Web 3 101

Challenges of the Decentralized Web

Jan 06, 2021

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MATTHEW GOULD:  Welcome everyone to the Unstoppable Podcast, I’m Matthew Gould and I’m joined again by Diana Chen.

HOST:  Hi Matt, how’s it going?

MATTHEW GOULD:  Good, good, yep.  Today we’re going to continue our conversation because our last one ran over.  So I appreciate you for making some more time here.  And last episode we were talking about just the decentralized Web very generally.  And, you know, kind of what is the decentralized web and I feel you had a few questions left, so I wanted to make sure we got back to give you a second chance to go at this.  So I’m going to pass it to you and go ahead, hit me.

HOST:  Matt, thank you so much for having me on, I have so many more questions.  So, so if you haven’t listened to the episode before this do that first so you know the context we’re providing here.  But the first thing I wanted to hit is with anything, especially with anything new, you’re going to get haters for any new thing that comes around.  I feel that most people in general are just resistant to change.

So now that we are introducing this whole new concept that’s like hard even to conceptualize.  This is like introducing the internet to people, you know, 50 years ago, like people were like what?  You can’t even wrap my head around it.  So what are some of the cons to the Decentralized Web now that we’ve talked about so many of the pros?

MATTHEW GOULD:  Okay.  Yes.  So I just want to—we’ll reiterate some of the pros one more time, then we’ll dive right into to cons, I promise.  But, like the big deal about—the big positive you get from the Decentralized Web is ownership and you’re, you’re establishing property rights online and once you do that, you’re going to have a much bigger pie.  So like the, you know, the digital economy is going to grow significantly once you establish property rights.  Just like the world economy did the same thing.

So all the positive attributes that come out of the Decentralized Web are really coming from this fundamental now you can own digital things paradigm that was given to us by the creation of these new technologies.  So that’s, that’s where all the pros come from.  So all the cons, all the negatives come from exactly the same thing.  So the fact is like now you could own all of your thing online.  So, you know, what do I do about this crazy person who is just, you know, that’s—what do you do about this crazy terrorist who is just spewing really violent and horrible information on their decentralized Twitter, right?

And, and, and so that gets to the point which is, once you give people ownership over the things online you are also giving up control of that, right.  So like Twitter, the large corporation, no longer has control in order to, you know, turn off users that it doesn’t like.  YouTube can’t turn off the channels that they don’t like anymore.  And your DNS provider can’t shut you down, these, these types of things.   So—and that’s because that user has full control over their—over their items.

So what’s going to happen is that, you are—you are going to have more randomness on the internet and so you are going to have these people in the fringes to coming and, and spew this kind of—this kind of terrible information out there.  But in exchange for that you’re going to get significantly more economic benefits, so it’s a pros-cons ways.  So I, I’m telling you I think that the economy is going to grow, you know, 10x on the digital economy because of this if not more.  And due to craziness, it maybe gets two to three x bigger so that’s still may not be a great trade for you.

But I’ll point out that even if you have people out there putting out really bad information, the—one of the other pros of having control of your—of your digital life is also going to putting filters, right.  So when we talk to people now, you know, if you have—you could have child block or, you know, parental controls, right, on your Netflix or Amazon or whatever.  You’ll be able to establish the same type of thing as you’re going on online and then the other thing you get is because you see the data that other people—I don’t—you can—you can check the validity of the information.

So now if someone says—right now if someone says something crazy on twitter, you know, twitter will—has just recently started putting in little blurbs like, oh, this, this may or not be true or whatever.  But in the future when people control their own twitter, you’ll be actually be able to see when they make a post you can actually go and look at that person’s profile and be like, oh, here is their twitter, but, you know, here’s also there, you know, there, there reedit.   And, and here they are, you know, as a verified member of, you know, the New York Times or maybe they are a verified member of Fox News or something.

