The information dissemination protocol RSS3 successfully developed a new plugin “Web3 User Activity” in just two or three months, and officially launched it on the ChatGPT store. This plugin greatly fills the gap in on-chain data in the AI field, allowing ChatGPT users to freely call massive on-chain data from the open network, and more comprehensively and easily understand and participate in the Web3 ecosystem.
The launch of this plugin is of great significance. It combines with ChatGPT to open the door to the open Internet for users, allowing them to more conveniently experience the fairness and decentralization of the open Internet, and have a wider space for information acquisition and communication. In this context, R3PO interviewed Joshua, the founder of RSS3. He is a serial entrepreneur with rich experience in the traditional social field. Joshua said that after navigation, search engine, algorithm recommendation and other information distribution methods, large language models are expected to become the next generation of open Internet information distribution methods. Moreover, through AI interpretation and communication, large language models can communicate with people in a more humane way.
Three years ago, when Joshua realized that a single application could not solve the problem of content monopoly on the traditional Internet, he resolutely turned to the open Internet and founded RSS3, hoping to achieve the freedom of the open Internet, that is, efficient and safe information flow. This idea has also been supported by many old investment institutions such as Coinbase and GGV. In our communication, we discussed how AI affects the Internet and Web3, and also discussed where the opportunities for current entrepreneurs in the bear market are, hoping to bring some inspiration to practitioners in the Web3 and AI fields and find new breakthrough opportunities for them in this rapidly developing field.
Where are the opportunities for Web3 startups in the ChatGPT ecosystem?
Since OpenAI released the ChatGPT plugin, many people have compared it with Apple’s App Store. Jim Fan, an AI scientist at NVIDIA, said on Twitter: If the advent of ChatGPT is the “appearance of the iPhone”, then the launch of the plugin function is the “iOS App Store” event. He believes that the App Store is just the beginning. The overall plan of OpenAI is to become an “application for everything”-it can read documents, connect various applications in real time, and have an impact on the world.
Blockingcky McCormick, founder of Not Boring Capital and Web3 Fund advisor for a16z, explores in depth in his article “Attention is all you need” how OpenAI is challenging the positions of Google and Meta and becoming the preferred entry point for the future internet. He believes that the potential of ChatGPT is much greater than that of the App Store, as it not only attracts the attention of consumers, but also the imagination of developers. Currently, about half of YC entrepreneurs are using OpenAI’s API to build products. “With browser plugins, it will do everything that search engines do and more, with customization; with third-party plugins, it becomes a platform, on which all vendors will add more functionality to the platform.”
A wave of AI innovation and entrepreneurship is sweeping the world, with not only giants like Amazon, Google, Alibaba, and Baidu entering the field, but also AI startups heating up. According to research firm PitchBook, in 2018, when OpenAI first released its initial version of the GPT model, the total funding for the entire generative AI field was only $408 million. After the release of ChatGPT last year, this number soared to $4.5 billion in 2022. In just the first quarter of this year, startups in the generative AI field have announced about $11.6 billion in transaction funds, involving 46 transactions.
For the AI field, these transactions are only the first step in a long march. This capital frenzy has also swept into the Web3 field, with many financing transactions related to the combination of AI and Web3 announced this year, but the market generally has doubts about the fusion of AI and Web3.
The plugin launched by RSS3 on ChatGPT further demonstrates the potential for combining AI and Web3, and Joshua shares his views on this trend and explores the potential ways in which AI and Web3 can be combined. “Where liquidity is, people will be drawn to it, and that’s a real situation. Especially for smaller projects, they are more easily attracted by changes in liquidity.”
He proposes three possibilities for the combination of AI and Web3. The first is to use Web3 to solve the problem of AI computing power by converting dispersed computing power into computing power that can be used to train AI; the second is to use game mechanisms to solve the problem of training data by involving authoritative figures in specific fields in the generation of training data, making the training data more biased towards their preferences; and the last is to use Web3 as an information source and feed it back into the AI model, which is what RSS3 is currently doing. Initially, this may mainly serve applications in Web3, but as information in the open internet increases, it will gradually break through limitations and bring greater imagination.”
So, is this kind of scenario exclusive to big corporate giants, and where exactly are the opportunities for small businesses to start? Joshua believes that while giant companies have advantages in users and information, small companies have a clearer positioning in certain core technologies and scenarios. For example, compared to the general language model of large companies, RSS3 has stronger competitiveness in processing and distributing decentralized and open information. It is believed that small companies will also have their own advantages in vertical fields such as finance and medicine.”Currently, giant companies have advantages in traffic and this advantage will not disappear immediately,” Joshua said. Taking the aggregation and redistribution of information as an example, the emergence of social media has not weakened the demand for search engines. Different tools solve different problems. Generative artificial intelligence may be able to handle demands that traditional projects have already met, but there are still technical challenges. For example, the current language model cannot accurately recognize the specific context and needs of user requests. When you ask what “apple” is, the model may not be able to determine if you mean fruit, phone, or technology company. This requires further research and technical support.However, RSS3 can already accurately track on-chain data. For example, when you ask who Vitalik is, the answer is no longer limited to Wikipedia and recent news about him. Instead, it is Vitalik’s recent activities on the chain.RSS3 is one of the few companies that have deeply integrated Web3 and AI in the early stages of entrepreneurship. “When we had an artificial intelligence team, there was still some conflict between Web3 and artificial intelligence because Web3 was considered decentralized at the time, while artificial intelligence required centralization,” Joshua recalled. Although the situation was not ideal at the time, it now proves that we are doing the right thing, and we have seen the value of persistence.As an experienced serial entrepreneur in the traditional social field, Joshua deeply understands that one or two applications alone cannot solve the problem of Internet content monopolies. Over the past 20 years, a few super companies have monopolized content while controlling user data, leading to a centralized environment and stifling the vitality of innovation – even if the application design is excellent, it cannot compete with the data monopolist. In contrast, blockchain technology ensures data security and privacy through encryption and following the principle of “code is law.” With the rise of Web3, people are increasingly eager to get rid of the shackles of traditional centralized platforms, and have the right to create, disseminate, and distribute information.
