Step inside the House of Web3, a new crypto clubhouse in San Francisco’s Presidio, and it’s like entering into an upscale Airbnb listing in Joshua Tree.
Mmmm. Nothing like the scent of $40 Aesop hand soap to get your creative juices flowing!
What is web3, you ask? It’s a term for online websites and apps built on top of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. Its champions say that because blockchains are decentralized, web3 technology enables content creators to own their own content, rather than unwittingly sign over rights to their content when creating on web giants like TikTok or Instagram.
The House of Web3, which opened Thursday, is the brainchild of cryptocurrency firm Edge & Node. The company, which has about 60 remote employees, says emphatically that the House of Web3 is not a co-working space, but a “co-creation space” where web3 denizens can work on projects together. Edge & Node came up with the idea during Covid when company leaders realized that despite operating a firm that was enabling digital connectivity, their employees craved in-person collaboration.
The decor at the House of Web3 is solidly millennial-chic, with rattan lampshades, softly neutral pillows and poufs, and typography artwork with words like “Love” and “This is Art.” The boho design is no coincidence: Noelle Becker Moreno of Edge & Node, who designed the House of Web3, formerly worked at vacation rental giant Airbnb, where she helped determine the interior design requirements for the upscale “Airbnb Plus” category.
“We wanted people to walk in and say, ‘I feel like I can breathe better,’” Moreno said.
The company is still working out how membership will work, and says that it will require an application that demonstrates some contribution to the web3 ecosystem. Members will be able to bring collaborators into the space and use its facilities, which include an auditorium that seats 150 and a video-recording studio. Membership will likely be in the form of blockchain-based NFTs. NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, are digital bits that can represent ownership of something in the real world, such as membership to the House of Web3.
But wait, didn’t all the crypto people leave San Francisco for Miami? San Francisco was once the hub of cryptocurrency. Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin had some of his coding epiphanies in the Presidio, and Silk Road operator and notorious darknet drug lord Ross Ulbricht was apprehended at the San Francisco Public Library. But Miami wrested the cryptocurrency crown from San Francisco during Covid and cryptocurrency entrepreneurs made hating on SF a sport.
Turns out, not everybody has left. At the House of Web3’s opening party on Thursday, 75 or so mostly male crypto entrepreneurs mingled, drinking champagne and eating charcuterie.
Edge & Node says the firm still believes in San Francisco, and it wants the House of Web3 to be a reason to come to San Francisco.
“We’re believers that human connection is important,” said Rodrigo Coelho, Edge & Node’s chief of staff. “As much as we like to say we are all about online interaction, you build relationships and friendships in person, and we want this to be a place where people can come and collaborate.”