Web3 Revolution: Escape, Faith, Migration

“As long as the year-end bonus of Byte is distributed, I will go to (Web3 company), and friends from another department of Byte will join me.” Byte employee Zhang Beihai said to Huxiu.

As the youngest and only big Internet company that is still growing rapidly and has great opportunities, many employees of ByteDance chose to give up “beating” and began to explore new industries. Some of them are technical employees in charge of Feishu, some are visual designers, some are in charge of TikTok business, and some are “technical bigwigs” who joined Byte in 2014… They are all post-90s, most of them are post-95s, they enjoy writing The 18-day salary, the options with huge value-added potential, and the free three meals and snacks and drinks that have changed.

However, this series of top-level treatment from domestic and even global companies cannot retain their determination to change careers.

Unlike Zhang Beihai, Tencent’s senior product manager Plato is reluctant to wait for year-end awards. “I’m not too young, and I don’t want to live a life that can be seen at a glance.” At the end of 2021, Plato resigned from Tencent’s headquarters, selected the recently popular creator economy track, and officially started his own Web3 entrepreneurial road.

Tiger Sniff observed that Ali, Ant, Tencent, Byte, NetEase, Meituan, and at least six major Internet companies have “high P” (senior managers or senior technical talents), giving up stable high salaries and considerable options, Actively explore the Web3 world.

There are more and more “Gao P” companies joining the Web3 track, including: Wang Huiwen, co-founder of Meituan, Zhao Feng, technical director of Ant, who joined Byte in 2014 and retired with nearly 100 million options in 2020. Post-90s programmer Guo Yu, etc.

In April this year, Wang Huiwen changed the instant App signature to: Learning Crypto. Also the founder of Meituan, he paid attention to Crypto much later than Wang Xing. As early as 2013, Wang Xing was optimistic about Bitcoin and made an investment. However, “there is no precedence in hearing about DAO”, Wang Huiwen has some new understandings of Web3. He believes that the blockchain has torn apart the Chinese Internet, and the main contradiction of the Chinese Internet has changed from the contradiction between giants and startups to classical Internet and blockchain. contradiction between . In 2020, he retired from Meituan and started a new track.

Guo Yu is one of the first batch of Web3 practitioners. He has been concerned about Web3 since he joined Alipay in 2011 and shared his experience at the weekend sharing meeting of Alipay Experience Technology Department. After he left ByteDance in 2020, he seldom studied it. The classical Internet, and began to concentrate on the technology and application of blockchain. Zhao Feng is all in Web3 like Guo Yu. As the former Tencent mobile QQ architect and Alipay product director, he has entered the game in 2018 and has drawn many colleagues from Ant and Tencent.

From top executives of big factories to young people from big factories, the Web3 industry is continuously attracting talents from the Internet. In the first 20 years of the 21st century, the Internet may be the most friendly industry for most young Chinese, although people are now more complaining about its various problems.

Web3 refers to a decentralized online ecosystem based on blockchain technology, which many consider to represent the next phase of the internet. A partner of a traditional investment institution said to Huxiu: “The current Web3 industry is very similar to the Internet in 2000.” And this sentence is being mentioned more and more frequently.

Looking back at 2000, Baidu, Ali and Tencent have just been established, Alipay will be 3 years later, QQ Music will be 5 years later, BOSS will be hired 14 years later, KEEP will be 15 years later, and Douyin will be the “last national Internet product”. “It will take 16 years to be born. In fact, most of the Internet companies we know at present were born between 2000 and 2010. Many of these companies and their products were accompanied by huge controversy at the beginning of their birth, but this did not affect their commercial value, far exceeding that of traditional companies.

So, as the “new generation Internet”, have the latest versions of Baidu, Ali and Tencent appear?

In fact, in the Web3 industry, some products already have the “prototype” of national-level mobile phone products , such as MetaMask (decentralized Alipay), STEPN (decentralized KEEP), Audius (decentralized QQ Music), OpenSea… They already have millions or even tens of millions of users around the world, and 3 companies were even named one of the 100 most influential companies in the world by Time magazine this year.

