Potential Real-Life Web3 Use Cases in Plain English

Potential Real-Life Web3 Use Cases in Plain English

Without the buzzwords, tweet embeds, and links to other technologists’ bloated semi-uncomprehensible essays.


4 min read

My Bias

One of my favorite Twitter accounts I follow is Derek Thompson - Staff writer at The Atlantic and host of the “Plain English” podcast at The Ringer. When Derek writes Twitter threads, he will sometimes write his bias, letting the reader know where he stands. I love that. I will do the same.

  • I’m a Web3 believer and skeptic.
    • I think Web3 will have a future and disrupt many industries.
    • I don’t believe Web3 will take over the world.
  • I’m lukewarm on a lot of the mainstream tech journalism.
    • I think they are dismissive of the new tech because they don’t like the founders - petty but true.
    • But I’m willing to change my mind after reading Charlie Warzel’s excellent article - The Petty Pleasures of Watching Crypto Profiteers Flounder.
      • I know that is a link to an essay. But the writing is straightforward, and Warzel is a professional and gifted writer.
  • I find tech buzzwords the bane of my existence. They are just an excuse to sound smart to impress others and increase the word count on an article or blog.
    • If an ordinary person talked like a Web3 VC in a pitch meeting to other VCs, the VCs would turn off their brain and leave the meeting physically or mentally.
  • It’s going to take some time on how Web3 will be used. Internet Technologies were invented in the late 1970s and early 1980s, but they didn’t take off until the mid-1990s, when the World Wide Web was invented.

Charlie Warzel’s article - The Petty Pleasures of Watching Crypto Profiteers Flounder

This article made me laugh and points out why I can’t read most of the blogs about Web3. I can read a technical blog where a developer writes how they created a Web3 app. But a blog on why Web3 will rule the world written by VCs and investors is not a good reading experience. I think these writers are obsessed with word count. They use a lot of buzzwords that make no sense. They could take a lesson from one of my favorite bloggers - Flavio Copes. He writes short, easy-to-read blogs that give you the information you need and nothing else. And Google rewards him well with his blogs showing up on Page 1 on many different topics. So I’ve decided to write about a potential real-life Web3 use case. I may expand this to a blog series where I write about one use case weekly.

Potential Real-Life Web3 Use Cases - Streaming Music and Artist’s Royalties

Many people listen to music using a streaming service - Spotify, YouTube Music, or Apple Music. They are great. They have an extensive music library, and the customer only has to pay for the streaming service, not each song they listen to.

I don’t think that model will go away for music listeners.

So Spotify gets money from customers who listen to music on their platform. Then Spotify pays the money to the music rights holders (ex - record labels). The music rights holders then pay the artists their cash.

Money flow:

Customer → Spotify → Music Rights Holders → Artists

This model works, but Spotify and Music Rights Holders could fudge the numbers on how many people stream an artist’s music. Ultimately, the artist may not get their fair share of the money.

Web3 could solve this. Spotify could work with the Music Rights Holders and artists to create a smart contract, code on the blockchain, that would do the following:

  1. Customer listens to an artist’s song using Spotify.

  2. As the customer plays the song on their phone, the Spotify app on the phone will communicate with the smart contract on the blockchain.

  3. The smart contract will record the number of times the song is streamed on the blockchain.

  4. Spotify will pay the Music Rights Holders based on the number of times that song has been played, which is publicly available for everyone to look up on the blockchain.

  5. Then the Music Rights Holders will pay the artist.

The smart contract will most likely be written by a developer, but no code is coming where the artist could write the smart contract by themselves. Everyone will review the smart contract to make sure the details are correct. This allows artists to determine how often their songs are streamed and how much they will get paid without relying on Spotify and the Music Rights Holders for that information.

Web3, smart contracts, and the blockchain keeps everybody honest and ensure the artists get paid their fair share.