Web3 was made for it!
As the crypto temperature drops, it’s time to shiver by the radiator and think a bit. What’s going to be the role of web3 curation once the thaw arrives? We say it’s going to help us create a livable planet. A major force.
What’s so important about curation? History offers lessons. Way back in ’17 web3 curation projects were everywhere. The TCR (token curated registry) was a Big Idea. But let’s pass that episode by and go back even further, all the way to prehistory, to web2.
Consumer web2 exists because of curation. In fact, web2’s consumer value prop is curation. Curation means people pointing people to things with value.
Amazon was founded on product reviews, a form of curation. Social media likes are curation, as are follows, saves and shares. Spotify, Uber, Airbnb, Yelp, Carvana, Strava, the App Store — all rest on curation. Aside from apps, tons of digital media content revolves around listicles. It’s not a 100%. But maybe 80% of consumer web2 is crowd curation-dependent?
Why it all happened is Dunbar. The anthropologist theorized we could only keep 150 relationships in our head. The digital world blew past that. We needed signposts on who and what to trust. Crowd curation provided them. It’s why we can click buy on a laptop stand manufactured by some no-name company seven thousand miles away, or swipe right on an in-our-league stranger ten feet down the bar.
Curation is pervasive. It influences the choices of billions on our planet. If we had to curate a list of the top inventions for human coordination, we’d put digital crowdsourced curation somewhere below language and way above machine learning algos. If you disagree, hold on! You see, curation’s best, most impactful days are still ahead.
At least they better be.
Because the choices of billions on our planet are unfortunately pushing us off a cliff. Before you get the wrong idea, it’s not the individual’s fault. As humans we’re being blocked. Blocked from making choices that are in our own interest, that enable us to adapt. Sure, lots of people are oblivious to our many existential threats, but they don’t matter all that much. For instance, polls in the U.S. tell us around 75% of people think climate change is a threat. If we could get just 25% — the most committed — to change their curation, it would spark a revolution. That’s it. 25%.
Currently, the world’s biggest, most important public good is not the oceans, the atmosphere, biodiversity, or the soil. It’s the yearning by billions of humans for a livable future. If that yearning could lead to choices, and choices lead to action, then we’d have a fighting chance of restoring those other public goods.
But those blocks! Right now those people are being told to recycle. They are being told to reduce their personal carbon footprint. In advertisements, they are being told to buy an ESG fund, to shop for a green product, to marvel at how CEOs at Davos wore multicolored SDG lapel pins! All those messages, all those corporate memes, they are a form of curation. Our future is being curated for us, by whom? By people with vast resources, often well meaning people, whose main priority is NOT TO CREATE A LIVABLE PLANET.
Don’t mean to get all doomer, but as long as corporations curate our future, WANGMI. Or rather, we’re all going to be blocked from making it.
The solution is to start curating our own future. Learn, buy, invest, give, quest. This is the set of everyday activities we engage in. How do we choose what we learn, what we buy, etcetera? We should socially curate those choices, rely on each other to point the way to collections of what’s right. Collections of funds, web3 tokens, jeans. shampoo, alt-meats, colleges, non-profits, quests, or banks that are most aligned, and ones of the ones we should avoid at all cost. Imagine the brand equity that would get destroyed by those “avoid” lists, billions of dollars down the drain. Imagine the shifts in market share that might occur, careers and reputation that might get made or wrecked. We have an unfair advantage over the people whose decisions impact the planet. It’s called culture, aka what we value, and what we don’t.
Curation is culture creation. A massive weapon. Let’s use it now.
The single biggest obstacle to that kind of curation, the biggest block, is the central authority with an agenda separate from our agenda of thriving. That’s one reason web3 curation is so critical. The second reason is that web3 can scale curation to millions and millions of people. It can give them proof, a soulbound token, of their alignment with and work towards the creation of a livable world. Proof that can create value and utility everywhere that person goes in web3.
The radiator metaphorically clangs. It’s cold. Still, looking out the window at the dripping icicles, we’re smiling.