Among them, MetaMask is currently one of the Web3 products with the largest number of users. In March 2022, its monthly active users exceeded 30 million, and it has grown by as much as 42% in the past four months. The latest valuation of the company behind it, ConsenSys, has quadrupled to $7 billion.

Abundant products, high valuations, a large number of users… These all make people think of the Internet in the wild era around 2000.

escape

“Look at the end at a glance.” Now this sentence has become the voice of many Internet people.

Twenty years ago, a group of entrepreneurs introduced various innovative models of the Internet to China despite policy uncertainty and compliance risks. At that time, there were no factions in the Internet. There were hundreds or even thousands of companies competing in each sub-track, and there were new corporate IPOs every month. After three or five years of development, a small company has surpassed the development of traditional enterprises for decades in scale. There are many such cases.

However, it is no longer what it used to be. In the past three years, there have been few Internet companies that have frequently seen companies with a tenfold increase in valuation and a hundredfold return for investors like the current Web3. This may be one of the reasons why many capitals fled the classical Internet and poured into Web3.

Entering 2022, some capital’s investment in Web3 is “crazy”. According to incomplete statistics from Tiger Sniff, from January 1, 2022 to April 26, 2022, Sequoia Capital, one of the world’s largest venture capitalists, invested in 17 Web3 companies at a rate of one investment per week. Sequoia is considered to be the most successful early VC in the Internet era, but in the Web3 race, it is facing tougher competition. Its rival Coinbase Ventures invested in 71 companies in the first quarter of 2022 alone, almost every day, excluding days off. The “war” between capitals is approaching a fever.

The big manufacturers work as hard as their predecessors, but they have already missed the period of the fastest development of the company and the industry. What is even more frightening is that the layoffs of various big factories are like the plague, one after another, and there is no stopping trend.

“The development of the Internet is getting slower and slower, and retirement is okay.” An employee of a large factory said to Huxiu. She compares Internet companies to “nursing homes” for young people. On the one hand, they enjoy high salaries in traditional industries and enjoy a good working environment. A lot of repetitive and meaningless work.

A former project leader of a large domestic factory said to Huxiu: “When I first came in, I was incubating innovative projects. However, as time went on, this project became more and more important, and the whole system lacked innovation, and began to engage in politics. , Our boss came from a bank and likes to engage in politics and bureaucracy, and his style is more serious. I am used to the free and flat work model of the Internet, and now the company environment has no way to give me a sense of accomplishment. “

The classical Internet has existed for more than 30 years, from the invention of the World Wide Web by Berners Lee in 1991. The classical Internet is still “young”, but compared with Web3, its “oldness” is not only reflected in its age, but also in its system, culture, and spirit.

The Web3 world has a “slang” called OK Boomer (OK, old man), and it can be said to anyone over 22 who disagrees. If you are in an important position in the government, 35 is a young person, and 50 is the starting point of your career; if you are in a management position in a large state-owned enterprise, 35 is the age when you can just show off your skills; if you are in the Internet industry, 35 years old It is the age to be optimized; and in Web3, 22 may not be absolutely young.

In Web3, experience is the second most important, and the innovative spirit is the most important. After all, it is built on blockchain technology, and this technology was only 14 years old, and there are not so many rules and shackles. These qualities make him more suitable for young people.

The trend of Web3 has gradually become obvious, so that no Internet giant dares to ignore it, but they can no longer play as easily as they did 20 years ago.

Tiger Sniff once mentioned in “Internet Giants “Overseas Battle” Web3″ that Ali, Tencent, Byte, Ant, JD.com, Bilibili, and Netease have established teams to explore Web3, and the top three major manufacturers have set up teams to explore Web3. : Alibaba, Tencent, and Byte have already invested overseas. In a domestic public recruitment channel, Tencent directly stated that job seekers were required to understand blockchain frameworks such as Bitcoin and Etherrum.

But still more and more people choose to leave the factory.

migration

A “great migration” is taking place on the Internet.

