Web3 Doesn't Have to Be All About Blockchains


May 9, 2023

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There has been a lot of talk lately about Web3 and the Metaverse. From non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to virtual reality, a new world is emerging that promises to be more decentralized, more connected, and freer than ever before. That world will be built on top of blockchains, a different way of ordering data on a whole new layer of the internet that makes the old layer look like a flat piece of paper.

On the other hand, there are some interesting new ways of exploring Web3 and the metaverse that don’t involve blockchains. Some of them are as natural as waterfalls.

The Metaverse, Outerverse, and Inverse

In October 2021, Facebook’s parent company Facebook rebranded and began calling itself Meta. Since then, the whole world has gone gaga over the "metaverse:" A future rendition of the internet with no easy definition. In the minds of its creators, it involves blockchain technology, artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, 5G, and more. Originally a dystopian idea in the eyes of its creator, novelist Neal Stephenson, for some it has become the utopia of the internet.

Outdoors Magazine, however, has a different idea.

Attempting to persuade more people get outside and get active, the magazine has created "Outside," a platform it has dubbed the Outerverse.

Outside gives creators an opportunity to mint an NFT on the Solana blockchain, giving holders special benefits such as earning rewards for their physical activity and attendance at exclusive real world events. According to CoinDesk, Outerverse passport holders will be able to unlock heli-skiing expedition experiences, Zoom chats with world-class photographers, and movie tickets.

Essentially, it’s a blockchain-meets-the-real-world project. The blockchain is necessary because it can track passport holders’ activity for the purpose of rewards accounting. The real world is necessary because that’s where real people live.

Outside proves that flipping the switch with NFTs is allowed. And if that isn’t enough, inverting the relationship between technology and the humans it was meant to serve, returning the power in that relationship back to the people, isn’t just allowed — It’s required.

DAOs That Integrate the Real World with the Blockchain

Before there was an Outerverse, there were DAOs: Decentralized autonomous organizations. They go back pretty far into cryptocurrency history, but the most well-known still currently in operation is MakerDAO.

MakerDAO didn’t invent decentralized finance, but it certainly took it up a notch. Still, the concept is entirely blockchain-based. Some of the newer DAOs attempt to take the decentralized and autonomous nature of the organization back into the real world.

Friends With Benefits, for instance, is Web3’s most exclusive social club. The only way in is to buy FWB tokens, which currently are valued at just over $12.00. The more tokens you hold, the better the benefits. Five tokens net’s the holder invitations to exclusive real-world events and access to the club’s newsletter. People with 75 tokens or more can interact with other members on the club’s more elite Discord channels and voting rights in the DAO.

Cabin is another DAO that integrates blockchain technology with real world activity. It calls itself a “decentralized city” and facilitates real-world get togethers for its members.

The proposition for Cabin is centered around geographical neighborhoods. The first sits in the Texas hill country. Members discuss city planning concepts for its neighborhoods with a decentralized governance model.

As Web3 grows, more DAOs integrating the real world with blockchain technology should emerge to make the next iteration of the internet more interesting.

Blockchain and the Real World Were Made For Each Other

The symbiotic relationship between blockchain technology and real-world projects may not be self-evident. But technology, if it’s to be useful, must have practical applications. Objectives like Friends With Benefits, Cabin, and Outerverse take that to heart by integrating powerful technology with real-world benefits in a way that doesn’t detract from either the technology or the real world.