Thinking laterally about Web3

In the grand scheme of human civilization, Web3 has a very recent history. There is relatively little historical data to look at in order to predict broad patterns in the future. If we had 100+ years of data, as we do with traditional economic and financial data, it would likely be easier to extrapolate trends into the future, since most of the possible scenarios have already played out in the past.

As a fallback, I’ve been applying lateral thinking to Web3, in order to compensate for the lack of information and to build a rich and broad perspective that (hopefully) helps me understand clearly what is going on, or at least be a little less wrong. Building a rich toolkit of mental models true to me given how diverse crypto is - it is about money, art, community, culture, storytelling, investing, gaming, and much more.

It feels right to me to use established principles and patterns that apply in the natural order of the world. After all Web3 is a human invention and is therefore a subset of the natural order. Biology, physics, psychology, sociology and history all have gems of wisdom that can be borrowed and applied else where laterally. There is hidden alpha in being a student of timeless wisdom, wherever that wisdom comes from.

As an example, let’s look at maximalism and whether the future of crypto is going to converge to be single-chain, or a constellation of multiple chains that connect to each other. Granted that the market seems to already be trending to a multi-chain world, at least based on BTC dominance over time. That said, I’m confident in betting on a multi-chain future based on the evolution of different ecosystems such as animal species, planets, nations technology platforms, and so on. I struggle to find a case where one single participant become the one and only. Some obvious takeaways:

  • Biodiversity is key. Species on Earth need each other in order to be healthy and growing ecosystem. The moment a species start dominating others, we witness a collapse in life due to the ecosystem going off balance.

  • Socio-political diversity is also key. There are several countries and currencies in the world, with different cultures and economic structures. Within a given economy, there are several banks, offering a range of financial services. Competition breeds productivity.

  • Evolutionism and survival of the fittest. By definition we’re all subject to the Red Queen’s Effect, and not changing ultimately leads to decay, with a near-100% certainty.

    “It is not the strongest of the species that survives,
    nor the most intelligent,
    but the one most responsive to change.”

    — Charles Darwin

What’s my point? Look outside of Web3 to learn and apply universal lessons. Let me leave you with a reading list about the natural order of the world. I found these really useful in Web3 and life in general.

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