Why Web3 is Revolutionary
[Off-camera] Christian Ferri, good morning. You’re the founder and CEO of Web3 Pro. You’re a globally acclaimed blockchain pioneer since 2010. You’ve authored a seminal book on the subject. You’ve founded the Blockchain Compliance Foundation. You’ve advised companies such as Walmart, HP, AT&T, Atari, and Sapien. You’re a guest lecturer at Cornell. You’ve been the keynote speaker at more than 60 events, including the World Economic Forum, S&P Global Platts, and the Blockchain Economic Forum. Tell us, Christian, why the new world of Web3 is going to be so transformational.   [Christian] Dev, Web3 will create a revolution. It will be a mixed reality system for human beings, where they’ll live part of their life in the physical world and part of their life in the digital world. It’ll become a truly important revolution for our society and for the new digital world. There will be profound consequences on identities and sub perceptions, and how people will interact with each other. Obviously, this evolution will bring new challenges but also beautiful new horizons that will emerge from such a disruptive technology.
Individuals Will Finally Own Their Own Identity
So, we can think, for example, [of] the societal changes—how human beings will interact with each other. Knowing everything that they will be doing and interacting with one another, with entities, organizations, governments, and enterprises will be recorded permanently. So, think about how that’s going to affect the paradigm of “when the cat’s away the mouse can play.” I think it will have profound consequences on how you will weed out bad actions or bad actors. We also think about how the governing structure of entities—enterprises, associations and governing selves will change. We think about smart contracts replacing entire management dimensions that will be replaced by decision-making power based on code. There are organizations out there that are implementing such governance structures, and that will have fundamental implications for how those organizations are going to be run, how efficiencies are going to be implemented, and everything will become a little bit more machined, in that sense. Also, people will own their own identity, right? There [are] big movements going around about own[ing] your own data that is powered by Web3. We know that Web1 is all about reading, Web2 is about reading and writing, and Web3 is about reading, writing, and owning. And so, with the evolution of Web3, people will start realizing not only the power of owning their own identity, their own data, but also using them as they go through and interact with societies. For example, when they’re requesting a mortgage or a loan at a bank or applying for a job, they will own the data that will be verified through a zero-knowledge proof by the counter-party to verify that the individual is qualified, without necessarily transferring the ownership and the visibility of that data. 
Web3’s Power to Authenticate
Another important point is about the internet of value. We all assume that the internet is the source of truth, the information that we find when Googling something are taken for granted. When in reality, we don’t know. We just don’t know. I think the real power of Web3 will be to really authenticate and verify informations and records that will be transferred over the net. To understand that, we really have to go back to the 1960s, when the Department of Defense created ARPA Net. ARPA Net was a vehicle for the Army to communicate during wartime when the telephone lines were down. So, there was no real need to question the validity and the authenticity of what was said from an Army member to another Army member. But as the ARPA Net transitions into the internet, and the global world became the actor and the audience of these informations, we really don’t know who’s on the other side of that line. We don’t have visibility on the authenticity of the records and the information that is being transferred. So that’s why I’m very excited about the use of non-fungible records—Web3 in general, has a way to really verify and authenticate these informations over the net, and create a much more cohesive relationship between individuals over the internet. And that will create, also, much more fluid interactions between companies, between governments, and individuals in how they’re going to be using and transferring this information. It'll also change the nature of middlemen, who currently are in the mix because of this lack of trust. You think about insurance companies or an auditor or trust companies—that won’t be necessary in the future with Web3 taking care of the lack of trust.  The lack of trust also is something else we have to talk about. The nature of trust as a concept will change, especially in the age of mistrust. I think that will have profound impact on the individual themself if we think about things like dating. I was reading a statistic the other month that about 60% of the dating happens through dating apps. And we also don’t know who is on the other side, if what they’re saying is legit. So, something so basic, I think, will have profound changes in the way that we interact with the applications and with each other in the back.
