Alex Tapscott, Clint Murphy
Clint Murphy 00:00
Good morning, Alex, welcome to the Growth Guide. For our listeners who don’t know you yet. Can you give us a brief bio and rundown on yourself?
Alex Tapscott 00:09
Yeah, sure. So I was born in Toronto, Canada downtown, I grew up here, you know, throughout my youth and childhood, played a lot of sports growing up, was a rugby player and a football player got recruited to play football in the US at a university. So spent four years at Amherst College in Massachusetts, where I studied a variety of different things, everything from philosophy to political science, to film studies, economics, and actually I took this diverse sort of liberal arts education and applied it to the one area where I had no experience and no practical knowledge whatsoever, which was financial services. So straight out of undergrad, I got recruited to join an investment bank in Toronto called Cannacord Genuity. And my dad likes to joke that I didn’t know an asset rom a hole in the ground, which in a way, it was kind of true, I had no real experience of financial services, but I was always very curious about it. And you know, interested in learning more about something new. And so I kind of dove in and turned out, I loved it. And I had a knack for it. And so I spent seven years working in investment banking, first in Toronto, and then later, in Toronto and New York, where I split time, you know, in the business was an area of the business called equity capital markets. So my job was to talk to institutional investors and to give them ideas on where to invest their money. So you know, this is what they call it wholesale finance large dollar values in this sort of 10s and hundreds of millions of dollars. In 2014, while I was enjoying my time, in that role, I first learned about this thing called Bitcoin. This is before the word blockchain or web three, enter the vernacular, there was really just this, this one new asset, and it was still pretty early stage. So at the time, the market capitalization of Bitcoin, so like the total value of all the Bitcoin out there was maybe four or $5 billion, which is sounds like a lot of money, but in the context of almost any other asset class, it’s a tiny amount, like it’s a rounding error, just to put it into context. You know, in the US, they have this thing called the S&P 500. It’s an index of the 500 largest companies. And at the time, you know, Bitcoin wouldn’t have even made the 500 largest companies in the US. So it’s very small, new kind of asset. But I was very curious about it, because there was a lot of media coverage, and there’s a lot of interest in it. And a lot of people are really smart people, were convinced that this was not just the new asset, but maybe a new technology paradigm that was gonna change the world. And so I was, okay, I’m gonna look into this and see, see what’s going on? And yeah, I mean, they say, you know, you fall down these rabbit holes, what have you, I basically became convinced, after spending some time looking at Bitcoin, that this was not just a new asset, not just the way that you know, maybe make money or speculate or whatever. But that it was a new era of the Internet, that the underlying technology of Bitcoin, blockchains, could potentially usher in an internet of value where previously none existed. And I’ll explain what I mean by that. But just to go on a slight side tangent, the timing of this was all very good, because right around this time, I was kind of contemplating like a next move out of my career. And I, this new kind of thinking emerged, and I thought, Wow, maybe I could make a go of it here. But I didn’t really know what jobs are available. This was at a time when the VC investing side of crypto of Bitcoin was tiny. So there weren’t like a lot of new companies being formed. And so I found this really great way to jump into the space, which is I with my dad collaborated on some research, looking at how Bitcoin could help maybe solve global problems. Maybe it was a new technology that could unleash capability in the economy. And that research became the basis for a book that we ended up writing together called Blockchain Revolution. So that book came out in 2016. They say, you know, better, better lucky than smart. That book came out at the perfect time when a lot of people were really curious about this technology in this asset class, and beyond just the tech world, you know, business, government, journalists, people in the arts, creative industries, and so forth. And this is really the first book to explain to a mainstream audience, how the underlying technology of Bitcoin blockchain is going to change money business in the world. I’ll stop there, because it goes on and on and on. But that was really my starting off point on this new journey, where I’m focusing on the impact of emerging technologies on business.
Clint Murphy 04:40
And I love it because that’s where we’ll spend most of our time today so we will get some of that energy as we talk about web three. So why don’t we dive right into web three in in what I’m thinking? There, Alex is let’s take our readers conceptually through this idea. The evolution from web one, to web two, to web three, you know, as you write, we used to have CBS, NBC, ABC. Now we have Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple. Where’s it going? How does this all work?
Alex Tapscott 05:18
Well, I’m glad you asked, because I’ve got a new book coming out in September. And I appreciate the plug. So first off, the internet and the web, are slightly different things. So I’ll start with the Internet. The Internet itself was actually invented in the late 1960s, as a project that was spearheaded by the Department of Defense in the US. And the reason that they built the internet was that they wanted to create a decentralized communication network that would stay up and running in the event of a Soviet nuclear attack. So at the time, all telecommunications were running through one central node in New York City. And the concern was, if the Soviets could knock out that central node, then the government couldn’t send launch codes to all the different locations to you know, create a counter attack. So they funded a project run out of a couple of universities in California. And in a way that sort of founding story helped to influence the Internet. In its early years, it was really a tool that was used by people in government in the not for profit sector, but really like academia, and scientists. And it wasn’t until 1989 With the invention of this thing called a worldwide web, by computer scientists, Tim Berners, Lee, that the web became a commercial tool that was widely used by regular people and by businesses. And that was given a huge boost in the early 1990s, with the launch of the web browser. So the first web browser was the Mosaic browser, which later became Netscape. So the first era of the web one, which we I think, commonly think of as the.com era. And what I refer to as the read web, was really just a platform for consuming content, it was a broadcast medium, so you would go online, and you would, you know, access really websites. And it was a way to access information. So you can access you know, the sports scores, and the weather and classifieds and, you know, going to pretend IQ online, or you can seek out other information that people, you know, had uploaded. But in general, it was pretty static. And it was pretty one way you know, you couldn’t interact with websites, you couldn’t reprogram them, you people weren’t really using the web as a way to like build community, there wasn’t a huge amount of user generated content that was being generated online, it was all pretty much one way. So despite being fairly limited, it was still revolutionary in that it kind of democratized access to information, at least for those people who had an internet connection, which wasn’t everybody, in fact, at the time was, you know, 40 million people or something mid 1990s. In the early 2000s, early to mid 2000s. The combination of evolving user behavior, sort of a growing sophistication, combined with some new technologies created the conditions for a new web, web two. So web one was the read web, web two is the read write web. So the web became not only a way to consume information and content, but became a tool for individuals to upload their own content to, in effect, reprogram the web. And so the early sort of examples of this things like say, Wikipedia, where by harnessing the wisdom of crowds, and the input of many people working together, were able to create, you know, big, new, important, valuable resources like Wikipedia, and the early success of a lot of those web two projects, I think, I filled people with a sense of hope that the web would be a new kind of tool that would usher in a Halcyon age of mass collaboration that would, you know, change the world in some important ways. And in many ways, it did, and in many ways, it did not. And one of the reasons for that was that a lot of the, you know, attention, a lot of the data, a lot of the content that people were contributing to the web was captured by a handful of very large intermediaries, platforms, basically, that harnessed all of that data, and then sold it to advertisers. And in a way advertising kind of became like the killer app, or like the killer business case for the Internet, where, you know, we’ve got all these people that are uploading all this useful information and data, that’s just something that’s going to be valuable to advertisers. And in the book, you’re right, you point out this comparison, which is not my quote, it’s a quote from someone else, but whose name is escaping me at the moment. But basically, the idea was that, you know, in the old days, the broadcast medium of pre internet, there were a handful of, you know, central arteries of communication networks. And today, weirdly, despite the fact that the web is supposed to be this open platform, a lot of info Imagine the news and content flows through a handful of huge pipes online. And then those people, those who use me those companies today kind of wield almost more power, oddly enough than their analog counterparts from before. So that’s web one and web two. So with web three, the internet, the internet is entering a new era, from a read web to a readwrite web to a read write own web. And the Read Write own web basically, empowers individuals to own the most valuable assets of the digital age. And that means owning data, owning their identities, and owning virtual or digital assets. And virtual or digital assets can take many, many different forms. They can be everything from you know, the content that people purchase online to the assets that they purchase in virtual worlds or video games, to financial assets, like money or stocks and bonds, which they use online as a medium of exchange, or a unit of account or a way to store value, all of those assets, we now have a way to express those assets digitally. And this new ownership layer of the web is going to have a huge impact on business and and on society business, especially, you know, every era of the web has proven to be massively disruptive for many different companies. It’s created all sorts of new champions, and it’s also disintermediated or disrupted or undermined the business model of a lot of companies and I think what three is gonna do something similar.
