A few years ago, I could reach pretty much anyone I had ever met by searching for them and messaging them on Facebook. That world no longer exists. Gen Z never opened an account, Millenials have closed their accounts, and now I have to work out if I am best trying to communicate with someone via Instagram, Whatsapp, Telegram, Snap, Slack, or even Twitter DMs & Discord.
The world is fragmenting. Supply chains are buckling and global trade is suffering. The Open Web has morphed into closed walls controlled by Nation States or private company networks, with some hope in the form of emerging but still nascent rise of crypto protocols. The US Dollar hegemony is being questioned. Even streaming services have proliferated to the point where there’s no guarantee that everyone you know can watch the same Netflix or HBO or Disney show. It is really quite a spectacular unbundling from where we were 5-10 years ago.
Financial services are fragmenting – today we have so many fintech and crypto apps that allow us to seamlessly move money around the economy, including apps like Rappi / Amazon and games like Fortnite/Roblox. Today most of us still have one primary checking account, but that is driven by the fact that most of us receive a salary every 15 days into that account from which we pay our expenses. But in a Web3 world where we start deriving income streams from multiple sources (primary job / gig job / TikTok or Patreon or Substack / tokens from crypto engagement / play-to-earn games), even the notion of a fixed income source will fragment. Even within crypto there is fragmentation between the L1 networks, and within the ETH ecosystem between the mainnet and Level 2 rollups / sidechains.
This fragmentation will bring about all the creative destruction that we have been lacking for the past 10 years under centralized networks (Appstore / Facebook / legacy financial systems), and the possibilities for newer and better ecosystems are exciting to imagine, but the transition isn’t going to be smooth.