Metaverse Weekly: Distinguishing Between Distributed & Decentralized Systems

Decentralization refers to the distribution of decision-making power from a centralized entity to a distributed network of entities. This is a common theme within the cryptoeconomy & blockchain applications.

There are a number of different technologies that can assist in the functional decentralization of the metaverse space. Some of the most prominent examples are:

  • Distributed Ledger Technologies (DLTs)
  • Edge Computing
  • Microservice Governance

The level of decentralization can vary depending on what is being distributed and how it is being distributed within a system. This will differ within specific organizations or companies versus critical infrastructure and networks. 

Many metaverse protocols within the cryptoeconomy (Decentraland, The Sandbox, etc.) utilize a type of distributed ledger technology (DLT) called a blockchain. However, not all DLTs are blockchains. This results in a high rate of variability in terms of decentralization even if the system itself is distributed.

Why Does the Metaverse Have to be Decentralized?

For the metaverse to truly flourish and remain accessible to everyone, it must be a highly decentralized system without any gatekeepers. This is what allowed the internet to grow into a unique, highly engaging, globally accessible interface. 

Centralization raises several issues for a system of global scale. Consider the internet – the wealth of exchangeable information is priceless for humanity. Nearly anyone is able to access the internet and receive a high-level amount of information on any topic.  

Of course, there are some major shortcomings in this regard that have been increasingly more noticeable over the last several years, including the monopolization of key web infrastructure and unequal, centralized access via internet service providers.

This is the major problem that web3 is trying to solve. A centralized global space results in:

  • Higher rate of monopolization
  • Greater censorship
  • Lack of accessible information
  • Reduced user privacy
Google’s Search Engine Monopoly –

What is the Difference Between Distributed and Decentralized Systems?

A common misconception is that distributed systems and decentralized systems are interchangeable terms. This is actually not the case – while decentralized systems (i.e. blockchains) are a type of distributed system, not all distributed systems are decentralized.

In addition to blockchains, here are three other examples of DLTs:

  • Hashgraph
  • Directed Acyclic Graph (DAC)
  • Holochain

Distributed Ledger Technologies

At its core, a DLT is a cryptographically secured record of consensus with a verifiable, validated trail. That trail is validated by a network of nodes. A DLT network can either vary in its level of decentralization. Designated rights on the networks between nodes can fall in a range from centralized to decentralized, meaning that not all nodes on the network must be equal.

Certain nodes on a distributed network may have much more prominent permissions than other nodes. For certain organizations, this is favourable as it allows for greater participation on the network without the organization having to give up control.

Blockchain Networks

Comparatively, a blockchain consists of unchangeable data pods referred to as blocks. These blocks are validated by nodes on the network and added to the previous chain, serving as a specific way to implement a DLT. 

The major distinction between blockchains and other types of distributed ledger technologies (DLTs) is that within a broad DLT network, every node does not necessarily need to have all of the information from the ledger. For a blockchain network, every single node has access to all of the information from the ledger.

How Blockchain Operates – ResearchGate

This is an important distinction to keep in mind when considering external companies like Meta and their own ambitions to build out a metaverse space. In Mark Zuckerberg’s 2021 Founder’s Letter, he explicitly states that privacy, safety, open standards, & interoperability need to be “part of the metaverse from day one” but offers no direct insight as to how Meta will provide these qualities in its own product.

For the purposes of decentralization & interoperability, it is exceedingly important that every participating node on a DLT network has access to and understands all of the available information. This promotes the highest degree of transparency and participation necessary to achieve a robust, decentralized, metaverse space.

Closing Analysis

It is important to counter the narrative that simply being distributed is equitable to being decentralized. This is completely untrue. The metaverse must be distributed AND decentralized to promote the healthiest space possible for the world to build upon. This reigns true for both individuals and brands/businesses.

Web3 and the emerging metaverse have some challenging obstacles ahead to ensure this vision becomes reality. Examples include problems with censorship & accessibility due to centralized internet service providers or simply the costs associated with building innovative computational technologies to actually power such a demanding system.

Nevertheless, what is highly achievable today is the implementation of decentralized distributed systems that allow for the free-flow of information to anyone who wishes to participate. This is what blockchain technologies add to the emerging metaverse.

How VRJAM is Redefining Live Experiences in the Metaverse

If you’re like most of us, your favourite concert experiences were desperately missed during the pandemic. Artists also suffered significantly — according to an annual report conducted by UK Music, almost one in three industry-related jobs were lost during COVID-19. Employment in the sector also fell by a devastating 35%. 

It’s easy to wonder: what if we’d been able to experience live concerts remotely at the start of 2020 (set designs, lights and all)? Better yet, what if said experiences allowed us to interact with artists in real-time — a feature not (so easily) allowed at typical gigs? After major artists such as Ariana Grande, Lil Nas X and Post Malone have used virtual concerts to increase their fan engagement within the last year, a rising startup is here to show us what the next step of this looks like.

gmw3 recently attended the exclusive platform preview of VRJAM, a ‘multiverse’ platform for music and live entertainment in the metaverse. With an upcoming launch date in the coming months, we were thrilled to be in the front row of a live show performed by record producer and artist DJ Junior Sanchez. We also had the opportunity to speak with Marc Daille, VRJAM’s Head of Marketing, to learn more about the company’s objectives and plans to release its technology this year.

How VRJAM works

According to their official website, VRJAM “empowers creators, platform owners and brands to effortlessly create inspiring immersive experiences that redefine fan engagement.” They’re hoping to achieve this “by making content beautiful, interactive and immersive.” Using blockchain technology, the company also aims to help artists more easily monetise their work by selling tokenised versions of concert tickets, merchandise and other assets on the platform.