Clint Murphy 11:31
So a big part of it seems to come down to property rights and moving from renters to owners. Does that sound right out?
Alex Tapscott 11:44
That is right, you know, we haven’t really had a way to express digital property rights. And interestingly enough, property rights are a precondition for wealth creation. If you don’t know that you reliably own an asset, then you’re not going to spend money investing in it, you know, think of a house like if I don’t know that I really have the title to that home, am I really going to do renovations to it, I’m going to upgrade it am I going to rent it out when at any point in time, someone can challenge my ownership to that. So we have a system of laws and rules that have been built up over many centuries in the traditional economy that govern property rights. Online, we didn’t have that kind of a regime. And as a result, and we also had a new kind of value that was being created that wasn’t kind of properly categorized, yet, no one had figured out how to codify the value of, of data and enough time and attention and of our identities. And what blockchains enable basically is a way to program value into digital goods. So the most important innovation of blockchains are these things called tokens. Now token is a word that makes it sound like it’s sort of a trivial thing, like a token of my appreciation, or something like that. But actually, it turns out that the term is both appropriate and kind of foundational. So you can think of tokens basically as a vessel for value or a container for value in the same way that a website is a container for information. So website can be programmed to contain anything of information that can be, you know, storefront, it can be the newspaper, it could be the classifieds, it could be an encyclopedia, it can be whatever the landing page for a big company or something like that. And in the same way that we can program, a website to do basically anything represent anything of information, we can do the same for tokens to represent anything of value. And in the book, web three, which conveniently you have right behind you on that lovely background of yours. We talked about our token taxonomy, or my token taxonomy, which basically breaks down all the different ways the tokens are being used today to represent value. Now, the token taxonomy has 11 different types. And I think it’s useful to understand tokens in the context of this kind of breakdown. But I think eventually, the idea of a taxonomy of tokens is going to be silly, in the same way that it would be kind of silly to say, here are the 10 ways that you can use a website, you know, a website can do this, let’s do that, like a website could be anything like right now we’re using a website as a podcast recording students. I’m not totally sure that people anticipate that 20 years ago. And so in the same way that you know, websites are ways to program information or content, voice, video, and so forth. And text obviously, tokens are a way to express things. So they can represent money. They can represent titles and deeds to property that can represent art collectibles, they can represent virtual assets purchased inside video games like say skins or weapons shields or anything like that. They can represent dollars or real world assets, stable coins being the most prominent example of that, worth over $200 billion in circulating supply. So there’s all these different examples of how smart innovators and companies and others are figuring out how to use this new tabula rasa to You know, paint their own picture basically,
Clint Murphy 15:02
in what would you say? So you have this taxonomy in the book, but we’re not going to go through 10 different ways that you can use it. But what would you say are the top two to three ways that you see tokens being used today or the best use case, from your perspective early on to build widespread adoption?
Alex Tapscott 15:22
Yeah, well, I think probably stablecoins is the one thing that is most successfully exported tokens to the mainstream. So there are tons of really cool examples of how tokens are being used. You know, NFTs, people probably heard of those non fungible tokens, mostly used today for art and collectibles or virtual assets in Metaverse environments, but in general, still pretty niche. Like I think maybe you know, a few million people are doing that. There’s other areas like defi decentralized finance, where people are earning value in new financial applications and platforms, which is also interesting. But really, it’s been steady, stable coins where the rubber has hit the road. So stable coin, oddly enough, is basically just a token that is pegged to or backed by some real world asset. Typically, it’s the US dollar, though that’s changing. There are lots of other examples of ones backed by euros or gold or oil or other some other assets, and basically become a way for people to move and store and save and manage dollar assets globally in a frictionless peer to peer way. So that might sound like well, don’t we already have that, you know, people use Venmo to move money back and forth. That’s true in the United States for people who are unbanked. So that’s a subset of people in the world. But as a whole, globally, there’s tons of friction and barriers to moving value around the world, because we’re using a legacy financial system that in some respects, is using technology that’s many decades old. So stable coins, basically disintermediate, or remove the need for any of the existing legacy financial infrastructure. So just to put it into context, depending on who you ask, there are, you know, least 100 million people who have used US dollar stable coins, that’s at least according to the State of the Union report from one of the biggest issues a company called circle, the number is probably higher than that, based on, you know, data gathering you see from a lot of countries in the world, in places like say Turkey, or in Nigeria, or in large parts of Latin America, stable coins are seen as a way to protect against inflation risk, they’re seen as a way to store value when people don’t have access to bank accounts as a way to maybe move money out of a country in in the event of political turmoil, right? So we are very privileged, Clint, you and me, we live in Canada, probably one of the most peaceful countries that there is, but not everybody has that lived experience. And so this is a classic example of how technology is flattening the world. You know, they say that this is something Thomas Friedman came up with in his book, you know, the world is flat that basically the spread of capital of globalization and capital and technology makes the world flatter, it makes it easier for people around the world to participate more fully in the global economy. I think that is more of a promise than it is a reality. But I think that with web three, technology really is flattening the world. I think web three is actually a steamroller and is making it possible for everyone to compete and to exist on a much more level playing field. And I just think stable coins are one of a dozen examples of that.
Clint Murphy 18:34
And something else you talked about in there was this idea of NFTs and so people probably hear NF TS all the time, but they may not understand that that stands for non fungible tokens can give a high level contrast between what is a fungible token which is most of web three. And what is this concept of non fungible token?
