Web3: Possibilities and Challenges

Making Sense of Crypto & Web3

UPDATE: [March 2022] We have launched a dedicated site for this project: https://web3.lifeitself.us/. Read more in the announce post.

Original Overview

Interest in Web3, initially defined as a “decentralized online ecosystem based on blockchain” and encompassing technologies such as cryptocurrencies, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and decentralised autonomous organisations (DAOs), is growing massively.

Life Itself has noticed a huge degree of excitement, in parts of our own emerging ecosystem and well beyond it, around the purported revolutionary potential of Web3. On the contrary, many others remain highly skeptical.

The large amounts of information, noise and often fierce divergences of opinion circulating within the Web3 conversation mean it is hard to establish a firm fact of the matter around what potential might exist, in what areas, and what concretely needs to be done in order to help it be realised.

This initiative sees Life Itself bring our own expertise, particularly in the realm of social and cognitive sciences, to bear on both the systemic dimensions of Web3 interventions (governance, public goods funding and so on) and the underlying sensemaking of the field as a whole.

Research agenda

We have begun our work by planning a research agenda for our inquiry, shown in the diagram below:


Exploring the Neo-metallist thesis for Bitcoin with Stephen Diehl – 16 Feb 2022

Critical Exploration with Rich Bartlett and Stephen Reid

Our co-founder Rufus has also recently engaged Rich Bartlett and Stephen Reid in an exploratory conversation around Web3, which you can view below:

We’ll update this page with more content as our enquiry continues, so stay posted!