It feels like a lifetime ago that I sat inside the opulent Liverpool City Hall, scratching dandruff out of my beard and waiting to be allowed into a job fair. It was one of the hottest days of the year and I was feeling the pressure. If it didn’t work out, if I didn’t get any interviews out of it - I’d be leaving the big city for good and heading back to the old country to watch Countdown with my Mother every afternoon until I died. I’d never go anywhere interesting, I’d never have a real job, I’d never get married, I’d -
“Andrew? Yes, go right on through.“
I headed inside. And, thankfully, came away with a few decent opportunities. One of them in particular caught my eye. A six month placement with Peepl - the largest publicly funded Blockchain company in Europe. A chance to work at the ground floor of a trendy start-up operating in the coolest part of Liverpool: The Baltic Triangle. I’d never heard of Peepl, my understanding of Blockchain was minimal - but I’d wanted to work in the Baltic for years; I thought it would impress women at bars.
Not long later, I was lying my way through a job interview - I wanted that placement.
“Oh, yeah, of course. I’m very familiar with blockchain - who isn’t?” A lie.
“Yes, very into cryptocurrencies - Bigcoin? Thereum? The future.” A lie.
“Web 3.0?” I paused. “Well, it’s the strongest film in the trilogy.“
Close to nine months later and Web 3.0 is a part of my daily life. It’s all everyone in the office talks about. Web 3.0 this, Web 3.0 that. I have a badge on my work backpack that reads ‘Web 3.0 Is Going Great!’ - a reference to the website and Twitter account ran by Molly White citing Web 3.0’s countless scams, grifts and failures.
Even the most optimistic champions of Web 3.0 can see that plenty of once heralded ‘Next Big Things’ end up as laughing stocks on White’s website. Web 3.0 is bullshit, a lot of people are coming to believe. It’s a scam, it’s a ponzi scheme, it’s a buzzword designed to attract investors.
We talk about that site a lot in the workplace. With so many badly led, malicious or foolish ventures in the Web 3.0 space - how can we as an organisation avoid falling into those same pitfalls?
Firstly, we’re not a grift. Ownership of Peepl Ltd is limited at 2%, this project won’t make any of us super-wealthy elites and we don’t want it to. The Peepl project was always intended to keep cashflow within local communities, not leave them holding the bag while CEOs jettison away with their earnings to the moon.
Secondly, we’re not a buzzword. Peepl is a part of the real world - today. Funded in large part by the people of Liverpool, we’ve embedded ourselves in the city’s community, getting to know restaurant owners, performers, drag queens and journalists along the way. We want to be part of communities, and we’re working to help one right now. We never wanted to be a digital-only company, we wanted to enact real change in real places that matter.
And thirdly, we’re real people. We’re not con artists or anonymous NFT avatars. We’re a group of people with families and hobbies trying to improve the city in which we live. Web 3.0 may be bullshit, some days it feels like it is - but ordinary people helping and participating in their communities isn’t, and that’s what Peepl is striving for.