The internet is about how we store, manage and use data. As recorded by the United Nations Public Administration Network, the Information Age is said to have begun on January 1st, 1970 as an epochal time period of rapid expansion of digital technologies that scaled our usage, storage and creation of data on the planet.
With this came issues around trust and security, forever changed by the publication of the Bitcoin whitepaper by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008. Using Nick Szabo’s analogy, Bitcoin “dried up” the code of trust in financial transactions, making them understandable by computers, enabling cryptographic encryptions embedded into consensus mechanisms, thus removing the need for verified, authorized third parties.
A few years later Russian-born Canadian programmer Vitalik Buterin created Ethereum with his colleagues that built on the promise of programmable trust in the form of smart contracts. As seen from the above referenced 2006 blog article by Nick Szabo, the concept of smart contracts were not new, but we had to wait for almost a decade until they became reality.
Using smart contracts, creating new cryptocurrencies - also known as tokens - became easier by orders of magnitude and the concept of utility tokens was born. Closed economies with special purpose currencies where value creation, value capture and utility is all encapsulated in a smart contract allocation system - dry code, interpreted by the Ethereum Virtual Machine.
This was followed by what can be referred to as the revolution of private property: in late 2017 CryptoKitties was born, bringing Non-fungible Tokens, or NFTs with it. NFTs created true digital ownership for unique properties - art at first - and for the first time, computer scientists managed to “dry up” the code of private ownership of virtually anything.
It was years until NFT technology started to proliferate but in 2021 it conquered the world through art. As explored in Innovation Theory this went down as expected: mainly driven by speculation, cheap capital flooded the space and while technological developments were in the works, many people got rich and even more people lost everything in the greed-driven frenzy of speculation. The core driver of these innovations is something much more fundamental and has nothing to do with blockchain or Web3: the core principle of how we store, create and manage data in a trustworthy and scalable way.
In a sense, utility tokens, NFTs and smart contracts equipped relational databases (a technology we’ve been using for decades) with programmable trust that required no central authority to be operational. Without the need for the latter, we created the technology to enable true digital ownership, and conversations started about who truly owns what piece of information over the internet.
All of a sudden the world started to wake up to the fact that data is the new gold and us, internet users are creating it day in and day out. Megacorporations extract profit out of collecting such data, repurposing and reselling it to others without your explicit permission. This led to a situation where Meta’s algorithms would know that your relationship is about to end even before you do. Instead of helping, this information is then sold to dating apps to monetize your upcoming heartbreak. You are nothing but a pile of data packaged as a product.
This awakening challenged the strategy of the incumbent tech giants of creating the Everything App where they could own and govern everything in the digital space. Users now want to stop being products and want to have a say in monetization, governance and they want their rightful slice of the pie.
Web3 is finally challenging the capital concentration of tech by funding decentralized ecosystems. This led to the creation of Next Earth: an Earth-based, decentralized Metaverse, where every landowner truly becomes part of the ecosystem. This is what we’re building as explained in detail in this document.