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What is Web3?

Web3 and metaverse have been two buzzwords for the year 2022, but according to the World Economic Forum, Web 3 is essentially a synonym for the metaverse. Therefore, I wish to discuss the two concepts together instead of writing two articles.

What is Web3.0? It can simply be understood from the following aspects:

  • Web1.0 is “read-only”;
  • Web2.0 is “readable + writable” (read + write);
  • Web3 is “read+write+own” (read+write+own).

Firstly, web1.0 is represented by websites Yahoo and Sina, which solely provide information to users . During this era, most users can only read information on the web while very few website developers could create content, I was one of them. I created my first website in 1995 titled ‘Visual Basic Tutorial” which still ranks top in Google search for the keyword ‘Visual Basic’. Web2.0 is an interactive web comprising blogs, social media like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Whatsapp, WeChat, Tiktok and more, which users can interact and generate content. On the other hand, web3.0 not only allows users to generate content but the content data is owned by the user, not controlled by the platform.

Secondly, we can define the web revolution by the degree of decentralization. Simply put, web1.0 is semi-centralized, Web2.0 is centralized and web3 is fully decentralized.

Comparison between Web 1.0, Web 2.0 and Web 3.0

In the Web1.0 era, decentralized personal websites formed half of the Web while the other half were centralized, both sides formed a semi-decentralized ecosystem. In the Web2.0 era, information islands are formed, and large companies such as FAANG monopolize the web and control users’ data and while numerous individual and SME websites formed a small portion of the web. On the other hand, web3.0 will be purely decentralized where data is owned and controlled by users. Web 3 is a concept for the next generation of the internet. It is the evolution of how users are able to control and own their creations and online content, digital assets and online identities. In Web 3, however, users can create content while owning, controlling and monetizing them through the implementation of blockchain and cryptocurrencies.

Data privacy is another issue of the current Web 2.0 internet. While the centralized entities have full control over the access to the service, they have full control over the users’ data. Users register to access a service and give up their precious private data and content in exchange for the convenience of the service, by agreeing to the terms of services. However, in Web3, not a single entity has control over the access to the service as it’s open to everyone. No registration is needed, users then have complete control over their private data, but at the same time, users have to take the responsibility to protect their own data and assets as they will become the only custodians.

The third aspect:

Web1.0 and Web2.0 are information Internet while Web3 is the Internet of Value. Web1.0 and Web2.0 are essentially transmitting information and focusing on consumption; while Web3 is transmitting value and creating wealth. Therefore, Web3 can be simply understood as the Internet powered by blockchain technology. It will solve the current Internet “central monopoly” problem, help users regain their data sovereignty, and recreate a better ecosystem in the digital world. Internet world. If you really understand the above changes, then you will understand that Web3 is revolutionary.

Key features of Web3 are:

Decentralized

Web3 data are typically stored in decentralized ledger like blockchain, so no single system has access to it all. It is dispersed across multiple platforms. This facilitates decentralized access and eliminate single point of failure .

Permissionless

The decentralized web can be accessed by users without requiring special permissions and KYC. Users will not need to disclose their personal information to access specific services. There will be no need to compromise privacy or share any other information.

Secure

Web 3 is more secure since decentralization makes it more difficult for hackers to target specific databases. Besides that, all data are encrypted based on cryptographic hash which add a security layer to the distributed database system.

Why we don’t call web3 as web3.0? Because they are fundamentally different.

Differences between web3 and web3.0

Web 3.0 aka semantic web focuses on efficiency and intelligence by reusing and linking data across websites. Web3 aka the decentralized web, however, puts a strong emphasis on security and empowerment by returning control of data and identity to users.

Semantic web uses a central place called the solid pod to store all user data, enabling users to handle third-party access to their data. Solid pods also issue a unique WebID for users that act as an identity within the ecosystem. In the blockchain-based web3, users can store their data in a cryptocurrency wallet, which they can access using their private keys.

Additionally, they both use different technologies to implement their purpose of data security. Web3 uses blockchain technology, while in web 3.0, certain data interchange technologies like RDF, SPARQL, OWL, and SKOS are used.

