The Street Messengers

What the production and trade of Chinese silk during ancient world history can teach us about connecting the metaverse together.What the production and trade of Chinese silk during ancient world history can teach us about connecting the metaverse together.
Read part 1: https://blog.webaverse.com/the-silk-road/

Today's virtual worlds are like separate digital colonies that barely have any connection to one another. Often they're working on similar things within their own silos. The roads between them have yet to be built.

What we need are the shipping networks and cross continental railways between virtual worlds for identities, ideas, and value to flow, so we can have a 3D Internet.
Source: The Virtual Silk Road

As the first global trade route, the ancient Silk Road greatly sped up development of the entire world. The Street is inspired by the ancient Silk Road in connecting virtual worlds.

The ancient Silk Road was one of the greatest undertakings in human history. (Source)

Perhaps more largely the ancient Silk Road also contributed as a major cultural exchange between civilizations with architectural, philosophical, and religious ideas spreading along routes between the East and the West.

While developing the incentive structures to develop The Street while preaching the gospel of the open metaverse along the way, we believe the digital items and artifacts that we bring between places need to have some deeper meaning than just some random NFTs we minted.

Map of the major exports from each town along the ancient Silk Road. (Source

Having cultural artifacts be instantly recognizable is key when we're stitching together and traversing multiple different platforms and worlds.

Transcendence of Brands

The power of a strong brand can transcend across an entire spectrum of mediums and products and captivate giant audiences for multiple generations. Good brands are easy to identify anywhere because they have consistent recognizable output features.

Take the pictures below, recognize anything?

Hint: It's one of the oldest video game franchises in history
Character design is a bit like designing a logo, it should be instantly recognizable.
Art style and consistency are also ways of creating a recognizable brand

Open Source Brands

An open-source brand is a brand that is largely controlled by customers or users. Wikipedia

Open source brands are a fairly new phenomenon. One example that comes to mind is the Vocaloid community that gave rise to the digital superstar Hatsune Miku. What started as voice synthesizing software in Japan evolved into a peer-production phenomenon, with over 100k songs released and billions of views. Some of the most popular songs by Hatsune Miku are made by anons. When something gets popular enough, the company looks to collaborate and promote, producing holographic concerts that sell out all over the world.

The purest form of open source brands is one that is not controlled by any legal mechanism. An example of this is Bitcoin, an open source technology and brand owned by its users. There's no official headquarters or CEO of Bitcoin you could summon in front of congress.

How might an open source brand guide look like for the decentralized metaverse? What would its main product be? What qualities does it possess? What does it feel like to use it? Would they have any meaning in another world? How do you achieve brand consistency while aiming to stay open and decentralized? What is the story being told?

Answering these questions helps us to figure out the symbols and cultural artifacts we carry with us along The Street that help spread the gospel of connecting the open metaverse together. The kind that we all want to live, work, and play in.

Symbols of the features we want for an interconnected metaverse experience

What are some things you wish you could have or do anywhere? Things that have stuck with us include custom avatars, inventory system, pets, land, wearables, weapons, vehicles, and The Street to link everything together.

We implemented these features in Webaverse using open file formats and standards to be interoperable

Webaverse makes thoughtful technical decisions when implementing the features we desire across the interconnected metaverse in a way that can last a long time, be remixed, and reimplemented in other places. Interoperability is key: digital items and artifacts should have value in multiple virtual worlds.

We've gathered ingredients and are developing a process to co-create more interoperable digital artifacts with you. Understanding how it works takes another look at history.

Proof of (human) work

It's remarkable that Chinese silk fabric was such a popular product that it interconnected the ancient world together. Improved weaving techniques further spread its reputation across ancient empires. Silk even became somewhat used as a currency where the cost of something could be described using lengths of silk as units of measurement like how other societies would use the weight units of gold or silver.

The higher the quality of silk production became, the more desirable it was in the ancient world

Silk doesn't just spawn from nowhere, otherwise the ancient Silk Road would have never been made. It takes a lot of work to produce high quality silk fabric, such as:

  • Planting mulberry
  • Raising silkworms
  • Unreeling silk, making thread
  • Designing and weaving fabric
  • Dying and embroidery

It's interesting to note that the production of silk was kept as an eastern trade secret for centuries. Most people cared about the quality and feeling of the fabric.

When people join the discord we give them SILK to mint their first NFTs. That strategy alone doesn't seem to set the right tone. When people get some SILK they can aimlessly mint whatever. We need to align better and bubble up the good stuff.

Backstory: Our Ethereum sidechain makes transactions free when minting and trading tokens. SILK is an ERC-20 utility token being used to prevent spam when minting NFTs. It's currently invite only (you can only get it from someone else).
SILK tokens are typically gifted between people

We've got a number ideas on how to give SILK a better value by mainly using it to reward mechanism, whether they be financial or creative contributions, such as:

  • Granted for making cool content
  • Unpacked from Webaverse NFTs
  • Airdropped during weekly events
  • Trading NFTs for SILK

This way distributes tokens to actual users and creators of the platform. Value alignment is a powerful thing for a network. It may even provide some incentives for higher quality mints when the SILK is earned.

However, this strategy still leaves things open for people to go in every separate direction when crafting digital objects. Our direction is forwards on The Street, threading a needle between platforms and creators along the way. There needs to be some rules and incentive structures for an open source brand evangelizing the decentralized metaverse to distinguish oneself.

Metaverse Missionaries

The Street into a movement for freedom and prosperity across the metaverse. As we build and cross The Street, we'll meet and attract different types of people with varying skillsets and cultural values that will be exposed to our mission and shared values.

From researching various DAO related discords we boiled down a set of classes that contribute value towards the mission of connecting The Street. These roles include:

  • ğŸŽ¨ Artist: Drawing, modeling, producing music, performing
  • 🔨 Builder: Programming, creating objects, creating spaces
  • ✍️ Scientist: Writing lore, interacting with the AI, meta ideas and planning
  • 🌉 Linker: Connect and greet people, makes intros, helps out with production
  • 📣 Booster: Collecting cards, promoting, streaming

You can select one of these roles when you join our discord server, which others remember each others skill sets and abilities. We're weaving these roles into memes, semiotics, and new digital artifacts to help attract new followers. Learn more.

These symbols represent the different roles taking place in a decentralized organization building an open source brand.

Along the ancient Silk Road there were cities and trade posts. We plan to go to each virtual world to preach the good word, build hubs, and raise monuments to inspire its inhabitants to join us on the journey up The Street.

We won't rest until we have our freedom and that it starts to feel like we're living in the best version of the future. Solarpunk aesthetic seems to capture that the best.

Source: https://www.reddit.com/r/AlignmentCharts/comments/ft6vvy/punk_alignment_chart/ 

Solarpunk emphasizes independence, a regenerative ecosystem, handcrafted vs mass produced, and community. The power of positive-sum thinking with economic incentives steers a more optimistic path for humanity.

Our message is about hope, interoperability, and freedom.

Our journey has just begun.

- jin

Discord: https://discord.gg/R5wqYhvv53
Github: https://github.com/webaverse
Twitter: https://twitter.com/webaverse
Careers: Engineers wanted