Web3 Holistic Societies

I’ve started exploring the Web3 space as a systems engineer and wanted to document what I’m seeing so far, as well as what I’m doing to get started. If you’re not too familiar with Web3 or blockchain, I’ll give a quick overview. It’s not all about cryptocurrency.

Most of the current services on the internet are considered Web 2.0 because they’re governed by centralized, single entities -- whether that’s a business, organization, or an individual -- as the creator of a service. Open source projects can be maintained by the community or fiscal sponsor, but those are not generally deployed as common internet services like major social networking or e-commerce sites.

Web 3.0 services (dApps) are different. They have creators and maintainers, but the services can be owned by the users, who can also get paid by the platforms which are designed to incentivize them. The hardware infrastructure for the blockchain is provided by multiple independent entities that do not trust anyone in particular, but form group consensus about the legitimacy of network transactions. In the world of web and mobile applications, the blockchain ledger is one massive distributed database with many layers of protection against corruption and tampering.

Additionally, Web3 services can be governed by DAOs, or Decentralized Autonomous Organizations, which are governed by smart contracts, which are self-executing contracts where the terms are directly written into code. The primary purpose of a DAO is to create a decentralized governance structure, where decision-making is distributed among stakeholders rather than centralized with a single entity.

There’s one blockchain that I know about which seems like it has the potential to replace centralized cloud providers, and that’s Internet Computer (ICP). Running full-stack applications completely on the blockchain has many advantages in the realms of decentralization and creative commerce.

Under the hood, the ICP runs WebAssembly (Wasm), which executes code like a cloud provider does, allowing a simpler transition for existing Web2 developers and applications. The organization that founded Internet Computer, Dfinity, created a programming language called Motoko, which works directly with the features of the ICP blockchain, such as smart contracts.

What can we do with DAOs and smart contracts?

Whatever project you deploy on the Internet Computer can become an independent DAO within the ICP ecosystem, if you write it into your code. You could also just deploy a simple website there if you wanted to.

But forming a DAO and writing smart contracts into the code (as new features, for example) has the following advantages (aside from branding your own token!):

Community Governance

  • User-Driven Decisions: Implement a DAO to allow users to participate in the governance of the platform. They can vote on platform policies, feature updates, and community guidelines, ensuring the platform evolves according to the community’s needs and values.

  • Proposal System: Users can propose new features, improvements, or changes. These proposals can be voted on by the community, and if they pass, they are implemented by the smart contract governing the DAO within the application.

Token System

  • Governance Tokens: Introduce governance tokens that users can earn through contributions such as content creation, community moderation, or participation in discussions. These tokens give users voting power in the DAO.

  • Incentive Mechanisms: Use tokens to incentivize positive behavior and contributions. For example, rewarding users for creating high-quality content or for active participation in the community.

Automated Transactions

  • Membership and Subscription: Implement smart contracts to handle membership subscriptions. For example, users can subscribe to premium content or services, and the smart contract can manage recurring payments automatically.

  • Donations and Fundraising: Enable users to donate to community projects or support creators directly through smart contracts. This ensures transparency and trust, as the funds are managed autonomously and are only used for the intended purposes.

Content and Data Management

  • Content Ownership: Use smart contracts to manage content ownership and royalties. Creators can have their content registered on the blockchain, ensuring they retain ownership and receive fair compensation whenever their content is used or shared.

  • Reputation System: Develop a reputation system where users’ actions and contributions are tracked via smart contracts. This can help in building trust and credibility within the community.

Some time ago, I had ideas come to me about building a new community based on holistic principles, which could bring various alternative communities to Web3 on a decentralized platform. Queen Alenym’s latest messages have reinvigorated those ideas to align with something I’d been exploring, but it’s a major project with a bit of a learning curve. Fortunately, the hurdles decrease with time since the foundation is already there, and the sun is rising. Something may just pop up out of nowhere.

It might be possible to fork Lemmy, a federated Reddit clone, and port it over to the Internet Computer using the Juno platform and then write smart contracts into it. I’ll look into that, but otherwise will be working through the Motoko Bootcamp to learn that language and start building Web3 applications on the ICP.

