Bankless Web3 Psychology and Responsibility

Source: Bankless

Title: David’s Take: How Crypto Protocols Impact Our Psychology

Author: David Hoffman, Bankless Co-founder

Translation: Yvonne, MarsBit

One of the most well-known sayings in the crypto field is “came for the money, stayed for the technology.”

In other words, the lure of wealth may pull you into the rabbit hole of cryptocurrencies, but what truly captivates you is the depth of the technology. This depth is why “cryptopreneurs” stand out in ordinary social circles.

The depth of cryptocurrencies can change you. Take a moment to reflect on how you have grown since entering the crypto industry: how have you changed? Has your worldview shifted? What do you now consider important that you didn’t before? Are you a different person now?

What’s even more fascinating about cryptocurrencies is that they offer a new perspective on observing the world. Let’s delve deeper into this worldview and explore what cryptocurrencies bring to individuals and what demands they place on us:

Web3 Psychology

There exists a tripartite relationship between technology, society, and individuals. Society shapes individuals. Individuals create technology. Technology helps individuals express their thoughts. Thoughts change society. This is the trajectory of history.

Now, technology plays a unique role in this tripartite relationship. Society adapts. Individuals die. But once technology is discovered, it cannot be contained. It is impossible to put the genie back in the bottle. Infrastructure like the internet cannot be destroyed.

Technology is the progress’s birdcage, and the adaptability of society to individuals is the most revolutionary cutting-edge technology of our time. Perhaps this is why Twitter feels like a special place, where social margins can become mainstream ideas.

Web2 is the “current element” of social structure. Technologies like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc., define much of society’s appearance. They are platforms for thoughts and, therefore, intermediaries for ideas.

Web2, along with nation-states, represents a significant portion of how society operates. When individuals want to do something, express an idea, or effect some change in the world, they must do so through these intermediaries. If they want to change the rules, they must push their ideas through legislative approval by the nation-state.

If they need assistance, they must share their ideas through Web2 platforms.

In Bankless and the broader crypto field, we often criticize Web2 and nation-states. We focus on their shortcomings and oppressiveness. We are just serfs on Zuckerberg’s estate! We are mere subjects of our nation’s laws and tax systems! But… this is also the best system we have designed so far. Thanks to Web2, our ideas can expand, and thanks to constitutions, many freedoms are protected.

But these are just metadata of current social technologies, and metadata is constantly changing!

Technologies are adopted only because they provide better services than before. If they don’t, they won’t be adopted, and we won’t be talking about them. They are just ideas that never gained popularity – tweets without engagement.

In conclusion, Web3 will continue to exist. It is both a technology and a concept, and the spirit of Web3 has suddenly emerged from the bottle. As I mentioned earlier, encryption is a lens to observe the world. It allows you to see the emperor without clothes…the person behind the curtain…the puppeteer and their strings, and so on.

Web3 is a platform that allows individuals to become better versions of themselves.

Web3 has brought us powerful tools. New DeFi primitives. Direct ownership. The ability to become “self-banked”. The ability to generate financial assets. All of these are revolutionary, and each will have an impact on the face of society.

But encryption is a very profound technology. It goes beyond all other technologies and directly touches the core meaning of humanity. We are fortunate to live in an era of profound technological maturity. Nation-states must contend with it. The internet will adapt to it. Web2 must answer this series of questions.

But what about you as an individual? How will you change as platforms change? Who will you become when the protocols you operate become more powerful?

Cryptography is an asymmetric technology that transfers power to individuals.

Using cryptography is simple, but cracking it is difficult. It gives individuals the same power as banks with vaults or nation-states with armies. No amount of tanks, planes, or steel can separate you from your assets. All secular powers must have your permission, not your forgiveness.

The Responsibility of Web3

With all this, we can finally get to the point of this article.

Cryptographic protocols give us responsibility.

Becoming our own bank, holding our own assets, voting on our own protocols – these are powers that individuals didn’t have before. Our previous technologies couldn’t do it. We only had representative democracy, where we entrusted our voice to representatives we had to trust. We had banks we trusted to keep our money, custodians we trusted to safeguard our assets, brokers we trusted to execute our orders fairly.

While individual evasion of responsibility is not severe, micro-level evasion of responsibility can condense into individual, large-scale problems, becoming the darkest cloud in society. The choices we are forced to make become determinants of the status quo. Banks that are too big to fail. Misaligned career politicians. Facebook, Twitter, and other Web2 platforms that lock us in.

The encrypted private key is the carrier of responsibility.

The definition of responsibility is what I think all web3 users will like.

“The opportunity or ability to act independently and make decisions without authorization” left a deep impression on me – this is what is called “permissionless”! This is what encryption technology can achieve! This is also what is lacking in society today.

Anything inside the private key is our responsibility. The content that can be written can be anything. This is the power of smart contracts – any imaginable transaction can be encoded, deployed, and cast into our wallets. If it is a valuable thing, then it can be encoded as an asset and then be our responsibility.

With encrypted private keys, we have a way to directly control our own lives. We can not only become our own banks and custody our own assets, but also participate in governance and decide the behavior of our protocols! In Web2, we get a product where we have no say. In Web3, our protocols respond to our choices, so the choices we make really matter!

This is the first time we have direct responsibility for the rules that guide our lives. We have never had such a tool that allows us to take on so much responsibility so easily. So my question, dear reader, is similar to the question we started with. Now that you have complete control, who will you become?

The power of the private key is within reach, and developers have built door after door for you… Which door will you choose? What will society’s reaction be when the power of the private key permeates the entire society? What radical new ideas will individuals create to change the trajectory of humanity? What will humanity look like when the pendulum of responsibility swings from a few to many? These are very profound questions that only time can answer.

We have seen great kindness and great evil emerge from the encrypted rabbit hole. If there is one thing that is certain, it is that everyone with the ability to encrypt will bring a lot of chaos to the world. But I choose to believe that over time, it is not chaotic evil, but chaotic good.

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