Web3 Social Club Vol. 3: Emerging Web3 Projects — What Are They Building?

Mask Network and SwapChat co-hosted Web3 Social Club Vol.3 on June 22 on Twitter Spaces. This is the largest Web3 Social Club episode ever hosted, with 10 projects participating altogether.

We were joined by a group of the most promising emerging projects on Web3, covering a wide range of Web3 application scenarios including decentralized versions of email, messaging, and data aggregation, as well as SBTs (Soul-Bound Tokens) issuance and attestation and social trading.

Some of these projects had just participated in the ETH Shanghai Web3 Hackathon, which was co-hosted by Mask Network and Gitcoin. It was an event that ran parallel to the ETH Shanghai Web3 Developer Summit and encouraged budding developers to build creative and innovative applications for Web3. Following the hackathon, Mask Network also sponsored the first-ever Web3 Social Ecosystem Grant Round with $50,000 in matching funds.

During the Space, we talked about the teams’ achievements during the hackathon, what drove the builders into Web3 and their specific fields, the obstacles they faced, and their understanding of DIDs (decentralized identities) and SBTs (Soul-Bound tokens).

Bob Jiang, GitcoinDAO Steward, congratulated everyone on the success of the ETH Shanghai Hackathon and remarked how joyful it was to see more Web3 rising stars in this space. Having taken a look at projects in the Hackathon, Bob believes DAO tools are the next major frontier and that SBTs are becoming a hot topic among today’s Web3 builders.

Full episode on YouTube (time stamps included):

Web3 Social Club is a Twitter Space series by Mask Network where Web3 projects and builders gather and exchange ideas on building cutting-edge social networks and infrastructure.

Building in Web3: Ideation, Practice, and Motivation

Builders believe ETH Shanghai Hackathon provided them a great opportunity to understand the scope of Web3, re-evaluate where they are, and make new friends in the crypto space. According to them, the passion and desire to bring joy to the crypto community as well as the amazing technology and community development were what drove many projects to start their Web3 journeys.

Insights from DAOU

“Practice is the best way to learn knowledge”, as Ting Fei from DAOU says. DAOU integrates data, building a DAO reputation system. Ting Fei wrote most of the code by himself during the hackathon, including front-end, back-end, and smart contracts. It was a stressful but enlightening experience. For him, participating in a hackathon is one of the best ways to get familiar with Web3 development.

Insights from MetaMail

Given that a greater number of builders are starting to explore the identity, profile, and relation spaces, Colin from MetaMail (a decentralized email provider) believes that Web3 applications can and should co-construct via open protocols other than building everything themselves.

MetaMail’s upcoming plans are to publish their protocols for signature and end-to-end encryption, and design protocols beyond just sending and receiving emails.

Insights from Arche Network (rebranded as Komio)

It was Arche Network’s first time participating in a hackathon and they were grateful for Mask Network organizing the event.

Their biggest takeaway is the open spirit of Web3 and how everyone can learn from each other. Soon, Arche Network will rebrand as Komio — a community-driven Web3 gaming ecosystem and infrastructure which empowers and unites the gamers, guilds, and game creators (developers) with protocols. They aim to be a high-quality space where people engage, interact, and be creative to share their creations with one another for the same mission which is to build a better gaming metaverse.

Insights from Proof-of-Soul

Jiajun, the founder of Proof-of-Soul, fondly recalls how tight the schedule was. With limited resources, the teams really needed to focus on the key concepts of the product. Conducting deep conversations with designers and developers turned out to be the most interesting part for the young founder.

Insights from Kwildb-cli

Xendarboh, Kwil Database’s tech wizard, recalled that sticking to the initially decided scope can be quite challenging when you’re managing thought pieces for product features — especially with a tight time frame.

“The flock of people diving into Web3 presents new levels of opportunity and recognizing that is an edge. They are a strong potential user base for mass adoption”, Xendarboh says. He regards the current journey from Web2 to Web3 as a kind of “crossing the chasm” moment, when Web3 transitions from the early market to the mainstream in terms of the Technology Adoption Lifecycle.