And then, you know, here’s them being verified that they’re actually also a Member of Parliament or here’s something that says that they have none of those things and they have zero qualifications whatsoever.  And there is a—there is another organization out there that’s out there like Fact Checker or United or something and that thy say that this guy is always a liar.  What I’m trying to tell you is, because the data is now open, right, so transparency is a big part of what happens in property rights because you need to know who owns what, you’ll actually be able to check and get additional information.

So a couple of products that you could see in the future to mitigate some of these cons of a—of a more open internet where people can own things, you could see things like verified news in a way that’s much better now.  And, and everyone knows that blue check mark on twitter and like, oh, that’s cool.  But I’m talking about verified news where if they write a new story about something they could actually—you could have people, anyone start to submit information about that—about that and you will be able to see that directly.  Like you could click through and see the link to the evidence that this is true or false much easier than you can now.

You could also verify who posted it.  In, in a world of deep fakes this is actually a real problem.  I don’t know if you saw them during the campaign here in the US there lots of really funny, fake videos of Donald Trump and then Biden.  And they looked real, but if those videos were on like not on the blockchain but verified by the blockchain you could actually see, you know, that this video is approved by the Donald Trump campaign.  So you’d know it’s a real video or this video is approved by Biden.

And right now, you have all these fake stories where they’ll post things where’s like an image of one of these political candidates and they’ll take them out of context in a way that’s quite harmful.  But in the future that post may not even show up in your news feed ‘cause you’ll just say that “I don’t want to see any news that isn’t verified on chain that it’s coming from the true source.”  So like if there’s a video of, you know, some political candidate and the participant in that video, they don’t have the signature from the private key that, yes this is really me in this video, then it won’t even show up in your news feed.

So the, you know, the cons in having all these extra information that, that could be harmful out there and much more randomness out there, they’re going to be countered by the fact that because you can now validate the truthfulness of information much more easily by checking on the block chain, you’ll be able to filter it.  So it’s like a couple of steps removed, but it’s not going to be anarchy and in fact it’s going to be the exact opposite.

Another one that I really like, like verified news is a good example, but another one is verified reviews.  I don’t know if you’ve ever been to a restaurant or something that had a bunch of yelp reviews on it, but there is a lot of problems in knowing if this is true or false or whatever.  And one of the things that I talk about is that when I go to the coffee shop, I’d love to go, you know, to Chicago or, or, you know, Atlanta and or, or, you know, New York or something.  And, and I would love to be able to be like—be like, I want to go to the coffee shop that David Justin’s a new baseball player at Atlanta has also been to Atlanta.

And I could see that in the future, right, because when, when he—when he, you know, had a cup of coffee at a local Starbucks or whatever he left a review on there.  And because he signed it with his digital key which is linked back to this blockchain technology, I can actually know he was there and, and that’s really him leaving that review.

So the thing—the problem that you had in the 1990s which is no one knows if you’re a dog on the internet gets solved by these Decentralized Web technologies which allow you to create verified identities so that you can read more information.  And then of course if you want to stay anonymous you can do that too, but I actually believe we’re going to have more things online not less.

HOST:  Okay.  Cool.  So, okay.  A lot to unpack there.  I, I have a follow up question but before that I want to make a comment.  So you’re saying, in the future we’re not going to have internet trolls anymore.  All these anonymous fake accounts, people with 10 Instagram accounts or reddit accounts that just go around trolling everybody, those people will no longer exist?

MATTHEW GOULD:  Well, so I’ll say I, I think—I bet you’ll have more because more people will be able to easily anonymous if they want to.   But they will have, you know, one tenth of the impact because it is going to be so easily to put the—it’s going to be much, much easier to put them into a bucket and then quiet them in, in your experience.  So the question that --

HOST:  So, so how would this work?  So, if I have—say I own these digital assets.  I’m Diana Chen, I have got this blog, I’ve got my twitter, Facebook, whatever.  If I wanted to make another Instagram account, like a troll—a fake account to troll people with --


HOST:  -- could I make that without tying it to my name?

MATTHEW GOULD:  Yes.  You could make—you could make --

HOST:  Oh, okay.

