Web3 vs blockchain vs crypto - can you spot the difference?
A mental model to identify three general user personas in the web3/blockchain/crypto movement.
Jargon = people groups
If you’ve heard of Bitcoin, then you’ve probably heard of a bunch of other jargon and mumbo jumbo like ‘blockchain’, ‘web3’, ‘wagmi’, ‘lfg’. On behalf of subculture, I apologize 🙇♂️. I personally don’t think we’re doing ourselves any favors by being all mystical and snobbish on concepts and technical lingo.
However, it’s also worth highlighting this weirdness of the industry because it’s telling of the crowd (and therefore customers, personas, and user segments). That is, you can almost tell which user group someone belongs to based on the terms and jargon they use.
Example: Like how an accent could indicate where someone grew up, using terms like ‘MRR’ or ‘ARPU’ would make you think a person has worked in SaaS (software-as-a-service). Saying things like ‘MECE’ or ‘PS sessions’ or ‘top-down comms’ is indicative of a consulting background.
We have much jargon
Web3 has a lot of jargon.
There are universal terms that anyone in the industry would recognize like:
WAGMI - we’re all gonna make it
HODL - hold on for dear life
GM - good morning (this is a weird one, I know)
Then there are slightly more niche terms depending on your preferences like
IL - impermanent loss (DeFi)
MEV - miner extractable value (DeFi / Investors / Devs)
10k - referring to a project with 10,000 unique NFTs (NFT)
Web3 is quickly becoming a big industry with distinct sub-markets. If you’re just starting out here, you should take some time to explore which markets you’d be most interested in. If you’re trying to explain the industry to someone new, I think it’s also helpful to point them to sub-markets or use cases that would be more interesting for them.
Web3 vs Blockchain vs Crypto
With the above established, let’s get back to the title of this post. What do you think is the difference or user groups that
these three major terms represent?
For me at least:
Web3 is a movement. This term implies a Web1 and Web2 that came before it. It’s branding for a new era of the internet. Decentralization, transparency, and self-custody are some of the concepts and core beliefs that come with the use of this term. Accordingly, the users that belong to this group will have these things top of mind as jobs-to-be-done.
Blockchain is tech. Sometimes I find myself surprised that web3 people or crypto people don’t even understand the underlying technology of the industry. This is where ‘blockchain’ people come in. These are likely developers or nerds that geek over the underlying tech of the industry. Important things to them are security of a tech, ease of building, and the support network to build cool stuff.
Crypto is a business. Finally, this group will care most about APYs (annual returns), token price, and ‘wen moon’ (when will they get rich). They probably couldn’t care less about the innovations in technology nor core tenets or web3. If you want to cater to this group, then your tokenomics game should be pumped 💪.
These aren’t the only user groups in this industry and more sub-cultures are popping up as the market matures. It’ll be interesting to see how they interact with their web2 counterparts as web3 grows larger.
Know the market, and then dive in
Any business-related framework will likely start similarly—know your audience. If you’re keen to dive into web3 (or blockchain or crypto), I hope this simple mental model is a helpful first step to get an initial vibe of the market.
Who’s your customer? A web3 person? A blockchain person? Or maybe a crypto bro?
I also post web3 stuff (sometimes blockchain and crypto stuff) in Twitter: @nigelwtlee