Alex Tapscott 18:57
Well, you gotta give it to the web three community, they excel at just the most awful jargony naming convention. So non fungible token I can’t imagine a less appealing thing to say but anyway, so very briefly, a non fungible token is something where each that where there are many of a token and where the two those are easily interchangeable. So a fungible asset is something that can be exchanged readily for something of the same kind. I’ll give you an example. If you have $1 bill or a toonie or something and I have a toonie that’s the Canadian $2 coin. We can trade those toonies and it doesn’t make a difference right. Like your toonie is fungible with my Toonie. Your dollar bill is fungible with my dollar bill, my share of apples fungible with your share of Apple, there are millions and millions and millions and millions of shares of Apple there are billions and billions of dollar notes in circulation. And so these things are liquid and they can be interchanged. Something that is non fungible, well piece of art, your home even the deed or the mortgage to your home is an asset that can’t readily be exchanged. inched for another asset. You know, you might live in a subdivision where or an apartment building, or condo building right where there well, there’s 500 units in this condo building, and they’re all the same size, but they don’t all sell for the same price, because every single unit has got some different feature aspect to it that makes it unique, right. And that is true for lots of assets, lots of assets in the world are non fungible, they can’t be readily exchanged, you won’t just swap your house and someone else’s house because it makes no difference. There’s all this other value that is unique to that asset. So non fungible tokens are simply a way to express that concept of non interchangeability digitally. So that means that they can be used for lots of different kinds of assets that are unique, or not easily exchangeable for something else, which is why in the early sort of days of, of NFT, innovation, people have been using it largely for art for especially for graphic design. A lot of graphic artists who work in a purely digital medium, don’t have an easy way to kind of monetize the value of their creation. If you’re a painter or a sculptor or something, you know, you can sell a unit of your work. And it is painted on a canvas that can be purchased by someone else. If you’re a digital artist that works in a purely digital medium, well, I suppose someone could buy a copy, but then they could just copy and paste it and copy and paste it. And you know, this is an image that anybody can recreate. And since it’s intended to be displayed on a screen, then anybody with a screen can display it. So an NFT is basically a way to ascribe a unique identifier to a virtual asset or digital asset, in the same way that in the context of art, you can think of it kind of as like the signature from the artist. It’s basically a way to verify that this is the one of one digital asset, that is this is the unique single or initial version of it. And that becomes a really unique way for creators to monetize the value that they’re creating, you know, by using digital tools, and it becomes a way for collectors or speculators or, you know, buyers to, to, you know, prove ownership of something that is authentic. So that’s the first kind of example of where NFT’s became popular, they later became more popular with these things called profile picture projects, PFP projects, which basically, were communities where people could purchase assets that were similar, but different in subtle ways. And the rarer the asset, the more valuable, you know, it was according to the rules, you know, the marketplace at the time. And these kinds of communities built around these concepts basically became ways to build sort of what they call token gated communities where, you know, if you have if you’re a holder of a token, you know, you have access to benefits of this community, you have access to special, you know, perks or events or to experiences that are unique in the same way that, you know, joining the country club, or, you know, being a member of the Soho House might give you special access to benefits and cachet and cultural relevance. The same is true for these kinds of NFT projects, as well. In the book, we interview, this brilliant person, his name is yet soom. And he’s one of the most prolific sort of backers of NFT projects. And he basically said that, you know, if bitcoin was a store of value than an NFT is a store of culture, it is a way to express cultural value in token form. One example from the book, which to me really brought home that the impact the societal impact of tokens in NFTs, was about this young boy named Sebby, who is lives in the Philippines. So he’s nine years old. And he wouldn’t mind me telling the story because we asked their permission to include it in the book. But I had a long conversation with his mom a few months ago, when I was doing the research for the book. And she told me about Sebby. So Sebby is a nine year old boy who’s autistic. And he, you know, grows, he lives in Manila, and his parents have been trying to, to help him with treatments for his condition. And one of those treatments is art therapy. And so he’s been doing art therapy for many, many months, along with, you know, sports and other forms of therapy. Now, his parents were unable to afford all of these different kinds of therapy. And they basically asked me to choose for them, you know, which, which one do you want to continue and he chose art. So he was painting with the assistance of his instructor who’s someone who’s used to dealing with autistic children and helping them through this. And his artwork was starting to catch the attention of you know, friends and family who saw that he was posting photos of his paintings online, and they’re saying, oh, isn’t that cool? Like, we’d love to support Sebby. Maybe we can like buy a copy of his artwork. So initially just started as like a friends and family thing. But part of the treatment for art therapy is that Sebby wants to hold on to the pieces of art and he likes to hang them in his own room or to give them to members of his family like his sisters. That’s what his preferences and so you know, the answer was kind of like Thanks, but no thanks. But pretty soon, a couple of people in the Filipino web three community kind of caught wind of this and said, you know, there’s this this kid, he’s doing this art, there’s a market for it. Maybe they’d be interested in making an NFT of his art. And his problems, like first question is, what’s an NFT? had no concept of this. I mean, this all started because it was just art therapy for savvy not because it was supposed to be some kind of commercial thing. So she’s like, I really don’t know. And so she asked, you know, her husband, they talked about it and talk to savvy about it. And everyone’s like, yeah, I guess we’ll just see how it goes, you know. So they listed some NFT’s of 70s artwork on open sea, which is one of the bigger platforms, and much to their, like, shock and surprise, people really, like connected to the story, they thought it was so interesting that there’s this kid who is using art as a way to communicate when some other skill, sometimes other tools fail him. And all of a sudden, they were like selling their art. Now, we’re not talking about big dollar figures, you know, a few $100, maybe here or there. But it was enough that NFT New York, which is the big art festival for digital artwork, caught wind of this and basically invited sebby to display his at our NFT NYC. So like quite a surreal moment. But basically 70s artwork is now or a year ago was in Times Square on 100 foot billboards, in the middle of New York. Now what is and in the end, you know, he’s ended up selling a lot of his art. Now, interestingly, his story emerged at a time when child artists were kind of having a bit of a moment, there was a story about like, you know, the baby Picasso in New York, or something that was selling his art for $100,000. This isn’t so much a comment on the value of art or on kid art, or that this that of the other. But it’s just a point, the point that I’m making is that, you know, in the web two world savvy had a way to, to broadcast that he was an artist to connect with fans to share images of his art. But he didn’t have a way to monetize it, there was no economic toolkit at his disposal, that would allow him to actually, you know, make some money from this or his family to make some money from this while still retaining the original for the purpose of his therapy. Now, this doesn’t mean that every child artists that scribble something on a piece of paper is going to be able to monetize it. It’s not that the art itself is scalable, but the model is scalable. The idea that if you’re a creative, regardless of where you are in the world, whether you’re living in Toronto, or Vancouver, or Berlin, or Tokyo, or if you’re a nine year old boy with autism living in Manila, you have a way to harness this new economic toolkit to tap into a global marketplace. And that’s when I say technology is flattening the world. And web three is flattening the world. To me, this is the most perfect kind of encapsulation of that, incidentally, as a result of all of this sevi has sold, I think, maybe $12,000 worth of art in the last couple of years, which is more than the average annual income of a family living in Manila, where he lives. So it’s material for his family and has helped to kind of set them up for the type of art therapy that he wants to do. And now that they’ve you know, thanks to nfts, pretty much, they’re able to give him everything he needs, which I think is pretty inspiring.
