Alpine and the Bridges of Web 2.55 min read

Alpine is a Web 2.5 company and we are bridging the gaps between Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 through our products.

What is Web 2.5? — A Primer

Web 2.5 is the bridge from Web 2.0 to Web 3.0. With web 3.0’s goal to rework the entire conduct of user privacy, value, ownership, and optimize for a user-centric approach, this transition is going to take time.

For reference, the differences across Web 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0 are as follows:

Why does it matter? For additional context, Web 3.0 is often called the Semantic Web and W3C states:

The Semantic Web provides a common framework that allows data to be shared and reused across application, enterprise, and community boundaries.

Drawing parallels to the above table, Web 3.0 would be user read-write-transact in order to draw context and meaning from data. In the world of blockchain, Web 3.0 envisions a future world where services such as communication, currency, publishing, social networking, search, archiving etc are provided not by centralized services owned by single organizations, but by technologies which are powered by the people: their own community; the users.

One of these core tenants of Web 3.0, data portability, which means I, as a user, can eject my data from any service at any time and carry it away with me. In order for this to be possible required 2 additions to the current internet.

  1. The ability to hold ‘state’
  2. The ability to transfer this ‘state’

The ability to easily and efficiently transfer value is at the heart of economic development and modern finance. Any improvement in how efficiently you can transfer value has cascading positive effects.

Coinbase does a great job explaining this in more detail.

Why does it matter?

The hype of the market through the end of 2018 was effectively selling a PlayStation 10 that was difficult to hold, almost impossible to turn on and had no games to play. While the vision of this future is great, no one really had an idea as to how we would get there or what to do with this thing. For example, in developing countries, the idea of “banking the unbanked” doesn’t solve the underlying issue of people living paycheck to paycheck.

Part of this transition is accepting that decentralization is a sliding scale and not binary — just like flavors of ice cream and dietary choices. None of them are wrong– they are simply decisions an actor makes and accepts the relevant trade-offs. Screaming that it has to be all or nothing won’t make my mom use crypto. She doesn’t care about her privacy and frankly never will. For her, we need to hide blockchain under the floorboards, focus on the UI/UX and abstract away the technology altogether in an interface and environment she is already comfortable with.

The tidal wave of capital inflows was great but there were not enough sinks available to capture much of that capital or people’s attention. Speculation is a powerful tool for driving investment in new or niche technologies, but only when it can be captured in a meaningful way. The dot com bust saw the same issue, a lot of money changed hands but there was no reason for anyone to stick around.

What is Alpine?

Alpine is a web 2.5 company. We are building tools that deliver value today and are ready to plug into Web 3.0 when the time comes. We see ourselves as building a fancy new computer with an ethernet card built-in – with an internet infrastructure that isn’t quite ready yet. This computer is ready to do all of the things you’re doing today– watching movies, playing games, writing documents, but when the time comes it’ll also play nice with the web of the future.

We are not claiming to know exactly when or how Web 3.0 is going to evolve or what the ‘killer app’ or use case will be. Instead, we are working on problems such as identity, payments, demand management, and reputation systems– problems that exist in traditional marketplace design for Web 2.0 platforms and Web 3.0 alike.

The amount of capital that was deployed in POCs across enterprises has left them wanting with little to show for it. Our purpose is to be the expeditionary force for enterprise providing a lay of the land and insights, as the logistics of deploying large amounts of capital in un-tested products is resource intensive and changing direction is costly. The key differentiator with Alpine is that we are grounded in the Web 2.5 philosophy of driving value today. Alpine is bringing what we have learned with Web 3.0 to Web 2.0 with upgradability for when Web 3.0 has matured. Web 2.5 is a hedge against the unknowns of Web 3.0.

Why enterprise?

Enterprises have users and capital, a key piece missing from many projects in the space. Without users, your protocol is a beautiful water wheel in the middle of the desert. They also write a lot of the policy, for better or worse. Just as the Web 1.0 was driven by large entities we believe at least initially the base infrastructure rails will be built by them as well.

Web 1.0 is still in full use today, Web 2.0 didn’t ignore it – it’s built on top of it. We believe Web 3.0 will be the same.

  • Web 1 was about bridging physical infrastructure to allow consumption in a unified experience.
  • Web 2 was about bridging communication barriers to allow participation in a unified experience.
  • Web 3 is about bridging data to determine meaning and context.

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Nothing in this article should be taken as legal or investment advice.

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© [wpsos_year] Alpine, a ConsenSys formation.