Austin-Travis County enforces new COVID orders for businesses

Austin-Travis County enforces new COVID orders for businesses

It’s hard to know what Web3 is without first understanding the original versions. The first web is the 90s internet where people had their own random websites that did not link together, making it decentralized. In Web2, we saw the emergence of Google, Facebook, and other major players that configured standard ways for people to share and receive information.

Ethereum co-founder Gavin Wood and other blockchain developers say Web3 is on its way, which is decentralized. Web3 can be perceived as synonymous with cryptocurrency, which means that it is based on blockchain. Platforms and apps built on Web3 will not be owned by a central gatekeeper, but rather by users. Those in the Austin crypto community believe to see a growing presence of Web3 in Austin.

Pujaa Rajan, an engineer at the financial software company Stripe and a consultant for startups, describes himself as a “digital nomad.” She has traveled all over Hawaii to New York and San Francisco, looking for the crypto community everywhere.

After being in Austin for the past month, Rajan hosted a Web3 meeting this week at Cosmic Coffee + Beer Garden in South Austin, open to people working with crypto or crypto-curious. About 30 people showed up. “Compared to many other cities that I went to, it’s much more open and community-oriented here, which is what Web3 is all about,” she said.


Pujaa Rajan, an engineer at financial software company Stripe, hosted a Web3 meeting in Austin during a visit. (Andrea Guzman / Austonia)

ATX DAO member Roberto Talamas, who looked past the event, spoke about the expansion of the crypto group. Web3, in Talamas’ view, expands earlier versions that allowed people to read, then read and write. Now, he says, people can read, write and own. For Talamas, blockchain technology has driven this aspect of ownership, and it can be leveraged through groups like a DAO, a group that raises capital and continues to make investments or take on blockchain-based projects.

“The ecosystem for working with (Web3) companies here in Austin is still relatively small,” the Talamas said. “And that’s one of the things we’re trying to deal with at ATX DAO is to do all the advocacy work needed to make Austin the best Web3 city.”

However, part of that community has gotten a bad rep for being “crypto bros.” Rajan acknowledged that Web3 involves both economics and technology, which are areas that women have historically been excluded from. But she says the decentralization aspect creates a clean slate and a new means of forming groups. “I feel like we can somehow take back power or create a world for ourselves,” Rajan said.


The meeting at Cosmic brought together crypto users to talk about the possibilities of Web3. (Andrea Guzmán / Austland)

Meetup participant Jonathan Hillis also talked about the idea that Web3 creates an opportunity to start over, and how this could be something that grows in Austin. Born and raised in the capital, Hills left his Bay Area Web2 Instacart job to live in a cabin outside Dripping Springs last year. He and his wife formed a DAO called Cabin with a group of internet friends, and he is now writing on the Web3 version of Medium, known as Mirror.

When it comes to Web3 mode, four cities stand out. “The dam broke in Covid,” Hillis said. “Everyone no longer needed to live in the Bay Area for technology.”

San Francisco is still rooted in Web2 moves with Big Tech and software as a service venture. New York is financial technology. Miami is another big player. But with Austin, Hillis sees great potential.

“Austin is great for being a place for independent online creators of many types – musicians, but also artists,” Hillis said. “What excites me about Web3 is the potential to put creators at the heart of value-adding.”

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