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 makes is something the crypto community has to grapple with. In more mature industries this “dog fooding” is enforced. Microsoft employees must use Outlook, Word, and so on. But in early industries like blockchain, this dynamic is still being worked through.
Why doesn’t the Web3 community do what we say when it comes to using our own technology? We say we’re building better versions of existing web experiences with the value propositions of privacy, transparency, and more engaging interconnected experiences for users – and we are. Yet I keep seeing projects across the ecosystem falling back on the technologies we want (and have already replaced).
This problem has followed us every step of the way on this journey. We appreciate decentralization, but most crypto financial transactions take place on centralized exchanges. We value transparency, but entrust assets to opaque companies like FTX. We appreciate innovation, but most side events surrounding the upcoming ETH Denver conference will ticket through legacy systems like Eventbrite – when better Web3 ticketing options are available.
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There are many reasons for this dynamic, and many of them are valid and a natural part of the build and adoption process. However, I think as a community we need to be reminded to be the first adopters of the exciting new technology we are building. If not us, then who? It’s up to 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 in fact appears to be a regular growing pain for almost every industry at some point in its maturity.
Crypto events and conferences are the perfect places to apply the non-fungible token (NFT) ticketing use case, but Web2 platforms, such as Eventbrite, remain the staple of most of our ticketing needs. The explosion of Eventbrite links for the many (awesome) side events at ETHDenver was truly amazing, but also disappointing. Our community has built better versions of this technology that has the values we all care about built into its DNA, so why not us, the builders of this stuff, take advantage of it?
#ETHDenver this year was bigger than ever before. We couldn’t have done it without you! pic.twitter.com/a6sSd9doQ4
— ETHDenver (@EthereumDenver) March 5, 2023
Another obvious place for us to eat our dog food is replacing the endless stream of business cards that are exchanged at booths and around events. Instead of exchanging pieces of paper that will inevitably get lost, people can simply scan QR codes, punch NFTs that can remind each other of when and where this interaction took place, while creating an additional, ongoing point of contact for future interactions. Using NFT “link trees” it is also possible to share social media handles and a host of other information. So, 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. That is certainly a more valuable experience than a paper business card.
As early adopters in the industry, it’s our responsibility to walk the paths we’ve built and blaze the trail for others to join. It’s our duty to show that this stuff not only works, but works better than the existing paradigm. To do our best work, we have to feed dog food to what we’re building. In doing so, we find points of friction and areas where we can repeat. We set the wheels in motion to come up with new and better ways to implement the technology or create new features and use cases. We are the ones responsible for the task of demonstrating a new way to the world, so walking the walk is something we all need to be constantly reminded of.
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This is new, there is a learning curve, old habits persist, 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 recent months have been huge, so maybe people are waiting for it to be fully baked and seamless. This makes sense, but let’s be clear about what these norms are and make a conscious effort as a community to choose when, where and how we want to show the world that we’ve developed new ways of doing things that preserve our values.
It’s no secret that this technology exists, but our community seems stuck in its old habits of using the tools we’re trying to improve as an industry. It seems that 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 road of 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 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 and should not be construed as legal or investment advice. The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.