Clint Murphy 28:18
Oh, I love that story. Let’s tackle a couple of the things that we need to have in place to allow the web three economy to work. So we’ve talked about tokens. A couple of the other ones that jumped out at me are that the listeners will need as much education on his idea, the idea of consensus algorithms and smart contracts, those two seem to be a bit of the backbone of how everything works. Yeah. But what are those look like?
Alex Tapscott 28:47
For sure. So maybe just to take a step back? What’s a blockchain? So yeah, because ultimately think about let’s just start with the token for a second. So for the token to have value, we need to know that it is scarce provably scarce, right? Like if I have a token that represents $1, but I can send that dollar 100 times to 100 different people. If it stops being scarce, then it ceases to have value. So we need a way to be able to program scarcity, digitally onto the internet. And the way that we do that is with a blockchain. So in normally in transactions between individuals, you know, using banks and credit cards, and so on and so forth. There’s an intermediary there’s a middleman that sits in the center. Now these middlemen typically are banks, but increasingly include a lot of large digital conglomerates and technology companies that have become the economic choke points in our economy. And these intermediaries are responsible for doing something very important, which is they need to maintain a ledger of transactions between different people who owes what to whom, who owns what, and so forth. And for maintaining this ledger of transactions. They are compensated they earned fees, they earn rents, they get to hold value on behalf of other parties, which they can earn interest on. All of that is because they act as a trusted intermediary, and a maintainer of the ledger. Now, these intermediaries do a decent job, but they have several limitations. They’re centralized, which makes them vulnerable to hacking or to attack. They add friction and slow things down, they excluded parts of the population, and they capture all this data about users. So a blockchain solves this problem. So rather than an intermediary maintaining a ledger, a blockchain is a distributed or decentralized ledger of transactions. And instead of existing in one place, like inside of a business or a bank, it exists on any computer that is connected to the network. And it is available for all to see. Now, here’s where it gets interesting. Anybody can access the ledger, anyone can see transactions in it and can verify that those transactions are real. But no single entity can alter the blockchain or add a transaction, only way that that can happen is by the whole network reaching consensus. Basically, every node on the network kind of needs to give a thumbs up to every transaction before it is swept and added to the blockchain. Now this process, this consensus algorithm has various different types, right? The most popular most familiar one, I think, to a lot of people, even those who aren’t in this space, is proof of work. So even if you’ve haven’t heard of proof of work, you may have heard of Bitcoin miners. So Bitcoin miners are these entities on the network, that commit large computing power, large computing resources, to basically maintaining the ledger and validating transactions in the network. And in exchange for maintaining the ledger and validating transactions, they are rewarded, in the case of Bitcoin with new Bitcoin that gets added periodically. Now, proof of work has many advantages, it is extremely secure in order to read, if you wanted to hack the Bitcoin blockchain and rewrite the history of commerce, you’d have to marshal more computing power, then you’d have to take over basically the biggest computing network in the world, which is the Bitcoin network. And you’d have to do it in 10 minutes in the full light of day, with everyone trying to stop you. And then after 10 minutes, when a new block gets added, you’d have to start all over again. So that’s why the Bitcoin Blockchain itself has never had any kind of compromise or hack is because it’s extremely secure. But you pay for that security in the form of its carbon footprint. So large, you know, note like all these different competing nodes working to validate transactions and add blocks to the ledger means that it’s going to cost a lot in energy. Without getting into too much detail. The Bitcoin network does use majority of renewable fuel simply because if energy is your most important cost input, you want to get it where it’s free, or nearly free. And that typically occurs near like CO locating your like hydroelectric dams or whatnot. But the key point is that uses a lot of energy. So that’s led to the creation of a new cat kind of consensus mechanism called Proof of stake. Ethereum is the second largest crypto network is the system that uses proof of stake along with others, but that’s the biggest one. And rather than using large computing nodes, like rather than having, you know, nodes that use large computing power, basically Ethereum network functions by everyone who’s in the network staking the tokens that they have to the network. And so long as they act with integrity, and update the ledger and validate transactions, they get to earn a modest income from that. And if they decide to do anything nefarious, then they could potentially lose the tokens that they stick. So in a way you can think of it this way, rather than paying a bank to maintain the ledger and having them earn all the fees. That’s a user own network for everyone who’s connected to it can do the same thing and earn a portion of that fee instead. So it’s a way to distribute the wealth in a system to the users rather than to a single intermediary or, or to a single accompany. And that is a system that has worked exceptionally well, you know, the Ethereum network has a market capitalization of $200 billion. You know, for our Canadian listeners, it’s three times as big as Shopify, the most successful tech company in Canada. And there’s also the platform where dozens of applications are getting built. So proof of steak works. And I think probably, with the exception of Bitcoin proof of stake is the future of how blockchains are going to scale. And I think that’s important for a couple of reasons. One, is that, well, it just reduces the carbon footprint and if you care about the planet, then that’s something that should be important to you. Number two, the fact that it’s doesn’t use any more data than your average data center means more energy means that enterprises and customers that had concerns about that no longer have concerns about that. And that’s why we’re seeing explore notion of web three innovation in big companies like Nike and LVMH, and Pepsi and Starbucks, and so forth. And then number three is that it can potentially scale a lot better. So it can potentially, you know, be used as a tool for all different manner of applications that use tons of transactions, or only a few transactions per minute or per second, it basically is a way to grow it to meet web threes immense potential.
Clint Murphy 35:22
And when we start to think about that, as you describe it, essentially, it’s just a ledger. It’s replacing the intermediary that we’re paying that’s taking rents with an electronic version of the same thing that we can rely on.
Alex Tapscott 35:46
Yeah, in effect, rather than trusting an intermediary to maintain a record of transactions, everyone in the network works together to do that. It is a way to distribute trust in a network rather than in the hands of a single third party.
Clint Murphy 36:01
And so you talked about Bitcoin not being hacked. And two things that jumped out at me that I read from you that were important are one, that it’s permissionless. And to that it’s censorship resistant. Yeah. What do you mean by those?
Alex Tapscott 36:20
So permissionless means that if you have a device connected to the internet, you can use these networks, you don’t have to go open an account or log in or sign up by providing all this data information about yourself, you can access it if you’re living in Toronto, or if you’re living in the Philippines. And you can use this toolkit freely, in the same way that you can freely use the internet, right the or in the sense that you can go download a web browser and you know, access websites. So the web is the web itself is permissionless, even if companies have applications that are built on top of it or not. And blockchains are permissionless, as well. Censorship resistant, means that transactions because trust is distributed and decentralized, and one of these networks, no single entity, actor can cancel a transaction or hold it up or reverse it. So in the case of a traditional system, you know, you have an intermediary that sits in the middle, and is able to, you know, stop transaction, reversal transaction, and so forth. In with blockchains, those transactions are very difficult, if not impossible to censor. And so they can occur peer to peer without the need for intermediaries, and without fear of them being stopped. Now, that creates all sorts of really interesting questions about blockchains permissionless systems are great for people who are trying to send money overseas or trying to store value in a system in a political system or government, which is corrupt. But also, you know, we can make the point that well for criminal could use it right to move value peer to peer in a permissionless way that makes it difficult for you know, government or, or company to prevent it or to stop it. That is a concern that people have raised about digital assets and tokens. It’s a concern that, while legitimate, I think has no real basis. And in the reality of how blockchains work, it turns out according to the most authoritative source on the subject, chainalysis, that, you know, tokens are used in criminal activity very rarely less so than then cash or credit cards or any other sort of form of financial technology. So, you know, criminals will use every technology tool, you know, ISIS uses email, I’m sure. But in the end, there’s nothing unique about this that makes it especially useful for those kinds of people.