How are the worlds created? According to Marc Wille, VRJAM’s Head of Marketing: “We first create a 3D model of a venue (if it also exists in the real world) using a laser scan technique. We then have a basic layout of the place and add in the details and specifics. This, of course, can be an (almost) exact copy of the real-world venue, but we can also add things or alter things. Our tech gives us limitless possibilities.”

Photo by © VRJAM –

VRJAM is also currently in the process of signing a series of well-known artists (who are yet to be named). Artists and record labels will have the opportunity to join VRJAM’s Creator Guild, which is a “rapidly growing network of creators and industry members driving the evolution of live music” in the metaverse. Members of the Creator Guild can create, publish and trade their work as NFTs, create and publish avatar concerts and live events, look for new ways to publish their music and more.

Additionally, the company has launched its own native cryptocurrency token — the VRJAM Coin. Recently, VRJAM raised over $2 million USD in a pre-sale of its VRJAM Coin (with a market cap of $50 million). Once the platform has officially launched, the VRJAM Coin will be listed on an exchange, which will enable anyone to buy and sell the platform’s native cryptocurrency. A blockchain ticketing feature is set to go live this summer (according to the company’s roadmap).

Artists and labels that join VRJAM’s Creator Guild will receive an allocation of the VRJAM Coin, which can be used for all transactions made on the platform. As more artists are poised to use the platform to sell their work as NFTs, tickets, merchandise and other products, the more the volume of trade in VRJAM Coin will increase — thereby stabilising its value.

An immersive street party

During the preview, I was seated at a pre-prepared station inside London’s Shoreditch House (equipped with my own table, laptop, customised avatar and Meta Quest 2).

After putting on my headset, I found myself (in floating avatar form) standing within what looked like a fun and busy suburban block, lit by the muted glow of overhead lanterns and streetlights. The streets were also dotted with various tables, drinks and discarded red cups, mimicking the appearance of a real-life street party gone right. A diverse and colourful crowd of in-game NPCs also materialised around my avatar, dancing and vibing in tune with the surrounding beats. 

The life-like avatar of DJ Junior Sanchez — who was physically located in Brooklyn, New York while donning a full motion-capture suit — appeared at his own dedicated set, equipped with strobe lights, laser beams and mock fireworks. The other attendees also joined the virtual space — also floating around the pavement as their own respective avatars. 

Photo by © VRJAM –

Throughout the course of the set, we were able to teleport around the block party and speak with the other attendees’ avatars as if they were actually beside us in real life. I said hello to some other industry professionals that I had spoken with (in person) prior to joining the live event. Luckily, I also got the chance to speak with company CEO Sam Speaight (who was physically situated inside his hotel room in Los Angeles).

Once DJ Junior Sanchez finished his virtual set, we were given the chance to ask him questions. I asked him: “Where do you see the metaverse in five years?” His response was that he believed it would become a ubiquitous part of our lives and take over the internet as we know it.

What’s next?

The COVID-19 pandemic can aptly be characterised as one of the darkest periods the music industry has ever seen. In addition to the aforementioned numbers, figures now reveal that live music revenues suffered by about 90% as artists were unable to tour or perform. Musicians have also since started standing up to leading mechanisms (such as music streaming platforms like Spotify) for clawing away at any last dregs of revenue they were able to hang onto.

Will platforms like VRJAM change this landscape?

“This is exactly one of the reasons we started VRJAM,” says Baille. “With big tech dominating the music industry more and more, artists are looking for different models to connect with their audiences and generate new revenue models. We are offering that. But we also allow artists to push the creative boundaries of their art and move into the virtual space. We strongly believe that in a more decentralised model like VRJAM is offering, artists [will] have more control over their art and over how and when they wish to monetise it.”

Photo by © VRJAM –

In the future, VRJAM also plans on creating more immersive event spaces in the metaverse. “Think about arenas, comedy clubs, whisky bars or underground dance locations,” Baille describes. “Also, here, the only limit is our imagination.”

VRJAM plans on releasing its tech to the public later this year. To stay up-to-date on what’s next and join the VRJAM community, be sure to join their Discord and Telegram groups and follow their Twitter page for more updates.

NFT Spotlight: Color Block Party by Yener Torun

Please note that the following review is not an endorsement of purchasing the NFTs discussed, and the author does not themself own any of the collection.

Photography has become one of the cornerstones of the NFT space, ranking as a discrete category on the largest NFT marketplace OpenSea alongside collectables, music and virtual worlds. The attraction of NFTs to photographers is obvious. While there is a clear appetite for viewing photos (the most popular photo-sharing site, Instagram, sees 1.22 billion users per month), typically photographers are not paid anything for attracting views – instead needing to enter into partnerships and act as influencers. Other digital avenues like selling photos to stock photography sites do bring in direct money, but typically that’s measured in cents.

NFTs are shaking up the photography landscape by representing an avenue by which photographs can sell for significant amounts, thanks to the digital form of scarcity that NFTs have pioneered. And thanks to smart contracts, artists can also benefit from royalties for every onwards sale. With that in mind, we’re turning our attention today to an NFT collection known as Color Block Party from established photographer, Yener Torun.

Image Credit: Yener Torun

The Background

The Turhal, Turkey-born Torun is known for his flat, geometric compositions of minimalist buildings. Torun is a trained architect, having studied at Istanbul Technical University before starting a photography project in 2014 – his time studying architecture clearly an influence on the choice of subject for his photographs. Before selling his work as NFTs, Torun found success exhibiting his creation on Instagram, where his images have attracted 166,000 followers. His works have also been licensed by Google as official Android wallpapers.

