Last week’s ETHDenver conference highlighted a disturbing trend in the crypto industry. While not unique to blockchain, the trend of not using the products our industry creates is something that the crypto community needs to grapple with. In more mature industries, this “dogfooding” is enforced. Microsoft employees must use Outlook, Word and so on. But in early industries such as blockchain, this dynamic is still being worked through.
Why doesn’t the Web3 community walk our talk when it comes to utilizing our own technology? We say we are building better versions of existing internet experiences with the value propositions of privacy, transparency and more compelling interconnected experiences for users — and we are. Yet I keep seeing projects across the ecosystem falling back on the very technologies we aim to (and have already) replaced.
This problem has followed us every step of the way through this journey. We prize decentralization, but most financial crypto transactions occur on centralized exchanges. We prize transparency, yet entrust assets to opaque companies like FTX. We prize innovation, yet most of the side events around the upcoming ETHDenver conference run their ticketing through legacy systems like Eventbrite — when better Web3 ticketing options are available.
There are many reasons for these dynamics, and many of them are valid and a natural part of the building and adoption process. However, I think that we as a community are due for a reminder that we need to be the first adopters of the exciting new tech we’re building. If not us, then who? It’s on us to show the world that these things work and are the better choice compared to the Web2 alternatives. This trend is not unique to blockchain and even seems to be a regular growing pain for almost every industry at some point in its maturation.
Crypto events and conferences are the perfect places to apply the use case for nonfungible token (NFT) ticketing, yet Web2 platforms, such as Eventbrite, remain the staple for a majority of our ticketing needs. The explosion of Eventbrite links for the many (awesome) side events at ETHDenver was truly astonishing, but also disappointing. Our community has built better versions of this technology that has the values we all care so much about built into its DNA, so why don’t we, the Buidlers of this stuff, use it?
— ETHDenver (@EthereumDenver) March 5, 2023
Another obvious place for us to eat our dog food is replacing the endless stream of business cards being exchanged at booths and around events. Instead of exchanging pieces of paper that will inevitably be lost, people can simply scan QR codes, get NFTs minted that can remind each other of when and where this interaction happened while creating an additional, ongoing touchpoint for future interactions. Using NFT “link trees” it is also possible to share social media handles and tons of other information. So, for instance, when a potential customer interacts with a business by scanning their QR code, that interaction could be recorded as an NFT and then utilized for promotions, coupons, emails, Telegram handles and more. That sure is a more valuable experience than a paper business card.
As early adopters in the industry, it’s our responsibility to walk along the roads we have built and forge the path for others to join. It’s our duty to show that this stuff not only works but works better than the existing paradigm. For us to do our best work, we need to dog food what we’re building. In doing so, we find friction points and areas where we can iterate. We set the wheels in motion to dream up new and better ways to implement the tech or create new features and use cases. We are the ones responsible for the task of demonstrating a new way forward to the world, so walking the walk is something we all must be constantly reminded about.
This is new, there’s a learning curve, old habits die hard, etc. But at some point, we as a community have to draw the line and make a change — as many industries have done before us. The strides this technology has made even in the last few months have been enormous, so perhaps people are waiting until it’s fully baked and seamless. This makes sense, but let’s be clear on what these standards are and make a conscious effort as a community to choose when, where and how we want to start showing the world that we’ve built new ways of doing things that hold our values.
It’s no secret that this technology exists, yet our community seems stuck in its old habits of using the tools we as an industry are working to improve. It seems if there was ever an audience that would want to use this technology, it would be the attendees of one of the largest crypto conferences in the world, right? This is a natural part of any new technology, and it won’t happen overnight, but it has to start somewhere. So, let’s walk the walk by actually using the solutions we are asking others to use. Anything less is hypocrisy.
Julien Genestoux is the founder and CEO of Unlock Protocol. He previously founded SuperFeedr, which became one of the leading real-time web APIs, received funding from Mark Cuban and Betaworks, and was later acquired by Medium. At Medium, Julien led the company’s SEO efforts and quadrupled the share of traffic Medium receives from searches. He created his first company, Jobetudiant, while still in school.
This article is for general information purposes and is not intended to be and should not be taken as legal or investment advice. The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.