2017 Was the Year of Blockchain Awareness. 2018 Is the Year of Adoption
Accessing the web 3.0 is currently the preserve of the tech-savvy who are armed with the knowledge and the patience to make it work. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Changes are underway that will soon make the decentralized web accessible to everyone.
The next generation of decentralised platforms, tokenised ecosystems, dApps and identity management solutions being built will immeasurably benefit all global citizens who rely on the web — which is pretty much everyone. The value, security and increased sense of identity these innovations will bring cannot be overstated. Such is is the importance of the third, incoming iteration of the web that I believe it should be enshrined as an inalienable fundamental right for all. It may be the geeks and developers who create it, but every web user stands to benefit from it. An innate understanding of its underlying architecture will not be necessary to appreciate that much.
Web 3.0: Still Under Construction
But first, there’s much work to be done. The first web 3.0 platforms are much like the first mainstream websites that spring up in the 90s: clunky, slow and user-unfriendly. For all the promise that decentralized storage solutions such as Sia and Storj offer, for example, their UX lags behind the likes of Google Drive and Dropbox. IPFS, the peer-to-peer file storage system used by these decentralized alternatives, is the preserve of developers, and not the public, for now. For so long as these decentralized platforms remain unusable on mobile and out of reach of the average web user, they will remain niche tools for those with the aptitude and patience to trade their benefits for their drawbacks.
It’s not just decentralized storage solutions that are in their infancy; the same holds true of the entire web 3.0 ecosystem. Just try using a service like Mist, the decentralized Ethereum browser, or P2P exchange EtherDelta without screaming. The interface and accessibility of these platforms and many more leaves a lot to be desired. The revolution is coming, but there are still a few kinks to iron out before it’s ready to be laid before the public at large.
It was frustration at the current state of play within the decentralized economy that spurred me on to create Essentia.one. No one, I realised, was going to take to this brave new world if it was uglier than the one they had left behind. As a result, I began brainstorming with my colleagues to devise solutions to this mess, solutions that would make the decentralized web more accessible and safer for all. The answer, when it came to us, was a Damascene moment: we were going to create a unique seed for managing access to dApps, wallets, exchanges and a host of other identities and digital assets. One highly secure seed to rule them all.
Turning Ideas Into Reality
For web 3.0 to work, access should be as easy as that of the existing web. Using a dApp should be as simple as logging into Facebook or scrolling through Twitter. Everyone deserves the right to be able to store and secure their data in a decentralized manner without requiring a Computer Science degree to master the basics. While there are some great web 3.0 applications being made, there is still much work to be done. MetaMask is for desktop browsers only; likewise with Ethereum wallet Parity. At present, there is a decentralized web accessibility problem.
What Must Be Done
This is an appeal to the entire crypto industry: web 3.0 is an amazing and untapped opportunity, a once in a lifetime chance to rebuild the web from the ground up, and this time to get it right. It wasn’t the fault of the web’s founding fathers that their creation ultimately became insecure and over-centralized — we’re eternally grateful to them for everything they did. But times have changed, threats have intensified and the hour has come for a safer and fairer web, one that works for everyone and is owned by everyone instead of a privileged few.
If we don’t make web 3.0 as seamless and intuitive to use as the alternatives then the world will stick with the status quo, despite its flaws and holes. We need to make this new paradigm one which works on every device and for every user with UI and UX that is a pleasure and not a chore.
The first step towards decentralization began in 2008 with the publication of the Bitcoin white paper. A decade has since passed and it’s now time to accelerate adoption dramatically. It’s time to stop talking and start making. 2018 needs to be the year when we start actually adopting these tools. We need to stop discussing blockchain and decentralization and start using them to better our lives and the lives of everyone around us — not to mention those of the billions others we will never meet.
We’ve come a long way. In 2017 we achieved what had hitherto seen impossible: we got the world talking about the systems we’re building. Now it’s time to get them using them, and not simply trialling them, but adopting them en masse. We need to understand that the typical web users is inherently lazy and inclined to stick with what they know. It’s not their fault; it’s human nature. Thus, the onus is on us to provide these people with super easy and smart solutions, the sort that are as user-friendly as iOS is for web 2.0, but with better privacy and security through decentralization. If we can achieve that, we will enable a wide-scale transition from the centralized web to a decentralized, permissionless, and censorship-resistant one.
With the Essentia team we are trying to build a decentralized framework where the average user will be able to access web 3.0 purely from a seed, with no need to submit private identity information such as their phone number, email or name, all of which are targets for hackers on the legacy web we use today. Using a two-click setup, we will furnish them with a multitude of integrated and connected decentralized dApps, services and resources all at their fingertips. By the time we’re done, Essentia.one will be accessible to everyone — even grandma.
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