Entrepreneurs, like stubborn ants, worked tirelessly to “move” Web2 (classical Internet) products to Web3 one by one. Zheng Xiaoyue is one of these mighty entrepreneurs.

He is the CEO of a small and medium-sized Internet company in China. He once led a team of nearly 200 people at NetEase. Now he has developed a product called MetaNotey, all in web3.

MetaNotey (Decentralized Weibo)

This product is a bit like Weibo in the Web3 version, and a bit like Tencent documents in the Web3 version. He tried to “move” Internet products such as Weibo or Tencent Documents to Web3 to make it more decentralized. “For most Internet users, the threshold for understanding and using Web3 is too high. We hope to become a bridge between Web2 and Web3 for Internet users, and a community platform for aggregating NFT content and user subscription exchanges.” Zheng Xiaoyue said.

Plato is also doing the same thing as Zheng Xiaoyue. He worked at Tencent for eight years. In the second half of last year, he decided to resign, with the goal of “moving” WeChat reading and Kindle to Web3.

As a veteran of the goose factory, Plato started his own business in Tencent twice in the past eight years, and he has grown into a senior product manager all the way. Perhaps because he likes to read, Plato’s two ventures in his spare time are related to “books”. Once in 2014, he pulled hundreds of authors from Douban to make a paid reading website; once in 2017, he worked with Tencent and friends from Tsinghua University to build a smart bookshelf, which is comparable to the library’s self-checkout machine. , his smart bookshelf has doubled its capacity, is only one-third the size of the library, and only about 20% of the cost. Until now, you can still read it in Kexing Science Park, where Tencent IEG is located. to the smart bookshelf developed by their team.

Perhaps the first two book entrepreneurship projects were not “sexy” enough. He didn’t choose to go all in until he met Web3.

Compared with Internet products, Web3 products have some common features, such as: decentralization, non-tampering, each piece of data is owned by the user, data can be bought and sold, etc. Taking decentralization as an example, whether it is Weibo, WeChat reading or Tencent documents, they have the common characteristics of Internet products: all data are collected, stored and used by an Internet company alone. Such centralized Internet products often only have one or two nodes. Once destroyed, the data will also have the risk of disappearing.

On the Web3 version of Weibo or WeChat reading, every “Weibo” and “book” published by people can be minted into NFTs (non-fungible tokens), and these NFTs are in blocks such as Ethereum. chain. The blockchain is equivalent to a collection of thousands of databases. It has countless nodes, so data is difficult to steal and destroy.

The utility of Web3 doesn’t stop there.

Take Web3’s hottest track NFT last year as an example. When a Weibo, an article, and an e-book are minted into NFT, they become an asset. After you write a Weibo, you will no longer be unable to know the price of the content you create as before. Each Weibo you publish is equivalent to a commodity. As long as someone thinks it is valuable, it can be bought and sold by bidding. . This may give birth to a highly developed digital property rights society, where each piece of data will have its own value and price like a house or a car, and everyone can conveniently display, trade and profit from the data they generate.

Twitter founder Jack Dorsey’s first tweet in 2006 was sold for $2.9 million after it was made into an NFT, but recently people have not recognized the value of this tweet, so now this tweet is NFT The latest offer fell back to $280, a drop of more than 10,000 times. It should be pointed out that the current NFT market is in the early stage of development, so some works are pushed to artificially high, which is in line with the relationship between supply and demand. As more and more works enter the market, the price will naturally gradually tend to the normal level.

The above two products are the latest attempts made by two Chinese Internet practitioners to transform Web3, but this is only the tip of the iceberg.

STEPN (Web3 version of Keep), Metamask (Web3 version of Alipay), Braintrust (Web3 version of BOSS direct employment)… Thousands of Internet products have been moved to Web3 by entrepreneurs. It is foreseeable that there will be more in the future.

Well-known products in Web3

Social, music, writing, finance… Every Web3 track is now crowded with a large number of entrepreneurial projects.

This scene has frequently occurred in the Internet industry.