Color Block Party is Yener’s first foray into NFTs, with the collection minted in September 2021. The collection of 30 photographs draws from across his portfolio, with most of his images featuring buildings from his adopted hometown of Istanbul. Yener’s collection is composed of work from the earlier part of his career, consisting of non-commercial photos published between 2015 and 2019 – a choice which he said is down to making the collection more coherent.

As he told The Modern Analogue, “It all started as a hobby, but within no time it became a passion. I finally felt like I had found something that gave free rein to my creative urges and helped me express myself through what I create – without any restrictions or the instructions and expectations of others. I let myself be influenced by all the things I like – music, painting, cinema, graphic design, popular culture, and even architecture itself. Then I turned those influences into something new and unique. Since then, I have spent a lot of time on the streets and on the computer honing my photography and editing skills to express myself in the best way possible.”

Image Credit: Yener Torun

The Collection

Thanks to the pastel colours, symmetrical framing and flat compositions, Yener’s works are highly reminiscent of the work of director Wes Anderson. A recurring theme in the collection is windows, their own uniformity reflecting and informing the buildings as a whole.

According to Yener’s description of the collection, “Yener’s compositions typically flatten space and emphasize lines and colours over depth. He transforms the urban landscape by reinterpreting architecture as geometric abstraction, creating an alternate reality by removing architectural elements from their original environment and repurposing them.”

It’s worth remarking on the fact that, while the images give off a distinct sense of spontaneity, they are highly edited, as the artist has revealed via before and after comparisons. He told the Guardian: “I increase the brightness and saturation to create a heightened sense of reality, which tricks the viewer into questioning what is real and what is not.” Alongside that is extensive digital recomposing and recolourisation, all to produce an effect that seems to return imperfect real-world buildings to an idealised design stage.

Image Credit: Yener Torun

Further asserting the sense that the point is not to valourise the buildings depicted within the photographs is the fact that no geographical information is contained within the NFTs themselves. Each image comes only with a short title, often a wry reference to what the photograph depicts (WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU LEMONS for an example prominently featuring the colour yellow, for instance), though three go without a title at all. The overall effect is to transform these real locations into surreal and stylised glimpses of the urban spaces the majority of us live in.

The Verdict

The medium of photography in general is well suited to the digital world of NFTs. By serving as a more equitable means of buying and selling art, NFTs are bringing in established photographers as well as inspiring others to take up their cameras for the first time. Yener’s collection, meanwhile, is especially well suited to the culture of NFT art and its fondness for hyperreal, digitally abstracted versions of the world.

Metaverse Weekly: The Challenge of Interoperability

One of the key challenges to a fully functioning metaverse is that of interoperability. Within platforms such as Decentraland or The Sandbox, there is coherence between that of the virtual worlds, users, and external blockchain networks. This is internal interoperability.

However, the problem here is that external interoperability between world-hosting applications is less clear. For off-chain platforms and applications, this bridge is even less visible. There have slowly been partnerships and integrations between off and on-chain applications, such as Minecraft joining forces with blockchain applications.

This is only the first step towards true metaversal interoperability. There are some key barriers to achieving interoperability for the metaverse.

They are:

  • Technology – The precise applications and computer programming solutions necessary to unite on & off-chain platforms within a single, open metaverse. Exactly what computer engineering breakthroughs are needed.
  • Economics – Aligning the appropriate economic functions & incentives that attracts users to move across worlds through the metaverse rather than staying within base applications or platforms. 
  • Persistent Connectivity – Ensuring the metaverse is always open & accessible is vital to achieving a growing user base. The metaverse must have uptime like the internet today while remaining decentralized and open so that anyone in the world can participate.

Blockers in Technology & Infrastructure

There are a number of areas, including both hardware and software, that must-see technological improvements or adoption of existing technologies that have not yet experienced widespread use in the market.

Some examples of components needing interoperability are:

  • Avatars / User Wallets
  • Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) & Hardware Components
  • Storage & Database Solutions
  • Assets (currencies, securities, etc.)

Avatars / User Wallets

In a full metaverse, it would be extremely inefficient and troublesome if users had to create a new wallet or avatar for all the different worlds that they may want to participate in. For example, say a user wanted to buy land in Decentraland while maintaining a profile through an external P2E gaming title. Having two different identities could get confusing to maintain. Now consider having to create a new avatar for every single platform in a full metaverse.

Comparatively, the internet (web2) has suffered in part from this challenge. Users engaged on multiple websites and platforms must store login information for dozens of different accounts. Solutions like Facebook, Google, and email sign-ins have assisted users with this issue, but it isn’t perfect.

Cryptocurrencies have also had this issue in the past. Each user would have to store the information for various wallets compatible with each cryptocurrency each user wants to invest in. Now, solutions like Metamask have offered cryptocurrency users the ability to store many different cryptocurrencies in a single wallet – regardless of the number of different blockchain networks that user is engaged in.

The metaverse faces this issue as well, albeit it is more closely aligned with the adoption of cryptocurrency wallet technologies. A user should be able to create a single avatar linked to their wallet of choice to transverse the metaverse space.

APIs, CPUs, & Hardware

As platforms are developed, there are many different APIs powering different metaverse projects. External APIs can be utilized by different projects for different purposes and open source projects can work, learn, & build collaboratively.

Additionally, advances in computing power and ability are necessary to run a connected metaverse space. Advances in quantum computing have made headway in this area, helping to push forward major advances in rendering speeds & processing power. Modern computers simply are not sufficient enough to carry the load of such a demanding space.

