Does Web3 infrastructure even matter if there are no apps?

Framework Ventures’ Spencer and Anderson say the apps are coming, they just won’t look like Web2’s “form factor”

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Rob Nazh/Shutterstock modified by Blockworks

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“Everyone’s building infrastructure. No apps,” says Jason Yanowitz.

“There’s a lag in between infrastructure and apps,” Mike Ippolito replies, “where you actually need good ‘infra’ to build the apps.”

The relationship between Web3 infrastructure and application development resembles the chicken-egg problem, Ippolito says on the Bell Curve podcast (Spotify/Apple). “To build good apps, you need infrastructure that will support those apps. But ultimately, the infrastructure should be in service of the apps.”

Ippolito explains that, as of now, the industry seems to be lacking “that one thing” — an application with product market fit that drives infrastructure development — but it’s coming.

“What you’re starting to see,” Ippolito says, “is really good entrepreneurs building a product, like an app, and then supporting infrastructure around it.”

Ippolito sees this happening in layer-2 development with the example of zkSync Era, where a stack will allow for application-specific environments using a variety of modular components. “Here are all the components. And if you want to change some stuff, you could build it custom, the way you need it, too.”

Yanowitz adds the example of the DEX Infinex, built to operate on the Synthetix protocol. “They’ve built the protocol for liquidity here. And now they’re also building Infinex,” a front end app that offers a more intuitive interface for decentralized trading.

The Web3 form factor

It’s a matter of perspective, according to the co-founder of Framework Ventures Vance Spencer. “Would you call liquid staking an app? Would you call stablecoins an app?”

“I would probably call those ‘money apps’ in some ways.”

Spencer suggests the applications are coming, but might not fit the prototypical Web2 model. Most people expect Web3 applications and infrastructure to parallel what they have experienced in the Web2 environment, he says. “People want us to build photo-sharing on-chain and that’ll be a killer app,” he says. “It’s just not really the form factor of the technology.”

“We see a lot of apps getting funded,” Spencer says. “We see a lot of infrastructure at the conferences, but there’s a ton of games and weird consumer apps that are raising rounds.”

The applications are “definitely coming,” according to co-founder of Framework Ventures Michael Anderson. In the current market cycle, he says, many builders have already been funded and are in the process of developing their applications, he says. “There are tons of games that have been funded in our building,” he says.

“But if you’re starting a new game from scratch right now, and you need to get some seed capital to get off the ground, or you need to be able to build a team of 50 to build the game, it’s going to be incredibly difficult.”

It’s a “terrible time to be raising [funds] for an app,” Anderson says, “because you have to be able to prove success and you have to be able to prove usage, to get the valuation that you had last time, or to be able to raise any capital whatsoever.”

“Infrastructure can get funded right now, whereas apps are having a tough time,” he says.


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