Clint Murphy 38:31
So you talked a little bit about cities example. And let’s use, you know, you or me, if we use me as a content creator at podcast, creating on social media or writing a newsletter. One of the reasons a lot of us write a newsletter is because we’ve been taught that on the platforms that we write on, we don’t own them. And so we were only renting our audience. So we need to take them off platform onto a platform where we have more ownership being either a podcast or an email newsletter as an example. And what you write about is that’s web 2.0. Having failed the creators, and you see web three 3.0 empowering those creators, what does that look like for the people that are listening? How are they going to benefit from that aspect?
Alex Tapscott 39:28
Yeah, so I think when we think of creators, we think of professional musicians and artists, and writers and people who make a living today from selling their creative work, but actually, there’s a much bigger group of creators, and that’s basically everybody that uses the web. You know, everybody that posts a photo or makes a contribution to social media site or uploads a blog or writes a newsletter even if they’re not monetizing it, is in a way creating value. You know, there are creators who are putting things out there. And there hasn’t really been a way for creators to monetize that value. And it’s an interesting thing to think about, you know, what is what is your contribution to instagram or facebook really worth? You know, what’s my contribution? Am I creating value to that platform? And should I get paid as a result, one of the most compelling concepts of web three is that it turns internet users into Internet owners, where internet where people who use an application can actually become an owner of the platform itself. Now, this is something that is not experimental, it exists at scale, in web three, in several areas, most notably in the financial services sector of web three, which is known as defy or decentralized finance, where a lot of early applications, no, maybe it was an exchange that was looking to attract users. Well, in order to attract users, it would pay them basically in the form of the token that represented that thing itself. So it’s sort of like earning equity in something by being an early adopter. So I happen to be one of the first people that ever used Facebook, maybe not the first, but you know, one of the first million or so because my school just happened to be one of the schools that very year that it launched that it launched with. And, you know, it would have been nice, in retrospect, to have earned something for helping Facebook to scale like Facebook relies on the social graph, and the network effects that come from many users connected to each other sharing information. And in a way, you know, the very early people who were using Facebook in those days, actually helped to get Facebook to the critical mass where it became a really valuable social net. Now, I’m not asking for, you know, options, or something or equity in Facebook, I’m simply saying that web three in that model would have been very difficult to do that in reality, but in web three, it’s actually quite easy. Because all these new projects rather than being you know, companies with shares, you know, that that are domiciled in some specific country, they’re platforms that have tokens. So any user anywhere in the world who’s early to using a technology or early to using an application can actually earn tokens in that platform. And so you know, unit in the case of defy uniswap, for example, the most prolific decentralized exchange allows people to trade any kind of asset, peer to peer is responsible for 60% of all the trading volume in defy is got a three and a half $4 billion market value is owned by its users. So in the same way that, you know, we could build this for any kind of industry or application, you can build a social network, you can build any consumer facing application where users who are contributors, and creators can actually own a piece of the action. And that’s something that’s really only possible in web three, you know, if you wanted to incentivize people all around the world, this way, in a traditional model, like with a company and shares and options, you’d have to negotiate options agreements in 50 different countries and pay them out to people not knowing, you know, where they were, where they were domiciled with. With web three, it’s really easy. You just, you have a wallet, you use a platform, you get paid and the token, the token lands in your in your wallet, if it becomes more valuable becomes more valuable. It doesn’t it doesn’t it is what it is. And that’s a model that I think is going to be very, very replicable and scalable for lots of different kinds of applications.
Clint Murphy 43:17
And so when you talk about that, are we talking about Dows or decentralized autonomous organizations? And so for the listeners, what is a Dow? And how is it moving away from an LLC, in ties into this concept that Silicon Valley talks about? Where we say, owners care more than renters? Are users?
Alex Tapscott 43:41
Yeah, well, I mean, Silicon Valley has had the model correct for many decades, which is that if you want to attract the best people, and you want to keep them incentivized, then you have to give them equity, you’ve got to cut them in. And owners care more, as you said, if you’re an employee of a business, but you also have upside in that business in the form of equity, you might work a little harder, you might be a bit more creative, you might collaborate with others more closely. Because if it works out, it works out for everyone, including yourself. So in a web three model, basically, applications extend that model to all users and all contributors to a platform. And yes, it can take the form of a dour, decentralized autonomous organization, basically, a Dow is you can think of it as sort of like an internet native company, where instead of equity, you have tokens, and instead of a management team, you have a governance process where token holders get a say in how things work, right. So you know, if you’re a user of a platform and you earn tokens in that platform, then you have an economic sort of stake in it, but you also have a say in how it’s run. And I think that’s something that is a really kind of compelling and fascinating experiment that is happening in web three, which is do owners care more and will they participate in governance? And will they stick around in long run through the thick and thin when the value of the stake of the thing that they own can go up and down, right. And that’s something that is so, so unique about web three, and so fascinating, which is that I, you know, if you’re a Facebook user, you don’t really care what the share value of Facebook is right day to day, I don’t think most people use Facebook care, or were no. But if you’re a member of a new internet, native community and new social network, but you also have a token, and that token gives you a say, in how that thing is run, and maybe some upside, but all of a sudden, your user, your user experiences an owner experience, for better and for worse, you know, I think that it’s sort of, we don’t really know how that’s all going to play out. And when things are going well, everyone wants to be an internet user, because you get to be an owner. But when things go down, they start to have a different perspective on that issue. And I don’t know how that’s all going to play out. But I think that, you know, all things being equal, if you’re going to make if you’re going to use an application, you’re going to contribute to it, you’re going to help it to scale, you might as well own a piece of it just seems like an uncontroversial and easy thing to understand for a lot of people.
