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Web3 Inclusivity: Replacing Digital Barriers With Bridgesby@praisejames
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Web3 Inclusivity: Replacing Digital Barriers With Bridges

by Praise J.J.November 8th, 2023
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Explore pressing inclusivity concerns in Web3, addressing accessibility barriers for diverse users. From economic disparities to age restrictions and cognitive overload, this article delves into vital aspects of inclusivity in the digital realm.
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What's the most vital part of web3? It's not 3D or Virtual Reality, or Augmented Reality. All these things are already in web2. Web3 is about the next step of democracy on the internet.


In order to step up democracy, web3 should address being accessible for everyone in ways that will foster diversity, equity, and inclusion, such that everyone's voice can be heard.


Not everyone can use a VR. Some people are blind, some people can get motion sickness, some people have low vision, color blindness, etc. Many people can't afford it.


The core of the inclusivity issues is accessibility. Once accessibility is gotten right, it gets easier to build a future where barriers dissolve, diversity flourishes, and everyone–regardless of ability or background, finds a meaningful place in the digital narrative.


Here are some things we need to fix to be more accessible to people:


  1. Access to Technology:

According to the Alliance for Affordable Internet, 2.5 billion people still pay more than 30% of their monthly income to purchase the cheapest smartphone available in their markets and a magnitude of people can't even afford it at all (they're hopeless).


You can't compare the price of the cheapest smartphones to VR headsets. Web3 should be accessible on different lower-end platforms for people who can't afford headsets till they get cheaper.


Web3 builders should build solutions that keep compatibility and optimization in mind for lower-end smartphones and require less processing capabilities and less bandwidth.


For me, I feel like rich people keep getting better technology and leaving the poor behind. It's a pressing concern in the digital age. As technology surges forward, there's a risk of widening the gap between the privileged and the underserved.


The swift pace of technological progress can unintentionally widen this divide. This goes beyond personal convenience; it affects education, employment, and even civic engagement.


There's a critical need for efforts to ensure that web3 technology serves as a force for inclusivity in order to bridge the gap.

Only through collective action can we hope to build a world where technology uplifts all, regardless of economic status.

Please help share this article when you're done reading--to improve visibility and foster collective action.


  1. Age (Ex. KYC4KIDS):

Yes, age is often taken for granted. Just like other differences/disabilities, you may not notice if you don't come across people in the category.


For example, many Web3 projects require users to upload a picture of a government-issued ID for identity verification purposes and a photo of the user themselves.


It is referred to as KYC (Know Your Customer); this process is meant to stop fraud and is based on banking laws established in 2001.


As a minor myself, I can't really participate in many web3 projects because of age restrictions in the KYC (Know Your Customer) process. I was telling my friend about this and how I couldn't take part in the action, and he told me to wait till I was 18. I told him to go away.


I did some thinking and realized that it was possible to conduct KYC for minors, and I asked, “Why don't these projects support it?”


I built a basic demo as Proof of Concept to conduct parents/guardians supervised KYC for minors, with seamless, secure, and awesome verification powered by metamaps. I call it KYC4KIDS.


Now, I'm no legal expert, but I'm hoping web3 projects everywhere could offer inclusivity for kids like me! I'm hoping these projects can include children in their roadmaps/whitepapers and make us part of the plan. I hope they can support minors in their in-house KYC, and I hope more KYC services will jump on this bandwagon.


Let's make it happen; help get and relay the message out there so we can have #KYC4Kids.


Children need to be included in web3. They say children are the future, and web3 is the future, but why are children less inclusive in web3? For all it's worth, web3 should be all about children.


Fun fact: people talk about their various use cases and argue who started web3 and for what, but the truth is that Web3 was started by children: children and older gamers were the ones who opened this up with gaming, film, and animations. So don't exclude kids when you're thinking, talking, or building web3.


  1. KYC (Know Your Customer):

Still on the KYC issue, while the process involved in KYC is still tedious for those with an ID, more than 3 million people in the US alone lack a government-issued ID (NPR). Talk less of the rest of the world, and these KYC systems don't even support all countries.


