No-code x web3 = no-cod3?
And another bingo tech term was born
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No-code x web3.
[•] What happens when you combine two of the hottest tech areas — or hated fads, according to some — of the last decade?
I love a good pun, so I found the above tweet a fun way to start this week's issue. While the pun might not resonate with everyone, I believe that it is easy to see why the intersection of web3 and no-code could be of tremendous consequence for the growth of blockchain-enabled technologies. If the future of crypto is to be highly modular, then it is set to become increasingly more automated (and automatable) as well.
Whereas there are many current solutions for high-level users — either companies that can pay well for custom-made no-code tools, or coders with strong blockchain development experience that create their own automated low-code snippets to reduce work on repetitive tasks — few good options exist for the average crypto explorer.
Now, I will not attempt to venture into the depths of the no-code movement itself. Many great things have already been written about the phenomenon by people who are much more in tune with the space. But it is worth looking at what some of the most interesting startups building no-code solutions for the web3 space are doing. Why, you may ask?
Three reasons why no-code x web3 is important:
Enabling the first 1 billion cryptonauts. Blockchain technology has crossed the chasm. We have come a long way since the time that the crypto world was viewed as a fringe happenstance inhabited only by a select group of crypto-anarchists and bleeding-heart libertarians. In Rogers' famous diffusion of technological innovation model, we are past the innovators and the early adopters, and moving fast away from the early majority to the late majority adoption category. We are "still early”, as many preachers of the (un)holy crypto gospel like to say, but not as early as they gleefully portray to unsuspecting newcomers while they are pumping (and dumping) their bags on them. With crypto becoming mainstream, this means that a number of new users (with little to no experience in the space) are looking for easy on-ramps to partake in this new universe of opportunities. No-code solutions make it much easier for them to participate, learn and become immersed in the space.
Reducing barriers to entry for development in the space. Contrary to popular belief, the most valuable asset in the crypto world today does not come in the shape of a digital token, but in the form of a skill — blockchain development in the Rust or Solidity programming languages. Many people might have interesting ideas about building in crypto, but not everyone has the coding skills to create a smart-contract MVP, work with on-chain data, develop cross-chain processes or automate web3 integrations on Discord. This is a significant barrier to entry for non-technical people who want to work in the space. No-code tools can (and already do) facilitate the democratization of web3 development, opening up the pool of talent that can actively get involved in the space, start building projects and even create entire new startups.
Unlocking the open financial structures of the future. One does not need to be a wild crypto degen to appreciate the importance of composability that defines much of the web3 space today. The idea of "money legos” that can act as upgradable financial building blocks will define the new era of open finance. Heavily inspired by new tools in Decentralized Finance (DeFi), this concept will soon trickle towards the realm of Centralized Finance (CeFi), as well as in many of the cross-breeds between DeFi and CeFi. Making the construction and combination of digital money legos as easy and intuitive as building actual lego pieces in the physical world will be paramount in driving adoption of new cross-chain applications, improving accessibility for the unbanked and reducing the level of friction in today's traditional banking system. No-code tools will smoothen the transition to open finance in a more equitable and inclusive way that avoids creating super-winners in early adopters and tech-savvy engineers, while empowering the average user to take advantage of these new tools even if they are not themselves crypto insiders (yet).
Top startups working at the intersection of no-code x crypto.
Having briefly explored some of the main motivations behind the significance of “no-cod3”, let us now look at some interesting projects and startups with high potential.
The list below is indicative (and by no means exhaustive) of the promising work being done today in the space. It should serve as a good starting point for anyone eager to learn more about the range of tools and applications being developed.
There are five no-cod3 startups that I particularly like (flagged with a ⭐ in the list above), each building something interesting in a different vertical:
Clarity - Love simple, minimal learning and collaboration solutions. This is one that combines the best of both worlds. Perfect for decentralized teams.
Glow Labs - A female-founded startup tackling one of the most critical issues facing brands today: how to properly reward your most loyal customers/users.
Nifty Kit - Whatever one thinks of NFTs, I think this is a pretty simple and elegant solution to creating and dropping them within one's own website.
thirdweb - A really good set of intuitive SDKs and widgets. V2 just got out and looks very promising. Some really strong, iterative functionality developed.
Where to go from here?
Will no-cod3 be transformational or yet another fad? The verdict is still out, but I think that anyone moderately optimistic about the future of crypto has also good enough reason to be somewhat bullish about the potential of no-cod3. Having closely tracked many of the startups mentioned above, I do believe that some of them will play an important role in shaping the next iteration of blockchain-induced innovation.
Until next time!
Media Watch Post.
Forbes writes that Bitcoin demonstrates its intrinsic value to the world. NYPost talks about how New Yorkers are spending hundreds of millions on virtual real estate. The Verge highlights that the crypto community is celebrating Biden’s EO. WSJ dives into how crypto aims to boost influence with Washington hires. BBC writes that Bitcoin cash machines ordered to shut down in UK. Bloomberg's take on the tug-of-war between newbies and crypto's 1% and on Limewire's return-from-the-dead as an NFT platform. CNN looks at what the cratering ruble means for crypto. Wired writes about how people actually make money from crypto and asks WTF is an NFT. CNBC reports that Russians are liquidating crypto in the UAE to seek safe havens and that Kevin O’Leary has put 20% of his portfolio in crypto. Vox thinks that inheriting Bitcoin is harder than it sounds. TC covers Stripe's new (old) foray into crypto.
⏩ Dfinity Developer Grant Program. $220M in grants available for people who want to build on top of the Internet Computer ecosystem. For more information see here.
⏩ Bitcoin / ZK-Rollup Research Fellowship. HRF x Starkware are sponsoring a 4-month fellow to work on ZK-rollups for Bitcoin. The fellow will receive 1 BTC.
⛓️ Real-time visibility into Ukraine crypto activity. An interesting deep-dive from Splunk's crypto team on the donations sent to Ukraine in crypto.
⛓️ Chainalysis sanction screening tools. Important tools from Chainalysis to help companies to integrate sanctions screening for crypto into their existing operations.
3️⃣ 🖼️ 🎤 Web3, NFTs, the metaverse and the future of the music industry. A good glimpse into what it means to be an artist in a fast-evolving virtual world.
🎮 The CEO of Roblox on Scaling Community-Sourced Innovation. A must-read interview about gaming, metaverse and the future of human coexperience.
★ [Metaverse] Genies (avatar technology company)
Disclaimer: Nothing written in this newsletter is in any shape or form investment advice. Content is for informational purposes and only reflects the views of its author, if at best.