Clint Murphy 46:05
Yeah, I love that idea. And I’ve seen some people who are early leaders in the Creator Community, take advantage of that concept by having coins for their own business. So in essence, you know, if I wanted to be a public company of Clen, it’s almost impossible. But through the use of tokens, or Dows, I could create a company that says, hey, this entitles people who buy this token to X percent of all earnings from these mediums over the next five years. So it allows an audience as well to take a bet on creators that they believe in, is that something you’re seeing more people do allergens effectively? An IPO of one? Yeah,
Alex Tapscott 46:50
absolutely. I mean, it’s one option, there are lots of ways that creators can use tokens to connect with fans or to monetize their creations. So it can be in the form of, you know, a pre sale of that creators future art or something where people have an economic say, and or, you know, a stake in the future success of an artist. It can also happen just by selling individual pieces of art or individual creations, where not only can an artist get paid once they can get paid over and over again, a lot of NFT contracts and transactions involve like an ongoing royalty that pays the artist every single time their work of art gets paid. I mean, that’s something that’s really radically new. Like if you’re an artist, if you’re a starving artist, and you sell your first piece for $1,000, and then it goes on later, someone resells it for a million dollars, you may not ever participate in any of that upside. But with a digital asset, you can program it to include a payment paid in perpetuity, right. So every time a piece of art is sold, or resold, you might earn 2% or 5%, or 10%, or something like that from the sale. And that is a way to ensure that artists have a steady stream of revenue going forward.
Clint Murphy 48:01
So let’s shift a little let’s talk about you already mentioned this concept of DeFi And personally, as soon as I started reading about DeFi. I became a bit of a crypto maxi and that I looked at things like the speed transaction costs, the number of people in the world who are unbanked in what D finance does for all of those areas, taking it off the SWIFT network, moving it on chain. Can you know, you talk about nine different areas that we can use D finance in the book, let’s cover nine but what do you see as the top two or three things that are really going to shape? How people see the importance and the power of d finance that start to shift us in the direction of more ready adoption of these web three technologies?
Alex Tapscott 49:00
Yeah. Well, you know, they Financial Services is more than any single industry, right? It is. It’s the lifeblood of all industries. It’s the cardiovascular system of global commerce. And the most important people and institutions and financial services will get compensated quite well for the role that they play. But fundamentally, the industry performs, you know, nine or 10 functions you which you alluded to, and I won’t go through them all in detail, but to list them is pretty easy, right? It gives us a way to move money to store money, to access credit to exchange assets, to fund new investments to organize financial information to insure against risk, to analyze value and to you know, prove identities. Identity is a big kind of cornerstone of finance. And those nine functions of financial services are all being reimagined with decentralized finance or defy And just to be clear, this is different from FinTech or financial technology, FinTech people can think of as digital wallpaper, it is a new sleek user interface that allows you to access the old world of financial services. Defy is a new architecture. It is reimagining finance from the ground up from those nine things. A very well known and successful banker, the CEO of one of the biggest banks in the world, once said, that we move money. Because we move money, we get to store money. Because we store money, we get to lend money. And lending money is like our bread and butter. So if we lose the moving money part, well, then the whole thing kind of comes undone. And that’s why I think that moving value, just that basic concept of being able to move money around the world in a purely digital format is more than enough to justify anyone’s excitement in web three, or in digital assets. And it’s early still, but there’s a lot of obvious examples of this being applied at scale and stable coins are the most clear and present example of that week before we’re recording this Pay Pal announced that it’s launching its new stable coin py USD. Now, hey, pals gotten, you know, huge network effects 10s of millions of users and merch millions of merchants all around the world. But it’s also has the potential to create new kinds of Overland and overseas payment rails to disintermediate. What existed before to basically in effect, replace the what they call the correspondent banking network, because all of a sudden, you have this instant liquid frictionless way to move value pure, pure. And so we moving money, well, once you can do the moving money, then you can do the storing of money. Now, what’s really unique about tokens is that they can be custody read by individuals, they can be self custody. So if you want, you can hold, you can be your own bank, a lot of people like that, especially as I’ve alluded to earlier, people who live in parts of the world where maybe the financial industry is underdeveloped, or the government is corrupt. But a lot of people don’t like that, you know, in places like North America, they’d prefer to not spend their time thinking about how they’re securing their money, they’d rather just like leave it to someone else. So that’s why I think that innovators like PayPal, who are pioneering stable coins, and by the way, like they’re early for a traditional company, but they’re late for stable coins, because there’s all these other ones out there that are dominant in the industry, like PayPal is the baby in the room compared to the other ones, but they have the advantage of those network effects. But by becoming the dominant or rather, by entering the fray and sort of putting their hat in the ring and creating this new digitally native form of money, they now have a way to store value on behalf of businesses and enterprises and individuals. And that’s a whole new kind of stream of revenue that maybe didn’t exist before. And then the lending value, well, you know, they already do a lot of like, I’m just talking about Pay Pal, because they just recently announced it’s nothing special about them. But I’m just saying that this is a classic example of how a lot of companies who are quick to embrace this new digital toolkit, I think you’re going to be really well positioned for the future. Now defi doesn’t require us to have pay pals involved at all, we don’t need a company storing our money and lending us money, it can all be done peer to peer. But I do think the reality of how the world works is that lots of people are going to want the convenience, andyou know, the peace of mind of relying on a well known and trusted Corporation. Right. And so I just think that creates business opportunities for companies that understand that and are quick to move on this
Clint Murphy 53:46
in the interesting part with PayPal is when you look at where Elon is going with Twitter or x.com He’s talking about going to this everything app where there is money on it, where there there is an ability to engage in commerce or transfer money or store money. And PayPal originally was back 20 years ago or so. x.com. And that’s where Elon wanted to go back then to replace the banks and to store money and transfer money around the world. And it’s taken them 20 years, but they’re gonna where he originally wanted this I find that fascinating. Alex.