How Web3 Will Impact the World
And that leads to the second point, which is the future of data and how it will be compartmentalized, how it will be monetized. We think that now we own our data, now we own our preferences and informations, all these companies out there might be really interested in paying us to get access to that informations. We might end up paying Facebook $9.99 a month—if you’re not the product, you’re the client. In this case, it would be the reverse, you’d be paying for services but own the informations and know they’re not going to get leaked, they’re not going to get hacked, and we’ll be able to monetize the way we want it. And I foresee that we’ll have data marketplaces where companies like Nielsen’s or other research entities will access and pay people to know more about them. Another thing we have to consider as Web3 takes over the world is how almost everyone can participate in this economy. We think about the creator economy, we think about how anyone in the world can create assets, whether they are used in video games or metaverses, or for any other sort of applications in the digital world… anyone can really participate, and share the revenue and benefit from doing so. An early application was done through Second Life from Linden Labs, where folks and designers around the world were really, you know, generating a lot of money and having almost like a full-time job by creating digital assets and skins that gamers could buy and use inside Second Life. As the metaverse will take hold, we’ll see a lot more of that in the environment, and the metaverse, or the metaverses as we say, will become an effective economy where everyone around the world will be able to make a living by creating elements, assets, environments, worlds, for other people to enjoy to use and benefit.  The question that all of this has prompted is, what are the new rules? We know that the SNC Regulators are still behind when it comes to understanding and regulating Web3. We’re seeing that with cryptocurrency mainly, from a financial standpoint. But if we think about identities, who’s going to own them, how that will change the impact for example for electronic medical records, hospitals, insurances—that has yet to be defined. And so, the governments will have to really take a hard look at Web3 in general. Not just cryptocurrencies, but Web3 in general—and how this information, which are valuable assets (information is the most important valuable asset after oil)—they will be ruled across all these entities. And what will accountability look like? What would happen if someone is trying to be the bad actor? One of the things that Web3 solves is actually weeding out the bad actors. Why? Because Web3 is permanent. It’s forever. It’s a record that everyone can have access to. So, why would you ever do something bad, if you’ll always be marked as the bad person? And so, it’s interesting how accountability will evolve, and therefore I see that self-accountability will be the main event at that point. There’s a lot more to discuss but I think these are the main points on how Web3 will impact society and the world as a whole. 
How Companies Will Need to Change
[Off-camera] Christian, being a CEO yourself, what advice would you give to other CEOs about envisioning possibilities of Web3 for their own companies, and how should they carry their people with them into this new world?    [Christian] Dev, if you think about what Web3 is, which is a boundary-less multiverse, and we think about companies starting in this new space, we have to think about the new role of what a company is. Think about in a traditional Web2 world, the sense of a company, it’s much more formalized. We have an entity, that is producing products or services, and has a market into which it’s selling those products and services. In a Web3 environment though, we have to think about the community first. Web3 is all about community—that’s the centerpiece, the fulcrum, the main point of Web3, where an individual will own their destiny and where companies will be invited to the conversation. So, as opposed to Web2, where you have a company that sells into a community, Web3 you have a community that invites and accepts vendors and companies into the conversation. And it’s very hard, and we see that today with traditional Web2 company, Web1, really trying to make a leap into Web3, and they’re struggling. Because besides being a technology change, it’s as much of a cultural change. We know that everything that is cultural takes 10 or more years. So the first advice that we give is keep an open mind when you’re about to start a Web3-based company. You need the community to be the starting point. Without a community, it’s pointless to do anything else. You also have to think about how humans and machines will work together, and the relationship they will have and how it will change. Humans will become much more savvy in owning their own data and using the technology needed to ensure that they will do that. And I think that we’re now in a place today where the barriers to entry are lowered enough for the mass market to really take in all this new technology but what will happen? We see that in crypto, for example, with Coinbase, made something very simple something extremely complicated. I remember when I first bought my bitcoin, back in 2012, I had to send cash in an envelope to someone in Canada, begging and hoping that I would receive the private keys—so, the way to get access to my Bitcoin, via mail. Which happened. But that obviously is not scalable so Coinbase made something so difficult and so untrustworthy, so simple and trustworthy. And so the relationship between how machines and people work is an element to consider so the ease of access and ease of use is fundamental. We can’t think of, of a world that’s powered by Web3 if Web3 is still called Web3. It will become Web3, it will become engrained to our society, the mass market, the moment that we stop calling it Web3, the moment that we’re going to stop calling it NFTs.
How the Nature of Design and Culture Itself Will Need to Change
Now, if we’re talking about art, we think about what the role of designers might be in a Web3 world. And I’m not specifically talking just about a clothing company or fashion company or designer that creates skins for video games. I’m talking about any source of art or design which could be manufacturing powered by Web3 for 3D printing. Or it might be architects that will be designing entirely new cities, entirely building a new world inside the metaverse. And so, the role of designers will change considerably, and the element we need to consider here is that Web3 will really help them not only track, but also monetize, their art indefinitely.  Something that designers today are struggling with is really being recognized and being paid for what they’ve done over time—something that will be solved by Web3.  The other thing is creating the use cases to some of the digital designs that will be created. So, we know that, for that reason, thinking about programmatic smart contracts based on NFTs used for 3D printings, where you could buy designs of elements for your house or for your office or for your car, by paying a designer who built that for 3D printing purposes. Entirely new buildings or architecture for real life or metaverses. So, I think the designers will play a really interesting and pivotal role, and define a new renaissance based on Web3. We also have to think about culture, and our culture will change.  So, as you go out there and you start thinking about a Web3 venture, the culture element will be shaped considerably. Simply because the cultural Web3 company is not just the employees, the partners, the VCs, but also the community itself. Everything starts with the community. A company that provides services or products to a community in a Web3 world will have to really cultivate and embrace the culture of the community first. As I was saying, it’s the reverse, you start from the community, from the culture of the community, and define your company around it. 