Storage & Database Solutions

One of the most important parts of the metaverse is that of data storage. Centralized databases simply will not be appropriate for the metaverse as the freedom of data is extremely vital. Therefore, decentralized data storage solutions will be a major functioning part of a true metaverse.

Solutions to global file sharing and database storage have emerged in recent years. For instance, blockchain-powered storage solutions such as Filecoin or Storj have assisted the space in utilizing decentralized storage where users can exchange surplus storage space for a fee. 

IFPS File Sharing Functionality – ResearchGate

Interoperable Assets

This aspect of the metaverse is arguably the furthest along. Assets in this circumstance would refer to cryptocurrencies, collectables, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and other currencies or securities that would have value within a digital space like the metaverse. This is integral to the purchasing and trading of digital LAND within the metaverse.

NFTs and cryptocurrencies have been at the heart of decentralized virtual world hosts so far for on-chain applications. Additionally, the creation of bridges between on and off-chain assets like Germany’s breakthroughs assists in the future interoperability between blockchain applications & external platforms.

Aligning Economic Incentives

While technological interoperability is arguably the most difficult aspect of metaversal interoperability, proper meta-economics also requires a high degree of interoperability. This plays directly into the ability for digital assets to have bridging potential to external applications.

Tech giants such as Meta (Facebook) building out their own metaverse spaces could split on and off-chain users if there is no way for digital assets to be converted into usable assets for Meta. In a way, this is the barrier between blockchain and traditional financial markets today in terms of the cryptocurrency market. It is worth noting that many big tech companies are adopting principles of Web3 technology, but it is only a start.

Additionally, users are generally considered to be rational thinking and opportunistic. This is extractable from game theory. If there is no incentive to participate in external applications, then users will never migrate out of their home apps. This obviously creates competition within the market to fight for capital and user growth, but it is not all necessarily on projects.

Should users ever choose to transverse the metaverse space between projects, it must be:

  • Efficient to move between applications
  • Affordable to the user in terms of fees
  • Have an opportunity cost that incentives dynamic movement across the metaverse
Average Monthly Internet Prices by Network Technology – New America

These three points are also true for attracting actual users to the metaverse in the first place, including that of individuals and organizations. Within capitalist economies, entities are profit-seeking. If there is a reasonable expectation that those entities can join & transverse the metaverse in a monetarily productive way, they will.

Accessibility & Durability of the Metaverse

For the metaverse to work and interoperability to remain a feature, the metaverse’s base functionality must always remain accessible to all users and have unlimited uptime. These same qualities can be applied to the modern day internet.

If the internet itself was not accessible or had catastrophic issues with uptime, the digital space would never work. Neither institutions nor individuals would invest time, money, or resources into something that is unreliable or inaccessible. Problems with accessibility can and do plague the internet geographically. 

Map of global internet usage – Our World in Data

Some areas of the world – like parts of the United States – simply do not have the infrastructure required to have reliable internet access. This is something that the metaverse will also face, just at an elevated level due to the higher demand it requires in terms of infrastructure capabilities.

Map of broadband access in the US – Federal Communications Commission

Additionally, centralized ISPs provide a barrier to entry for users wishing to access the metaverse in authoritative parts of the world. Corporations, governments, and other centralized entities can’t have immediate control over access or durability of the metaverse for it to remain truly open to all. The fight for net neutrality was indicative of this for the internet despite it being repealed in 2018 and never re-implemented.

Interoperability would ensure that even when individual applications or protocols go down, users within the metaverse will still have access to all other applications, guaranteeing that the space will always have some form of functionality.

Final Analysis

A fully interoperable metaverse is still many years away. Advancements are needed in many different aspects of the metaverse, including:

  • Technology & Infrastructure
  • Economics
  • Accessibility

The largest barrier to the metaverse resides in the ability of the world to innovate and upgrade infrastructure, something that will be costly moving forward, especially for end-users. The crypto economy has helped to provide missing economic incentives, helping to fuel such a mass interest from external organizations surrounding the metaverse.

Market Analysis Report (Metaverse) – Grand View Research

In a perfect world, the metaverse will end up being an open-source, highly durable base layer of what would essentially be the three-dimensional internet. Websites and applications would come to life in a highly connected, interoperable space. 

According to Citi Financial, the metaverse economy may be worth up to $13 trillion by 2030. So, while a true metaverse is potentially years to decades away, there is a sizable amount of investment and interest happening right now to add to its progress.

Women in the Metaverse: Carly Long

Carly Long refers to herself as women in Web3’s “hype girl”. Having amassed almost 20,000 followers (and counting) on LinkedIn, it’s an apt description. Carly is behind a highly successful newsletter, Women in Web3, which regularly updates readers in the Web3 community on female-led initiatives, women-based roles and other notable efforts that are both leveraging and connecting members within the space.

As part of our ongoing series, we recently sat down with Carly to discuss how she got started with Women in Web3, how she first entered the space as an NFT artist and how she’s risen to the fore as an important connector and mediator for those with technical and creative backgrounds alike.

Entering the space

Carly cites tech recruiting as her day job — while also noting her “passion that she’s trying to mix with her day job” as Web3. As a dedicated tech recruiter for Weld Recruiting, Carly helps position senior software engineers, UI/UX designers, product designers and more.

Also an artist and a painter, Carly also taught herself her “own kind of art therapy”. In January of this year, she encountered some downtime — a period in which she carved out some commissioned pieces for different professional athletes, celebrities and actors. 

