Because it offers unique concepts like the metaverse and DeFi (decentralised finance), as well as being strengthened by additional blockchain technology like NFTs, Web3 is being heralded as the internet of the future (non-fungible tokens). It also promises greater user engagement and online communities that are less reliant on a select group of IT companies.
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In order to truly realize this goal of a “better” internet, diversity, equality, and inclusion (DEI) of Web3 will demand attention. Without this attention, there is a real risk that Web3 would only reproduce the problems we currently have with the internet, such as algorithmic prejudice and the proliferation of hate speech on social media platforms.
Web3: What is it?
Web3 is essentially a new web version built on the blockchain. This suggests that Web3 goods and services are providing users, producers, and decentralized organizations greater control over them and rendering it difficult for one organization to seize control of or shut them down. The emergence of new Web3 products and services has already begun.
- Metaverses, such as the online gaming environment The Sandbox built on the Ethereum blockchain.
- NFTs/virtual assets that users may take with them to other online platforms and use to transact on online markets like Opensea.
- Blogs and social networking sites like APPICS allow content producers to own and monetize the information they share.
- Several DeFi apps and services enable individuals to lend, borrow, earn interest, and even invest in a syndicate (see Syndicate) without the need for a central bank.
Some detractors claim that because Web3’s products and services have become more popular, Web3 is now looking into a DEI issue. According to Bloomberg, for instance, the price of well-known CryptoPunks NFTs fluctuate depending on the buyer’s race, gender, and skin tone, with darker-skinned avatars often costing less than lighter-skinned ones. According to Time Magazine, women only make up roughly 4-6% of the workforce in the blockchain and cryptocurrency industries.
All of us are aware of the challenges facing the modern internet, many of which are on by the lack of diversity among its users, creators, and developers. For instance, we have seen how the algorithms on the websites and programmes we use support human bias and have a discriminatory impact.
It is challenging to increase Web3 participation due to the following reasons:
- Capital: Many Web3 businesses require substantial sums of funding. For instance, The Sandbox metaverse’s current minimum price for owning virtual land is about 3 ETH (nearly £3,800 at the time of writing), which excludes the bulk of people.
- Education: The learning curve for it is steeper than that of the current internet due to the difficulty of building decentralised apps and the lack of user-friendly design in applications.
- Time: Since Web3 is still a young technology, there are a tonne of Web3 apps and opportunities to explore. It takes a lot of time to research the good and bad, which people with other commitments like work and family might not have.
Therefore, forward-thinking business executives should consider how they may include DEI into their plan in order to benefit from Web3. For illustration:
- In order to offer strategic advice on women’s e-sports, Serena Williams has recently joined the board of directors of Sorare, the player-owned fantasy sports game that uses NFTs.
- Unstoppable Women of Web3, an organisation that trains and onboards women into the Web3 industry, has garnered the support of 114 businesses.
- Web3 businesses who want to avoid the mistakes of the current internet must address these fundamental issues and create inclusive ecosystems of creators, developers, and users.