MATTHEW GOULD:  -- you could make another fake Diana Chen troll account.  You could even troll yourself if you want.  But the difference is that the troll account would not have any verifications, right, like your main account would.  So like you’re, you’re main could—and we are talking far future now.  You could even imagine getting your, your social account like verified, you know, at government level so that you can pay your parking ticket with it, right.  So your like your Diana Chen Instagram account, people can see like oh yeah this really is Diana Chen because, like, you know, she paid her parking ticket with it or, or like, you know, bought her house, you know.

Like they can verify a lot of stuff, opportunities, those feel very confident about—that that’s you, right.  Now, your troll account won’t have that any of that linked information.  And so what’s going to happen is that when you log into twitter and just like today you can unfollow people, right?   And so when you log into these social platforms you are going to have settings of say, ‘I want to see super verified people or maybe I only want to see people who are in my network, right, of friends.  And, and that other people that I know say are, are reasonable person to follow.

So, you are going to have—so what it’s going to be—so I think what’s going to happen is you’re going to have multiple personas online just like I have a reddit handle or twitter handle.  You’re going to have multiples of these and then some of them are going to be like your serious account like I would say right now you are - - I gave you personal life and then you have professional life and then have your, maybe an account for your dog so you’re still going to have a little bit of this happening online as well.   And—but the big difference is other people are going to see that much more easily and then filter against it, so they won’t have to have it.

So we’re going to create more digital property.  By, by establishing property rights, so there’s going to be more of this not less.  The volume is going to get—pretty get turned up but at the same time the filtering on that is going to get so much better, so maybe you don’t even have to hear it.

HOST:  Okay.  So my other question was, is there any other way not to have everything linked back to your account.  So okay for instance, if you want to have only a professional presence online.  You only want to have a LinkedIn but you still have Instagram, twitter, Facebook, all those things but you just don’t want like, like, you know, I, I—maybe like I—if you were to Google me, I would want you to find my website, my LinkedIn, my podcast, but maybe not my Instagram.  I mean it’s just not relevant to you at all, I don’t know why you want to see that or say like, I had an open fans account, I would definitely not want my clients seeing that stuff, you know, like is there a way not to have that but at the same time have credibility towards those sites?


HOST:  You know what I’m saying?  It’s like what if I want my Facebook to be verified but I also want my LinkedIn to be verified, but I don’t want those two connected in the same space?

MATTHEW GOULD:  -- yeah, no you’ll, you’ll definitely—you’ll definitely have the option to do that.  And, and even when you do that, both of those spaces will even be portable.  So like you’ll still maintain the, the portability and you can divide it up into how many of different personas you want to have online.  Yes, you can.  And that’s why it’s going to take a while because actually there’s a lot of—there’s a lot of tools between now and making that super easy for users to understand.   But I will point out the basis for this already kind of exists and, and if you know single sign on, for instance, it’s a very good example.

So when you single sign on—whenever I log on somewhere, you’re like, sign in with your e-mail or your Facebook or your Twitter or your LinkedIn account and I don’t use my LinkedIn account if it’s a social application, right.  And I don’t use my Facebook account if it’s for business, right.   And like—and, and so there’s some things that I don’t want to—that I’ll use a secondary e-mail for.  So it’s going to–what I’m trying to say is, there is already technology for managing information about you across applications and that technology is known as single sign-on and it’s been around for quite a while.

And if can—and if you pair single sign on technology that allows you to manage your profiles across applications with blockchain technology which enables you to—for the end user to actually have ownership over that data.  That’s how, how you can have different personality profiles for one person where they use across the network and that’s also how people are going to filtering against it.  So, so another one I like to think about is—and I like to think about reviews and maybe ‘cause I sit at coffee shops too much.  But if I’m sitting in a coffee shop and I’m reading reviews, like I want to be able to filter ‘cause I want to see the reviews of my friends.  Like I want to know where they’ve been that’s local, that I can eat at.