Three years ago, Joshua decided to invest all of his resources into the open network and founded RSS3 to improve information efficiency and freedom on the internet. RSS3 is an information platform located on the open internet, which is different from traditional centralized platforms. RSS3 does not directly participate in the encryption process of information but instead acts more like a courier or transportation, ensuring absolute ownership and data security of information.
During the interview with Joshua, he mentioned three core aspects of the company’s future development: data coverage, information distribution, and decentralization. First, RSS3 hopes to comprehensively cover the data range of the entire open network to ensure that the covered information is readable and effective. Second, in addition to information flow, search, and large language models, RSS3 will continue to improve and develop information distribution methods to meet user needs. In addition, RSS3 hopes to achieve a higher degree of decentralization and ensure open and fair nodes.
Joshua revealed that RSS3 plans to open external nodes in August. In the early stage of RSS3, there may be a limit on the number of nodes, and then it will gradually achieve dynamic balance. In the early stage when the number of nodes is limited, there may also be some soft requirements, such as participants who are related to the project or active in the community may participate in testing earlier. However, these requirements are not too strict, and RSS3 hopes to attract more participation from spontaneously operated nodes.
Regarding the business model, RSS3 is similar to Chainlink and The Graph. Their network structure can be compared with Ethereum. Ethereum nodes are responsible for ensuring the security and confirmation of transactions, while RSS3 nodes index information and provide it to users in a specific way. Once the nodes are developed and opened to the outside, they may charge a certain fee to provide information services.
Regarding future financing plans, Joshua values working with investors who have a strong sense of mission and vision for the development of the open internet, rather than just financial investors pursuing short-term returns. In terms of the use of funds, RSS3 plans to focus on node and community construction, as well as continuous investment in user experience and development tools to continuously increase the number of users and enhance user stickiness.
Web3 Startup Insights: Trends cannot be predicted, stick to doing the right thing. In the past few years, the cryptocurrency market has experienced huge fluctuations and challenges. What feelings and experiences can Joshua share? He pointed out that in the past, people generally believed that Web3 represented concepts such as decentralization and ownership. However, with the emergence of various projects, people began to view Web3 as a new stock market or investment opportunity, which led to a change in the narrative from decentralization to just focusing on tokens. This to some extent reflects changes in the market and people’s pursuit of speculation.
However, “smart choices in the short term are often not particularly helpful.” Joshua cited the example that when we started a business, traditional social media projects such as Clubhouse were hot in the investment track. Joshua, as the founder of the Chinese version of “Clubhouse”, also received a lot of attention from well-known domestic and foreign venture capital at that time. If Joshua chose to engage in these projects at that time, it might indeed have been a wise move at that time, but as time passed, these projects quickly disappeared. On the contrary, projects like RSS3 flourished in the Web3 field.
“Throughout the entire entrepreneurial process, including myself, we all face various temptations. Sometimes, we will consider pursuing things that may bring short-term benefits, or following the current hot actions, but in the end, we didn’t do that.” he said, even if these opportunities may benefit in the short term, but in the long run, they are not opportunities for entrepreneurs themselves.
The characteristic of entrepreneurs is that they are not only entrepreneurs, but also pursuing themselves. As an entrepreneur who has been committed to improving information flow and freedom on the open network, Joshua emphasized that in the Web3 era, short-term temptations and trends should not be the basis for entrepreneurs’ decisions, but should stand on a broader perspective, focusing on long-term social impact and value creation, and society will naturally bring you returns in the end.
“Many people who start businesses in the Web3 field did not anticipate that cryptocurrency would become so popular. Similarly, practitioners in the field of artificial intelligence did not anticipate that large language models would suddenly become so popular.” Joshua said, in fact, before the rise of language models, the field of artificial intelligence had experienced seven or eight years of silence. Whether it is cryptocurrency or artificial intelligence, the trend changes are unpredictable, so entrepreneurs should maintain independent thinking, stick to their beliefs, and persevere.
Currently, the cryptocurrency market is in a bear market, which requires entrepreneurs to have patience and persistence. The problem of short-term liquidity or market fluctuations will not have a great impact on the development of the entire industry. Although the growth rate is sometimes fast and sometimes slow, the popularity of encryption technology and open Internet will continue to expand from a development perspective.
Entrepreneurs at this time need to adhere to their own values, focus on long-term social impact and value creation, rather than blindly following short-term temptations and trends. As Joshua said: “We must persist in doing what we believe is right and beneficial to society. If we are lucky, we may get returns early; if we are not lucky, we must persist longer.”