One interesting layer of the emerging Web3 space is social media. There is no company yet who has made a sizeable impression in the space and captured a dominant slice of the market share, despite many claiming that social media is ripe to be disrupted by the technology that Web3 can offer.
This is becoming all the more pressing area in the current age where social media platforms are facing controversy over what constitutes free speech, and what power centralised companies such have. Not to mention billionaires launching bids to make prominent social media websites private.
I interviewed CyberConnect co-founder & CEO, Wilson Wei, following the launch of its inaugural product, Link3, in order to get some insights into this area.
As a social network of verifiable identities, Link3 will utilise both on-chain and off-chain data to deliver verifiable information. The Link3 profile page also serves as one’s holistic identity, which CyberConnect claim will enable more trustworthy networking and meaningful connections among users and organisations. It’s a new concept, and coming at such a poignant time with regards to the wider market and society’s view of social media, it presents as an interesting interview.
CoinJournal (CJ): How damaging do you think the bear market is here in terms of persuading normal people to emigrate from conventional social media to this novel blockchain-domiciled version? Psychologically, do you think it will now be harder to gain traction?
Wilson Wei (WW): Web2 users’ interest has definitely decreased due to the market. However, the vision of Web3 Social and Link3/CyberConnect is to build a better internet with verifiable and holistic identities that foster trust, more meaningful connections, and better user control over their data.
It is an improvement on what we had in conventional social media and a correction about where went astray in the previous Web2 models. Blockchain and crypto, among other things, are what make this vision now possible and they are critical tools, but they are not the ends themselves.
Everyone deserves better digital social experiences and users will vote for better services with their time and choice.
CJ: Do you think the power of centralised social media companies, such as Meta, needs to be reined in?
WW: Yes, we believe in a user-centric model for the whole Web. It is not that the centralised social media companies are inevitably evil but that the users should be one to have the ultimate control and choice over what services they want to use and how their digital identities can be used.
CJ: There are several competitors in this space – what sets Link3 apart?
- More dimensions to the identity; verifiable; relational identity.
- In Web2 we hold up our public persona by following people, publishing content, and self-attesting all sorts of attributes and preferences. On top of these, Link3 brings in a new array of dimensions that tell a more authentic and complete story about who you are:
- connections you have with other people and organizations, regardless of platforms;
- assets you own that stand for your status and tastes;
- credentials issued by third parties such as DAOs and projects about your key achievements and roles; and,
- all other on-chain activity records such as votes and donations that attest to your involvement in communities.
- An endogenous layer of trust will grow from all those added dimensions of contexts and meanings because they are verifiable.
- Composed of all such connections and records, relational identities like these are organic and evolving, authentic and trustworthy, rich in context and meaningful, just like how we are as social beings and would like everyone to be in vital relationships.
CJ: What do you believe the future is for both Web3 social networks but also conventional companies such as TikTok and Facebook?
- User-centric and self-sovereign:
As we mentioned in the above answer. Users should be the basic nexus of the web and users should be one to have the ultimate control and choice over what services they want to use and how their digital identities can be used.
- Verifiable and trustworthy:
As the key value proposition of Link3, the future of social networks should have a fabric of trust built in. This is essential in order to fully unleash the positive potential of connectedness in human societies and enable better collaborations. And we believe the key to this is the verifiability of some key and diverse dimensions of digital identities.
- Open, portable and composable:
Similar to the idea of user-centric, the new vision of better social networks should not lock users or user data within the walls of individual platforms. Users should be able to bring their connections, interests and all other meaningful data that form part of their identity to whatever platform or services they prefer. This also means developers and service providers will be able to build upon the data to deliver smoother and more context-rich experiences.
CJ: You recently had a successful Series A fundraising round close in May. Were you relieved to close this before the full extent of the contagion and downturn came into play?
- We were prepared and have always made the commitment to building in the downturn
- As a serial entrepreneurial team, with more than 7 years in social, Web3, and blockchain, previous experiences taught us that it is crucial to keep building during downturns. Despite the challenges, bear markets are a great time for us to focus on building, shipping, and creating values. It will also be easier for truly visionary and value-creating projects to be properly recognized as the noise will die down together with the market hype.
- We truly appreciate all of our amazing backers for their trust and support. They are a very selected group of partners that have a long-term conviction to Web3, share the mission with us, have put tremendous trust in our team, and provide all the support we need beyond just financial ones. We are blessed and well-equipped to have them with us on this journey.
- “Social” will be the most important part of Web3. “Connecting everyone on Web3” is an ambitious and challenging mission. We have built a great team with superb expertise and experience. With the support from our amazing investors, we are well-prepared to build and create long-term value even during the potential winter.
CJ: What is the best way to push adoption here? Would you ever consider trying to lure current social media influencers across to Web3 in order to promote the platform?
- We are addressing Web3 native users first with the plan to expand to Web2 users later.
- For the first phase, we are leveraging existing address-related data from current Web3 users to build a trusted network of verifiable and holistic identities. We particularly target Web3 professionals and organizations first and aim to solve the problem of spamming bots prevalent nowadays.
- As for growth strategies, we will be showcasing key use-cases to drive adoption and plan campaigns around such features. Some examples are:
- For users:
- Share your profile in a specially designed business card format to quickly showcase who you are and why connections will be valuable.
- Use your profile to submit applications and save all the redundant processes of filling out forms and sending documents of evidence.
- Gate your DM by more than payment or assets and instead invite those people with traits, backgrounds, and capabilities that you truly value to come through.
- Delegate your vote to the people with whom you have meaningful connections and whom you have real trust about who they are in the community.
- For organizations:
- Use Link3 as the all-in-one link that helps followers discover everything about the project in one place.
- Build Web3-native communities and unlock the possibility to engage with them through token-gated events, airdrops, and more.
- For users: