Alex Tapscott is a well-known voice in the blockchain and Ethereum space. In 2016, he co-authored the influential book “Blockchain Revolution” with his father, Don. He recently released a new book called “Web3: Charting the Internet’s Next Economic and Cultural Frontier”. Alex is also a part of the Blockchain Research Institute, an EEA member.
Interview by Tom Lyons
Tom: Alex, why did you write a book on Web3?
Alex: Every so often, a new technology comes along that fundamentally changes the economic order of society. Today, we have several such technologies, including AI, IoT, blockchain, and Web3. Of all these, I believe Web3 is the least understood, which is why I wrote the book “Web3: Charting the Internet’s Next Economic and Cultural Frontier”.
Tom: Where do you think Web3 will have the most impact?
Alex: In our book, we explain that Web3 will primarily impact assets, individuals, and organizations. In terms of assets, Web3 enables the creation of various types of tokens beyond just cryptocurrencies. Tokens can hold value such as money, stocks, art, collectibles, and more. This will have an impact on all industries. For individuals, Web3 empowers individuals to own their own data and identity, transforming Internet Users into Internet Owners. And for organizations, Web3 enables the creation of Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs), which allow individuals to collaborate and become owners of the applications or services they use or build.
Tom: Do you think DAOs will reshape the organizational landscape?
Alex: Absolutely. DAOs offer a new way to organize capability and scale. They allow anyone who uses an application or service to earn a share of that service by being an early contributor. This means that DAOs can launch globally from day one, fostering innovation and evolution. DAOs will be where a lot of software, networks, and new companies get built, making them the killer app for this new digital age.
Tom: Is there a risk of Web3 being captured by large corporations like Web2?
Alex: There is a real risk of capture, as the user experience of Web3 can be challenging for many people. Web3 requires individuals to be comfortable with tokens, wallets, and passwords. While many people are already comfortable with this, capture is still possible. However, factors such as geographic comfort and generational familiarity can act as tailwinds in preventing capture.
Tom: What are some compelling use cases for Web3 right now?
Alex: One area of innovation that we highlight in the book is gaming. In gaming, there is already product-market fit for virtual assets, but users don’t truly own or control them. Web3 allows gamers to truly own their virtual assets, creating opportunities in a market where billions of dollars are spent on virtual goods. Web3 can also extend to the metaverse, creating a shared virtual space where individuals can live and thrive.
Tom: Are there industrial use cases for Web3?
Alex: Yes, there are several industrial use cases for Web3. One example is DePIN or Decentralized Physical Infrastructure, which includes platforms like Render and Hive. Render allows individuals to rent out their CPUs for rendering 3D content, while Hive is a decentralized real-time mapping platform. These use cases have the potential to disrupt industries and provide new opportunities for individuals and enterprises.
Tom: Do you believe Ethereum is “ready for business”?
Alex: Ethereum has made significant developments that make it easier for businesses to adopt. Its ability to improve itself without a central authority is impressive. The move to Proof-of-Stake has also been important, especially for companies with strict ESG policies. Ethereum’s advancements and stability make it a viable option for businesses looking to leverage blockchain technology.