The main differentiator between Web2 (federated identity) and Web3 (decentralized identities) is the individual ownership of data. Web3 domains are poised to be an important disrupter in the quest for more consumer-centric practices of data and identity management.
But what exactly is a Web3 domain name, and are they here to stay? Ahead, BFF speaks with some key players in the Web3 domain sapce, including Adam Barlam, Chief Tech Officer, Decentraweb, Natalie Higson, Decentraweb creative director and Not Your Bro cofounder and Sandy Carter, SVP Business Development and Channel Chief of Unstoppable Domains.
People don't really get it yet. We live in an age of giving responsibility to do something to someone else. Think about videos, for example. We no longer own our videos, we stream our videos. Someone else is actually owning that [asset]. We've gotten into that mode where we don't really think about who owns the data about me. When you're logged into Google and TikTok, all the data about you doesn't go to you. It gets stored by the vendor. It's not until you start going into examples about how that might work that it really hits home. Everybody should be able to own and control their own data — including who gets the data, how they get the data, how long did they get the data, how much data did they get, etc. We've forgotten that we shouldn't be 'renting out' or letting others take control of that data and sell it for whatever they want. And that's why I'm so passionate about this space.
It's scary that these companies are realistically harvesting everything that we search everything that we even talk about, and then ultimately selling that to advertisers who can then advertise their products to us because chances are we'll be interested in them. I've done a lot of digital marketing through Facebook, Instagram and Google as well. Advertisers can easily target people of a certain age in a certain location. or certain demographics and interests. It's scary. As we all move into more of a decentralized world, it's definitely going to be a better space for us, for everyone, for even just our own privacy. I'm excited to see the way that this industry progresses and and brings back ownership to all of us with our own data. I believe it is our right to to own everything about us.
In the very beginning as we transitioned from Web1, the information economy, into Web2, the platform economy, people didn't really understand that they were the product. That's basically how you were able to get on these platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram that were free. The reason they were free is that they were monetizing all your data. In the very beginning, we were kind of unaware of what was happening, or maybe it wasn't quite as aggressive as it is now. I think we're at the point now where people are starting to realize all the data that Google has, that Facebook has, that Instagram has — including our habits, what we're doing online, what we're looking at. There's ramifications to operating within this type of environment, and all these companies are harvesting and selling your data. I really think people are starting to realize this, and they're looking for a potential way out because they realize that it's a huge invasion into their privacy.
Go and get your Web3 domain name today. Our north star is to get every person on the planet, a Web3 digital identity. It is going to be the place where all our information is stored, and you want to get it now. You don't want to get it when your ID is going to be Sandy Carter 97325, or something long and horrible.
Now, how does the Web3 domain play into digital identity? The domain in Web3 is very different than a domain in Web2. In the Go Daddy days, the domain was simply your website. And you use that for branding, for companies, etc. But in Web3, that domain is still your website, but it's your decentralized website. It's so much more. It holds links to your crypto address so you can transact with it. You can also now link and store all of your social media data from Web2. Why does that matter? Well, when you go to a Web3 application that uses social media, you can now bring your reputation with you. You don't have to start over with zero users. If you so choose to share the data, there's so many different places and different ways you can use this. For instance, Unstoppable Domains just recently did a partnership with Relic where you can store the fact that you went to the Super Bowl or you went to New York Fashion Week or the Paris Fashion Week or a music festival, and keep those forever on chain living with your digital identity. We like to say that that digital identity is kind of like your LinkedIn page for Web3. What you want to share with others, you can. It contains your wallets, your websites, your badges, your tickets, your education and the list goes on and on and on. It's very important that everyone on this call goes out and gets their domain immediately to start learning how this works and how your data will be stored.
A Web3 domain is completely different compared to the GoDaddy model. Traditionally, in Web1 or Web2 we had centralized entities. Everything on the internet was identified through an IP address back before GoDaddy and domains. When the internet first came out, we used to just type in those IP addresses into your web browser or into your program to connect to different servers online. And then you know, they came up with the idea of DNS or domain name systems, which essentially link some sort of name like Google.com or YouTube.com or something like that to the IP address. So instead of you having to remember some long member, you can now instead remember an easy domain address.
So right now everything on the internet runs through these DNS systems, and all that is maintained by what we call the DNS root servers. So there are a number of servers on the Internet that is controlled by ICANN and other other governing bodies. Essentially they they have the main controls to route top-level domains such as your.com, your .net, your.org, so on and so forth. So we're relying upon this centralized entity in order to route all our requests. And that's essentially how the internet works today. What Decentraweb is trying to do, and what the cool thing is with decentralized identities, is that we're moving all of that data on to the Ethereum blockchain or decentralized blockchains, meaning that you don't have to rely on a centralized entity to provide you with this data to get to your destination that you want to get to.
[Editor's note: Due to unexpected changes to Twitter Spaces, our transcription service is temporarily unable to deliver us full audio transcripts. Please bear with us.]
This is not financial advice. If you don't want to spend money investing in crypto or Web3 — you don’t have to. The intent of this article is to help others educate themselves and learn.