A16z Partners: Beyond Web2, Tokens are the New Digital Native
Chris Dixon, A16Z General Partner
Chris Dixon, a partner of A16Z, released his latest opinion. He divided the wave of Internet into two eras. One is the pseudo-object era, which is similar to moving offline email to online email, and the other is the digital native era. Most Web3 is still in the pseudo-object era.
The following is the full text of the opinion:
1/ token is a new kind of digital primitive, similar to a website.
2/ The main wave of computing generally has two ages: the age of simulacra and the age of primordial.
3/ In the age of simulacra, design thinking was largely adapted from earlier fields. For example, the early web was largely a digital adaptation of pre-Internet activities, such as letter writing and mail order, when websites were mostly read-only.
4/ It took about a decade for technologists to seriously explore the idea that websites could be read/write, user-generated content. This has led to the growth of web native categories such as social networking, crowdfunding and social productivity apps.
5/ This pattern repeats itself in cryptocurrency /Web 3. There are some great native Web 3 products, but overall, we're still in the era of simulacra. Many Web 3 products are adaptations of older domains.
6/ Popular pseudo-web 3 ideas include offline ticketing, supply chain management, and record keeping for offline assets. These may be good ideas, just as reading only Web sites is a good idea, but they only scratch the surface of Web 3.
7/ Much of today's NFT is adapted from the offline world of art and collectibles. This leads people to think that NFTs is limited to these areas, just as the web was once thought to be limited to brochures and magazines.
8/ Tokens -- physical objects and NFT-- are best thought of as new digital primitives, similar in flexibility and versatility to digital primitives of the past, such as websites.
9/ Tokens give users property rights: the ability to own part of the Internet.
10/ Web 2 leaves out digital property rights. When you use a website (or app), it just lets you borrow or rent things. Imagine if in the real world you had to buy something from scratch every time you went to a new place. This would be Web 2.
11/ Like websites, tokens are digital primities that can be generalized to represent almost anything -- money, art, photos, music, text, code, game projects, control, access, and anything that people dream about in the future.
12 / Users can now have a persistent inventory of objects in their wallet that they can carry from app to app. If their items appreciate in value, users will benefit from that appreciation. That's a big difference from Web 2, where the markup was mostly captured by tech companies.
13/ We're still in the era of Web 3 simulacra, but we're starting to see a new wave of native apps that didn't have anything like it before, that couldn't have existed before.
14/ For example, building on the mechanism design pioneered by DeFi entrepreneurs, a new wave of DAOs is exploring ways for groups to gather, pool resources, build things, and manage themselves.
15/ Composable NFT games like Loot inspire the community to build an entire world around a single set of NFTS -- an activity that would not be possible without the ownership and portability that Web 3 brings.
16 / Replaceable tokens have nothing inherently to do with money and finance, and NFT has nothing inherently to do with art and collectibles.
17/ These are good initial applications and may still be very important, but tokens are best thought of as new digital primitives, akin to websites -- the atomic unit around the new age of the Internet.
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