The most common form of government ID is a driver's license. How many people drive today? Old people, the poor, some in big cities, and even people in rural areas don't drive.


Many old people around the world don't have birth certificates, and some of their names were incorrectly typed on the documents. Which if there's a discrepancy between your birth certificate and other forms of ID, you won't be able to get KYCed or some other IDs.


While there are certainly ways around these obstacles, each problem that arises will dissuade more people from accessing and taking advantage of Web3.


  1. Onboarding Process:

Just think about it: you want to use a web3 site, you're asked to connect your wallet, you try to figure out what it means, and if you're really smart, you understand it is similar to "Sign up with Google.”


Okay, you find a wallet app, you download it, and install it. Now you have to sign up for the wallet; you go through the email verification, phone number verification, and set a strong password and everything.


Then they give you a security phrase of 12 random words and tell you it's very important for your wallet security, but you can't put it online so that it won't be hacked; writing on paper is a great choice, but you have to make sure you don't lose the paper.


You do that, and some of the projects will say that you need to have some balance in the wallet to proceed. You go through all the stress of figuring out how to top up your unreadable wallet address that you can't get wrong and must be sure that it's the right token/coin on the right blockchain.


Then they tell you to do KYC, and you go through the difficulties I mentioned about KYC. I don't know about you, but I can barely type this short summary of the process. Imagine doing all these for something you can easily do elsewhere or for an app you'll probably use only once

There are impressive solutions addressing the UX issues, like now you can use simpler names like vitalik.eth to make crypto transactions, and there are features to keep your 12 random words on the cloud and similar things.


However, the UX issues are still massive and need more action. Thankfully, incredible solutions are being built, like Sendtokens, for example.


Enter Sendtokens, a non-custodial decentralized wallet designed with inclusivity at its core. The platform reimagines how we interact with cryptocurrencies, removing the hurdles of intricate alphanumeric keys. Instead, users can seamlessly send and receive digital assets using familiar emails and phone numbers.


With features like Cryptopins and a commitment to scalability, Sendtokens sets a new standard for user-friendly transactions. Its compatibility with a wide range of tokens further cements its position as a trailblazer in the Web3 landscape, offering a bridge to a more accessible and inclusive digital future. Check out Sendtokens


  1. Cognitive Overload:

You need a high level of expertise to feel comfortable in Web3. The learning curve is very steep, the technology is cumbersome, things are always changing, and mistakes can be very expensive.


Many of the terms used are unnecessarily confusing or abstract when they don’t need to be, and using them can stop people from trying Web3.


Using terms like "HODL" and "BUIDL" has become a distinctive part of the cryptocurrency culture, reflecting a sense of community and shared enthusiasm.


However, it's crucial to consider the audience and context. While these terms may resonate within the crypto community, they can be confusing or alienating to those unfamiliar with them.


Striking a balance between industry-specific jargon and accessible language is key. When addressing a broader audience, opting for standard spelling and providing explanations can enhance clarity.


There are more reasonable terms that are still confusing, like smart contracts, gas fees, etc.


People won't understand what they mean easily unless they understand the core of how smart contracts work or how gas fees work.


This is unnecessary because millions of people use web2 every day without knowing the meaning of HTTPS. But if you referred to gas fees as transaction fees instead, it's easier to understand that way.


I found the following table in this article about how we do a bad job of communicating web3

Table of What you say VS what they hear VS what you mean


It's sad, but it's true. I agree with the author when he said: "Simpler, more inviting language is an urgent first step, but it’s not enough on its own. To be impactful, the words of Web3 must be genuine, too. Less about our awesome tech and more about the user. Let’s show people we really care about solving their problems. Capturing curiosity is the key to welcoming the mainstream.


  1. Disabilities:

According to the World Health Organization, over 1 billion people in the world have some sort of disability. So, the importance of inclusivity for these people cannot be overemphasized.


As a web3 company, you should be conscious of being accessible to diverse individuals and kinds of people. The truth about your target audience and market segments is they're not as similar as you think. I read on Forbes that companies that are more inclusive have more ROI.


