Web3 is the next phase of the internet. Decentralized and powered by blockchain technology, it will change how we own, interact with, and derive value from our data online. With web3, users can own their data, control their identity, and transact in a decentralized way.
Decentralization will change not only finance like it has been done with crypto, but other aspects of life such as social media, healthcare, and governments.
Web3 will eventually replace the web2 we know today - where our data is owned by centralized companies like Facebook and Google. There are many different aspects to it and there are still many questions to be answered about how this new phase of the internet will work and what this will mean for the future of humanity.
In this article, we are going to explore what web3 means for designers and how it will affect them. We will also look at some of the challenges that designers might face in this new world.
1. Phases of the Web
Web 1.0: User - Only Read
Throughout the years the internet evolved from just static pages like personal blogs and institutional websites, where the user could only read the content presented, to a more diverse and interactive face.
Web 2.0: User - Read + Write
In the second wave of the web, users could not only read but interact with content from other users around the world and on a lot of different devices. However, all the development that we created in this phase was done around centralized databases. The problem with this is that the companies that own these data centers now have control over our data.
Web 3.0: User - Read + Write + Own
Today we are facing a new and completely different era of the internet: the web3. In its third wave, users will not only be able to read and create content, but they will be able to own the platforms where the content is going to be shared.
2. Service DAOs
Decentralized autonomous organizations also referred to as DAOs, are a new type of decentralized organization that is governed by a set of rules encoded as computer programs called smart contracts. They are designed to be owned and operated by their users, without any centralized authority or middleman. So every decision is made through voting and a democratic process.
DAOs use tokens as a way to give governance authority and ownership to their members. The distribution and rules around those tokens are different for each DAO.
DAOs can be used for many purposes, including managing the governance of and providing services to other DAOs or companies. These service providers are called Service DAOs.
Why are DAOs relevant for designers?
Currently, there are a lot of different DAOs out there. In particular, the service DAOs are interesting for designers as some of them are created specifically for organizations to create new solutions, through design, for other companies.
In a normal corporation or a freelance job, the designer charges money upfront from the client, as a way of remuneration or compensation. The problem with this is that designers only capture a small percentage of the total value created by the product they helped build. The good side is that the service provider has no risk in the transaction, but if the product ends up being very successful, the designer is only going to make what they charged for initial remuneration. An example of this happening is Carolyn Davidson, who created Nike's logo for only 35 dollars, but could have made millions of dollars if it was as a service DAO. *Interestingly, later, Nike would gift her shares among other things worth about $1M in 2015.
In a Service DAO, like Vector DAO, the designers receive a percentage of the company as tokens as remuneration from their job. This means that the designer is now exposed to the potential upside that the product may have in the future, in the case it happens to be a successful product. The risk is that if the project fails, the designer can end up earning nothing, or less than they would have charged in a normal operation.
Non-fungible tokens (NFT) are a new form of digital asset that can be used in various ways including certifying asset ownership using blockchain. NFTs have the potential to create new forms of ownership, enable new types of markets, and provide more liquidity than traditional forms of digital assets.
They can be used as a currency, an ownership certificate, or a digital representation of something physical.
Why are NFTs relevant to designers?
Through the use of NFTs digital artists and designers have a way of selling their work online, creating scarcity in a product that hadn't any before.
4. The Metaverse
The Metaverse is a broad shift in how we interact with technology. From screens and small devices to more immersive interactive experiences, like virtual reality and augmented reality.
Why is the Metaverse relevant for designers?
In the future, we will be working much more within 3D spaces instead of traditional smartphone screens. Designers should learn to adapt to this trend and learn more about the use of UI in 3D spaces and UX in more interactive and immersive environments.
Decentralized finance, also known as De-Fi is a term that has been coined to describe the new financial system of the future. It is a decentralized and more efficient way of doing things. The De-Fi movement is not just about cryptocurrencies, but also about other decentralized technologies like blockchain, the internet of things (IoT), AI, and machine learning.
The De-Fi movement has been gaining momentum over the last few years as more people are becoming aware of its benefits. It can be used to create a more fair and democratic society where everyone has equal access to resources and opportunities.
De-Fi is trying to remove the control banks and institutions have on money, financial products, and financial services, giving power to the people using the products, in a decentralized way.
Why is it relevant for designers?
The biggest protocols on web3 are finance-related.
It’s where most of the money in the web3 space is right now.
Most of these protocols are too difficult to understand, creating lots of opportunities for designers to step into this field and create simple and user-friendly solutions.
With web3 a lot of new challenges emerge and designers should be prepared to future-proof their careers in a fast-changing world where the web is now becoming a completely different thing as it was some years ago.
Check out our article on Spring-Clean Your UX: Improve Your Website.
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What Questions Do You Have About Web3?
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