October 2, 2022

If you spend any time exploring Web 3—the blockchain-based alternative to the centralized internet we know today—you’ll likely conclude it’s difficult to use. Web 3 tools like the wallet Metamask or games like Axie Infinity feel clunky and counter-intuitive, and lack the sleek design of familiar internet services like Google or Netflix.

This is a problem. While millions of people are using Web 3, most are driven by the passion (or the greed) of early adopters and are willing to put up with clumsy designs to use exciting technologies like NFTs or token-based voting. But for Web 3 to be embraced by non-crypto natives—who are most of the population—the design must improve dramatically, and come to resemble internet products that people know already.

I brought up this topic with Kanav Kariya, the president of Jump Crypto, the influential Chicago investment and trading shop that is betting heavily on crypto and Web 3. To my surprise, Kariya agreed with my claim that Web 3 design is terrible. He noted that, in the case of NFTs, he still gets frustrated even though he has used them since the days of Crypto Kitties (a primitive version of NFTs that appeared in 2016).

What surprised me, even more, was Kariya’s prediction about how the Web 3 design problem will be solved. He told me crypto native companies like Coinbase or OpenSea are unlikely to be the ones that make Web 3 broadly accessible—something in the DNA of crypto people, Kariya says, makes them…

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