Newconomics 2023 - Meet our Speakers: Richard Welsh
We’re getting closer to the Newconomics event in Lisbon and we have some great guests, speakers and panellists who can share their experience of how blockchain technologies could change the way we live and work. One such guest is Richard Welsh of Decent Partners, an organisation that works to bring talent together to create, manage and build shared value around the rights to their creative work. He shared some of his thoughts around web3 ahead of the event.
“Web3 is a mirror held up reflecting back the best and worst aspects of humanity. It’s not the technology that makes the difference but how incentives encourage certain outcomes and in turn foster a schizophrenic culture where speculation and meaningful impact are often inversely correlated.
I’ve been a gonzo participant in creating and coordinating many online communities since 2005. I guess I’ve just always been curious as to how intended and unintended incentives shape these proto-social systems. From the earliest days of bebo, through Myspace, early Facebook (when Farmville was a thing), to YouTube and the social media we know today.
For me, blockchains are just another incentive game played by people who are ultimately searching for connection and meaning in their lives. What makes these games more interesting is that they exist as parallel experiments to our incumbent systems of banking, finance and democracy
I once heard Bitcoin described as “a get rich quick scheme wrapped up in a revolutionary technology”. It’s likely Bitcoin won’t replace the existing banking system, but it did hold up a mirror to it, encouraging a generation of young people to interrogate the inner workings of central banking. Ethereum may not improve on Wall Street, but it has pulled back the curtain to make transparent financial engineering that was previously opaque.
Even Polkadot, whose focus is on novel forms of on-chain governance may not meaningfully advance the way nations govern their people, but in the experimentalism the technology fosters, we are allowing young generations to see and importantly experience how democracy is constructed, corrupted and empowered practically rather academically.
Act one of ‘crypto’ has been a story of speculation - speculation on a better future, on an alternative to the status quo, on replacing systems that seem in the most part incapable of addressing the needs of a globally connected and interdependent digital society.
Act two needs to turn all that optimism, capital and infrastructure into something meaningful if it is to not just be remembered as a short but entertaining distraction that promised much, but failed to deliver anything much of note.
There are many who still believe in the promise of Web3 - the philosophy not the slogans, however regulations have now closed the door to the kind of unregulated fundraising that fueled the fomo of previous market cycles. With the taps turned off, a supply glut of unused blockspace and still stratospheric network valuations, it seems intuitive that the next phase of innovation will need to be driven in large part by crypto-native resources.
The projects that prosper through a steadily deflating gravity of expectations as money seeks yield elsewhere will be those who transform overspend on the supply side, into genuine and sustained revenues on the demand side. This is simple to say, but will require a radical shift in culture that perhaps only a few networks are truly capable of.
With Kabocha Network we have been preparing for this next phase shift in web3, by developing a radically simplified network, that was itself the product of a series of on-chain governance proposals with no legal entity, central organising entity or external funding.
The network benefits from security provided by Kusama, but then optimises its approach towards creative collectives - allowing talent, fans and indeed sponsors to collaborate more efficiently, equitably and productively.
If you think about the rights of a famous character or story, this fiction was the work of a great many people involved in the process, but the main organisation to profit is the owner of that IP, leading to concentration of power over time.
By rethinking the creative process from the ground up with a network rather than corporate mindset, it is possible to share things like IP and royalties more equally between those who contribute whilst still enabling those rights to be licensed by third parties who remain more tightly aligned to the common good.
In return for funding, creative teams requesting funds will assign NFTs to Kabocha’s ‘reserve’ that are representative of their work, analogous to the BBC’s commissioning model.
We call this original IP ‘cultural collateral’.
These NFTs will confer access rights, permissions and future utility to those holding KAB and can be upgraded as the funded projects develop over time.
The narrative idea is a rework of the well known ‘Store of Value’ concept which has been the major hook for Bitcoin. Except rather than being backed by machines / sunk electricity costs of miners, Kabocha is backed by the time, effort and insight of its contributors.
Those investing in Kabocha are essentially betting on the future collective cultural value and access afforded by the assigned assets.
We call this a ‘Store of Values’ currency.
We have zero interest in building another Ethereum knockoff, we want to solve the most interesting problem out there, funding real work, by real people, in a real economy."
Find out more about the new economics of Web3 and how it can change the way we work together at the Newconomics event in Lisbon. Full details and registration can be found on the website.