So I can see that my friend Jessica, you know, thinks that the best burrito in the mission is this place and, and I could do that.  And, and, and that’s—I can’t do that now, but that’s something that you will be able to do in a world where data is much more easily read transparently off these blockchains and shared between users.  And I think that, that world is actually quiet engaging and that world is also—now in this future world where I can see the review of my friend Jessica to find the best burrito in San Francisco.  I’ll probably have a lot of trolls talking about burritos as well, but I won’t have to see those trolls because I’ll just filter with what I—what it is that I’m looking for.

So when people come to us with the con of having a decentralized internet like, wow, this is going to be wild, like it’s going to be the wild west of the internet.  And like the only reason why you feel that way is because we’re going to be creating more opportunity to make things and so that’s always going to creep.  There’s no—you’re going to have more if you create an opportunity to make more, but I just think the tools in order to safeguard the internet experience and really less than safeguard.  But make it less than a safeguard because I don’t like reading stressful things online all the time, it makes me stressed.

Those tools are going to get, you know, 100 times better whereas the size of the scope for people to create problems is going to get, you know, only three to four times bigger.   And so I think that overall you’re actually going to feel—if It works the way that, that I believe it’s going to work, then you’ll feel like the internet is a cleaner, cleaner place where you can be able to get more done more quickly for the experiences that the—that you want, while offering a large variety of options for everybody.

HOST:  That’s awesome, I love that, okay.  So, I want to talk a little bit about this blockchain domain thing that you do because I would love to get my own blockchain domain that that I own.  And I don’t have to pay, you know, whoever x number of dollars a year to host on there.  So tell me more about how that works?

MATTHEW GOULD:  Yes.  So Braden, Mark and I started this blockchain domain business a few years ago because we actually thought it was the natural first place for people to start owning pieces of property on the—on the internet, in the digital economy.  And, you know, the reason why we think that is one of the first things you do if you like, oh, I want to start a business online, oh I want to buy my domain name.  And Braden and I had the revelation that, oh I want to buy my domain name.  Wait, this is a piece of decentralized technology, this is not what I want.  And so we felt the naming services that people needed to get right in order to experience internet where they could own things online.

So and I guess the other insight is that these naming services are really good user ID in points.  And like, so naming systems in general like if you go to any application out there—we’ve talked about this a lot, but Twitter, Instagram, whatever, Reddit, you have the username, but what you don’t have is a generalize username that you can use on all these different applications.  And the reason is because all of those names are siloed to that individual—to that—to that property on the internet.  And they weren’t built to move across them simply because they didn’t have the technology to do that.  But now that you have these blockchain technologies where you can have a distributed database and then you can use that to do reads and, and travel around the internet with your data, you have the state of portability.

It makes sense to start building these username, domain name systems based on the blockchain.  So that’s the genesis of the idea and, and why we built it and we think that it’s kind of a starting place.  We pitch it as it’s the onboarding point for the Decentralized Web and just like in the 90s when you bought a domain name and you are like, oh, man what will I do and there’s not a lot of tools to work with these yet, I would just caution that this is the same for blockchain domains right now.

When you buy a blockchain domain, the tooling system is very difficult, it’s hard for this to work in a lot of different places.  But you fast forward 10 years or 20 years, I mean if you but a domain name now on GoDaddy or these other places, you know, you, you can build a website.  And they have like, WordPress, or e-commerce stores and that other kind of stuff.  So those tools for working with decentralized internet are going to take a while to get here, but they’re coming.  And, and we picked domain names as really the first place.  So I would say the majority of people coming right now, they’re the early, early adopters of this tech.

And the idea is to get you comfortable with Decentralized Web, we try to make it easy like we can click through and check out with a credit card.  You don’t have to be a super genius in order to get one of these domain names up and running and we’re continuing to innovate on product so that you can learn how to—learn how to open doors for you on the Decentralized Web.  And one of the first is sending and receiving cryptocurrency payments, we take that process.  If you try to do it right now you’re going to copy and paste these huge text e-mail addresses.

If you got a domain name set up you can just tell people to send it to your name instead which is significantly easier.  And so that’s really are our first use cases for this is for sending and receiving cryptocurrency.  And just like to see this extend out to the other use cases for the Decentralized Web that we’ve been talking about over the next several years.

HOST:     Okay.  Got it.  So if I bought a, a blockchain domain right now, I wouldn’t actually be able to build out a website on it yet.  I mean, at, at least not with my skills, but at least I would own, so I could—I could try to snag, you know, Diana Chen dot—what, what are the endings?  Is it dot crypto?

MATTHEW GOULD:  Yeah.  Dot crypto is the big one.  And you can get a website, we do have some basic templates up. I would just suggest that like, if you want to make something more complex, like an e-commerce site or something like that, then yes, you’re going to need some serious dev skills at this point in time.  But, you know, as the future roll forward, it’s going to be a lot easier.  And then you, as a content producer, one of the things that we talk about internally is like, how can we really help these people monetize earlier, you know, sooner rather than later.

And I think that it’s, you know, it’s not here yet, but I do think that you’ll soon be able to get, you know, your domain name, dianachen.crypto, and then you’ll be able to tell users to go there.  They’ll be able to buy subscriptions for your podcast or whatever else you’re selling, you know, they can pay directly to you in cryptocurrency for those, they can get a token bag that represents the subscription interest in your podcast, they can share with their friends by literally transferring the token to them.

And then—and the it’s like—it’s like, you know, you have this an e-book right, where someone has an e-box and just makes a digital copy and gives it to fifty people, but if this is a block chain based transaction then they can actually like share—you can—how do you digitally create digital assets as a content creator?  Selling to direct consumers and then you can ensure that they are not making, you know extra, copies of these or whatever without your permission in a way that—and then they still have access to you content.

So I think we’re trying to get there, we haven’t had our YouTube moment yet or - - for Decentralized Web, but that’s okay, you know, like we have plenty of work to do here and it definitely feels like the early 90’s.  At least, you know, Decentralized Web is like exactly where that was with the regular Web in the early 90’s and we’ll see how fast that people start innovating.

HOST:  Yeah, for sure my next question is probably going to make me sound like am from the, you know, the early 90’s or something but, so what is does the Decentralized Web look like?  Like, okay the, the Web we know of now, you open up a browser, you type in www.whatever and you go to the site.  What does the Decentralized Web look like?

MATTHEW GOULD:  So right now the Decentralized Web only works in a few browsers or with browser extensions.  And I think the Decentralized Web—so that’s, that’s where we are right now, so right now you can use Opera on android, stay tuned shortly you’ve got users across other devices.  There’s also a couple of other browsers we are looking to add support here in the near future.  You can download a Chrome extension where the Unstoppable and then you can browse in, in the Chrome browser jus type - - Dianachen.crypto it will actually pull the Website up.  We think that there’s going to be—so, Web3 or Decentralized Web depending on who you are that’s  what it gets called, it’s going to be an interesting evolution of the current internet.

So we have Web1.0 and that was like men! All these new stuff is happening in the 90’s, we had Web2.0 and that was mostly the cloud and social networks that’s we going to have Web 3.0 and that’s like, what happens when these computer networks can actually start talking to other chain networks, so I think it’s going to be a merger.  And right now in the first, the first areas in the internet to start adopting the technology are going to be new players so it’s going to be people building DAO crypto Websites, you know, and, AND connecting them up to block chains and - - without users because this is where the technology is going to be built.

You a have really long run though, I think that the, the traditional Web2.0 internet is going to move over.  And I think that in the long run you’re going to see these companies trying to move over to the block chain in other to take advantage of some this new technology and you going to actually see this merger of like, you going to have companies that have their Websites hosted and it still going to be hosting on Amazon but the users interacting with them are going to login in with their user names which are, you know, blockchain domain names and the data that’s going to be read off—the information that is going to be shared between the two is going to be, you know, mixed of either Amazon Web servers and maybe private servers run by these individuals  for these Decentralized networks.