In the “Thousand Regiments War” of the Internet food delivery platform, only a few companies such as Meituan and Ele.me were left. During the competition period between Mobike and Xiaohuangche, hundreds of bicycle companies appeared overnight. There used to be countless new tracks born every year in the Internet industry, but now it is no different than it used to be. The Web3 industry is reappearing in this lively scene.

Just like now everyone has countless apps on their mobile phones, maybe everyone will use countless DApps (blockchain versions of apps) every day in the future.

Break the circle! Break the circle! Break the circle!

The decentralization of Web3 is essentially pursuing a kind of extreme equality, which is one of the reasons why more and more people are attracted to it.

However, equality in technology may not be true equality, and sometimes even greater inequality. Everyone’s quality is completely different. There is no doubt that certain professional talents are more suitable for Web3, although Web3 is constantly breaking the circle to attract more professional talents.

Previously, the Web3 industry has experienced many entrepreneurial waves. A researcher of OKX, Brock, told Huxiu: The birth of Ethereum in 2013 made the blockchain and smart contracts closely integrated, and many DApps (blockchain applications) came into being; The game of “sexual mining” detonated the Defi market; in 2021, NFT Summer stepped out of the small circle of “Crypto” at the level of circulation. All of these have made great contributions to the infrastructure and audience attraction of the Web3 industry.

From the invention of Bitcoin, to the creation of Ethereum, to Defi, NFT, and now DAO, every wave of blockchain over the past decade has attracted a group of entrepreneurs and screened a group of people.

The emergence of Ethereum has attracted a large number of programmers to participate, the emergence of Defi has attracted a group of professional financial talents on Wall Street, the emergence of NFT has attracted a large number of artists to settle in, and the emergence of DAO has attracted professionals in all aspects.

“We have been in touch with cryptocurrencies for a long time. Tencent employees spontaneously created two WeChat groups specializing in Web3 investment, and the groups were full. However, we just observed and did not go deep until the recent emergence of NFTs and DAOs. We have the opportunity to do some A project that can drive the industry,” said a former Tencent employee Xiang Huxiu.

People who are new to Web3 have the same mentality and have a strong sense of vigilance; while those who decide to go all in web3 have different reasons. Some people like to cut leeks and run away; some like high-risk investment; some are simply attracted by innovative financial models, while others hope to change traditional industries through new technologies and business models.

There are liars, idealists, leeks and doers here. Under the big waves, who is more suitable to grow in the soil of Web3?

A group of venture capital institutions stayed.

Although the Web3 model has actually had an impact on early-stage venture capital institutions, there are still a number of forward-looking institutions, such as Sequoia Capital, a16z, and Coinbase Ventures. Sequoia Capital once invested in half of China’s Internet, and a16z once invested in Facebook, Groupon, Skype, Twitter and other American Internet giants in the early days, and now they have publicly stated that they are all in crypto. These are the most famous VCs of the Web2 era who have chosen and almost all in the Web3 track.

Sequoia Capital changed its “vision” to: Help adventurous people build great DAOs

Other new VCs are not far behind. The competition among some VCs has reached a fever pitch. For example, the aforementioned Coinbase Ventures invested in 71 Web3 companies in the first quarter of 2022 alone.

The competition among these investment institutions is extremely fierce, and the “origin” of the VCs involved is even more complicated.

OKX has invested in hundreds of projects in 2021, covering core tracks such as NFT, GameFi, and DeF. Researcher Brock said to Huxiu: “Traditional VCs obtain shares issued by the company through investment, and often require higher rounds of financing. You can only withdraw when you want to withdraw. Web3 investment institutions obtain the Token of the project through investment, which can be sold at any time after the lock-up period, and the exit is more flexible. In addition, institutional investment is an important source of funds for startups, so institutions have more initiative. In the field of Web3, project parties have various sources of funds, and ordinary people can participate in project investment through public offerings, purchase of tokens, etc., so not only investment institutions select projects, but powerful projects also have some requirements for the comprehensive strength of VCs.”