Data in web3 is difficult to modify or delete since it is scattered across multiple nodes; however, data in web3.0 can be changed effortlessly. Furthermore, the data stored in the solid pod is centralized, while the keys stored in crypto wallets provide access to the data of assets that reside on a blockchain

The differences are summarised in the following table:

ParameterWeb3Web3.0
Distribution ModelDecentralized peer-to-peerClient/Server
ProtocolBlockchain/ipfshttp/https
Relationship to World Wide WebAn Alternative to the World Wide WebThe continuation of the World Wide Web
VisionEliminates intermediaries and emphasis on security and empowerment by returning control of data and identity to users.  Evolving to a semantic web to make web content machine readable.


To learn more about Web3, please check out my book:

Reference

DAO Explained

If 2020 was the hottest trend for DeFi and 2021 NFT outshone DeFi, the blockchain industry in 2022 will be spearheaded by Metaverse, Web 3.0 and Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) .  Actually web3.0 supersede everything else we just mentioned.

Every revolution will profoundly changes people ways of living , social interaction, organization structure, work habits and more. For example, the industrial revolution turned farmers into factory workers, and the Internet enabled people to work remotely. Since the invention of the Internet by Sir Timothy John Berners-Lee, we have experienced Web1.0, the static read only web led by Yahaoo!, and Web2.0, the interactive web2.0 led by FAANG(F=Facebook, A=Amazon, A=Apple, N=Netflix, G=Google) without forgetting Alibaba, Tencent and Bytedance. Web1.0 is quite decentralized but Web2.0 is completely centralized as it is monopolized by FAANG and other huge conglomerates. With the invention of Bitcoin by Satoshi Nakamoto, the first application of blockchain, the concept of decentralized web aka web3 has begun to take shape.

Recent pheromonal that happened in the crypto space like ICO, DeFi, NFT and Metaverse are some of the first applications of web3.0. In web2.0, while you are enjoying good user experiences like able to publish your contents, stream videos on social media, create games and more, your data and are controlled and owned by FAANG and other big corporations, and worse still they collect and monetized your data. However, people are sicked of the manipulation of personal data and this sentiment is a driving force behind the emergence of web3.0, the web that allows you to read, write ad own your data. Among the Web3 ecosystems, decentralized autonomous organization stands up as the prominent game changer for the Web3 revolution.

What is DAO?

DAO is an organization managed by a community without a central authority where every decision is approved based on consensus. It is a stark different from the conventional organizations where the structure is hierarchical and decisions are made by the top management. Therefore, a DAO is much more democratic, transparent, and decentralized. On top of that, it usually has a shared vision to guide the direction of the DAO.

The concept of DAO is not new, it existed in ancient democratic systems like the Athenian Democracy and the present day cooperatives. However, these existing systems have flaws as they are managed and enforced by human beings and subject to misappropriations and abuses. In contrast, a blockchain-based DAO is powered and enforced by computer codes in the form of smart contracts . It is open for anyone to participate as long as they meet some basic requirements. Being autonomous means that smart contracts help run the majority of the processes with minimal human interference. Besides that, it builds trust among the trustless anonymous parties.

Over the past few years, DAOs have been gaining traction in the decentralized finance (DeFi) , NFT and the recent Metaverse spaces. The main objective of a DAO is usually to work on a project and manage funds. However, it can have many use cases such as proposal execution, crowdfunding, NFT-based investing , web3 education and more. Some of the established use cases of DAO are MakerDAO, Uniswap, Curve Finance, Aragon, ENS DAO and more.

How does DAO Works?

A core team from a community will initially design the DAO model, establish the governance and write the rules into smart contracts . The smart contracts are computer codes that lay out the framework by which the DAO is to operate. They are highly visible, verifiable, and publicly auditable so any member can fully understand how the DAO protocol functions.

The DAO operates based on consensus through voting by members. Any member can initiate a proposal by submitted it to the DAO protocol and all members can vote for the proposal. The proposal usually needs to achieve certain quorum of votes to get approved, for example 30% of the members voted for it.