So I think there’s is going to be a nice hybrid model of these Web2 technologies working with new Web3 technologies to unlock more ways for people to make money.  At the end of the day the internet is about commerce and mean we had the internet back in the 80’s but it was actually illegal to do commercial transactions on the internet, like they, they didn’t let you run a business on the internet it was supposed to be non-profit.

And then, we allowed the profit motive in the market to come in and really build up the internet and it just accelerated really quickly.  The—all these crypto technologies and the blocking tech they have seen us right from the get go.  So I think it will be pretty rapid and we’ll see emerge around mostly commercially use cases for like content producers for example.

HOST:  Yeah, do you ever see the, the, the internet as we know it today disappearing completely or do you see it always being around and kind of being in its hybrid model with, you know, internet 2.0 and 3.0 operating at the same time?

MATTHEW GOULD:  Well, so I would just say that the, like, internet of the 90’s doesn’t exist anymore, like there’s not any more like flashing Websites, you know, unless there’re for, for fun right.  So I think it’s going to be the same way where the whole internet is going to migrate over to use these new technologies and it just going to be like your Website is out of date if it doesn’t use them, like I think that’s the future.  It’s like if you not actually connecting up to crypto network or a block chain or allowing new users to login with their, you know, a block domain or something like that then your actually—your Website is just behind the time.

So people are going to login on your Website and be like “I don’t want to be at this store, it’s too outdated” and then they go somewhere else.  So I mean like yes they’ll both still exist but I think definitely the standard is going to move towards the Decentralized internet (Web3 standard) over the next couple of decades simply because it’s going to save people lots of money and it’s going to create a lot of business opportunity.

HOST:  Got it, okay.  Matt, I know you have to run to go, but before you go, tell me what, what, what next step should I be taking, so download the Unstoppable extension on Chrome, get a block chain domain what else should I be doing ‘cause I want to get in on this.

MATTHEW GOULD:  Yeah, yeah.  So I would subscribe to this podcast right and, and then I would attempt to launch a Website and you can do that too through other domains, just by clicking some buttons and then I would, you know, read a blog, sign up and then learn.  This is really the education face of the internet, I’m sorry the Decentralize internet for people and just stay tuned because I think there’s a lot here that you will give yourself a significant advantage if you are one of the first movers.

I mean, you know, if you are just one of the—if you are one of the first people that figures out a piece of this new Decentralized Web and how that technology can apply to your business you’re going to be in a pretty good spot.  So and that, that goes across anything Joe Rogan was one of the first people to go direct to consumers on podcast 10 years ago and he’s getting a, you know, $100,000 cash out from SPOTIFY to do his podcast.  So I think we going to see that, that always happens in technology so being a pioneer in technology can work out very well and then have fun will be the last few piece of advice I have.

You know, there’s, there’s a lot of things that people are going to build on new tech base it’s just not going to work.  There’s a lot of failed Websites, you know, there’s, you know, everyone knows about Google but there were like 10 or 15 or maybe even 100of those small search engines.  So, yeah there’s going to be a lot of trial and error and a lot of failure and in this space as well.  And so if you just keep an open mind, you want to have fun, you’re going to learn about it, worst case scenario, you know, how to engage with these technologies and you could be the friend at the party who can say, oh, yeah, I know how that works, instead of just looking clueless like my—like my dad who still has a foot pedal.

HOST:  Totally and I mean if there’s anything that we all learned from internet 1.0 or 2.0 is just that being the first mover really you get that advantage and now that I think about it, I think am going to probably snag just diana.crypto or something like that, you know, be like that @diana.

MATTHEW GOULD:  Yeah, yeah, yeah, well, will make sure you have a chance to do that before we publish this podcast.

HOST:  Yep, anyone listening called Diana don’t take it, I, I called it first.

MATTHEW GOULD:  Got it.  All right.  Well thanks everyone for listening today, we going to keep going on some of this series on the Unstoppable Podcast hope this has been educational as always shoot us a message if you have some ideas that you would like us to discuss and we will see you next time and thank Diana.

HOST:  Thank you.