Last week’s ETHDenver conference highlighted a worrying trend in the crypto industry. While not unique to blockchain, the trend of not using products created by our industry is something the crypto community has to contend with. In more mature industries this “dogfooding” is enforced. Microsoft employees need to use Outlook, Word, and so on. But in early industries like blockchain, those dynamics are still being worked through.
Why isn’t the Web3 community talking to us about using our own technology? We say we’re creating better versions of existing online experiences with value propositions for privacy, transparency, and more compelling, connected experiences for users, and we do. However, I still see projects across the ecosystem that rely on the technologies we want (and have already) replaced.
This problem accompanied us at every step of this journey. We value decentralization, but most crypto financial transactions take place on centralized exchanges. We value transparency but entrust assets to opaque companies like FTX. While we value innovation, most upcoming ETHDenver events support ticketing through legacy systems such as Eventbrite – when better Web3 ticketing options are available.
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There are many reasons for this dynamic, and many of them are legitimate and a natural part of the building and adoption process. However, I think as a community we should remind ourselves that we must be the first users of the exciting new technology we are creating. If not us, then who? It’s our responsibility to show the world that these things work and are a better choice over Web2 alternatives. This trend is not unique to blockchain and even seems to be a regularly growing problem for almost every industry at some point in its maturation.
Cryptocurrency events and conferences are ideal venues for non-fungible token (NFT) ticketing use cases, however Web2 platforms such as Eventbrite remain the backbone of most of our ticketing needs. The explosion of Eventbrite links to the many (amazing) side events at ETHDenver has been truly astounding, but also disappointing. Our community has created better versions of this technology that has the values we all care about so much in its DNA, so why can’t we builders of these things use it?
#ETHDenver this year was bigger than ever before. We couldn’t do it without you! pic.twitter.com/a6sSd9doQ4
— ETHDenver (@EthereumDenver) March 5, 2023
Another obvious place to eat our dog food is to replace the endless stream of business cards exchanged at booths and events. Instead of exchanging pieces of paper that will inevitably be lost, people can simply scan QR codes, punch out NFTs that can remind each other of when and where that interaction took place, creating an additional permanent touchpoint for future interactions. Using NFT’s “link trees”, you can also share social media handles and lots of other information. For example, when a potential customer interacts with a business by scanning their QR code, that interaction can be recorded as an NFT and then used for promotions, coupons, emails, Telegram handles, and more. This is certainly a more valuable experience than a paper business card.
As industry firsts, it’s our responsibility to follow the paths we’ve built and pave the way for others. It is our responsibility to show that it not only works, but works better than the existing paradigm. In order for us to do our best work, we need to feed what we build. This is how we find friction points and areas where we can iterate. We set the wheels in motion to invent new and better ways to implement technology or create new features and use cases. It is our responsibility to show the world a new way forward, so walking that way is something we all need to constantly remind ourselves of.
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It’s new, you have to learn, old habits are hard to break, etc. But at some point, we as a community have to draw the line and make a change – just like many industries have done before us. The progress this technology has made even in the last few months has been tremendous, so perhaps people are waiting for it to be fully baked and hassle-free. That makes sense, but let’s be clear on those standards and make a conscious effort as a community to choose when, where and how we want to start showing the world that we’ve created new ways of doing things that align with our values.
It’s no secret that this technology exists, but it seems our community is stuck with the old habits of using the tools we as an industry are working on. It seems that if there was ever an audience that wanted to use this technology, it would be a group of participants in one of the largest cryptocurrency conferences in the world, right? This is a natural part of any new technology and it won’t happen overnight, but you have to start somewhere. So let’s take a walk by actually using the solutions we ask others to use. Anything less is hypocrisy.
Julien Genestoux is the founder and CEO of Unlock Protocol. He previously founded SuperFeedr, which has become 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 Medium’s search traffic. Already at school, he created his first company, Jobetudiant.
This article is for information purposes only and is not intended to be and should not be construed as legal or investment advice. The views, thoughts and opinions expressed herein are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.