Web3 Canon - 15 Must Read Web3 Essays

Showcasing the most interesting and thoughtful Web3-related essays, you’ll find 15 high-quality articles covering (1) history, (2) technical foundations, and (3) operations of DAOs.

By Forefront - Feb 2, 2022


It's no secret that new digital communities are forming and innovating at an unprecedented pace. There is no article or book so far that can cover the depth and breadth of the space.

However, through different sections, the Forefront Writer's Guild has curated a list of the canonical resources related to digital-native token communities. In this last section showcasing the most interesting and thoughtful Web3-related essays, you'll find 15 high-quality articles covering (1) history, (2) technical foundations, and (3) operations of DAOs.

The articles included have been classified into four categories:

  • Journey: Articles about history, psychology, and mythos
  • Technical: Articles about logic, programming, and specific technical definitions
  • Practical: Articles about "How-to", operations, and the day-to-day activities
  • Use-Case: Articles outlining examples of digital communities

We hope you will dive in and use this repository as a comprehensive guide covering the big picture, technical details, and practical operational guides.

Enjoy! 🔥

SECTION 1: A Whole New Digital World

"The world has changed. I feel it in the water. I feel it on the earth. I smell it in the air." - Galadriel, Lord of the Rings. In January 2020, Ben Thompson proclaimed: "It is the end of the beginning", referencing how the global internet infrastructure had matured and we were entering the main phase of adoption. And so, we might want to ask, how will this impact our organizations? In hindsight, it seems inevitable that a transformation is underway. These articles talk through our history of cooperation, the rise of the corporation, and most importantly - what comes next (at an individual level and at an enterprise level) now that we have installed a new revolutionary hardware system: the internet.

Squad Wealth by Other Internet (Sam Hart, Toby Shorin, Laura Lotti)

Summary & reason why it's interesting: Squads are reemerging today as a potent cultural force that rejects a strictly individualist market philosophy. This essay aims to explain how squads, thanks to a strong internal coordination, can decrease transaction costs, enabling greater productive capacities and financial opportunities as a group.

Website / Twitter

From Winner Take All to Win and Help Win: the Original Vision of the Internet is Making a Comeback by Sari Azout & Jad Esber

Summary & reason why it's interesting: In this collaborative essay, Jad & Sari explore the role of web3 platforms and toolkits in catalyzing the renaissance of Internet 1.0. For NFT beginners, this essay speaks to the behavioral psychology in purchasing and owning digital content, and demonstrates the opportunities for creative democratization that this new ecosystem empowers.

Website / Twitter

SECTION 2: The Cooperative Society

“The thing that people, I think, don’t appreciate right now is that they are already a cyborg. You’re already a different creature than you would have been twenty years ago, or even ten years ago. You’re already a different creature. You can see this when they do surveys of like, “how long do you want to be away from your phone?” and — particularly if you’re a teenager or in your 20s — even a day hurts. If you leave your phone behind, it’s like missing limb syndrome. I think people — they’re already kind of merged with their phone and their laptop and their applications and everything.” - Elon Musk

The costs of cooperation continue to fall. We now have a magic jewel in our pocket with near instant communication, a virtual portal to almost anywhere in the world, and an endless well of human knowledge. What new economies will we build together? What type of new organizations will emerge?

The Cooperation Economy 🤝 by Packy McCormick

Summary & reason why it’s interesting: The Great Online Game is an infinite video game that plays out constantly across the internet. You’re no longer playing as an avatar but playing as yourself across platforms such as Twitter, YouTube etc. It rewards community and cooperation over individualism and competition. Are you ready to enter the Cooperation Economy?

Website / Twitter

A Prehistory of DAOs by Kei Kreutler

Summary & reason why it’s interesting: This long-format essay retraces the history of DAOs. It aims to show future DAOs can move towards a syncretic theory of organizations, meaning a theory that incorporates a wide range of cultural patterns, practices, and influences while recognizing their inherited political biases.

Website / Twitter

A beginner’s guide to DAOs by Linda Xie

Summary & reason why it’s interesting: A perfect starting-point to anyone wanting to understand better what DAOs are, and how it has the potential to revolutionize the way we work. Linda Xie explains here concisely the future use-cases of DAOs, the best tools and the potential issues that might come with the new way of collaborating.

