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How are blockchains creating value for humanity? Why is Web 3.0 important? :: with Andrew Cronk

In this episode of Ventures, my guest Andrew Cronk (https://www.linkedin.com/in/andrewcronk/, Co-founder and Chief Product Officer at https://figment.io/) and I discuss Web 3 and blockchains beyond price hysteria, energy-usage debates, and influencer shenanigans. While everyone has been distracted by current events, the Web 3 builders continue to push the technology forward in a way that is genuinely compelling for our future. We talk about Proof-of-Stake, building a Web 3 developer community, technologies that exist today for decentralized apps, NFTs, Helium Network, what the rest of this year looks like for Figment, and much, much more.

You can watch this episode below or listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts (search for “Ventures”).


In this episode we cover the following:

1:55 - Will’s tee-up for the conversation and why he enjoys having Andy on the show, why coin price and market dynamics aren’t as interesting as what blockchains are going to enable for humanity.

2:33 - Andy intro, background of https://figment.io, their bet on Proof-of-Stake, and the products/services they’ve developed for the community (Hubble, DataHub, Figment Learn, etc…)

5:33 - Refer listeners to back to Andy’s previous episodes: https://satchel.works/@wclittle/ventures-episode-2 and https://satchel.works/@wclittle/ventures-episode-19 

5:44 - Why proof-of-stake? Why did Figment double-down there? (seems like 99% of new blockchains are launching with proof-of-stake, so not a bad bet)

8:51 - Defining Web 3. Semantic Web. Looping in AI/XR. How does Andy think about and define Web 3? (see: Web 3 Metaverse)

10:40 - What can we - the collective developer community - do right now? What tech is available? Is it possible to build a fully functional Web 3 decentralized app? (Layer 2 tech, enabling technologies, the ability to bring more information on-chain, oracles, bringing price of coins on-chain, automatic loans w/ credit scores w/ zero-knowledge-proofs)

15:42 - What can a group of 300-400 people use on Web 3 right now to organize and communicate? What is possible right now for identity purposes? (cryptographic solutions to “recovering passwords” --- key splitting, threshold signatures, multi-party signatures)

19:58 - Logging in with identity in a Web 3 way, high interest in building Web 3 dApps, https://ceramic.network/ 

20:50 - Possible to store chat data on-chain? Or in a Layer 2-3? (P2P networks more likely, or store it in public places with privacy built in, encryption at rest or at flight)

23:30 - Are there chains right now to put data on publicly? FileCoin/IPFS, Arweave, Sia.Tech’s SkyNet.

24:25 - dApp developers are going to need to query a database (e.g. a relational database, SQL  databases), what’s available around this in Web 3?

26:06 - The nuance: where your application logic runs. Much more like a serverless paradigm.

27:10 - Figment’s new fund: https://figment.io/resources/figment-capital-16m-fund-to-grow-web-3/ 

29:28 - Supporting companies in different ways as part of the investment thesis (similar to https://www.protaventures.com)

30:25 - Similar to Bezos asking about what can be done with the Internet to scale selling books, what are ways that blockchains are enabling new tech? (NFTs, Ownership Trails, Identity...moving beyond art into invoices and other legal contracts)

33:00 - A lot more happening around mutualization (insurance). Nexus Mutual. Unslashed Finance.

34:20 - A discussion about the Helium Network. The future of 5G penetration into cities/towns with Helium, the raw source of their bandwidth, StarLink, etc...

37:50 - What’s next for Figment? They are hiring! → https://figment.io/jobs/ They are looking for both technical and non-technical people, teaching people and ramping them up to speed on Web 3.0. Expanding to more networks, more content on DataHub, more tutorials, paying developers to write tutorials, growing the developer community.

40:37 - Anything else that listeners should know about or questions that Andy has in this space? (Price means nothing to what Figment is doing...it’s orthogonal and distracting). (Go listen to what’s happening on EIP1559, Epicenter.tv (https://epicenter.tv/episodes/390/))