Every new technology platform creates a new paradigm for how information is discovered. The initial discovery layer of the Web 1.0 era was “browsing” (Yahoo), which resembled a better, more complete, and more accessible version of the yellow pages. As the web matured and scaled, two new and more web-native paradigms emerged: search and social. As a result, Google and Facebook became two of the most dominant tech companies enabling discovery in an attention economy.
As the Internet is starting to evolve into Web 3.0, the question of how discovery will change is an interesting and timely one.
Right now, most of the discovery in Web 3.0 is driven by Web 2.0 social (Discord, Reddit, Twitter) and messaging platforms (Telegram, Signal) playing the most important roles. We are also seeing a bunch of start-ups that are trying to rebuild social platforms in Web 3.0, such as BitClout. And another approach to discovery in Web 3.0 are products that aggregate data. Since all data on blockchains is publicly available, one can create a ton of value by making sense of all the underlying data. One example is our portfolio company Defined that is aggregating data on tokens across different exchanges and blockchains.
Wallets are one area that have not been leveraged for discovery yet. Wallets are truly the nexus of your Web 3.0 identity, but innovation in this space hasn’t moved beyond products that simply hold your crypto assets. I am personally very bullish on this area and hope that we see new projects thinking about where to take wallets next.
In the early stage of any technology, it’s always hard to predict how things will evolve. But we’ve seen a few trends from Web 1.0 and 2.0. One, every web technology creates its own dominant way of enabling discovery. Two, it takes many years for new discovery paradigms to emerge. And three, the initial discovery paradigms are not native to the new technology. True native discovery mechanisms evolve many, many years into a technology. That’s why we’ll be keeping a close eye on discovery mechanisms in Web 3.0.