It's been a very tumultuous year in 2022 with many dramatic events happening in the world of Web3 and cryptocurrency, as well as in the broader world. It's been a tough time, and I am grateful to those who have been here with us.
Despite the challenges in the larger environment, RSS3 has achieved many milestones in 2022. The RSS3 Network received over 1.4 billion requests, with monthly requests surpassing 400 million in December – a 20,000% increase from December of the previous year. As a result, RSS3 has become the de facto number one Web3 social data provider.
We are still in the early stages of the Open Web (also known as Web3), and this is especially true for social and publishing. While the whole ecosystem still provides limited value to social users at the moment, permanence, anti-censorship, monetization, and credibility brought by decentralization will bring enormous benefits to the users of the new web.
The way people create information in the digital world has been gradually shifting, and that brings us the opportunity to become the information dissemination protocol to facilitate its flow. Different types of information created through various protocols will thrive in the near future, and we aim to standardize and distribute them with sufficiently-decentralized technology that balances coverage, efficiency, and privacy. While risky, actively exploring more dissemination channels will allow us to create more significant value propositions that earlier generations of information distributors like Google and ByteDance were unable to achieve.
Sailing Toward the Open Web
While many people still refer to the new web as "Web3," I believe the term "Open Web" is a more accurate description of what we are building. The internet began with open protocols, but as it gained widespread adoption, it lost some of its openness and freedom. Now that we have seen the negative side of this, we are striving to build something better.
This new web is fundamentally different from the previous one, which means that the approach to achieving massive adoption must also be different. It is more difficult for regular users to “feel” the underlying decentralized technology than it is to feel lower cost, higher efficiency, or better interaction. This revolution is more like the shift from fossil fuels to clean energy than the transition from Web1 to Web2. While builders can create incentives to get users onboard, it is essential for society as a whole to truly understand and believe in the benefits of this new technology for it to succeed in the long run.
At RSS3, we believe that our value will ultimately be determined by our contribution to the new open web. This will be judged by how well we help information flow throughout the ecosystem and eventually serve and benefit more users. It is likely that the more users we serve, directly or indirectly, through the RSS3 network, the more efficient it will become in terms of coverage, speed, accuracy, and cost.
This belief will guide most of the decisions made by the foundation and core contributors. It also sets us apart in terms of the technology, community, and culture we aim to build. As it is still very early in the development of the Open Web, focusing on our core values may lead us to make decisions that significantly differ from most projects:
- Instead of creating hype for short-term gains, we will continue to focus on acquiring substantial developers and users at the right time.
- We will continue to focus on information dissemination rather than unrelated applications for short-term user numbers.
- When appropriate, we make bigger bets toward technologies that may significantly boost the efficiency of information flow.
- We will be more active in building direct user-facing applications than we have before, which will help us gain first-hand user reactions.
- In rare cases where serving users conflicts with serving the Open Web, we will prioritize the latter as we believe that they will eventually converge in the long term.
- We will continue to look for more contributors to the project, especially those who share our vision for the Open Web with foundation hires, community incentives, hackathons, and bounties ahead.
We recognize that the path to building a successful Open Web will not be easy, and there will be challenges and setbacks along the way. However, we are committed to staying focused on our vision and maximizing our contribution toward a better future for the web.
The Evolution of Information Dissemination
Information flow typically involves the creation, storage, dissemination, and consumption of information. Dissemination refers to the process of delivering information to a consuming party. From the perspective of the user, it helps them find the information they are seeking, and from the perspective of the information, it helps direct the information to a user where it can be most effectively consumed.
While lots of projects working in the crypto industry leverage on-chain data to provide financial and transactional insights, RSS3 has a much larger coverage for more informational and social consumptions. Though still immature compared to the financial origin, social and publishing related protocols and applications have taken huge steps in the past several years. As the first and best dissemination protocol, RSS3 has been fortunate to have attained multiple accomplishments in 2022. These includes but are not limited to:
- A 20,000% increase in monthly API usage (about 400 million requests in December 2022 compared to 2 million requests in December 2021) with a total of over 1.4 billion requests for the year
- The launch of $RSS3 through the copper LBP in February
- The evolution of the network from PreNode to PreGod, which significantly improved network efficiency
- New product implementation with projects like ZKSync, Arbitrum, Avalanche, Fantom, Lens, Farcaster, unstoppable domain, and many others
- The launch of rss3.io as a direct user entry point
With these milestones, we are excited to move into the next phase where we aim to see RSS3 continue to grow in the following areas:
- Information Coverage: In 2022, RSS3 expanded beyond non-structural information and began supporting structural information with the introduction of PreGod. Currently, it supports most EVM-compatible chains and major decentralized storage networks. In the future, we will explore the possibility of supporting non-EVM chains and other open social protocols.
- Dissemination Channels: A human-readable activity feed with a chronological order is a good start. RSS3 has been the best at providing such a channel, but we need more advanced channels to continuously improve the efficiency of information flow. This includes proven channels like search and privacy-preserving algorithms, as well as new and unique channels specific to the open web.
- Decentralization: RSS3 is still in the process of becoming more decentralized – our plan is to start with indexer SNs first, and then establish a relatively stable circulation before moving on to the next step.
While nothing is set in stone, these directions will be the long-term goals for the evolution of RSS3, and each of them will contribute to the values mentioned above.
We operate in a fast-paced ecosystem where it is difficult to make exact plans. However, we do have goals for the upcoming year of 2023 that will help us get closer to our ultimate goal:
- A brand upgrade for RSS3: As RSS3 becomes more powerful, we realized that we need to update the overall brand to better support future project updates.
- Introduction of the first global search engine for the Open Web: There has never been a global search engine for the new Open Web. While most "search engines" work well within a specific field (e.g. NFT, tokens, or a single social protocol), we need a more convergent entry point for Open Web users. This is a bold move that will take information dissemination to the next level.
- Introduction of a separate cross-network scan: As part of the brand upgrade, we will make rss3.io the entry point for the entire RSS3 ecosystem, so the current cross-network scan will be upgraded and rebranded.
- API upgrade with address-oriented stats and token-gated mechanisms: It is difficult to balance decentralization, anonymity (privacy), and efficiency. While the foundation has been operating the nodes, we have kept it completely free and without any gating. In the new year, we plan to implement a new API logic that results in "we know how much you are using, we know how much you are paying, we don't know who you are" (similar to how bitcoin handles transactions).
- A reform of the current tokenomics: As the project progresses, we believe we need more active tokenomics to drive the growth of the project. While all of this is subject to governance proposals, if they are approved, API usages will result in token deflation. We also expect to implement different levels of token integration for the new search engine and scan, as well as more sophisticated staking logic and more active governance proposals.
- Long-term partnerships with integrations: For RSS3 to thrive, we need strong partnerships that go beyond Twitter announcements or joint events, and involve substantial product integrations - either as part of the information we cover or as applications that utilize such information. We will actively seek and establish such partnerships to help RSS3 grow.
We have never seen a time in history when so much permissionless information was created in the digital world, and while it is still small compared to that of the walled gardens, the number has been growing rapidly and there is no doubt that the next era belongs to the Open Web.
2022 was difficult, but RSS3 has become stronger than ever.
Joshua and the RSS3 Foundation