Communities, Cooperatives, and True Democratization
The last point we have to consider, Dev, is the skills and mindsets required to succeed in a Web3 world. First, obviously, the skills—they aren’t just the technical skills required, but also basic skills attuned to listening to what the community is really asking. And, you know, it’s not simply about serving the community, but it’s really learning about their movement and what their preferences are. And, let them interact. So, we are used to the Web1 and Web2 where companies dictate the future of society. In Web3, the community will dictate what the market will bear, what they want, and the community wants to engage with you, right? So think about opening channels of communications and engagement. Engagement is not just about providing feedback, but it’s literally working with the community to—on new ideas, on new concepts, coming up with names and colors, on defining what the product is, on allowing them to be rewarded, to be rewarded and incentivized to really be a part of that decision-making production process. And that creates, almost like a cooperative, where the folks running the entity are a consumer themselves. That’s a, a revolutionary concept that is powered by the benefit of the Web3 technology.    [Off-camera] Christian, we sense that you carry within you the power to prophesize about this new world you’re helping to architect. Listening to you has been such a pleasure. What prophesies would you like to share with us today?    [Christian] So, one of the things that I’m excited about is how data will be decentralized, especially the storage of it. We know that data is power, and we know that data is one of the most valuable assets we have in the world. And, traditionally, historically, data has been centralized and stored by a few—a few individuals, a few entities. And we’ve seen the benefit of it, in terms of ease of access. But also, we’ve seen the downsides, in terms of hacking and, you know, losing personal informations that ruin many lives of many people. So, the ability for individuals to own their own data, to be decentralized, without a single point of failure, really is the ultimate way of democratizing someone’s informations, someone’s personal identity. And that, in a way that it’s unhackable, and it’s also monetizable. And we have to also think about website and apps and how, especially the ones that we have today—you know, the Web1 and Web2 apps—will they be able to be decentralized? Well, I don’t know. It’s a good question. And only time will tell. Usually, from my experience to see that usually, Web1, Web2 technology applications are hard to convert over to Web3 simply because Web3 is based on the community itself, and it’s much more of a cultural shift than it is a technology shift. So, if you’re starting out a company, I think that you’re going to have a better shot at starting out Web3 native than trying to convert your website or apps into a Web3 application.  Lastly is, will there be hybrid models? If there are models that would be considered hybrid, it might be. It will take management a considerable amount of effort from a cultural standpoint, and also from a technology standpoint to kind of re-implement the architecture, both from a management element and a technology element. 
The Changing Nature of Trust
Another trend that I foresee happening with the new Web3 society, let’s call it, is how consumers and individuals will be able to monetize their information. So I foresee being marketplaces where individuals will offer their PII and on the other hand, market research companies, like Manion, out there, to offer, to compensate individuals for their informations. Um, there might be consumers that get paid for watching ads based on the elements of their identities. So, if you think about targeting or retargeting, a market research company will have a lot more data and especially quality data that they will be able to pay for, but also to use for individuals to really think on a mass level—for example, watching ads and understanding who’s watching and the geo and the demographics related to that specific individual.  Transactions will become trustless. Now, Web3 is often mistakenly referred to as the Trust-Maker but it is not a trust maker. Web3 is technology that enables transactions between two individual companies or governments without the need for trust. So it’s not creating trust, but it’s enabling transactions whether it’s monetary, financials, or for records, informations, any sort of transactions without the need for trust.  So, with all the transactions powered by Web3 in the future will be trustless. So, no more need to have middlemen that, their job is basically to, to instill trust and ensure the trust between the party. So that will really change the figures and the, the players that will be available in certain industries, for example real estate. You think about the meaning of having a trust company, um, if you can actually use a trustless system, and all examples of that sort. 
Message to World Leaders
[Off-camera] Christian, if you were addressing the leaders of the world on Web3, on the stage of the United Nations, what message would you give them? [Christian] First thing is to keep an open mind. Web3 can be scary for most, especially governments when they have to safeguard the, the livelihood of thousands of millions of citizens, um, Web3 can be really scary as they think about losing control and be[ing] fully decentralized. Well, fully decentralized doesn’t mean losing control of it, and there’s different tiers and types of blockchains to be used. Web3 is a big world, um, a big world that really embodies tons of technologies, so the first thing I would say is keep an open mind, but also, do enough research before trying to, quote on quote, control the technology.  Um, as opposed to Web1 and Web2, Web3 is a technology oftentime cannot really be controlled fully. And so, the, the—you know, my best advice would be to first understand the technology and technologies that are part of Web3, and trying to make up and come up with a system that will enable the technology to take hold for beneficial use cases, positive use cases, that will make life easier for your countries and your citizens, that will make life easier for your companies in terms of transacting with foreign entities and banks, um. The first thing that regulators tend to do is regulate and my, my element to it is keep an open mind, trying to understand first and work again with the community. Work with the community that is using Web3 today, to develop a set of technology and use cases that can be really beneficial to you and your countries.  [Off-camera] Christian Ferri, Founder and CEO of Web3 Pro, thank you so much for talking with us today.    Balance Sheet for a New Society