This is part of a series of interviews with founders and builders in the Web3 space called the Web3 Growth Handbook. The official handbook will be released in the coming months, but you can read all of the other available interviews here.
“Communicating with developers when they may be building on your infrastructure but using their own node is another key area. In a distributed network, how do you have good observability into who is using and taking them through the funnel in the right way.”
You may have heard of 3Box before. Just kidding, you’ve definitely heard of them since they ship and engage in the community more than any company in the Web3 space. Building decentralized applications is difficult. The entire paradigm is new, and developers are craving tools to help them get started. 3Box provides those tools. In fact, they provide an entire suite of tools that make building scalable Web3 applications that can compete with some of the best apps in the Web2 space. Michael Sena and Danny Zuckerman, co-founders of 3Box, believe that developers in the Web3 community need tools they are familiar with from the Web2 world.
3Box was founded in October of 2018 after the founders helped build uPort under the Consensys umbrella. They have raised $2.5 million to date and are focused on growing the developer community around IPFS and Ethereum. 3Box’s three main products are the Profiles API, which lets Ethereum users create public profiles that can be shared across all the applications they use; the Messaging API, which makes decentralized communication as easy as dropping a few lines of code into an application; and the Storage API, which give users total control over their application data and enables cross-application sharing of data.
We had the opportunity to sit down with Michael and Danny to discuss their current focus, the challenges they’ve faced, and how they define the Web3 community.
As a developer tool company, how does 3Box define growth?
Our biggest focus has been on developer adoption. When we first started, there was a pretty huge lack of any social features for dapps. We believe that end users matter a lot, but the path to get there is to enable developers to easily use tools that match what they are used to in Web2.
SimpleID: What has been the most difficult part of growing 3Box so far?
We think of the types of projects that build with 3Box in two ways. There are established projects, which are apps or companies that have been in business for a certain amount of time, and then there are new projects. This makes it difficult from a growth and marketing perspective. Each type of project requires different tactics.
Additionally, it’s been a challenge trying to get people to realize that Web3 is more than on chain transactions. So, what we’re doing is bridging the gap of the onchain and offchain experience.
What do you think needs to happen to overcome the growth challenges you’ve faced?
We’ve been in this place from a development perspective that I think we’re about to get past. That place is this: To build a really great project, you need a lot of things to come together. You need improved performance and more social features and more time to mature and more projects with more time to build. You also need to have more projects working together to show a fully complete Web3 experience. Once we’ve fully solved those issues, we’ll be able to overcome the growth challenges.
What tools do you wish existed to help you with growth as a whole?
Discovery of the right developers is always a challenge. You want to find out who’s building what. A lot of times that’s happening in many different pockets. We have to ask ourselves, where are the next communities to bring into our community.
Documentation is getting better, but one thing that big Web2 companies have done a really good job at is creating programs and tools to ramp developers up regardless of where they are in their experience level. I think getting more on-ramps is important. Having more good places for communication is also key. A lot of people are building redundant projects where it might be better to work together. That comes from not a lot of great information being available and poor communication channels.
Communicating with developers when they may be building on your infrastructure but using their own node is another key area. In a distributed network, how do you have good observability into who is using and taking them through the funnel in the right way?
What are your predictions for Web3/Blockchain growth in 2020?
I think we’re going to see some new protocols come online that have long been talked about. We’re going to see a shift in developers building across a few platforms instead of it being all concentrated. You’ll also start to see some non-blockchain native use cases begin to emerge.
Obviously developers need users if they’re going to stick around. I think in 2020, there will be more deepening of usage. People who are bought in will engage in a repeated way. They will use products in a more dedicated way.
If you’re a developer building decentralized products, or if you want to be, 3Box should be a starting point for you. Their tools make it easy to get started and will surely help in user adoption. Check them out today.