Insights from SwapChat

Luke from SwapChat considers the journey to be “a very amazing experience”, saying that it has never been clearer than now how Web3 and the power of community can weed out the good projects from the weak — just by looking at which projects draw organic support

“We’re fortunate to be in the position of having funding but not having to rely on them to keep operations going, but I certainly think I can see Gitcoin grants going, growing bigger and bigger in the future to support more early-stage projects. I hope what we’re doing around social communications and instant messaging can also help Gitcoin and DAOs develop further in the future.”

Insights from Readem

Readem is a relatively new project. During the Hackathon, they met a lot of friends and helping hands from the community. Following through the Gitcoin process, they aim to initiate more collaborations and conduct more conversations, as well as attract more users who enjoy reading and creating.

Decentralized Identities (DIDs) and Soulbound Tokens (SBTs)

The Potential and the Risks

Insights from DAOU

When asked how they perceive DIDs and SBTs, DAOU clearly differentiates the two.

DIDs can uniquely mark an information resource and provide a container for identities, but DIDs still rely heavily on existing centralized institutions to issue various identity credentials. With SBTs, users or “souls” can issue credentials to each other, forming a decentralized trust infrastructure and defining our identities in a metaverse or decentralized society.

Insights from MetaMail

Colin thinks of DIDs as proofs of user identity. “It can be a protocol with consensus, for example. A public-private key pair in some specific formats, and with various information (e.g. SBTs) attached to it.” Developers will be able to design different products for users to freely choose their favorite products with one DID and even become developers themselves to create their own social products.

Colin warns the loss of private keys, however, poses risks such as the leakage of user information. “There should be some methods (such as social recovery) to recover and transfer a user’s information to a new DID.”

Insights from SwapChat

“SBTs seem like the right way to go for utility and can be revolutionary for Web3”, said Luke. SBTs unlock enormous value in terms of how people put value into data in the whole Web3 ecosystem.

Right now, nobody wants tracking cookies in Web3 but, to Luke, SBTs can be seen as just cookies that somebody places into your wallet in a single directional fashion. It seems inevitable to him that there will be business entities putting labels on wallet addresses and SBTs could be instrumental in shaping how decentralization fundamentally evolves.

It’s certainly plausible that SBTs could be valuable for chat apps like SwapChat in terms of monetization, but Luke is still cautious and hasn’t rolled out anything yet due to the implications around privacy.

Insights from Proof-of-Soul

Jiajun from Proof-of-Soul regards the biggest misconception about SBTs to be labeling. Consent, to him, is important, and a party should only get a SBT if they are willing to accept it.

Due to privacy issues, we need to be careful as when information is on-chain, data can cause unintended consequences so users must be informed of potential risks. It’s recommended that only publicly-available data should be brought on-chain. With ZK (Zero Knowledge) technology also constantly evolving, we will be able to bring full privacy on-chain and we can fully encrypt content and the information of senders and receivers.

Insights from Kwildb-cli

Xendarboh agrees that privacy is paramount and sees great opportunity in implementing DIDs and SBTs while respecting user privacy. “I see DIDs and SBTs as emerging expressions within our digitization process. We’re likely to see a growing number of implementations, including some very exciting experimental explorations and probably some disasters too.”

As an example, Xendarboh cited “Decentralized (DIDs) v1.0” by W3C*, envisioning a future where many independent, interoperable, and evolving feature sets and implementations of DIDs, SBTs, and more, with specifications supporting compatibility like what ERC20 did for tokens.

With technical specifications for protocols as a common denominator, implementation and execution can themselves be special and different, free to evolve, while being compatible within a growing ecosystem of interoperable developments.

*W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) is the World Wide Web Consortium that works with the public to develop standards for the web like HTML/CSS/etc.

Insights from Readem

“I agree with most of the previous speakers and I think privacy is a must-have in the crypto world”. Olivia believes that a healthier ecosystem can be built when we start an on-chain reputation system and bring actual benefits to many DeFi and SocialFi projects.