She was pleased to find that she carved out a niche for herself: “I was like, okay, no — people enjoy my art. And I was starting to see that. There were all these stories of artists making millions on NFTs. And naturally, that piqued my interest. So I was like, ‘what is an NFT? What is Web3? Is this something I could do or not?’ And I just wanted to explore it.”

Carly was pleased to receive ample support from her boss, Matthew. “He knew I was starting to research a lot of this, in my nights and weekends. And he was like, ‘just run with it. He very much understood and knew we were going to be getting more and more blockchain engineer jobs, Web3 developers, that sort of thing — so he let me kind of run that and spearhead that. And I just started having all of these conversations with people in the space. And that was kind of how I learned.”

Kicking off Women in Web3

Carly’s foray into Web3 was furthered by Matthew’s encouragement: “He really encouraged me to start the newsletter and podcasts and just document the journey. And that’s really how Women in Web3 evolved.”

She continues: “I feel like it’s still evolving. I’m not quite sure what it will turn into. But so far, it’s a really awesome community that we have.” At the time of writing, Women in Web3 currently has (x) followers on LinkedIn — and I explain that other colleagues and thought leaders I’ve connected with have shared it. 

On whether Women in Web3 has helped leverage more opportunities for women in the space, Carly says: “Absolutely. I don’t think I realised the gap until I was in it. And the further I go into it and the more I build Women in Web3, I’m realising the gaps just kind of almost seem grater, even though we’re doing an incredible job. And we’re closing them.”

With that being said, however, we both note the abject confusion of entering the space — particularly where things like technical jargon or financial talk are at large. “I know a bunch of women who would love to get into it. But we don’t know where to go, we don’t know where to get started. I feel like there’s a lot of that out there — it’s very daunting. I don’t have an original tech background — I have a creative background. So I can totally relate to when I started researching and learning Web3 and NFTs. As I learned more and more and saw how it was blending these worlds of creativity and tech, I really wanted to highlight women artists.”

On making Web3 more accessible

Being an artist and a writer, Carly and I also note the accessibility that her newsletter and podcast have given not just women, but anyone looking to enter the Web3 space: “The news goes on in my tone of voice as a non-technical person to try and make it more accessible. Whereas [with] the podcast, we take those conversations to another level — and really beyond women just making it more accessible for anyone and everyone who wants to get involved.”

“I picked down a lot of people whose projects I could actually support and stand behind,” Carly explains. “So you’ll notice I [also] speak to plenty of men on there. But there’s usually a really cool tie — like Vijay Pravin. He’s the CEO of Bitches Crunch and his company started employing women who have career gaps because they took time off to raise their children. So they started educating them on Web3 — and now one of those women who came in as an intern is almost one of the highest paid in the company.”

Taking a leaf from Pravin’s book, Carly hopes that Women in Web3 will similarly empower other women to find success in the space. “My hope is that these short, bite-sized episodes can spark someone’s interest to like, ‘oh yeah, I want to look up that company. And maybe I can get involved that way.”

Despite us finding our niche, however, we both make note of the prevalent scepticism at entry points of Web3. What can be done to change this? “The first thing I would absolutely want to highlight is the community of the space. Just dip your toe in and you will receive so much love and support. Obviously, there [are] good and bad sides to it — but the good side is very pervasive right now.”

She continues: “On the flip side, I would tell people to absolutely do your research before you invest in anything, before you put your money into anything. It is crucial to be aware of the other side of Web3. And right now that looks like a lot of people trying to take advantage of those who are trying to learn it. I’m very open about that.”

On filling more roles with women

In one of Carly’s most recent Women in Web3 newsletters, she raises that while job openings in Web3 appear to be opening up, women are only filling one-third of them. Being a seasoned recruiter, does she have a special approach to encouraging more women to enter the space?

Again, she cites Matthew’s help as a catalyst for her stance as a Web3 recruiter: “He really pushed me to be like, ‘I know you don’t feel like you know everything — especially about Web3 and NFTs — but just like, put yourself out there.”

She also adds: “I feel that a lot of women in a male-dominated industry might feel as if they can only step up to the table if they know their stuff or if they don’t have any questions. But it’s really okay to just go as you learn — and there are so many male counterparts in this space who want to support and lift women up.”

A valuable connector

Carly is determined to not just be a recruiter or educator, but also a friend and sounding board to everyone in the community. “I wanted to be one of those communities or those sounding boards — like that circle of trust that I mentioned — where I can just be very welcoming to anyone who has questions. And I love connecting people. I don’t look at myself as an expert, I look at myself as a connector — so I can connect them to someone else who might have a job for them or who might be able to help their project.”

Her advice to other women (and just about anyone entering the space)? “I would say to find your niche and your circle of trust and those people who you can rely on. So anytime you have questions, put it out there on LinkedIn or Twitter and you’ll get a billion people outside of that circle who genuinely want to help. But then you’ll also have them to really be a close sounding board.”

What’s next for Women in Web3?

If you ask Carly, the sky’s the limit for Women in Web3. “I know a lot of different projects have started Telegram groups and community WhatsApps. So we might start that with some different offshoots of the newsletters — maybe like a one-on-one with some of the guests on our podcast, those sorts of opportunities.”

She’s also looking into planning more events in Nashville, where she’s currently based. With this initiative, Carly will be partnering with and working with female lead tech groups in the city. “There are some really awesome women in power at different VC firms in Nashville,” she says. “So sharing it with them and opening those doors for people is a very low risk.”

