Web3 and a digital space for your crypto belongings

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Remember “cyberspace?”

We didn’t think much about this quarter these days, but in the early days of the web, it was a whole new space. Things had significant addresses, not very different from physical addresses. There were even references, also known as links, that could connect places to each other. In a URL, L means “location”. Everything had a place.

In physical space, everything is related to each other through referential space. Everything has a singularity and location with spatial orientation for everything else. Your cup is on your table. Your pen is next to your cup. Your phone is in your pocket.

Time vs. space with the blockchain

Crypto did not occupy digital space before. Block strings only validate WHEN something happened, not where it happens. So far, in a sense, cryptography has only existed in time. A blockchain is literally a timeline, a sequence of verifiable events.

There are addresses in crypto, of course; addresses that relate to the public keys of the public-private key pairs you have in your wallet. These are related to people, but they don’t relate much to each other.

Verifiable time and order for digital activities is a fairly recent phenomenon and is what makes the blockchain so unique. It is a moment of immutable and verifiable activity as a transaction. Originally designed to make sure no one could spend something they didn’t have, blockchains act as a timeline where everything that can be demonstrated happened, perhaps similar to Loki’s sacred timeline in the Marvel Universe.

So if the blockchain is “time”, how do we create a cryptographic “space”? And what can we do about cryptographic “spaces”?

Digital space: a home for crypto and NFT

Companies like Decentraland have tried to incorporate digital space into the blockchain, but it is a very different idea from a general cryptographic cyberspace. Decentraland is more focused on digital commerce and offers real estate based on NFT, not on the global need for a true physical cryptographic space. The same goes for companies like Sandbox, which is more concerned with monetizing assets rather than building a real home on the internet so that any type of asset can live and interact with others.

If you think about space in Web2, everything has a URL. That URL acts as a location that has a potential relationship with any other URL, through links. In Web3, we are beginning to see domains, such as “.eth” domains, act as URLs. You can link your cryptographic address to that domain and use, for example, alice.eth instead of the standard hexadecimal address “0x-” to receive funds. These domains will be like the beginnings of “space” to “time” of the blockchain. With domain NFTs, you accumulate transaction metadata that fills your domain history.

Organizing your cryptographic space

But then come the full URLs, the part after “.com /” in Web2 or after “.eth /” in Web3. What this means is that you can start organizing crypto; you can start organizing NFT and other tokens in this cryptographic space in the same way you can organize things in a file store or database.

And you can store tabs and data in a “location” in the Web3 URL. You can model physical structures in such a way that all rooms can house NFT, just as a room in the physical world can house objects. You can model almost anything in the 3D space we all live in, with verifiable time and history. This is something we are working on with some excellent use cases.

Of course, having data enabled for organized cryptographies like this also means that virtual realms can be much more truly decentralized.

Leonard Kish is co-founder of Cortex.

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