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We are living in a fragmented ecosystem
In the early days of the Internet, various protocols like TCP/IP, HTTP, SMTP, etc. were developed. However, the value generated by these protocols nowadays is largely captured and re-aggregated by top-tier applications such as Facebook, Google, and Microsoft in the form of data. The situation is getting worse when it comes to mobile apps, leading to an extremely fragmented Web2 ecosystem.
The world of the internet has entered into a new period after years of traffic-driven development: monopoly and isolation.
Every tech company is vying for its slice of user attention, putting in its best efforts to capture and capitalize on it. As time goes by, competitors are dwindling, the big companies monopolize users’ data and is de-motivated to share its data or open its APIs with each other. This would largely harm users/third-party developers. When companies like Reddit charge developers with a high unreasonable price, developers have no other choices.
Your parents are on Facebook, you are on Instagram and Snapchat, and your younger sister is on TikTok. Why can’t we view TikTok videos on Facebook and share them with my Facebook friends at the same time? Could I move my friends' list from Twitter to Thread? (Instagram is fine, but… I don’t want all my followers to be acquaintances and all the efforts I put into Twitter were in vain.)
Monopoly and isolation completely against the spirit of the Internet, not only because it’s “evil”, but also because it limits the capabilities of the Internet itself and its potentials in seamless user experiences.
You can never find a "Sign in with Google" button inside any Meta products. The reason behind it is that Meta is afraid of the "service provider lockout" risk from Google. This limit both users' and Meta's choices in log-in experience :(.
Web3 aims to solve the problem by bridging everything with a decentralized public ledger. However, the current Web3 user experience is also fragmented similar to Web2 ecosystem. The following picture is an example of showing how fragmented the login experience in Web3 is today.
User -> Application -> Preference
Today all designs follows the "Application-centric" pattern. The application decides what services it uses and how the user experience looks like.
- 1.For users, they have no options but to use the services/experiences provided by these applications. For web3 users, the auth service provider who normally relies on centralized services to for private key storage and signing increase the risk of provider lockout.
- 2.For applications, they have to take the liabilities not related to their core business(e.g. Account Security/Privacy) since users rely them to protect their data well. Also, applications are not able to know users' preferences outside the application so sometimes they have to integrate a lot of different service providers(e.g. identity providers) to cover enough user base, the engineering cost is significant.
- 3.For auth service provider, they have no direct connection with user and their preferences, and they could only earn profit from SaaS model.
Under this fragmented and application-centric ecosystem, a lot of use cases can't be achieved. The examples are:
Image if you move to another address, you have to update your addresses on your bank account statement, amazon delivery, your government documents, and other service parties. There is no single place to synchronize your new address with one click since every application has its identity system.
Imagine if you are a social media manager, who wants to automate your social media posting. You want the bot would pick up contents from your notion table, then put it into chatGPT to check the grammar and rephrase the sentence, and finally post it to the social media account. This can't be achieved if any of the application in your workflow has restrictions on using their APIs or maybe it does not provide proper APIs.
Imagine if you want to have a personalized trained AI bot, just serving your needs, and giving accurate recommendations based on you. This requires a unified account access to data stored in different applications and auth services. Currently, we only have application-based AI which reads application-based data. Companies like Open-AI is struggling in copyright related lawsuit as well without legit access to user data.
Synchronization, automation and personalization would largely change people's life along with today's development in AI and hardware ecosystem. In next section, we will explain how Hexlink transfer the application-centric model into the new user-centric pattern, to bring a paradigm-shift in user experience.