We're at the dawn of Web3. A new version of the world wide web awaits. Yet much is still speculative and experimental.
Even the definition of Web3 differs about what it is and isn't depending on the author. Most would agree these amount to the consensus on Web3 today:
Term coined by
Modern usage withblockchain defined by Gavin Wood, Co-Founder of Ethereum
Static website content
Dynamic content and user input
Semantic content that can benefit from AI
infrastructure that is still largely centralized
edge computing and peer-to-peer
Cost Per Click
Sources: Web 3.0 definition and Geeks for Geeks. Web 1.0, Web 2.0 and Web 3,0 with their difference.
The first iteration of Web1 was about consuming static content. Web2 transformed users from passive to active users who shared, interacted and generated content online. What defines Web3 from the other iterations is decentralization. What that means, in essence, is that the world wide web will no longer be dominated by centralized platform owners OR gatekeepers (i.e. Facebook, Google, etc.), thus allowing for the transfer of value to take place without intermediaries or monopolistic service providers.
Open, Trustless, Permissionless:
The most revolutionary aspects of Web3 are the fact that its networks are open, trustless, and permissionless. You may have seen these concepts in other articles relating to Web3. If we break them down to their core, they mean:
Built via open source. It's transparent. Any developer can see what's happening. Nothing is secret.
Participants can interact without a third-party intermediary. Trust is no longer something that has to be established. It's now baked into interactions through smart contracts and ledgers. It doesn't mean there's no trust; it means the system shoulders that burden. Everything is now out in the open for all to see.
Participants and users can interact without permission from an authorizing body. What do they mean? On the surface, open, trustless, and permissionless suggest Internet transparency, and that's a good thing especially because of the recent focus on data privacy. But it goes beyond that.
What's at the heart of this concept is the idea of trustless architecture: that people can interact without traditional intermediaries that underpin our relationships. Our interactions in the physical world consist of relationships with trusting institutions whether they be the local government, personal friendships, and interest groups.
Web3 is about dispensing with social and institutional relations altogether in favor of a technical solution. What this approach tackles is Satoshi Nakamoto's original idea behind the creation of bitcoin: creating a decentralized eco-system that takes away the inherent weaknesses of the trust-based model when trust in a name or institution wanes due to a continual breach of trust.
What Does Voting Have to Do With Web3?
It's still the early days of Web3 and everything is experimental. But there are enough examples and case studies that illustrate how voting may become a central part of Web3 organizations.
Imagine an organization without a boss or any hierarchy and everyone is equal in a flat organization. That's the reality for many decentralized, autonomous organizations (DAOs) where the members co-own the company. That means, members can work on the project that excites them, they control their own budgets, salaries are transparent and disputes are resolved by the individuals involved. Decisions usually made by a small leadership team in traditional companies are made by the members as a whole because there are no bosses and no hierarchy. Much emphasis is placed on deliberations. If differences aren't resolved through discussion, people vote on the blockchain. Thus, the critical importance of voting at DAOs.
As voting becomes a mainstay of DAOs, there will be more demand for voting specialists who can provide guidance on different types of voting such as quorum-based token voting, holographic consensus-based voting, permissioned relative voting and conviction voting. As consensus building becomes critical to an organization, which voting method to use becomes more critical.
Lastly, there has been much discussion around blockchain technology and its use in mobile and electronic voting. Whether it takes off in mainstream voting is still very much an unknown.
So what's the likelihood of Web3 and especially DAOs taking hold in the United States? With Wyoming and Tennessee as the only states that currently recognize DAOs, they are still not the mainstream. Most people are still on the fence about decentralized, trustless and permissionless organizations like the DAOs but they may be the future of how we work, live, and unionize.
Sune Sandbeck, A.T. Kingsmith, and Julian von Bargen ‘The Block is Hot. A commons-based approach to the development and deployment of blockchains’. In Blockchain and Web 3.0: Social, Economic and Technological Challenges, Edited by Massimo Ragnedda and Giuseppe Destefanis (Routledge, 2019).