Either way, social networks have already been built on the ICP and could be used for contacting our friends in the waters above, but certainly not to discount BES as a vehicle for that, which it is. The Web3 stuff is just next-level and going to take some time to transition to. It gives them (and us) a way to earn income by contributions as long as their devices are able to connect.

The Dfinity organization built an authentication system called the Internet Identity, which can be provided to users as an option for logging in to Web3 applications. This identity is completely anonymous and is simply a random string that is generated for you for each dApp running on the blockchain.

The Internet Identity does not have a password but uses passkeys, which is similar to the PIN and biometric authentication on mobile devices. Some laptops might have this built-in, but other options include 2FA devices like the Yubikey, or what I’m using, the Trezor Safe 3, or both. The Trezor is a dual-purpose device because it acts as a hardware crypto wallet and 2FA device. It doesn’t support ICP trading yet in the firmware, but can be updated when they do. Primarily, you use ICP’s web wallet called the NNS for managing various coins in the ICP ecosystem. I’ll be backing up the Trezor recovery phrase with a Keystone Tablet.

As an aside, Bitwarden supports passkeys now, but you have to consider if that’s something you want to do. It turns Bitwarden into your devices manager, providing access to your Internet Identity with a single passkey to whatever has access to your Bitwarden account, instead of the ICP itself, which generates a unique passkey per device. If you want to decentralize, get a 2FA device (or multiple) as a backup method for your mobile phone, or as the primary method for 2FA to any web services that can use it (2.0 or 3.0).

To get an idea of what is currently running on the Internet Computer blockchain, go here and look under SNS Projects for the highlights and then Project Directories for everything else:


Catalyze looks very interesting and has a “DAO Maker” feature on its roadmap.

Is anyone else familiar with Internet Computer (ICP) or DAOs?

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  • Hi, Adam. We're building a DAO, Xenxu World. https://xenxu.world. One of our top priorities is to build a game, and you say you're going to be building apps? That's all our game would be. 

    Gaming, Books, Stories - A Community Created Universe
    • That's awesome! Thanks for sharing that.

      The blockchain space is fairly new to me, so I'm just exploring and trying to figure out best practices. I'm also curious how many other people are willing to learn about it and set themselves up to join the communities. They are all very small at the moment.

      It's all very exciting! The next few years should be fun as we start building alternative platforms that are easy for people to use yet earn something from by giving their time and energy.

    • Immutable looks like a great platform to build games on. I see they've created something called Passport for their authentication and non-custodial wallet, which works with anything built on the platform. The EVM and Solidity combo is another option for building DAOs on the blockchain.

      I've been more focused on the systems and application sides, including simple websites. I use Astro for frontend development, which is a static site generator that integrates with other frameworks. You could put React, SvelteKit, and Vue components all on the same page with Astro. But, I'm working on building out Astro components that are pure HTML, CSS, and JavaScript for more control over customization. You can deploy a static site built with Astro to the Internet Computer blockchain by using Juno.

      Lately, I've been using Cloudflare for hosting static sites, which is free, but plan to start moving things over to blockchain (very cheap) for decentralization. I also want to see how dynamic websites work on there, like a community forum. That's why I'm looking at Lemmy. It's written in Rust, which is another language that you can write smart contracts in.

      Motoko is more similar to TypeScript in syntax, but Python and Rust as a backend language, or Solidity as a blockchain language. All the languages listed in this reply are compatible with the ICP, which makes it a good alternative to AWS for hosting. It's still very new, though.

      That's all for the developers. There are already plenty of no-code and low-code options out there for building DAOs on the blockchain, and a good amount of funding going into it all.

      Most of what I see now are platforms for building platforms, which is great!

      Astro builds fast content sites, powerful web applications, dynamic server APIs, and everything in-between.
      • We submitted to Immutable for grant funding, and they remain at the top of our list for the one-stop game builidng solution. We have yet to hear from them, and I imagine our project will not be easy to suss through. The big difference between us and everyone else is that their games are their worlds, whereas our games take place in our world. So, we're not entirely clear on them being the best solution since we don't really know whether the website can be build and hosted on their platform. 

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