06 Jan 2022

Web3 and Tech for Good

By Paul Miller

2022 might just be the year the worlds of Web3 and tech for good meet.

For those of you new to the terminology, Web3 is the updated name for distributed technologies such as those based on blockchains. It follows on from the idea of Web 1.0, hyperlinked pages of information as invented by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, and Web 2.0, the interactive web defined by large social networks and marketplaces.

At BGV we’ve always taken an interest in crypto and blockchain technologies but we haven’t talked about it much in public. That’s been quite deliberate. The reason is that until now most of the opportunities surrounding Web3 have been amoral at best. The focus has largely been on crypto currencies and speculation about their value. Not something of interest to us.

But crypto has started to grow up. It’s now growing beyond just early adopters. Applications of the technology are beginning to go beyond blockchains as a store of value and into their value as a way of achieving things in the real world. We can see potential applications in healthcare, financial inclusion, biodiversity and climate change to name a few.

Our thesis is that any area of society where delivering a positive social or environmental impact is held back by costly and inefficient bureaucracy or administrative burdens could be improved by Web3. This is especially true where a centralised solution would raise questions of legitimacy or potential corruption.

Just as Web 2.0 had unforeseen consequences, so will Web3. Unfortunately, like most technology, Web3 isn’t inherently good or bad; nor is it neutral. The crypto community still has a reputation as being the domain of organised crime and the environmental impact of any technology that uses ‘proof of work’ is immense. Until the Web3 community sorts those out it will continue to put people off.

But overall we think the opportunities of Web3 and tech for good are huge. Our call for applications is currently open. If you come across founders thinking about how to use Web3 to have a positive impact for millions of people, please do send them our way.