In addition, the DAO should have a treasury to release funds needed by any projects. Ideally the funds are kept in a multisig wallet and released upon approval via consensus and signing by two third of the signers. The funds are usually issued by the DAO protocol in the form of tokens to enforce governance as each member can only join the DAO by holding governance tokens. Whenever a member submits a proposal or vote for a proposal, they need to spend a certain amount of tokens as gas fees. The funds are also needed to execute a project.

Funds raising is typically achieved through token issuance and sells tokens to the public via exercise like ICO or ICO to fill the DAO treasury. In return for their fiat money, token holders are given certain voting rights, usually proportional to their holdings. Once funding is completed, the DAO is ready for deployment. Sometimes early participants will receive airdrops from the protocol.

References

Metaverse in Agriculture- A Case Study on Durian Orchard

Metaverse is the newest buzzword not only in the gaming space but has proliferated into other industries. Large organizations are investing crazy amount of money into metaverse to create new applications on top of their current products and services.

One of the potential applications of metaverse is in the agriculture sector. Various technologies have long been employed in the agriculture sector to improve efficiency, reduce cost , increase yield via automation, AI, big data analytics and more.

One area which could see the implementation of Metaverse in agriculture is the use of AR/VR technologies in creating farming simulation for training of the workers. In fact, there is a big farm simulator called Pure Farming developed for PlayStation VR and Sony is investing in it. In addition, farm simulators for mobile phones are being developed.

On the other hand, the use of VR/AR technologies can help farms to save cost and increase yield via virtual crop management tools such as disease and pest control, soil quality survey, fertilizers administration , plants growth monitoring, harvesting and more. To implement the solution. sensors can be installed in the farm which are used to scan the crops. An agronomist needs only to use a VR headset, a tablet or a smartphone to retrieve information about the weather, temperature, plant health, fertilizer needs, and the time for harvesting.

In our case study, we will focus on durian, a tropical fruit that can be found in the Southeast Asian countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines. According to Wikipedia, durian is named as the “king of fruits”. The durian is distinctive for its large size, strong odour, and thorn-covered rind. Musang King  is the most popular durian breed in Malaysia, named by the Chinese as “Mao Shan Wang” (猫山王), is the priciest of all durians. Musang King is known for its bright yellow flesh and is like a more an enhanced version of the D24.

Grafted durian trees usually start to bear fruits around 4 to 6 years after planting ; while seedlings usually take from 7 to 10 years but could be as long as 13 to 21 years, therefore it is a common practice to use vegetative propagation. The cost of planting durian saplings can be calculated from the size of the orchard and cost per sapling. Assuming we have a 200-acre land , cost per sapling is RM30 and the number of trees can be planted per acre is RM60, the initial cost (excluding the overhead cost) is 200x60x30=RM360,000. However, if we include the cost of buying the land, overhead cost like fertilizers, labour cost and more, the total cost would be millions.

Therefore, the orchard owner must look for various sources of funding. Conventional sources include from own pocket, relatives and friends, loan from financial institutions like banks and so forth. However, with the invention of decentralized finance(DeFi), orchard owners could raise fund via DeFi as a new source of funding without the need of intermediaries, it seems like a perfect solution. In addition, blockchain solutions like NFT and Metaverse as well as other advanced technologies could be adopted to better manage the durian orchard and produce better yield. Let us delve deeper into how these advanced technologies can really help the durian industry.

The proposed model is to create a durian metaverse that not only helps to raise funds but to better manage the durian orchard and produce much higher yield than conventional durian orchards. To begin with, we will create an NFT for each sapling which represent the real durian sapling as a digital twin. The NFTs can be created using the popular Ethereum blockchain or other popular layer 1 or layer 2 blockchains such as Polygon, Solana, Cardano and more. Each durian NFT will feature a smart contract that contains data like the ID of the sapling, price, terms and conditions for profit distribution, transferring of ownership, buying and selling, etc. The next step is to create a Metaverse that hosts an NFT marketplace for buying and selling of the durian NFTs. Prices of the NFTs should be much more than the actual saplings because NFT owners will enjoy the future benefits like profit from the sale of durians after harvesting, get to eat the durians for free and more. Besides that, an NFT can also be created for each fruit which can be sold to buyers via prebooking.