The Way Forward for Identity

Insights from Proof-of-Soul

In Jiajun’s eyes, perhaps the most important feature of SBTs is bringing relationships on-chain, and the reason why is that we don’t want to lose our identities.

In its current implementation, however, a lot of Ethereum accounts use key pairs which can be dangerous due to the risk of losing the passphrase. There is the possibility for social recovery which is a smart contract wallet that enables you to change your signing key. This means that if an account is compromised, the online identity acts as a house and is not abandoned simply because of the loss of the key. The recovery relies on SBTs that bring relationships on-chain.

Insights from SwapChat

It seems to Luke that in the near future there will be a crazy number of DIDs as the business value could be tremendous. An unending number of institutions will want to issue IDs while people will want to have multiple “passports” even if they’re technically not allowed to.

The situation may be like how Web2 is today. No institution can stop others from issuing different IDs and authentications. ENS had its day but now there are numerous competitors. SwapChat would adopt the philosophy of supporting as many people as possible in terms of leading to a more composable Web3 paradigm that leaves room for long-term innovations.

Insights from Kwil Database

Xendarboh agrees that an increasing number of implementations will be built for SBTs and DIDs and that’s the fun in new technology.

The experiments can and will go wild and it will be through the chaos that we see what works and what doesn’t. The road ahead will be interesting and there can be a consolidation phase before we figure out what the way forward is.

Many themes and methods for social proof will come out. Looking at what we disliked about Web2, builders can re-engineer the solutions in terms of the value of privacy and independence, separating ourselves from big data collaborators.

Insights from Arche Network (rebranded as Komio)

Arche Network is more in the gaming space and is actually building an on-chain DID system to enhance the trust on-chain for safer and more reliable interactions in the decentralized society. DID, for Arche, is the freedom to be in full control of one’s identity and what he/she can do about it.

The potential of social networking in Arche’s opinion is endless as on-chain interactions in GameFi-focused platforms are needed. Players need platforms to chat with each other about gaming strategies. “We need to ensure that we bring the most uses to the users. Whether it’s the experience, security, functionality, or features, DID on Arche Network will enhance users’ gaming/SocialFi experience and help them manage their assets easily. The best thing is it’s on-chain.”

That said, Arche is working to help top-tier gaming startups look for credible gamers by checking Arche’s interoperable DID system. Users can also create their on-chain DIDs to express themselves, interact with other players and manage their assets.

Advice for New Web3 Builders

In Web3, everyone has an equal opportunity to build great things and the potential is infinite. The important key to growing in Web3 is the willingness to observe, learn, and adapt. When you’re building, be watchful of how the space is reacting in real-time as no other industry moves quite as fast.

Thank you for tuning in. For anyone who is interested in future Twitter Spaces, please follow Mask Network @realMaskNetwork. We will be hosting more events of this kind, and continue to invite more industry leaders and emerging Web3 builders to talk with us.

Speaker Info

Project Intro

DAOU

DAOU integrates on-chain and off-chain data to build a comprehensive DAO reputation system.

MetaMail

MetaMail is a Web3 email provider. With MetaMail users use their wallet addresses or ENS as the email addresses. Within MetaMail, users can sign and encrypt emails to ensure security. It’s a free product.

Proof-of-Soul

Proof of Soul is a permissionless soul-bound token issuance/attestation protocol that enables people to bring relationships on-chain.

Gitcoin

Gitcoin is where the world’s leading web3 projects are born, validated & funded.

SwapChat

SwapChat is a decentralized social trading tool, unlocking experiences only a Web3-native cross-platform messenger can bring.

Web3MQ

Web3MQ is a decentralized/federated messaging protocol built natively for Web3.

Arche Network

Arche Network is building a Web3 society that is truly for gamers.

Readem

Readem is a role-agnostic interactive content network enabling #read2earn and unlocking novel paradigm.

Kwildb-cli

Kwildb-cli is a command-line interface for interacting with Kwil Database; SQL for Web3, and it works like mysql and psql terminal clients. Useful for many, it’s a component within the tech stack for a larger project in the building.

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