Web3 was one of the terms of 2021 and so far in 2022. From blockchain and cryptocurrencies, it went on to NFTs, DeFi, DAOs, dApps, metaverses… The web seems to be at a boiling point, although it seems difficult to know very well where. However, despite the recent use of the term, its first introduction is attributed to Gavin Wood in 2014. Wood, a British computer scientist, was one of the co-founders of Ethereum and later developer of Polkadot and the so-called Web3 Foundationthe institutional arm that tries to promote what Web3 can be in a kind of analogy similar to what the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) supposed for the dawn of the web in the 90s.
In hypertextual we were able to talk to Úrsula O’Kuinghttons, Director of Communication and Associations of the Web3 Foundation to delve into this official profile of one of the technological words on the rise. We do it in a few days in which the fall of all cryptocurrencies and especially the collapse of the Terra-Luna platform has once again allowed many flags to be raised about the promises of decentralization and the traps and cardboard that may occur in pursuit of reaching a course new stadium under the internet.
Although Web3 is not only crypto, both share the blockchain as one of their fundamental pillars, so it is inevitable to start by asking O’Kuinghttons about the collapse of the UST and the Luna token. “We are not used to making assessments since the foundation, at least of such recent phenomena or events—at the time of the conversation, Luna had just collapsed that same morning—, but without a doubt it is a blow to the entire ecosystem. The worst is [Luna y el UST] It had been seen as a good mechanism to sustain itself in countries that were experiencing moments of very high inflation and problems exchanging their currencies with the dollar, such as Argentina, where it has been able to leave many people very exposed”, he comments. Argentina and Mexico is precisely where the Web3 Foundation will hold its next event Decodedwhere it will present news.
With O’Kuinghttons we go through part of the proposal of the foundation and Polkadotthe protocol created by Wood that serves at the same time as the institution’s own project, founded in 2016 and based in Zug (Switzerland).
What the Web3 Foundation does
Let’s start at the beginning. Web3 or Web 3.0 is proposed as an evolution of Web 1.0 and Web 2.0, understood as periods in the history of the web; from its most initial version (1.0) to the social stage where users could generate content (2.0) to the decentralized future in which it is intended to be able to collaborate in a much deeper and safer way: Web3, a new standard in which users have solid and verifiable guarantees regarding the information they receive, deliver and charge on the web, in addition to proposing ways to fight against censorship or opacity.
According to Wood himself, “Web 3.0 adoption will not be quick or clean. With entrenched interests that control much of our digital lifestyle and interests often aligned between legislators, government, and tech monopolies.”
But, What role does the Web3 Foundation play or want to play in these proposed changes? “From the Foundation, for example, we work and support the development of Polkadot or Kusama, a test network for different blockchain protocols. Ultimately, the goal is to promote this technology that generates security and interoperability by supporting developer teams”, says O’Kuinghttons.
Polkadot is known for its token, but it could be said that it is a protocol that wants to position itself as a kind of e-mail simile between blockchains. It is easy to understand with an example: “If I buy an NFT in Ethereum but I want to sell it in Solana, I can’t. And I compare this with the Internet, which is a huge sum of closed doors”, says the representative of the Foundation. That is where Polkadot comes in as a transmission vehicle that, in addition, technologically allows blockchains to be created. parachains derived on its basis.
In another simile, Polkadot is also like a kind of framework on which different applications can start from their development kit subscribe.
The Polkadot Token (DOT) serves two main functions within the Polkadot network: it is a governance token, which allows its holders to have a say in the future of the protocol, and it is used for staking, which is how the Polkadot network verifies transactions and issues new DOT. This way of creation is the well-known transition and debate that the entire crypto world is facing to move from proof of work (related to mining) to proof of stake and that, in the real world, it would result in less energy use by all of these proposals.
Polkadot’s technological development is largely carried out by Parity, a company owned by Gavin Wood, in a kind of circle where nothing comes from the same people. “The Foundation is the custodian of Polkadot, which charges Parity with technology development,” explains O’Kuinghttons.
A term that “has been abused” and in which scams have been protected
We asked Úrsula O’Kuinghttons how the use of the term Web3 is lived from within, so associated on occasions with scams or selling things that have little new.
“It is true that the term has been abused, and many times without it being positive, but it has also helped to make it known and fuel the debate.”
Úrsula O’Kuinghttons, Director of Communication and Associations of the Web3 Foundation
Regarding recurring scams associated with NFTs, DAOs that are never DAOs, etc., he believes that “scams will always exist. I want to think that we are better than in 2017 at the level of general knowledge, but unfortunately I am afraid that there will always be room for those who promise a lot under the promise of buying or investing in something, as has happened in the crypto world. Between all of us, and that is one of our objectives, we have to create a safer environment”.
Also, it seems, that collaborating with the institutions. Recently, the foundation has incorporated Daniel Schoenberger as legal chief, formerly of Google, with the intention of raising the conversations they have with international organizations, from central banks to the European Union. “The regulation will come in different forms and will help balance. There the task will be to make it a profitable regulation and to bring it closer to a better web”, says Úrsula O’Kuinghttons.