In today’s Q&A, we sit down with Anjali Young, the dynamic Co-Founder and CCO of Abridged Inc. With three decades of experience working in online communities, Anjali has donned many hats, from a creator and leader in the digital realm to a lawyer and an adjunct professor. As the DAO Officer for Collab.Land, she’s at the forefront of ushering in a new era of Web3 projects, ensuring they thrive in a nurturing environment. Notably, Young is also one of a select few luminaries on the Salesforce Web3 Advisory Board and mentors at TachyonX, backed by Consensys Mesh.
Join us as we discuss a wide range of topics with Anjali Young, among them the transformative role of Web3 communities, the pressing need for diversity and inclusion in the crypto realm, the harmonious integration of crypto’s foundational principles with mainstream interests, the exciting convergence of NFTs and AI, and the future trajectory of community engagement in the ever-evolving digital landscape.
Having witnessed the progression of online communities over three decades, in what ways do you see Web3 communities influencing global conversations differently from their predecessors? How do these changes impact our understanding of art, culture, and community?
Most digital communities fade after some time. The ones that last either have very strong relationship bonds or have some form of financial value accrual. When community members acquire tokens or NFTs, they become more than just observers. They are vested participants, who have a vested interest in the future of the project. This has never been possible online before the advent of smart contracts.
The crypto world is at times seen as not being as diverse as other sectors. Given your advocacy for D&I and your expertise in the field, could you shed light on how the landscape is evolving? What are some proactive steps being taken by platforms like Collab.Land to champion inclusivity?
When we talk about diversity in crypto, we need to think across the full spectrum of participants. Crypto is not only popular in the West, but has global adoption. Out of the top five countries, four are Asian countries. That being said, women are still lacking in positions of leadership, on Web3 teams, and on panels at conferences. It’s not unusual to go an entire day without seeing another woman, aside from the women on my team.
Let’s welcome more women, hire more women, and promote more women. As far as promoting inclusivity, Collab.Land is currently available for free and has a steadfast commitment to always providing a free version.
As the crypto realm continues to grow and interact with traditional entities, there’s an ongoing discussion about retaining its core values. From your vantage point, how can the foundational principles of crypto be harmoniously integrated with mainstream interests, especially when collaborating with major brands?
Traditionally, digital assets could be easily copied and shared without a clear indication of original ownership. With NFTs, digital art, music, or any form of digital creation has the uniqueness akin to a physical good. Blockchain technology grants genuine ownership in the digital realm, something that was not possible before. Additionally, the importance of provenance cannot be understated; being able to trace who each token belonged to adds layers of value and history.
In the community context, there is a shared ownership that can embody shared values or the shared vision of the artist. Also the same scarce digital asset, the art itself, can be used for governance, a future reward, or access.
With the broader cultural narrative now gravitating towards the expansive possibilities of Web3 and the emergence of artificial intelligence and AI-generated content, how do you envision the role and evolution of NFTs in this intertwined digital frontier?
Since both NFTs and AI are natively digital, they will merge. Since remixing is part of Internet culture, we will see new forms of scarce digital assets combined with the creative expression that AI unlocks whether it is text, still image, audio or video and games. We will soon see NFT communities using AI for creative expression.
Collab.Land stands at the intersection of tech and community interactions in the Web3 space. Given the technological advancements and the rise of new platforms, where do you see community engagement heading in the next five years? How might emerging technologies further shape these interactions?
Communities are not going away, humans have a fundamental desire to connect with each other. Online, this connection can be augmented by stores of value like NFTs or ways of expression through the advancements of AI. In the next five years, we will see new forms of online communities emerge that solve problems that we thought were unsolvable. It will also create new, unanticipated problems that we can not yet comprehend.