Sheila Lirio Marcelo and Kevin Yang, through Metacrafters.io, are offering up the opportunity to learn to code for Web3 while earning at the same time
Learning through play is a concept we all grew up with. From the basic educational toys at home to interactive games in class, it was the best way to keep learning fun and interesting at any age. So, it wasn’t surprising when learning through play became such a hit in the digital world. When the pandemic came, schools even had to move online and all of learning was done through screens. Proof of Learn Inc.’s Sheila Lirio Marcelo and Kevin Yang are taking the concept a little further to advance Filipino web developers into the metaverse through their company’s first project—Metacrafters.io.
Metacrafters is a multiplayer game where Web2 developers can learn to code for Web3 while earning at the same time. “The vision is to really build the leading educational platform in the metaverse, which is being described as sort of the modern virtual world,” Marcelo says. “I have this passion in my heart—we want to make sure that everyone has access to great education online as long as you have internet access. We are going to empower and teach people how to learn in the future.”
Advancing one’s knowledge in a field is often hampered by financial responsibilities. Filipino developers currently working on Web1 and Web2—what Sheila calls the read and read/write phases of the internet—can now take the time to learn and code for Web3 without losing out on their income.
Yang, a Stanford University graduate and bright cryptotechnologist, came from programming in Web2 and finds the work in Web3 exciting, especially with how it opens a lot of possibilities for people in the field. “There are a lot of similarities in coding for Web2 and Web3—of using data structures, using variables, methods, and algorithms,” says Yang. “But what’s different that we have to teach them is that now it’s going to be put on the blockchain. You cannot change it once it’s deployed.”
The talent is here. The smarts are here, but we always tend to prioritize the ‘earn.’ What Kevin and I are envisioning is, why not prioritize both? —Sheila Lirio Marcelo
Now more than ever, web developers have more to create using technology on the internet’s read-write-own era. “You can program money, digital objects—cryptocurrency and NFTs (non-fungible tokens) as another form,” he explains. “So it’s pretty cool. For the first time, as a programmer, wow, I can program money to do different things.”
Answering the demand
The demand for Web3 developers is growing and Proof of Learn wants Filipino developers to have a share of the pie. According to Marcelo, by the end of 2021, there were roughly 80,000 different types of projects in Web3. There are, however, only 200,000 estimated Web3 developers in the world while 32 million are still in Web1 and Web2.
Proof of Learn has also partnered with Yield Guild Games (YGG), a gaming guild that coordinates players around the world to earn crypto-based rewards in play-to-earn games. Together, they’ve launched a pilot program with limited slots. The program will give close to a thousand scholars access to its platform along with curriculum design from top Silicon Valley Web3 developers.
Normally, Metacrafters students will pay tuition for courses, but upon completion will earn it back plus additional rewards. Scholars in the YGG pilot program will have their tuition covered in exchange for sharing a portion of their rewards. Those who complete courses at Metacrafters will be rewarded a Proof of Learn NFT, a permanent, public credential on the blockchain. They also get a Treasure NFT that can be used in the game or sold to another player to earn more.
Through Proof of Learn, Marcelo and Yang are also building an employer platform using the power of blockchain, ensuring jobs for the developers who will complete the course and answering the need for them in the tech world. “Ultimately, the employers really fund the ‘earn model,’” says Marcelo said. “Instead of paying recruiters the fee, we’re removing a lot of the middle layers. We can free up the money instead to actually give it to the crafters—the students.”
Marcelo is no stranger to building successful businesses online. As the founder of Care.com, she helped match families with caregivers. She believes in the role of technology in solving real-world problems, which is why her long career in the industry had her working in mission-driven companies.
But are Filipinos ready to move to Web3 and into the metaverse? Marcelo and Yang definitely think so. Yang reveals that the Philippines is the number one country when it comes to the number of crypto wallet users. “The Philippines is now leading in the adoption of this new frontier of technology. How do we make it so that we also lead in terms of the creation?”
The answer, according to Marcelo and Yang, lies in giving the talent we already have in the country the opportunity to learn. “The talent is here. The smarts are here, but we always tend to prioritize the ‘earn.’ What Kevin and I are envisioning is, why not prioritize both? I can prioritize earning but I can be advanced in my skills as well. If I want to be a Web3 developer I don't have to give up that dream.”