By converging her talents for connecting people, writing and creative problem-solving, Carly stresses the importance of carving out in-person opportunities. “I think creating more of these opportunities and spaces is just another good way to start getting more and more women in the door.”

To subscribe to the Women in Web3 newsletter, be sure to follow her link here. You can also follow the Women in Web3 podcast on Spotify using this link. Carly’s additional handles can also be followed here.

Medium vs. Publishing in the Creator’s Economy

For at least half a decade, Medium has felt like a paradise for writers, readers and content creators everywhere. Launched by Twitter founder Evan Williams, Medium was announced as “a new place on the Internet where people [could] share ideas and stories that are longer than 140 characters and not just for friends.” Laden with a significant range of stories — ranging from manifestos to personal tales — Medium quickly built up momentum and became a place for writers to “find the right audience for whatever [they] had to say.”

This ease of access, combined with the ability to quickly and efficiently post content, has made Medium a favourite by many authors and companies seeking a publishing or content marketing platform. However, the company has also been heavily criticised for restricting how writers can monetise and publish their work, despite marketing itself as an open platform., the first instance of a decentralised writing platform, was newly launched in December of 2020. What are the benefits of a decentralised publishing platform and how might its mechanisms change how writers are compensated? As part of our ongoing “vs” series, let’s take a closer look at the business models of both Medium and its new Web3 counterpart, — and highlight how Web3 technology is helping writers to gain better control over their revenue streams.

Medium: an effective message

As a hybrid blog and publishing platform, Medium enables both amateur and professional writers to share their work without any alleged limitations to their content. Currently accounting for over 54 million users and over 100 million users per month, it now sits as a leader in online blogging and publishing. For a decade now, Medium has aimed to host the best articles from various different fields. At the time of writing, the platform is heavily used for both unique and republished content.

Medium’s original mission has been to give writers from any corner of the world the opportunity to publish their writing — obscured only by a soft paywall of $5 a month or $50 a year. If we take into account the site’s current user base and $600 million valuation (including a recent raise of $30 million USD in late 2021), we can see that this model has been met with great success.

Writers on Medium are given the opportunity to freely publish their work on the site — however, those who want to earn money from their content are restricted to the site’s Partner Program. While top writers and publishers can earn upwards of $50,000 per month, those starting out on the platform are likely to see much more meagre earnings (we’re talking closer to $25). Writers are also given bonuses if they reach the platform’s list of top creators, meaning that an author’s success on the site largely hinges on how well they can grow their following and push out consistent content.

The trouble with Medium

While Medium has offered writers, journalists and publications a seemingly more unrestrained platform, it still comes with its fair share of cons.

As is the case with all Web2 platforms, writers no longer own their content once it is published to Medium’s grounds. Should the platform ever decide to delete a user’s work, shut down an account or ban a user from posting, there’s very little wiggle room for them to fight back. Of course, this raises the potential for authors to lose all control over their work and their audience should they land on the wrong side of the platform.

And while the possibility of this happening may be unlikely, this dynamic still highlights the futility that we have previously seen on other large social media platforms, such as Facebook, YouTube and Instagram. In 2018, we also saw Medium abruptly cancel the memberships of 21 of its subscription publisher partners.

Another common complaint about Medium is the number of restrictions associated with the site’s Partner Program. With the Medium Partner Program, writers can make money on the platform using two methods: a) to monetise their work based on total member reading time or b) to earn money by referring users to become paid subscribers. Payments are calculated based on the total time that paid subscribers spend reading articles, as well as on per-month subscriber revenue. This means that only writers with higher member reading times will be paid more generously. 

Another downside to this business model is that only users with paid stories get any sort of promotion on the site. Given that it can be difficult for writers to get enough attention that their work actually makes them any money, it presents an uphill battle for writers to make a sizeable income from publishing on Medium in general.

On top of that, writers on Medium are also not allowed to promote anything inside their paid posts. This means that other forms of monetisation (such as adding links to products, adding affiliate links or embedding subscription forms to grow an online following) are strictly prohibited on the platform. Couple this with the fact that a writer’s posts no longer belong to them once they’re posted on Medium — and we can easily gather that the mechanisms of the site are strictly designed to benefit the platform, not its publishers.

While Medium also promotes itself as a platform that accepts content from all ends of the spectrum, this is also not necessarily true. Authors of content that doesn’t make it to the platform’s front page will find it challenging to gain significant traction on the site — especially those outside of Google or large tech firms (such as YCombinator and Hackernoon), which are responsible for referring the most traffic to the site. It’s also notable that the only SEO control that users have over their work is content-based — making this system largely disadvantageous to those looking to publish work about niche industries or topics. a decentralised counterpart

Launched in 2020 and founded by Denis Nazarov, former partner at venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), Mirror is a DAO that is both built and run by its contributors. cryptocurrency, rather than typical transactions. As a decentralised and crypto-based platform built on the Ethereum blockchain, writers are able to crowdfund their projects by selling them as NFTs. 

When first launched, writers were required to obtain the platform’s native $Write token — which could be earned by partaking in the platform’s “$Write Race”, a weekly contest that helps determine users’ membership. Once users were in possession of the token, they could begin crowdfunding their projects and rallying support from backers. However, in late 2021, Mirror’s team announced that the platform would be open to anyone with an Ethereum address and wallet.

Mirror’s team has also further commented on the benefits of a blockchain-enabled publishing platform: “Through a decentralised, user-owned, crypto-based network, Mirror’s publishing platform revolutionises the way we express, share and monetise our thoughts.” 