Alex Tapscott 54:31
Well, it is so fascinating for a lot of reasons. You know, the idea of creating digital money as a way to move value peer to peer has been the subject of obsession for a lot of really smart people. You know, Marc Andreessen, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, all of these people in the 90s were trying to figure out how to program money into the internet. You know, Netscape Navigator was originally wanted to have a form of sort of digital money. This is really influential book called The Sovereign individual that a lot of people in the technology industry have read that talks about, you know, the potential for digital money replacing fiat currency issued by governments and so forth. But what all of those projects ran into was this problem of trust. And this problem of what they call the double spend problem. How do you ensure that when you move a digital asset peer to peer, that you can’t send the same asset twice? How do you program digital scarcity? Going back to that topic I spoke about at the very beginning. And the missing link in all of this was a blockchain was a way to record data in a decentralized way that proves that when money is sent from one person to another, that it can’t be sent again, that it can’t be reversed, and that everyone can verify. And the only way that that’s possible is with one of these systems. So that’s why blockchains, again, are just sort of the foundational tool of all of this, you know, they in and of themselves are not necessarily the big, commercial innovation, they are just simply, you know, the thing that makes it all work. I’m trying to think of an analogy in, in traditional computing, but basically without them, none of this is possible. And so
Clint Murphy 56:07
Let’s jump to metaverse. How do you see the metaverse tying into web three? And what are some of the things our listeners should start preparing for and thinking about and getting ready for? For sure? Well,
Alex Tapscott 56:23
I think that the metaverse is a much kind of ballyhoo topic, a lot of people are excited about it. It’s had its fair share of hype cycles, right, you know, periods where people are really excited, and then poor periods where people are not, but I think most people can agree that it’s going to be a big deal. Economically, you know, and basically, just to define, sort of what we mean, the web itself has been a two dimensional environment for 35 years, you know, we started by using desktop computers, then we use smartphones. And in a way, you know, I guess if you take your smartphone with you, you you’re interacting with the physical world around you, you have added some 2.5 D to it, but you’re not living in a three dimensional web, and or a spatial web, as they call it. Dan Mapes technologists coined that term. And the promise of the metaverse is that the experience of the web can be turned into a three dimensional and immersive experience. And that we can have rich experiences and, you know, economic interactions and entertain ourselves and live full and, you know, fulfilling lives online in this way. I think that the reality of the whatever the metaverse is today is really far from that. I think that, you know, first of all, what are we talking about virtual reality? Are we not talking about something else? Well, I think that probably to fulfill this vision, you need some form of virtual or augmented reality. I think that Apple’s vision pro, you know, could be a good first step in that direction. But I still think that the hardware needs a major upgrade before we get to that reality. But the much bigger issue before hardware, is what kind of a world are we going to be creating online, like what kind of an environment is this is this an environment where we log on to meta, you know, Facebook’s virtual world, where we are beholden to one company where all of our transactions are monitored, where they’re taxed, where fees are paid to the, to the company that runs this environment, every time transaction is done, where we can’t take assets out of that environment where we don’t own our data and our identities. To me that’s not that diverse, that, you know, the generous sort of definition of that is sort of virtual Disneyland, right? Where you enter into this virtual world, and you kind of hand over your, you know, your sense of self and get fully immersed in this experience. And it can be a lot of fun. And maybe it’s fulfilling, you know, or entertaining. But it’s not recreating the world. It’s not a new sort of shared reality, it’s not a new plane of human existence, it’s just a new diversion of some kind. So if we want to create a virtual landscape that is similar to the physical world, to the real world, where we live, then we need to start with the same basic principles and rights. And that includes the right to privacy, the right to, and the right to property, basically, right, the ability to have a reasonable sense of privacy, and to be able to express your ownership of things and to be able to do with those things what you want, right? Like if I want to sell my house, I can do that. Now. I’ve maybe have to pay land transfer tax and whatever there’s a government involved, then, you know, governments are important, but there’s no company. I’m not paying apple 30% Every time I sell my house, something like that, right? So that’s the promise of the web. Three Metaverse is a shared virtual world where people have the same rights that they do in the real world and where they can have meaningful and kind of purposeful experiences.
Clint Murphy 59:51
I love it. I still love the idea of augmented reality is an example where we have glasses in your NF T’s like a lot of people don’t See maybe the potential in it but if you have augmented reality and you have these video games where all these people are paying money for skins Alex for their characters, will the fashion industry now, hey, we can put an NF T on everybody’s clothes. So it just looks like a normal white t shirt when they’re walking around in the real world. But as soon as you have your augmented reality, glasses on, it’s a very specific skin that only one person in the world can buy. And we just sold that NFT for a million bucks. The potential just becomes enormous as long as we have to your point. Ideally not a company owned Metaverse, but a decentralized Metaverse that we’re all able to plug into and enjoy together. What do you see as the greatest threats to the implementation of web three that we’ve got to be watching for?
Alex Tapscott 1:00:53
Oh, God, I mean, there’s so many of them. Now, and in the new book, we’ve got a chapter on the, you know, sort of implementation challenge, which isn’t in a way that sort of based on what we did the last time for Blockchain Revolution, when a new technology emerges, there’s lots of reasons why it can be successful, and then the reasons why it could fail. And even really successful technologies, sometimes never reach critical. Mass or reach liftoff, you know, I think we talked to Albert Wagner, who’s a very well known venture capital investor in the US Union Square Ventures is his company. And he drew this analogy, which for me, it was really kind of perfect, which is, you know, nuclear power, as you know, for peaceful domestic energy generation could solve climate change, pretty much. I mean, you know, we could move all energy generation to nuclear, it would reduce the carbon footprint of humanity buy massive, massive amounts, but there is no political will, to build more nuclear power plants. And the reason for that is that there have been a couple of high profile, you know, accidents, Three Mile Island accident in the US, and then Chernobyl. And preventable, I think it particularly really put the pause on nuclear power generation. I mean, you got countries in Europe who are trying to reach Net Zero targets and who are still beholden, you know, to Russian natural gas sources, who are also decommissioning nuclear power plants. So the reality is not attached to the technology possibility. And maybe web three, you know, suffers the same fate as the nuclear power generation, which is, we have this new toolkit that allows people to move and store value peer to peer that allows internet users to become internet owners, that is going to act as a steamroller and flatten the world, create opportunity for people everywhere. But you know, if you have one or two, too many blow ups, so to speak, then maybe people are turned off from that, and, you know, the last year, so we’ve had a couple of companies that have failed in spectacular fashion in this industry. Now, companies, you know, succeed and fail in new industries all the time. And there’s no reason to think that went through will be any different. And in the book, we talked about lots of I talked about lots of different companies that will probably end up as sort of footnotes to this transformation, and many of them will probably fail. And that’s true for any sort of new era of technology. But the question is, Will, you know, the will the collapse of any single project, spell the end of web three adoption? I don’t think so. But I think that the experience of other technologies should be instructive. And if anything, it should act as kind of like a, an organizing a rallying point for people to, to grow and build responsibly to onboard users to this technology, and to, you know, avoid those kinds of obvious pitfalls if they can. There are lots of other implementation challenges, you know, is the technology going to be able to scale to meet the demands of all of these different users and applications? There’s questions about scalability within blockchains, which are being addressed, but there’s remain topics of conversation. Will regulators see the potential here? Or will they react negatively? So far, it’s a bit of a mixed bag, and we’ll see how that plays out. There are parts of the world where some regulators are taking a more assertive tone and negative tone and others where they’re not. So we’ll see about that. There are questions about how incumbents are going to react will big companies try to, you know, crush this? Will they co opt it? Companies adopting the language of the metaverse and trying to build virtual worlds that don’t embrace the openness of web three that do the opposite? So is that something that we need to be mindful and vigilant of? Will users value the experience of you know, being internet owners? Right, that’s something that I think there’s a lot of evidence that they will from defy and other examples, but there’s lots of reasons to think you know, some people maybe just want to use an internet service not have to worry about being an owner, or that maybe ownership is one of those things that is like, you know, a niche within the market. Why? As people will, maybe 500 million people will want to be internet owners and in the sense that like its own digital assets and use them and you know, earned value in the platforms that they’re using, you know, that’s a big market, but maybe it’s like, it’s about as big as the people who buy video game consoles, right? It’s not every person in the world goes and buys an expert. So maybe web three only gets to that sort of size, maybe it doesn’t really fully become, you know, something that is integrated into everybody’s life. These are all legitimate questions, and in some cases, challenges. So you have to ask yourself, you know, are these are these just implementation challenges? Or are they reasons that this is kind of a bad idea? And I think that in each case, you can say that they’re an implementation challenge, and they deserve to be addressed and hopefully overcome, because there’s an opportunity to, you know, rewrite the economic power grid, and to build a more fair and open web and to build, you know, a more resilient and inclusive digital economy. And I think that’s something that I think we should all be in favor of,
Clint Murphy 1:05:57
Let’s put on our prediction hats. Alex, the, you know, you talked about governments, we’ve got a number of big parties, even having these parties come to the table and say, Hey, we think we should have a Bitcoin ETF is massive with Blackrock as an example coming out and saying, Hey, we want to Bitcoin ETF. Where do you see that going? And any predictions on Bitcoin price over the next 1618 months as this all gets worked out?
