The web has taken over our lives, and with that, online enterprises have grown into huge monoliths of power.
Yet, while tech giants give us access to the stuff we like – music, movies, shopping – blockchain enthusiasts think an individual’s web experience could be greatly improved by decentralization.
If the web’s giants decentralize, the web itself will become a wildly different place – it’s hard to even wrap your head around, just like it would have been impossible to imagine meme culture in 1999.
Today, a site and its database are one entity. In the decentralized version, the database doesn’t belong to its creators; it belongs to its community, and that community can build lots of different business models on top of the database.
Think of it like this: if the web had been decentralized from the beginning, you could have made your first social media profile on Friendster in 2003. Then, when MySpace came along, you wouldn’t need to create a new profile, you’d just give MySpace permission to access the one you had already made for Friendster. Same thing for Facebook.
Obviously, each new site would add new features and ways of interacting, but users would have never needed to start over, lose friends from other sites or the content they’d created on prior platforms.
Are those advantages strong enough to upend the Dot-Com era’s familiar incumbents?
Entrepreneurs and the various investors who have committed capital – whether that be in the form of traditional venture capital, or perhaps more common in the space today, through initial coin offerings (ICOs) – have made their bets that it is.
And with ICOs providing not only a new fundraising mechanism for these blockchain startups, but also a tool for users to interact with these new distributed networks, the underlying infrastructure for a new internet – a “web 3.0” – is growing.
Below are three verticals on the web that blockchain startups are aiming to take market share from through the use of…