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Web 2.5: The vision of the future needs a plan for the now
For the internet of value (Web 3) to occur, systemic adoption thresholds must be met through reintermediation. In this paper reintermediation and the proceeding network of trust established by it are defined as Web 2.5. This definition is evaluated considering the current fiat access standard and on a conceptual basis within a Web 3 framework. Although there are other Web 2.5 use cases, it is argued here that fiat access is the most urgent. The reason is that users cannot plausibly adopt Web 3 through unreliable (or non-existent) mediums. Enter the banking sector. Banks have an apparent reason to be involved in the process. Secondly, in terms of market opportunity, banks can engage a ±US$1.19tn emerging market. Ultimately, the paper argues that viable Web 2.5 solutions are any solution that amplifies the adoption of blockchain technology towards the progression of a zero-knowledge economy (Web 3). Further, since zero-knowledge solutions will always be incomplete in a socio-economic society, it is demonstrated here that there will always be a need for a Web 2.5 network of trusted intermediaries to facilitate and maintain Web 3 long after its arrival. The paper concludes by recommending different areas of research and exploration.
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Avinash Agrawal has more than 17 years of experience in software, commerce and banking. After over 7 of those years spent as senior and head of product at various companies, Avinash co-founded Fiat Republic and headed up product and payments. Along with the development team, he has helped build and execute a minimum viable product (MVP) of working payments within the space of 10 months. He is continuing this deliberate process in various product projects, such as fiat-crypto monitoring. It is essential for crypto platform products to allay banks’ fears and heighten the industry’s standards as a whole. The best payment products, Avinash believes, are those that are compliance-first: the only sure-fire way to unclick banking for crypto and enable crypto for the masses.