Like Medium, Mirror offers an important component to the online publishing world — an engaged community. As noted in one of the company’s official blog posts: “There are many DAOs with vibrant communities and significant treasuries, but they are not recognised as first-class entities by the Web2 ecosystem of creative and developer tools.” As a solution, “Mirror bridges a Web3 entity into Web2 distribution of ideas.”

Since its launch, industry leaders (such as Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin) and a series of successful DAOs have used Mirror to publish their content. One such example of a successful crowdfunding campaign on the platform includes a documentary about the development of Ethereum, where a total of 1036 ETH was raised (the current equivalent of over $2 million USD).

What’s even more notable is the monetisation strategy offered by Mirror. As the platform is built on the Ethereum blockchain, it provides native support for any crypto-native business models around tokens and NFTs. The platform’s Entry Editions feature, for instance, allows for different works to be sold at different price points — all while also allowing writers to sell their work without having to put it behind a paywall.  

Will enable greater ownership and security for writers?

Unlike larger, more commercial platforms like Medium, content on is stored on a decentralised blockchain, rather than a series of company servers. As such, publishers are able to wield greater control and security over their content. Writers who publish their content on the platform also become co-owners of their work, ensuring that contributors’ interests are placed at the forefront of their roadmap. 

Instead of logging in with a username and password, writers can sign up to Mirror using their Ethereum wallet. This means that they hold full ownership of their account, which will live on an open blockchain as opposed to a centralised database. Anything published on Mirror is also cryptographically signed by users and housed on permanently decentralised storage, meaning that any data is protected from corruption or modification from malicious parties or faulty service providers. Also, because this storage is permanent, the longevity and integrity of any content are ensured via blockchain technology.

What’s even better is that cross-functionality has been introduced to those who do use Medium, Substack or other Web2 publishing platforms — with the added option for writers to import their blogs from other websites with ease. Should writers be hesitant to transfer their work onto a Web3 platform, the outlet has already been created with this transition in mind.

Final thoughts

While Mirror is still a relatively new platform, we’ve already seen several examples of how Web3 platforms are empowering those in creative industries. Audius, as we’ve previously spotlighted, has already helped several musicians sell their work as NFTs and rake in greater profits. Other platforms have also risen to the fore to help writers monetise their work, including Publish0x, Steemit and Bounty0x.

With the goal of helping writers share their stories, securely monetise their work and build a community around their content, Mirror is steadily revolutionising the process of digital publishing. Users have more control over how they monetise their work and more leeway to publish exactly what they want inside their posts.

Like many Web2 platforms, Medium isn’t hesitant to place restrictions on small accounts, ads inside content or content that it doesn’t like. If the platform doesn’t make money, it seems to have no issue with making further changes to make money — even if said changes disadvantage its authors. In a creator’s economy, platforms like Mirror are continuing to show how writers and creators can thrive when they are not beholden to their mediums — and where users can truly read, write and own.

Kongregate Creates $40m Web3 Dev Fund With ImmutableX

Web gaming platform Kongregate has been gradually moving towards a more Web3 centred approach, planning to release 8-bit inspired metaverse The Bitverse as well as blockchain game Blood Vessels. Delving further into the Web3 space, Kongregate has announced a new $40 million blockchain gaming fund in collaboration with crypto solution provider ImmutableX.

Kongregate - Blood Vessels
Image credit: Kongregate

The fund looks to inspire developers to build blockchain games for, consisting of an IMX token pool that will be awarded as grants to creators. While has always been about web-based gaming, the site will relaunch later this year focused on the Web3 space, therefore it’s looking to invest in a library of content to support that vision.

“With the relaunch of for web3, we’re once again creating a destination unlike any other for developers and gamers to come together to discover, chat about and play games,” said Max Murphy, Kongregate’s Chief Technology Officer in a statement. “As gamers ourselves who have long been dedicated to what made the original site so fun and special for millions of community members worldwide, we’re excited to reopen doors with new, sustainable technology that enables players to uniquely experience and be a part of the games they dedicate their time to.”

Kongregate is continuing its partnership with ImmutableX which began with development of upcoming title Blood Vessels. Currently being built by Kongregate’s new blockchain-focused development team, Electric Visions, Blood Vessels is set during the 19th Century at the Chicago World’s Fair, with players NFT vampire characters.

The Bitverse
The Bitverse. Image credit: Kongregate

“As an early innovator in web-based gaming, we’ve been proud of our partnership with Kongregate to help power the next generation of blockchain games,” said Robbie Ferguson, Co-Founder and President, ImmutableX. “With today’s launch of our blockchain developer fund, we’re excited to deepen our relationship with Kongregate as we work together to attract the best and brightest developers to build new titles on Kongregate’s relaunched Web3 platform.”

Kongregate will be initially sharing how to access the fund to current developers on its platform, new teams interested in being part of it will have to reach out to Kongregate directly. As further details regarding the platforms’ Web3 plans unfold, gmw3 will keep you updated.

NFT Spotlight: Cannes Producer Pass by pplpleasr

Please note that the following review is not an endorsement of purchasing the NFTs discussed, and the author does not themself own any of the collection.

One of the most prestigious events in the cinema calendar, the Cannes Film Festival is currently running until the 28th of May. Returning with full spectator capacity for the first time in two years thanks to a loosening of COVID-19 restrictions, the event is embracing Web3 technology in a number of ways, including the first-ever NFTCannes Summit hosted by production studio Electromagnetic Productions (EMP), global cryptocurrency financial management company Galaxy Interactive, NFT app OP3N, blockchain platform Avalanche and private investing platform Republic.

