Web 3.0: lessons learned in history and the opportunities that await
Sanjay Wadhwani is the founder and CEO of MetaFrames, an NFT Platform and Digital Art Studio. He explains the phenomenon of the metaverse and other sophisticated emerging technologies, and how brands can exploit them.
The third generation of the internet (Web 3.0) is a total upgrade with the use of technologies such as blockchain and intelligent processes like artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR) creating immersive experiences, blurring the lines between the virtual and physical sphere.
The result when interacted with the metaverse is a fully decentralised version, built entirely with blockchain. A secure environment not controlled by a single entity and instead putting content creation back into the hands of the creators - not the platform owners - through the likes of digital ownership such as cryptocurrency and the opportunity to buy non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
Learning from our mistakes
The important part now is ensuring that history does not repeat itself by learning from the mistakes made with Web 1.0 and Web 2.0.
The internet originally offered decentralisation and direct connection between the creator and the consumer. What we saw was centralisation creeping back into the hands of an oligarchy of tech businesses monopolising the landscape making it extremely difficult for new and innovative ideas from ordinary people to break through.
Venture capital (VC) has built huge companies like YouTube and Facebook through sheer weight of investment. Making a unicorn has been as easy as this: invest a billion dollars, capture a disproportionate share of the economic value in user content, engagement and data to build a handful of multi-billion dollar businesses and multi-billionaires.
The tech industry’s challenge is to deliver the promise of full decentralisation. This means free and open access to knowledge, a right to privacy and IP and data ownership, and transparency at the very heart.
The opportunities of Web 3.0
Web 3.0 and its related technologies have huge potential to change the face of the internet, presenting ample opportunity, including:
Sophisticated, secure data collection - Web 3.0 will actively and purposefully collect data using the blockchain technology within it meaning data will be decentralised and transparent, have value and meaning.
Enhanced user experience - The online browsing experience will become greatly personalised as Web 3.0 recognises preferences, resulting in a more productive and efficient surfing experience.
Greater accountability - Every transaction will be recorded in the decentralised ledger for all parties involved to see, resulting in businesses being directly accountable to their customers and information not being modified.
Innovation through NFTs - There are already some savvy businesses, artists and creators using them as a new method of reaching audiences in addition to boosting sales of a particular product or service.
Web 3.0 and the metaverse: a match made in heaven
- Web 3.0 is about ownership and control
- Metaverse is about the user experience of the internet.
The metaverse is a combination of VR, augmented reality (AR), gaming, cryptocurrencies and social media; and allows those entering to move between virtual worlds in the form of digital avatars. Each virtual world is a metaverse.
Large brands like Meta and Google are developing applications and tools to be part of this new virtual universe, resulting in a new financial ecosystem based on cryptocurrencies and blockchain.
Although not the same, the technologies of Web 3.0 and the metaverse serve similar purposes and will no doubt overlap in the future. Working side-by-side, the evolution of a metaverse being built upon Web 3.0 is a magical, decentralised combination.
How brands can utilise web 3.0
The community being built is not for fools. Brands will fail if they treat this as a marketing gimmick to earn a quick buck, taking their physical products, digitalising them and offering nothing back to those who buy them in token form. It also doesn’t mean using a celebrity-type figure who has a massive fanbase to launch an NFT collection.
To succeed, brands have to know its customers, the tech, the metaverse and offer real utility and genuine, meaningful experiences. Brands like:
- Nike, who recently partnered with digital design studio RTKFT to release its first-ever official Nike-branded NFT collection of trainers. The collection ‘CryptoKicks’ is being auctioned off as NFTs with some pairs selling for more than $100,000.
- ASICS - one of the early adopter brands in the Web 3.0 space - surprised many with their metaverse success, as they launched their collection of virtual footwear which is currently selling between $11,000 - $17,000. This is a markup on their physical items of around 10,000%.
Of course, not everyone can get it right first time round:
- Apes Kids Football Club NFTs was the partnership of Ape Kids Club and football coach and former player John Terry. The collection was meant to capture the global football market but instead the project saw its value decrease by 90%! Why? The NFT did not offer any utility, games or have a clear and planned roadmap.
- Crockpot NFT was a pile of crock! Off the back of its 50th birthday, the brand dived into the metaverse to reveal new designs and how the business had developed over the years. The problem is that those who currently buy NFTs and hold crypto wallets don’t have an interest in cookware.
Although still in the development phase, Web 3.0 is a pivotal moment in history and its related technologies have the potential to change entire dynamics across businesses, sectors, creatives, and consumers. Done right, it will provide a platform where everyone can create and share in the value generated by this economic activity.