The paradigm shift enabled by Web3, whether you define Web3 as blockchain-based or distributed-systems-based, is powerful. It tries to solve many of the problems Web2 created. Technology was the thing that was supposed to unlock power for everyone and connect the world. It has largely done that, but it also re-centralized problems.
Google, Facebook, and Amazon have hoarded data, sold data, and exposed a major flaw in the way we interact with the web—lack of privacy. As we rebuild the web through Web3, we don’t want to make the same mistakes as Web2. At the same time, it would be foolish not to understand and implement some of the things that made Web2 so freeing and so powerful. If we don’t, Web3 will essentially be built in a bunker that we can’t escape from.
The most important thing to avoid is isolation in the things built for Web3. What this means is that cool technology alone is never going to be adopted wide enough to solve the problems of Web2. It will only solve those problems for the select few already in the inner circle. How do we avoid that isolation, though? We do it by adopting something Web2 did very well, something humans have done since the dawn of mankind.
The first action ever taken on ARPANET in 1969, the infrastructure that would eventually become the internet that we know, was to send a message. To communicate. Since then, technology has advanced largely around enabling communication and connection. This is as true for technology before ARPANET as it has been for technology created in the last 15 years. The tools we have used over time to communicate have been refined, adapted, and improved. From carving petroglyphs on cave walls to painting entire stories on those same walls to writing text to printing text, communication has been at the core of many of the technological advances that helped shape humanity. This is not hyperbole. Apple would not be here today if it wasn’t for their ability to connect people. Social media, for all its flaws, rose from a desire to connect with other humans. Cell phones, text messaging, WiFi calling, video calls, remote conferences, and more are all examples of more recent technological advancements that were shaped around communication.
But even technology not specific to communication has long leveraged humanity’s desire to stay connected and be informed. eBay launched in 1995 as a tool to buy and sell goods. However, they soon realized they needed to be more than that to succeed. In 1998, they restructured around the idea that “eBay is a company that’s in the business of connecting people, not selling them things.”
And this leads us back to Web3. The space is still young (though not THAT young), but that’s not an excuse to ignore the fundamental idea that helps propel almost all business forward: communication. Yet, that’s exactly what’s happened thus far. Web3 has built systems that enable privacy but it has also locked people out. For example, a decentralized finance application today is NOT in the business of connecting people. They are in the business of optimizing smart contract code to deliver financial results. That’s all well and good, but it’s not going to be the thing that drives mass adoption. As eBay realized early on, connecting people is the only real way to ensure growth and adoption. And connection happens through communication.
The ability to connect people is the one thing Web2 got really right. We need to replicate that in Web3 but shaped around the Web3 ethos. That’s exactly what SimpleID is doing.