NFT Tickets

The focus of our attention today, however, is an NFT collection that confers access to screenings for some of the biggest films debuting at the festival. In keeping with 2022 being the 75th anniversary of the festival, pplpleaser, a multidisciplinary artist based in New York City, has created a series of 75 NFTs in partnership with video content publisher Brut, an official media partner of the festival. 

The artist previously worked in visual effects, with credits in feature films such as Batman v Superman, Wonder Woman and Star Trek Beyond, as well as games from Blizzard and others. She rose to prominence in the NFT world as an early creator of NFT animations, helping to define the anime-indebted aesthetic found throughout the sector.

Image Credit: pplpleasr

The collection is divided up into tiers, though each retains the same basic concept of an animated, seemingly anime-inspired white fox (somewhat reminiscent of Moro in the Studio Ghibli classic Princess Mononoke) walking the red carpet and striking a pose. The fox is fluidly animated, with silver tier NFTs featuring tie-ins with films opening at the festival. In the Top Gun: Maverick-themed NFT, it wears a pair of Aviator sunglasses, while in the Elvis-themed piece, it poses with a guitar.

While nice enough, the art is not the main attraction here. Depending on the tier of NFT purchased, different perks are accessible. NFTs in the most numerous bronze tier cost 5 ETH and confer access to the red carpet and a film showing. In the 6 ETH silver tier, holders are invited to the world premieres of Top Gun: Maverick, Elvis and Three Thousand Years of Longing respectively, while the 7 ETH gold tier NFTs enable holders to attend either the opening or closing ceremonies.

The NFTs are minted using the decentralized film distribution platform Shibuya, of which the artist pplpleasr is a founder. The platform is geared towards allowing users to fund and simultaneously guide the production of short films by minting producer pass NFTs. Unlike some other NFT-funded projects, the plan is for completed films to be made available to watch for free, rather than requiring direct NFT ownership to watch (as with Stoner Cats, an NFT collection tied to a series of short films backed, strangely enough, by Mila Kunis).

Shibuya x Cannes x Brut
Image Credit: Cannes Producer Pass NFT

The Background

All proceeds from the NFT sales will be given to the University of Southern California’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative and its Annenberg Accelerator Program, which supports aspiring female content creators.

“The Accelerator Program is one of our many solution-based initiatives to support and develop the next generation of talented female-indentifying creators,” said founder Dr. Stacy L. Smith of the collaboration. “We are thrilled that Brut and pplpleasr have seen the importance of such a project and have chosen to back us in this way.”

Interestingly, the NFTs are initially non-transferrable until they have been redeemed for red carpet access, at which point they can be sold on secondary markets. It’s an intriguing approach, giving what are effectively glorified tickets an afterlife as tradeable collectables that carry with them some of the mystique of the event they were originally for.

Cannes is not the only film festival to have gotten into the NFT game, with the Raindance festival creating a collection based on posters for the festival over the years. The wider film industry, too, is increasingly getting on board with the technology. Just one example is Decentralized Pictures, a blockchain-powered filmmaker platform founded by Roman Coppola and backed by Steven Soderbergh’s production company Extension 765, among others. The DAO-like platform is set to go live during the festival, using a native token, FILMCredits, as a voting mechanism to decide the worthiness of films for funding.

The Verdict

While the Cannes Producer Pass Collection is not going to set the world on fire by itself, it does represent an intriguing new opportunity for a film industry that is rapidly adopting Web3 technology. If Web3 is to succeed, it surely needs the participation of mainstream sectors and combining the glitz and glamour of Cannes, pplpleasr’s art, and a dose of innovative utility is a step in the right direction.

Big Town Chef To Begin NFT Sales Early June

Remember last month when gmw3 wrote about TV chef Gino D’Acampo’s plan to get into the Web3 gaming space with Big Town Chef? As surreal as it seemed, it’s not some bizarre fabrication as the team behind the play-to-earn title has announced that the playable chef NFT avatars are going on sale in less than three weeks.

Big Town Chef

Initially, the Chef NFT sale will begin with a presale mint on 7th June at 2 pm (UTC) and will be open for 24 hours (0.07 ETH + gas fees). A day later the public mint will take place (Wednesday 8th June at 3 pm (UTC)) with prices at 0.1 ETH + gas fees; continuing until the collection sells out. If you’re an NFT collector/fan and want to sign up for the presale then you still can, connect your wallet and you’ll be given a list spot (which is limited).

Presale spots mean you’re first in line for the freshly minted NFTs when they become available in June. Joining the Big Town Chef community on Twitter, Discord and Instagram can help secure additional presale spots, thus increasing the chance of securing a rare chef avatar. Not only will each have its own look from normal human designs to whales, alligators, lions and birds, but they’ll also have unique attributes.

Why buy these NFT chefs? Well, like a lot of new Web3, play-to-earn videogames these avatars are quite literally your key in. Unlike many NFTs you may have read about – or that gmw3 has covered – rather than being purely artworks, the ones in Big Town Chef unlock both the game and in-game features (as well as being collectable one-of-a-kind art).

Big Town Chef

As you’ve probably guessed from the name and Gino D’Acampo’s attachment to it, Big Town Chef is all about cooking, farming ingredients and buying/selling them in the marketplace. Using that valuable NFT chef you be able to: “stake in-game NFT seeds on your own patch of virtual land and grow them into more valuable items.” These can be traded for rare items, real-world profits or used in recipes during the cook-off battles.

All centred around Big Town and the Big Town Marketplace, Big Town Chef‘s economy is powered by the $BURP token on the Polygon network.

Gmw3 will keep you updated on the latest Big Town Chef news, or check out some of our other blockchain gaming coverage.