Building a Metaverse platform that houses an NFT marketplace, and a virtual orchard will provide an immersive experience for tree owners and visitors to engage in durian NFTs trading. In addition, the virtual orchard will be a digital twin of the real orchard where visitors and owners get to visit the orchard from the comfort of their homes. Besides that, tree owners will be able to monitor the growth of durian trees and check other data such as fertilizers administration, expected flowering and fruition time, expected number of fruits can be harvested during a season and more. Visitors who wish to buy the durians in advance could prebook the durians by purchasing the fruit NFT and use it to redeem the durian fruits after harvesting. Wholesale buyers can prebook the fruits of a whole tree and get special discounts via a special kind of NFT. Moreover, orchard owner can also create virtual tour of the orchard. Users who purchase the NFT ticket for the virtual tour will be entitled to visit the real orchard and savour the durians at no extra cost, maybe even entitled to stay at the homestay at the orchard for a special rate.

The Metaverse durian orchard will have a global reach where investors and buyers are not only from Malaysia but from all over globe, thereby enlarging the durian market immensely. Foreigners will be able to prebook the durians by purchasing the NFTs and get to enjoy the durians when they visit Malaysia in a future date, this is good for promoting tourism in Malaysia. On top of them, investors who wish to purchase the trees and hope to obtain a good return in the future can do so at the comfort of their homes from any part of the world and at any time, just one click away!

Metaverse

When you woke up in the morning on 29th Oct 2021, you must be surprised to notice that Facebook has changed its logo into an infinite loop ∞, and its name to meta, thus announcing its official entry into the Metaverse. Instantly the stock markets reacted with a bang as metaverse related stocks Roblox, Nvidia and Unity spiked significantly. Compared to the stock market, the crypto market reacted even more dramatically. The blockchain metaverse pioneer Decentraland governance coin MANA rose from $1 to about $4, i.e., 400% gain within four days. Another metaverse coin SAND (The governance coin of the SandBox) from $0.9 to 2.6, about 290% gain in the same period. In addition, GALA and MBOX also spiked significantly.

In recent months, the term metaverse has sort of become the newest buzzword in the crypto and gaming space, and startups venturing into Metaverse are mushrooming around the Globe. These startups were able to attract investments from angel investors and VCs. The biggest news this year was the direct listing of Roblox on the New York Stock Exchange which the company’s stock closed at $69.50 per share, giving the company a market cap of $38.26 billion. Another sensational story was Epic Games, the company that built Unreal Engine and the popular metaverse game Fortnite has just completed a 1 billion round of funding to support the long-term vision for the metaverse. 

However, the most mind blogging news was the announcement by Mark Zuckerber that he wants to transform Facebook into a metaverse social media platform , even changing its name. In fact, when you woke up on 29th Oct 2021 , you will notice that Facebook has changed its logo into an infinite loop, signaling its entry into the Metavese. With Facebook going insanely big on Metaverse, and everyone so closely tied to Facebook, what will be the impacts on our personal life socially , economically and perhaps psychologically? We will no longer interacting in a 2D world but a VR, AR and XR mixed reality parallel world where you can meet your friends face to face, representing by your Avatars. However, things can turn ugly if you are not careful, friends you hate may suddenly appear and say hello to you, and he may just stab you from the back, though only your Avatar…

Metaverse is a term that first appeared in science fiction. The prefix “meta” means beyond, and “verse” means universe. The term was coined in Neal Stephenson’s 1992 science fiction novel Snow Crash, where humans, as avatars, interact with each other and software agents, in a 3D virtual space that uses the metaphor of the real world(Wikipedia). Fast forward to 2011, Novelist Ernest Cline authored a famous science fiction, Ready Player One, which hits theaters in March courtesy of Steven Spielberg. While the story is set in the strife-torn meatspace of 2045, most of its action unfolds in a vast network of artificial worlds called the OASIS, an earlier version of metaverse.

The recent popular Netflix short series “The Billion Dollar Code” that was based on the true story also tell us that the early concept of Metaverse has indeed started to materialized in the 1990’s. Although the Virtual Reality technology was called Terravision invented by a group of artists and computer nerds in Germany, it is indeed the 3D virtual map that allows you fly and zoom in to any part of the world in real time. It was alleged that Google stole the technology to create Google Earth though the case Art+Com vs Google of patent infringement was rejected by a US court.

Metaverse would not have been possible without the invention of the Internet, in particular the World Wide Web that allows global citizens to access and share multimedia contents around the globe. On the 6th of August 1991, Tim Berners-Lee posted the very first public invitation for collaboration on the World Wide Web, the beginning of the connected world where people are connected and access information and enjoy multimedia entertainment, even monetize from it. It was also the era of the browser war involving Netscape, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Internet Explorer, Safari and more. Without a browser you could not access the web. Eventually IE won the war but lost to Chrome in the 21st century.

The early world wide web was just providing multimedia content, non-interactive and did not allow any tom dick and harry to create a website, you must be a little bit tech savvy to use the HTML code to create a webpage. This era is generally known as Web 1.0. Besides, the computer processors were much less powerful than even today’s mobile phone , coupled with slow Internet speed using the dial-up modem, accessing the web was a painful experience. It is no wonder Terravision encountered a lot of issues due to the limitation of the hardware and Internet bandwidth. Despite the limitations, many dotcom companies were formed trying to monetize from the web, even some early online business platforms were developed to facilitate online commerce, which later known as e-commerce. Some famous examples were eBay and Amazon.com. Internet Giants Google , Facebook and Alibaba were not even born yet.

Entered the 21st century, many dotcom companies and startups went bust as a result of the dotcom bubble happened at the end of the 20th century, leaving a few giants like Amazon.com and the struggling Yahoo! to carry the torch. However, the Internet infrastructure has become more robust with the invention of faster modem, router and other hardware and much more powerful computers and laptops. In addition, connecting to the Internet has become seamless as WiFi replaced the old dial up modem. Besides that, touch screen mobile phones were becoming ubiquitous , making mobile web possible. Now people can stay online 24/7. It is also the emergence of search engine giant Google followed by the social media giant Facebook. Users are not only able to access the information, they can create and publish contents easily via social media and interact with other users. The interactive web is hence known as web 2.0.

Early 21st century also saw the emergence of  massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) . It is a video game that combines aspects of a role-playing video game and a massively multiplayer online game. This type of game allows players to immerse themselves in a virtual world so it can be considered a precursor of Metaverse game. MMORPGs are stark different from single-player or small multi-player online RPGs by the number of players able to interact together, and by the game’s persistent virtual world which continues to exist and evolve even while the player is offline and exit the game.

Since many massively multiplayer online games share features with the Metaverse but provide access only to non-persistent instances that are shared by up to several dozen players, the concept of multiverse virtual games has been used to distinguish them from the Metaverse.

In the NFT space, it refers to shared virtual worlds where land, buildings, avatars and even names can be bought and sold using cryptocurrency. In these environments, people can wander around, play games, visit buildings, buy goods and services, and attend events, exactly like the real world. Let us examine some popular Metaverse NFT platforms. Metaverse has gained increasing popularity due to combination of NFT, DeFi and GameFi that form the in backbone of the Metaverse ecosystem.

To learn more about metaverse, please come back in my blog to check on updates on my current book publication date, the title is “Metaverse Made Easy: A Beginner’s Guide to the Metaverse: Everything you need to know about Metaverse, NFT and GameFi 

References

What is NFT?

If you have been following the crypto trends in the past one or two years, you will know that Decentralized Finance has grown exponentially in 2020 where many DeFi platforms were deployed. However, enter the year 2021, the DeFi growth has somehow slowed and seems to have been overtaken by another emerging trend, the NFT industry.

The NFT craze started when Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s founder, and CEO, auctioned his first-ever tweet(on March 21, 2006) as a nonfungible token (NFT) and was bought using ETH for $2.9 million. Since then many NFTs were successfully sold for astronomical dollar values, like the artwork named “Everydays: the First 5000 Days.” by the artist Beeper which was sold for $69 million!