In just the United States alone, 1 in 4 Americans have a disability and totally spend over $490 billion annually.

The disability community encompasses a $1.2 trillion market.


Businesses need to be informed that investing in diversity, inclusivity, and equity is not only about compliance but a smart business opportunity and the right thing to do.


  1. Authenticity:

One very prominent issue is that people aren't what they seem like online in Web2; they only present the most ideal versions of themselves. Even internal documents in Meta (formerly Facebook) outline that Instagram is toxic to teenage girls.


I salute projects that do an awesome job helping people to get authentic avatars in the metaverse, authentic NFTs (like trumiinfts), and the like.


I asked chatGPT about how to promote Authenticity, and it mentioned things like raising awareness, setting examples, etc. I strongly agree that these are vital steps to driving a more authentic environment to foster inclusivity, but the thing about promoting authenticity is; the people have to want to be authentic.


Now, it's difficult trying to convince people to be authentic, given what social media looks like now and statistics on mental health. If we're doing anything at all to convince them, I don't think it's working.

On the other hand, in web3–would you want to be inauthentic when you're anonymous?


The evolution of technology, driven by decentralization and blockchain, is revolutionizing the way we interact with the digital realm. From static profile pictures to three-dimensional avatars, we've witnessed a remarkable progression in how we present ourselves online.


Web3, as the third generation of the internet, marks a monumental shift. It liberates us from the constraints of flat images and gaming environments, allowing us to fully embody three-dimensional avatars in a virtual world. This agency promises an unprecedented level of self-expression and immersion.


Through avatars, we have the canvas to represent ourselves as anything we like. Authenticity takes center stage, prompting us to explore facets of our identity that may have remained hidden otherwise. Digital cosplay, for instance, offers a genuine glimpse into our inner selves.


Avatars cease to be mere representations; they become windows into our passions, beliefs, and affiliations. Whether it's enthusiasts adopting on-brand avatars or individuals proudly displaying their interests on social media, avatars serve as a powerful tool for personal expression. We just need to keep directing it to encourage authenticity.


  1. Data Ownership & Ads

Yet, this newfound freedom comes with a critical consideration: data privacy. Web3 empowers individuals to reclaim ownership of their personal data, challenging the traditional model where corporations harvest data for advertising.


The emergence of "data unions" ensures individuals retain control, paving the way for a future where fair compensation for data becomes the norm.


For brands, Web3 presents a unique opportunity for unfiltered customer insight. Platforms like Discord and Reddit, where users engage with anonymity, offer a window into authentic perspectives.


This opens doors for more genuine customer engagement, allowing brands to better understand their audience.


In essence, Web3 has the potential to revolutionize how brands connect with their audience, fostering a more authentic and mutually beneficial relationship. This is what's being built at Slakenet, plus the platform rewards people with internet access to make it possible to fund your internet by using it.


  1. Marginalized Groups:

According to a report by Bloomberg in December 2021, prices for digital avatars from CryptoPunks NFTs fluctuate based on race, gender, and skin color. Mid- and dark-skinned avatars were priced lower on average than lighter-skinned NFTs.


Bloomberg also cited data from DeGenData (a CryptoPunks sales tracker), which showed lower average prices for female Punks compared to male punks.

Even on the developer side of things, A 2021 Statista survey of 82,286 global software developers revealed that 91.7% of all respondents were men.


There are lots of projects out there solving these challenges, and I'm glad about the progress so far. It's also important to keep raising awareness and advocating for inclusion and equity for marginalized groups, including (but not limited to) women, racial and ethnic minorities, LGBTQIA community members, and those from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.


Conclusion:

In the horizon of Web3, inclusivity is not just a principle; it's a powerful force driving digital empowerment. Inclusivity is not a feature but a fundamental right. Through Web3, we have the opportunity to dismantle barriers, amplify voices, and champion a future where everyone is seen, heard, and valued. Together, let us ensure that the promise of Web3 is not just realized but celebrated as a testament to the boundless potential of human connection in the digital age.


You can share some other inclusivity issues and raise awareness. I would love to hear your thoughts on the matter