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!

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

Real Estate Tokenization

Real estate has always been considered a safe investment compared to the stock market. However, it is also more expensive and illiquid. Though real estate is the largest asset class with a global value of $228 trillion, many retail investors are precluded from investing in this asset class, particularly commercial real estate. Barriers to entry include large upfront investment, very low short-term liquidity, management costs, among others. Therefore, how to make investing in real estate more affordable and accessible to retail investors has become an urgent matter.

In recent decades, a process known as securitization of real assets has reduced the frictions and costs associated with accessing real estate exposure for such retail investors. Among financial instruments that provide indirect investment via securitization of real assets, the most common are public and private real estate investment trust (REIT), real estate investment fund, Real Estate Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs), and real estate crowdfunding. Though investors can already buy and sell real estate investment trusts (REIT), but these often have high minimum investments and represent a large portfolio of companies rather than a single property or new development.

To work around the issues, a new form of securitization known as tokenization of real estate has emerged and is gaining popularity. Tokenization helps asset or fund owners raise capital more efficiently, and gives investors unprecedented access to private real estate investments, transparency, and liquidity.

Tokenization is a way to securitize real assets by dividing them into shares that can be sold to investors. It involves representing ownership of an interest in real estate with virtual tokens that exist on a blockchain which is known as security tokens. These tokens are created using blockchain technology, and once created can be traded on digital exchanges or Alternative Trading Systems (ATS).

An actual tokenization use case happened in Paris recently. The property is known as AnnA Villa, which is valued at € 6.5 million. The Villa became the first-ever property in France that was sold via a blockchain transaction. The transaction took place in three steps. First, the ownership of the building was transferred to a joint-stock company called “SAPEB AnnA.” Next, the ownership of the company was divided into 10 Ethereum-powered tokens which were distributed among the new owners. In the final step, each of these tokens was then further broken down into 100,000 units, meaning each token has a face value of € 6.50. Therefore, you can invest as little € 6.50 in the villa.

Another good use case is Fracproperty in Australia. They have obtained Australian financial services  licence(ASFL) to implement real estate fractionalization. Now at STO stage and currently airdropping their tokens. The tokens will allow you to enjoy fractional rental income and capital gain. You can sign up with this invitation link below to receive 10 FRAC token via the airdrop.

Sign Up to Receive Free FRAC token

Advantages of Tokenization

The main advantage of real estate tokenization is improved liquidity. Liquidity means the ease with which an asset can be bought or sold as the cost of entry will be reduced. Tokenization allows a real asset to be subdivided into smaller units and sold as security tokens to potential investors. For example, a 5000 sqft property that costs $1,000,000 can be divided into 100,000 tokens, and each token sold at $10, a price much more affordable to retail investors.

In addition, tokenization will widen the market reach by creating a global investment pool that can extend the real estate market to buyers and sellers from around the globe. Anyone with sufficient capital and an internet connection can easily participate in buying and selling real estate located anywhere in the world.

Other advantages include the following:

  • Transparency: Blockchain is a public distributed ledger so every transaction of the security tokens can be tracked and accessible to anyone.
  • Security: Blockchain is a distributed ledger that is encrypted using advanced cryptography. Every transaction is encrypted into a hash which is not hackable.
  • Immutable: Once a transaction has been submitted to the blockchain and subsequently confirmed, the data cannot be altered. This means no one can falsify the transactions and hence frauds can be prevented.
  • Improved Operational Efficiency: Smart contracts can automate processes such as compliance checks, investor whitelisting, and post-issuance matters including dividend distribution, thereby reducing cost and settlement time.

Implementation

Implementation of a real estate tokenization project involves the following matters that must be dealt with:

  • White Paper-we need to prepare a whitepaper to describe the tokenonomics, the business model, the technological requirements, legal compliance, and more.
  • Type of Tokenization- We need to decide what interest to tokenize, the real asset itself, the equity of a real estate, a mortgage of the property, or others.
  • Asset Information-Type of asset, whether residential or commercial, the property owner, location of the property, etc.
  • Tokenization Ratio-Whether to tokenize part or entire property
  • Smart Contract-The smart contract must address the questions like the total supply of tokens, the amount of tokens to be distributed to holders, do the holders receive dividends, and so forth. Besides that, you must decide the token standard, usually, we adopt ERC20. In addition, the smart contract must be audited by a certified auditing firm.
  • Securities Regulation-Real estate tokens are securities therefore must be registered with regulatory bodies like SEC.
  • Tax-The earnings from the tokens may be subjected to taxes such as property gain tax etc, must engage tax experts to work out the tax structure and strategy.
  • KYC/AML– Real estate token issuers must comply with AML and KYC laws and regulations. 

Tokenization Process

Basically, real estate tokenization involves the following steps:

  1. Asset Identification—identification of the real estate asset, whether it is commercial or residential, and its location. Besides that, it may involve the acquisition, financing, and appraisal of its value.
  2. Smart Contract Generation—Taking compliance with securities laws into consideration in the creation of the smart contract;
  3. Token Creation—determination of the total supply and type of tokens.
  4. Marketing and Distribution—advertising of the offering, confirmation of investor accreditation and listing of tokens on the exchange through a security token offering (STO); and
  5. Post-Listing Support—ongoing support for investors and distributing dividends or other rights to payment.

Example Real Estate Tokenization: Aspen Coin


A good example of a real estate tokenization project is Aspen Coin. A real estate asset management and advisory firm by the name of Elevated Returns LLC issued a token that represents ownership of Aspen Digital Inc, a Maryland corporation formed with the sole purpose of owning the St. Regis Aspen Resort. Tokenization was handled by the token issuer platform known as Securitize (digital security issuance platform). In addition, Templum, a registered broker-dealer and alternative trading system managed the primary distribution, and Computershare (shareholder services) provided custodianship. Marketing was also supported by Indiegogo, a crowdfunding platform. The project successfully raised $18 million.

The tokenized securities were exempt from registration via Regulation D, and therefore were offered and sold only to accredited investors by means of a private placement memorandum. The minimum investment was set at $10,000. Besides that, dividends are to be distributed on-chain to the token holder wallet using Ether. Secondary trading
is provided by Templum to whitelisted investors, and whitelisting is also provided by Templum.

References