Moving My Blog to Paragraph While Backing Into Web3

And What if Web3 ends-up being a feature of Web2?

For most of us, Web3 is still a nebulous thing that we can't define or point to, despite its arrival being promised more than a few years ago.

In November 2020, I published a blog post titled There is no Web3...Until There is One. In it, I wrote, "...until the patchwork of Web 3.0 technologies finds itself inside mainstream applications that have a broad and large market reach potential, we will not have a Web 3.0 yet."

One of the problems with Web3 was that it remained in the technical realm of usage by early adopters. There were lots of friction and self-assembly requirements to knit the various pieces together to get a sense of "aha."

There has been progress since then.

On the surface, Paragraph looks like a Substack of sorts. Underneath it lie several Web3 features that reveal themselves, but only if you want them. There is no forcing anything on anyone. You can simply read this blog as you did when it was WordPress-published and Mailchimp or Feedblitz-delivered previously.

I am not going to get into all the Web3 features at once, but suffice to say that you first need to connect your Ethereum wallet to Paragraph, and the magic will unravel. I chose the Coinbase wallet because it lets me write on Paragraph from a desktop or my mobile phone (I finished editing this post on my phone, but started it on desktop). You can think of your wallet as the trigger to identify yourself to the App, a bit similar to when you go through a Google-powered authentication.

Some of these "Web3" features include:

  1. Content Options. Each of these posts is part of a limited-edition collectible set of 10 that is available for $2.50 from any reader. Basically, you can own an NFT of this post, and only 10 will be minted. In the future, subscription memberships could be offered. I don't intend on doing that for now, but other authors might like that option. Going further, imagine that some specific content could be unlocked only if a certain NFT or token is present in your wallet. This feature is called "token-gated access," and I could invoke it in the future by issuing readers the $WAM token that was part of a Social Money Experiment I announced in June 2020, but I didn't have a lot of useful options for its usage then.

  2. Distribution. Behind the scenes, Paragraph is integrated via the emerging messaging standard XMTP (an analog to the SMTP email standard), enabling you to receive this content straight into your Web3 wallet if it supports messaging, such as in the Converse App that I'm adopting now as my standard Web3 Messaging App. You can find me at wamougayar.eth, my ENS (Ethereum Name Service) profile. In addition, Paragraph is integrated with Farcaster, the decentralized social network beloved by early Web3 adopters. So, when I share this post on Warpcast (the Farcaster client anyone can use), you can subscribe via one-click or read it without leaving that app. And from the Web2 side, Paragraph is also integrated with SendGrid for email distribution, so I don't need to worry about using Feedblitz anymore. It took me 3 minutes to export my subscriber emails to Paragraph.

Paragraph Publishing Options

There is more to Web3 than what I've described above, but using these 5 things together gives you a glimpse at a future where the whole is going to be bigger than the sum of those parts: Paragraph, Warpcast, XMTP, my ENS identity, and Converse.

It's not all perfect, but it's coming together perfectly well, because I didn't have to do one technical thing to connect these 5 services together, except for a few clicks, just as every Web2 user is accustomed to doing.

This makes one wonder if, after all, at least initially, Web3 could become a bunch of features for Web2 experiences, in essence backing its way into adoption. It wouldn't be a bad thing. There are 5.3 billion Web2 users, and Web3 will chip at them slowly and gradually.

Welcome to the (real) emerging world of Web3. It has finally arrived in such a way that I am going to continue writing more about it.

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