intact if the metaverse is operating on a decentralized platform.
Web3 enables a more equitable metaverse, allowing for true ownership (and interoperability) across many metaverses/gamescapes and virtual realities. For example, a sword bought for one game could now be used in another.
The metaverse is where the Web3 community comes together to connect, learn, game, and engage with people around the world.
Community Comes First
Community and collaboration is central to Web3, providing a foundation that improves the likelihood of success and maintains relevance of a project, idea, event, and so forth.
The strength of an online community’s network is not only determined by how many people make up the community, but also the participants’ engagement on social media and community discussion forums. The decentralized nature of blockchain emphasizes the importance of community as a pillar of the next generation of internet.
So where are these communities if everything is decentralized? The short answer is, they’re everywhere around the world. They’re communicating via messaging platforms and social media, and organizing live events to attend together. Having tremendous reach and engagement across Discord, Twitter, and Telegram, these communities of diverse individuals are able to have a real impact. Since the foundation of these communities are messaging based, users are more engaged with content on the platform and have deeper connection to the people and content. They’re participants rather than simply users.
One way communities come together in Web3 is through DAOs and dApps. Keep reading to learn about these two functions of Web3.
Decentralized Autonomous Organizations
A decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) is a group or collective made up of individuals who organize around a common purpose. They’re managed by smart contracts, powered by tokens, have a shared treasury, and are governed by community voting. Examples range from the development of open-source software to a crowd-sourced attempt at purchasing the US Constitution.
DAOs are to Web3 what open-source projects are to Web1. DAOs are made up of people who share common goals and objectives, visions, and values. These groups unite to produce products or deliver services, and members/contributors are rewarded for their contributions to the collective.
DAOs represent a framework for community and shared responsibility—what companies represent in the context of Web2. This framework might very well function as the underpinning for the future of work (the next era of the gig economy).
Decentralized Apps (dApps)
Next, we have decentralized apps (dApps), which are applications (software), built on a decentralized network (blockchain), which combine a smart contract and a front-end (UI). dApps use the same front end as Web2 apps, but rely on blockchain technology rather than centralized servers or other centralized databases.
Web2 applications like Instagram or Twitter differ from Web3 applications in that they’re owned/operated by centralized authorities (for example, companies like Meta).
In the case of Web3 applications, no central authority or governing body has absolute control or governance rights when it comes to data recorded on/by the network. Instead, the data is verified by a decentralized peer-to-peer (P2P) network of computers.
In the future, we can expect that media, gaming, and finance industries will see a significant shift toward dApps, as they provide greater ownership for creators, enable play-to-earn, and create faster and more secure transactions.
Bringing It All Together
Each of these technologies—blockchain, cryptocurrencies, metaverses, DAOs, dApps—are paving the way for significant changes in our personal and work lives. But it’s the combination of these technologies that provides the foundation for Web3.
We can easily imagine a bright and shiny future powered by the increasing use cases and applications of blockchain technologies, but if we’re not careful, these can be a destabilizing force for society.
The same way that the two previous internet revolutions had positive and negative impacts, new technologies in Web3 carry potentially negative repercussions. Putting the control in the wrong hands can alter our future in undesirable ways if the goals are not aligned with the common good.
It’s a new era. Governments, business leaders, the scientific community, and citizens need to work together to define the paths, lead with values, and direct the technologies of Web3 to create sustainable applications and a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive society. Read on to learn more about approaching Web3 with ethics, trust, and safety at the forefront.