Alex Tapscott 1:06:30
Well, there are already Bitcoin ETFs in Canada, I actually know because I launched one the nine point Bitcoin ETF, it’s a spot Bitcoin ETF, it’s exact trades exactly like any other ETF. And at its apex when the price was higher was like $400 million of assets under management. So those already exist. But the question is, Will one exist in the United States at scale? And that’s a really a regulatory question. BlackRock has filed for one of these things. They’re almost kind of perfect in their record for filings. So we’ll see if they’re successful. But ultimately, like, you know, I don’t make price predictions. And I’m not really interested in the price in and of itself. I’m interested in it as it is a reflection of the growing utility and adoption of the technology. And so, you know, I think that in the same way that you know, when internet users become internet owners, they start to follow the value of these assets, I think that those assets will become more valuable as the technology is more widely used.
Clint Murphy 1:07:27
I like it. Good hedge. Good hedge. Okay, so let’s jump in into a Final Four rapid fire questions. To wrap things up, Alex, what is one book you’ve read that’s had a significant influence on your life?
Alex Tapscott 1:07:41
Oh, gosh, there are a lot. I’ve just read a book called Papyrus, which is a robotic American with the name of the author,she’s a Spanish woman who has a library, a librarian and student of books, and spaces with the history of books and the written word. And the invention. Papyrus refers to the type of fiber that was used in the very first scrolls that were used in ancient Egypt. And it basically tracks sort of the history of knowledge, the history of how we transmit information. And it’s full of incredibly vivid metaphors that inspired some of the work in the book, actually, in my book, you know, she says that libraries helped to connect archipelago of knowledge. They weren’t necessarily all encompassing, but they helped to bridge the, to connect the dots, right. And in a way, I sort of think as my of my book as trying to sort of connect the archipelago of knowledge within Web three, what my book is not exhaustive study of web three, in the sense that it covers every single company in person in this space, that would be impossible. It’s too big and too dynamic of an industry. But it tries to build those bridges, so that people can have a proper understanding and can get from point A to point B on their journey. Right. So yeah, that’s one book I’ve read recently.
Clint Murphy 1:08:59
Love it. And I think it was Irene Vallejo. Yes. What are you reading right now? What’s on the shelf, the air you’re consuming in the moment?
Alex Tapscott 1:09:08
I’m reading a couple books right now. I’m reading a book called Maximum Canada by a guy named Doug Saunders. Which are you from? You know that book?
Clint Murphy 1:09:17
No, just maximum Canada? Oh, yeah.
Alex Tapscott 1:09:21
Well, basically, the subtitle is like, why Canada needs 100 million people or something? Oh, well, and basically about how Canada historically has been, has had a minimizing force that has been pressing, pushing it down, whether it was like the colonial legacy or what have you, and that in the last sort of few decades, we’ve developed this, that we’ve had an awakening as as a nation that diversity and multiculturalism and growth is our is our strength is our most sort of dynamic. It’s our it’s our biggest advantage in the world. And that’s something that has kicked into high gear recently in Canada. And you know, there are lots of reasons why Canada should have a bigger population at least which has been a huge facet. Land that doesn’t have, you know, there’s a lot of sparsely populated areas. But more importantly is that we, we can attract people to build businesses and create value and develop services and wealth and culture, which is something that that is really important. So that’s one book I’m reading right now, another book, I just started as American Prometheus, which is the Oppenheimer book, which is what the brain is. I haven’t even seen the movie yet. But I’m hearing so much about the movie. And I was like, I gotta buy the book, because I usually read the book first. But I haven’t read this one. So I’ve started that too.
Clint Murphy 1:10:30
Yeah, it’s a really interesting movie. We took our two boys to it last week, it was phenomenal. Yeah. What’s the one thing you’ve spent less than $1,000 on in the last 1218 months that Alex has thought? Wow, I should have bought that earlier.
Alex Tapscott 1:10:47
I, God, I don’t know. Probably any book that I bought, which is less than $1,000? I wish I’d read it earlier. I always wish I’ve read something earlier. Yes, answer?
Clint Murphy 1:10:58
What’s one mindset shift, habit change or behavior change that you’ve adopted in your life that’s had an oversized impact for you?
Alex Tapscott 1:11:09
Well, it’s a cliche, but don’t put off to tomorrow, what can be done today? Who would be the big one? Yeah, you know, my wife calls me a productive procrastinator. Because, you know, I delay things, and then they seem to work out that. So it’s sort of like a joke in the family. But But I’ve realized that actually, by putting things off, I’m less effective. So I’m trying to push against my natural instinct to wait a day, to do something, and to try and get it done today. And I always find that that makes you feel, you know, stress comes from a lack of control. And so the more control you can put in your life than the, the less stressed, I think you’re going to be, you know, if you feel like you can make an impact, if you can do something about it, then you’re going to let worry a lot less about it. And that’s something I’m trying to put into practice in my life.
Clint Murphy 1:11:54
Love it. And we went pretty wide. We went deep in some areas of your book, web three. Are there any areas that we didn’t hit that you want to make sure you get across to the listeners today?
Alex Tapscott 1:12:05
Well, I think we’ve covered a lot. You know, I think that we did talk a lot about creators, but it’s worth kind of talking about it a little bit more, which is that for most of human history, technology has been a tailwind for creators. You know, before the Industrial Age, if you were an artist, you have to rely on the patronage of a wealthy, you know, individual or institution, whether it was the MIDI cheese or the Church of England or the Vatican or whatever. And technology freed people from that it allowed us allowed us to sort of sell to a mass market, whether it was you know, books and manuscripts of the printing press or art, lift the lithograph or music with the record, whatever. But more recently, technology’s got a much more checkered kind of track record, the internet for one took something that was an asset in the form of music and turned it into a free commodity that added new intermediaries to the value chain like Spotify. And now creators get paid less than ever. And now there’s growing concerns that artificial intelligence, you know, large language models are going to displace writers and screenwriters and creators in so many other fields, and that, you know, deep fakes are going to replace art actors and so on and so forth, which is sort of central to the current labor dispute in the US with sag AFTRA. And I think that it’s clear that with the rise of all this new technology, the culture needs a new business model. And I think that the only way that culture gets a new business model is with web three,
Clint Murphy 1:13:28
powerful. Where can our listeners find you?
Alex Tapscott 1:13:31
On Twitter at Alex Tapscott, you can check out more about the book and or preorder your copy on Amazon or www.Alextapscott.com. And check me out on Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, wherever.
Clint Murphy 1:13:44
Excellent. Thanks, Alex. Really appreciate it to having you on the show.
Alex Tapscott 1:13:47
That was terrific. Thank you.