So why do people are crazy about NFTs and willing to spend so much money on them? What is NFT after all? According to Wikipedia, a  non-fungible token (NFT) is a unit of data stored on a distributed digital ledger, aka blockchain, that certifies a digital asset to be unique and therefore not interchangeable. In contrast, a fungible token is a kind of digital asset that is not unique and therefore interchangeable. An NFT represents real-world objects like art, music, in-game items, videos, real estate, and more. They are bought and sold online, frequently with cryptocurrency, and they are usually encoded with blockchain technology.

The following table illustrates the differences between NFT and fungible tokens.

Fungible TokensNon-fungible Tokens
Interchangeable
A fungible token can be exchanged with any other fungible token of the same type. It is like exchanging a dollar bill with another dollar bill and the value is still the same.
Non-Interchangeable
A non-fungible token cannot be exchanged with another non-fungible token of the same type. It is like your passport or ID, they cannot be exchanged.
Uniform
Each fungible token is identical to all other fungible tokens of the same type. For example, your one-dollar bill is the same as John’s one dollar bill.
Unique
Each token is unique and different from all other tokens of the same type. For example, your bank account is not the same as John’s bank account
Divisible
A fungible token can be divided into smaller units and the total value is still the same. For example, you can divide a dollar bill into two 50 cents or five 20 cents and the total value is still the same.
Non-divisible
The non-fungible token cannot be divided into smaller units. The basic unit is one token and one token only. For example, your driving license.
ERC-20 Standard
The Ethereum Standard is used for issuance tokens to be used as cryptocurrencies.
ERC-721 Standard
The Ethereum Standard is used for the issuance of unique, non-fungible tokens. The most well-known case is CryptoKitties, which is a virtual collectibles marketplace where each kitty is unique.

NFT has several properties that help to improve processes and things. First, it can prove and authenticate the ownership of an asset or information, making it suitable for fraud and counterfeit prevention. Therefore, it can be used in the KYC procedure, issuing academic degrees and other educational certificates. Besides that, it can be used in areas that need authentication and proof of ownership and information, such as art, collectibles, badges, voting & elections, loyalty programs, in-game items, copyright, supply chain tracking, medical data, software licenses, warranties, real assets and more. Next, NFT is easily transferable and tradeable by capitalizing the blockchain network, without the need of intermediaries, all you need is a crypto wallet like MetaMask.

The history of NFTs began with the emergence of colored coins on the Bitcoin network(Opensea, n.d.). Rare Pepes, illustrations of the Pepe the Frog character built on the Bitcoin counterparty system, were among the first NFT projects. Some of them actually sold on eBay, and a set of Rare Pepes later sold in a live auction in New York. However the colored coins NFT projects did not gain traction in the mainstream.

Cryptopunk was the first Ethereum based NFT project which created 10,000 unique collectible punks with proof of ownership stored on the Ethereum blockchain. This is the project inspired that the modern CryptoArt movement. It was an inspiration for the Ethereum ERC-721 standard that powers most digital art and collectibles. No two punks are alike, and each one of them can be officially owned by a single person on the Ethereum blockchain. Originally, they could be claimed for free by anybody with an Ethereum wallet, but all 10,000 were quickly claimed. Now they must be purchased from someone on the Ethereum marketplace contract where you can buy, bid on, and offer punks for sale. To learn more, check out the website: https://www.larvalabs.com/cryptopunks

Though Cryptopunk was the first Ethereum based NFT, the first NFT project that made an inroad into the mainstream was the Ethereum based CryptoKitties. Launched in 2017, CryptoKitties featured a primitive on-chain game that allowed users to breed digital cats together to produce new cats of varying rarity. The first-generation cats were auctioned off and new cats could also be sold on a secondary market. At the height of the craze, sales of CryptoKitties nearly touched 5,000 ETH in volume, with Founder Cat #18 selling for 253 ETH ($110,000 at the time of sale). These high prices drew more users into the NFT gold rush.

Today, a couple of NFT platforms have been developed to help users create and mint NFT digital assets, the biggest one being Opensea. It claimed that it is the world’s first and largest NFT marketplace that lets users discover, collect and sell extraordinary NFTs.

References