Website / Twitter

SECTION 3: Technical Foundations of the Digital Economy

"Whereas most technologies tend to automate workers on the periphery doing menial tasks, blockchains automate away the center. Instead of putting the taxi driver out of a job, blockchain puts Uber out of a job and lets the taxi drivers work with the customer directly." - Vitalik Buterin, Co-Founder of Ethereum

The Ownership Economy by Jesse Walden

Summary & reason why it's interesting: While the Creator economy is thriving, there is still a major problem for creators today: Ownership. Indeed, creators need ways to be free from centralized platforms such as Instagram and Facebook. This essay aims to show how ownership can be a disruptive cornerstone of new products and revolutionize how creators monetize their contents.

Website / Twitter

Designing Internet-Native Economies: A Guide to Crypto Tokens by Patrick Rivera

Summary & reason why it's interesting: This piece aims to explain the differences between the types of Tokens. From utility tokens to NFTs, Patrick Rivera shows the pros and cons of each tokens, adding examples and opening the discussion on the future of all of those tokens.

Website / Twitter

The Composability of Identity across Web2 and Web3 by Andrew Hong

Summary & reason why it's interesting: Our digital identity exists in fragments, it isn't flexible past the platform it was built on, and it has little reusability other than cross-platform authentication. We don't own our digital identity, and it's not composable at all. Now, what if you could own all of the pieces of your digital identity permanently, while also controlling who you reveal that data to and how it's represented?

Website / Twitter

RAC, the Artist, Producer, and Creator of $RAC --- Future 25 by Samantha Hissong

Summary & reason why it's interesting: A portrait of RAC, an artist that created its Social Token and that has pushed the Social Token space forward by successfully leveraging its community to achieve broader goals and show to the world the possibilities this technology can unlock. Exciting piece by the famous Rolling Stone magazine, proof that Social Tokens are already becoming mainstream.

Website / Twitter

Tokenomics - Three things Creators need to know before making a Social Token for their community by Eliot Couvat

Summary & reason why it's interesting: Some concepts can be hard to understand when starting in Crypto. Luckily, Eliot Couvat wrote a wonderful and easy-to-read piece on Token Supply, explaining the different aspects to think about when creating a token.

Website / Twitter

The Bull Case for Social Tokens by Cooper Turley

Summary & reason why it's interesting: Social tokens have the ability to act as a steroid for creator communities. This article serves as a testament to prove Social Tokens are far from worthless and aims to show the bull case for Social Tokens.

Website / Twitter

Shaping your Community's Contribution Zones by Rafathebuilder & FF Writers Guild

Summary & reason why it's interesting: An overview exploring the idea of "locality" in digital communities: Contribution Zones. Like city zoning, each zone will help members better understand where they should focus their attention and invest their time.

Website / Twitter

$GENERALIST by Mario Gabriele

Summary & reason why it's interesting: The Generalist tries something new. In collaboration with Jack Butcher of Visualize Value, they turn the coverage of Coinbase into a non-fungible token (NFT) and rewards the supporting community.

Website / Twitter

SECTION 4: Joining the Digital Economy

"There's never been a better time to quit your job and work in Web3" - Mason Nystrom "I dropped out of school, quit my job, and moved to a new city to go all in crypto and it was the best decision i've ever made. The younger me would be proud." - Carter "I just quit the Apple Design Team to work on crypto full time..." - Dorian Dargan

I'm Quitting Web2 (And So Should You) by Rafathebuilder

Summary & reason why it's interesting: Rafathebuilder shares his personal journey over the last year has led him through the artisan landscape of Puerto Rico, nascent online organizations on Discord, and through this unlikely intersection, to the future of work.

Website / Twitter

How I Got a Job in Ethereum & Crypto by Jackson Dame

** Summary & reason why it's interesting:** Jackson now has >45k followers on Twitter, works at most-loved ethereum wallet company Rainbow, and is probably one of the most knowledgeable people in the NFT space. But in the summer of 2020, Jackson knew close to nothing about crypto. Learn about what Jackson did to get immersed and land their first crypto job.

Website / Twitter

CRYPTOPILLED by Drew Coffman

Summary & reason why it's interesting: Like Jackson's essay, this piece narrates Drew's introduction to the web3 world, from experimenting with minting NFTs, to finding and exploring community, to contributing and eventually transitioning into a full-time role with FWB.

Website / Twitter

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