The internet has come a long way since software engineer Tim Berners-Lee pioneered the World Wide Web in 1991. But if today’s Web3 evangelists are to be believed, there’s plenty of race left to run. In fact, these forward-thinking technologists have a vision of the internet that completely transforms the medium, turning a largely centralized web into an interconnected lattice of decentralized software protocols.
According to its proponents, this natural evolution of the internet will be fairer and more democratic; a domain where users exercise control over their own identity and data, rather than the familiar Big Tech overlords. A place where transactions are private, permissionless and secure by default, and where communities of like-minded people can flourish.
Make no mistake, there are thousands of talented people working to advance the latest iteration of the internet, from product designers and cryptographers to computer scientists and consensus engineers. For our money though, the following bright minds should be on your radar if you want to better acquaint yourself with the weird and wonderful world of Web3.
Sam Bacha (Manifold)
Sam Bacha is the big brain behind Manifold Finance, a multi-protocol middleware solution that helps users leverage Miner Extractable Value (MEV) to profitable effect. In a previous life Bacha was a financial analyst at Amazon, an experience that doubtless motivated him to exit Bezos’ Death Star and cross to the decentralized side of the street. After a stint as an MEV researcher, he has turned Manifold into a veritable Web3 powerhouse, one that gives traders the ability to privatize their transactions into a layer-2 scaling solution. With privacy likely to be a key battleground in Web3, Bacha is a force for good.
Charles Read (Rarestone Capital)
As a founding partner of serial Web3 investment firm Rarestone Capital, Charles Read has helped dozens of promising startups get off the ground, from blockchain-powered games like Galaxy Fight Club and Solice to DeFi index platform Pollen. An avid gamer turned crypto investor/NFT collector, Read is one of the best-connected names in the industry, regularly featuring at conferences and acting as a close advisor to high-net-worth individuals. The 29-year-old is currently working on a podcast and trailing a documentary crew around Dubai, where he recently participated in the 2022 Crypto Fight Night.
Sandeep Nailwal (Polygon)
Sandeep Nailwal is the co-founder of Ethereum scaling platform Polygon, whose software stack includes a privacy-focused Rollup (Nightfall) and a self-sovereign identity solution (Polygon ID). This year, the Indian entrepreneur and software developer raised $50m for a new venture fund, Symbolic Capital, which is dedicated to bootstrapping early-stage Web3 ventures. Given the preponderance of Polygon-based dApps that now exist, as well as Nailwal’s almost fanatical commitment to unlocking Web3’s potential, he was a lock for this shortlist.
Alex Gedevani (Delphi Digital)
Alex Gedevani has had a productive last two years, working his way up from Research Analyst to Ventures Associate at prolific investment and consulting firm Delphi Digital. In earning his stripes as a researcher during DeFi summer and beyond, Gedevani became an indispensable asset for the New York firm, as well as those who had the sense to follow his musings on social media, where he has posted an exhaustive list of over 250 projects across multiple NFT verticals. “It’s time to pay attention to the building blocks that will set the foundation for the next wave of users,” says Alex. Amen.
Matthew Gould (Unstoppable Domains)
Unstoppable Domains is an Ethereum startup that creates NFT domains which serve as a user’s cryptocurrency address, login to the decentralized web, and universal username. Big boss Matthew Gould has been instrumental to the company’s success, with the serial entrepreneur having overseen 300+ integrations and 2.4 million domains registered since 2018. In July of this year, the fast-growing domain name provider reached unicorn status with a valuation of $1 billion. In building a vital piece of Web3 infrastructure, Gould is destined to be at the very heart of Web3 over the coming years.
Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.