Developing a Mental Model for Education in Web3 2/5

2. L2G - Learn to Grow

Tidbits of crypto education are scattered all over the net and often come in the form of quick slides or short videos followed by 3- or 4-way questions to test that the user has actually gone through the content. It is not unusual for this form of education to come with strings attached, meaning that users are being educated about a particular blockchain or project in the context of a promotion or advertising campaign. Coinbase’s Learn & Earn programme raises many red flags in this sense: who chooses what education should be presented and prioritized? What is it supposed to achieve? Probably just airdropping small amounts of coins to as wide an audience as possible. Undeniably, the benefits to the user are limited to the reward received.

Faucets have been and continue to be educational players in this space, albeit indirectly. Some of these websites provide info about crypto and web3 in general and frequently they will represent the first point of contact between newcomers and cryptocurrencies, providing help to setup a digital wallet and allowing people who have never held digital currencies to get started. I must also say that many faucets use external, custodial resources (e.g., wallet aggregators such as Faucetpay) and will often redirect users to centralized destination such as Binance. Faucets were the most rudimentary of onboarding tools and their educational potential is far more limited.

Before we can tackle more solid attempts at dealing with education in web3, we must dispel the very notion of L2E, or Learn-to-Earn, or at least rephrase it in a less misleading way.

First of all, we might be able to connect L2E to previous models in a similar fashion to what we do with gaming but it would definitely be stretching our imagination.

Pay2Play resembles Pay2Learn: gamers were forced to buy games/subscriptions just like students were forced to either buy didactic material and/or pay tuition fees. P2L is basically traditional, institutional education.

Equally, Free2Play could be linked to Free2Learn. Just as game developers started offering games for free with load of micro-transactions, educational institutions online started making part of their formative offer available for free online to attract new students (e.g., FutureLearn). Monetization opportunities for these education providers might come in the form of opening up new paths of learning or unlocking the ability to get a certificate (pre-NFTs minting fees?).

The comparison runs its course at this point. Connecting P2E, a system that is creating real opportunities of wealth creation, to L2E creates the illusion that people will be able to come to educational institutions in Web3 to earn a living. There is clearly a connection there (learn HOW to earn, then got out there and do just that!) but it is not that straightforward. That model would be unsustainable so we should remind ourselves that the real focus here is onboarding to web3 and crypto: once newcomers have acquired the necessary tools to venture in crypto and Web3, the nature of the learning, and consequently the earning, will have to change and adapt to new needs and new things to learn.

I hope this paper will show that applying to education models derived from gaming (Play2Earn = Learn2Earn) is not only an unrealistic outcome, but most importantly an undesirable one. Instead, it would be much more beneficial to talk of L2G (Learn to Grow in crypto) and create the foundations for people to seek L2G as it will open up unlimited opportunities for earning and wealth creation.

Types of users
In this analysis, I will frequently refer to different users of crypto, based on their assumed level and focusing mainly on the first half of the learning curve (starters to intermediate) for evident reasons. Below is a light classification of the different levels:
(knows nothing of crypto but might be opposed/neutral to it)
(has heard of crypto and is open/neutral to it)
• Pre-intermediate
(may have recently bought or received their first token/NFT and is open to crypto)
(has some experience in a single or few areas -mainly DeFi OR blockchain gaming OR NFTs OR DAOs, etc.)

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Web3 and algocratic systems
Web3 and algocratic systems

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