“Traditional investment has been developed for more than 10 years, and a set of very mature value evaluation standards has been developed for Web2 companies. Web2 is a platform economy, and wins or loses in terms of market share. Web3 uses technologies such as blockchain to create readable and writable. , The third-generation Internet protocol that can realize value transmission and return the value created by users to users, which may be counter-intuitive to traditional VCs who are familiar with Web2 investments. Web3 is built on the blockchain, and requires To understand the Web3 project, the principles of blockchain technology, the token economy, and the governance mechanism must be studied first, and it is easier to understand the feasibility of the Web3 project with the underlying knowledge structure.” Block said.

In addition, the Internet elite and Wall Street elite are also “flooding” Web3.

These two industries have exported a large number of talents and companies to Web3. From another perspective, talents and companies from these two industries are the most active in entering Web3.

Financial giants such as the New York Stock Exchange, JPMorgan Chase, and KPMG are all trying the latest Web3 gameplay. SEC Deputy Chief Economist Scott Bauguess, SEC Officer Justin Slaugher, etc. have also joined blockchain companies, which has become a very normal phenomenon. Financial practitioners, especially financial elites, are a group of people who value their ancestry and resume the most.

For a long time, Internet practitioners and financial practitioners have always been the largest group of people in Web3, and more than 70% of the employees of some large Web3 companies are from the Internet. The channel to enter Web3 seems to be “monopolized” by these two industries. It was not until the outbreak of NFT that people from all walks of life were able to enter Web3 on a large scale.

Clothes (the virtual shoes of Nike and Adidas), food (the NFT collection of Coca-Cola, McDonald’s), living (Sandbox), walking (virtual cars launched by BMW, Ferrari, etc.), playing ((NBA Super Bowl Disney Christie’s)… NFT spreads in traditional industries at an incredible speed. , and try to change the traditional industry. This also allows professionals in other fields, such as painters, sneaker designers, photographers, jewelry designers, etc. to deeply participate in the world of Web3.

“DAO Thought” and “Web3 Culture”

Blockchain is a technology, DAO is a system, and Web3 is a culture.

DAO is a form of decentralized organization, which can be understood as a “decentralized company”. It is an economic system built on the blockchain. People with the same philosophy and consensus can form a DAO. People don’t necessarily need a blockchain to form consensus. In the Internet world, when people strongly identify with a video or article, even if it is continuously deleted by centralized institutions, people will spontaneously store and reprint it and keep it on the Internet. Such behavior actually coincides with the idea of ​​DAO and the culture of Web3.

However, the spontaneous consensus of human beings is fragile. Without the guarantee of technology + system + culture, these consensus may exist overnight or temporarily, but it is still partial, one-sided, and fleeting. People need blockchain+DAO+Web3 to record and guarantee those behaviors and consensus that we cherish.

In 1915, Chen Duxiu published an article in “New Youth” edited by him, advocating democracy (Mr. De) and science (Mr. Sai). At that time, the reformers and innovators who stood at the forefront of the times found that the Westernization Movement (technology) could not save China, and the Revolution of 1911 (system) could not save China, and the New Culture Movement (technology + system + ideology and culture) came into being.

The same is true for the development of Web3. Unlike other forms of technology, it is more like a collection of “technology + system + culture”. If you only “Westernization Movement” (only develop blockchain technology), but not “Xinhai Revolution” and “New Culture Movement”, then such Web3 is just empty.

This may be seen from the current position of Chinese entrepreneurs in Web3 companies. Chinese entrepreneurs can build the world’s largest exchange, but they cannot invent NFTs that focus on cultural attributes, such as Boring Ape, Azuki, and Cryptopunk.

Azuki NFT

Decentralization is the spirit of Web3 and the core of the Internet.

Institutionally, the centralized Internet is increasingly criticized by people. Whether it is Twitter, Weibo or Facebook, there are disadvantages of centralized companies, such as browsing user privacy at will, taking private data as one’s own, killing big data and so on. These problems are determined by the genes engraved in the bones of Web2 Internet companies, and it is difficult to solve them by themselves or through supervision.

Recently, an employee of a large factory was accused of “peeking” at the startup company’s work documents. Nearly a month later, the official has not responded. Such incidents are not uncommon, and it is impossible to prevent them. People have no chance to resist or choose. Even if a small individual is violated, they will not get any statement. Moreover, most of the time people do not know their privacy or data. rights have been violated. It’s not that Internet companies like to do evil, but their own inherent institutional decision. And once there is a situation of “small government, big company” in society, the severity of these problems will increase geometrically.

How to eliminate the “evil side” of big factories? Deprive them of too centralized power.

It should be pointed out that the Web2 Internet is not a completely centralized world, in fact, it is more decentralized than when Web1 and the Internet were not born. However, Web2 Internet companies generally believe in the idea of ​​centralization.

The emergence of Alipay, WeChat and Didi actually gave people one more choice. Before these Internet products appeared, everyone could only use the products provided by the bank, communicate only by telephone, etc., and could only stop taxis at the roadside. And the Internet actually provides people with new options.

Starting from this logic, the decentralization of Web3 is reflected in two layers: the first layer is the social scope, and the emergence of Web3 provides new opportunities for ordinary people and entrepreneurs, making this society less monopolistic and centralized; The second layer is Web3 itself. Its core idea is to believe in decentralization and to decentralize every Web3 product systematically.

People are accustomed to the life style of the classical Internet, and believe that every picture, every message and every article they publish should be freely shared and circulated by people. Data is money and power. This is a truth that every large Internet company knows well. However, this truth is limited to large institutions. Data is money, and big companies can turn data into money and power, but individuals cannot.

Web3 allows data to be circulated more deeply. It makes the power of data no longer limited to countries and large enterprises, but is returned to everyone.

Each of your footprints on the Internet may seem ordinary, but together, it forms value. When only ordinary people can authorize these data to the institutions that need it, people can obtain benefits through their own network footprints, and even exchange data frequently with others .

Web3 attracts the craziest capital, the most ambitious young people and the most imaginative projects. What connects them is trust.

This kind of trust comes from every small life scene.

A Singaporean who wants to buy a house in Australia may need to apply to various departments and spend a week to be successful. However, in the Web3 system, it only takes a few seconds. In the past, people needed to form a company to accomplish a complex goal, but now people only need to form a DAO (Decentralized Autonomous Organization).

Web2 (Internet) allows everyone to see the major events happening in countries around the world in real time even at home. Web3 has created an independent global economic system outside the current world system, allowing everyone to do a complex business with strangers who have a global consensus anytime, anywhere.

write at the end

Blockchain and Web3 remain one of the most controversial industries in China. Some blockchain company CEOs, even if they are worth more than 100 million yuan, have more than 1,000 team members, and even appear on the covers of mainstream magazines around the world, have been criticized by the old mother as “blind flow”.

This ideological conflict has lasted for 10 years and will continue to exist. It took China only 30 years to evolve from an agricultural society, to an industrial society, and then to a digital society. Looking back, every decade is a revolutionary subversion.

At that time, children who planted rice in the fields would not have thought that they would work in factories in the future, because they could not see a factory at that time; children who were playing in factories would not have thought that their future jobs would be staring at skyscrapers every day. Wearing a screen, because there are low houses as far as the eye can see; and children running between skyscrapers, maybe the place of work in the future will be in the fields, on the sea, underground, and even the concept of work will be ignored. digestion.

Inherent thinking is still lingering in people’s minds, but the world is definitely changing. People from the Internet, finance, art and other industries “flood” into this track, integrating blockchain technology into products, incorporating DAO thinking into companies, and integrating Web3 culture into the digital society.

This is a “migration” that has been going on for 10 years, and the large force has just set off.

I am Zhou Zhou from the Tiger Sniffing Technology Group. I pay attention to Web3 and financial technology. Welcome to communicate (please note your business identity, thank you, WeChat: 18811172358).

If you have any objection or complaint about this manuscript, please contact [email protected]

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