For better Or For Verse Focus 22: Web 3.0 and Metaverse

By Madhura Moulik - CEO & Co-Founder at Skilfinity

An Off-White sneaker, Burberry trench coat, ripped Diesel denim, day-date green dial Rolex, on a virtual body with 4% fat – This is how my digital avatar will look in the Metaverse of Web3.0.

NFT and crypto loaded…and Vain!

Yeah, well, we will see.

Before my smugness ruins the read, let me switch mode in this web 2.0 world, and tell you, true to my profession as a marketer, I have successfully integrated all the keywords in the first paragraph for this piece.

Welcome to the grand start of a better (debatable) verse. It will be meta and decentralized. Sustainable..umm, not from the start, but we will get there eventually!

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Catch Focus 22: Web 3.0 and Metaverse

In 2020, we all witnessed unknown hysteria. 2021, sobered up with hopeful contemplation, and I anticipate 2022 will be about brands taking that blazing leap headlong into digital.

But what is the difference between the previous generation i.e web 2.0 vs web 3.0?

Driven by three core layers of innovation: mobile, social and cloud, Web2 is the internet version as we know. An internet dominated by companies like Facebook (now meta), Google, Airbnb, Uber, Amazon, among others, that provide services as a swap for your personal data.

Web3 on the other hand, leaps forward to be a decentralized and democratized network, that runs on the blockchain. It will allow anyone to participate without monetizing personal data, on the technology pillars of edge computing, decentralized data networks and artificial intelligence.

Practical examples:

  1. Social media giants can redact or permanently suspend any account in the current world, but Web3’s decentralized control won’t allow it.
  2. Unlike now, payment apps in Web3 won’t require any personal data and can’t prevent payments.
  3. If down, creator or gig-economy applications affect the worker’s compensation. In the web3 world, a decentralized, secure network of thousands of computers in the backend won’t fail to halt the system.

And Metaverse?

Metaverse (“meta” — means “beyond’) is a digital extension of our current existence within this universe. Within the Metaverse, we will live, socialize, and work – albeit virtually – going beyond the limits of our physical world.

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So like the casual Friday wind-down zoom meetings?

More than that!

During the pandemic, remote collaboration became the contingent. After almost 24 months, although we are getting better at it, it still isn’t as immersive and engaging.

Now picture this, being in a virtual – office space, gaming parlour, auditorium or a lecture hall – navigating through colleagues, friends and fellow students in a 360-degree fashion, interacting with life-like avatars of each individual?

You can do this all and more in the Metaverse powered by blockchain applications such as cryptocurrencies, content tokenization, NFTs, decentralized finance (DeFi) et.al.

Ok, great, so Metaverse experience in web 3.0 using blockchain is the future! Sounds fab, but there are challenges, right? What is the catch?

Catch..no…but several challenges for this to be real and reach its full potential.

  • Accessibility of advanced digital technologies: There are several technologies and standards/protocols that are commercially available to implementers, but the lack of integration in modern web browsers makes Web3 less accessible to most users. Also, being graphically intensive, both Web3 and Metaverse are heavily dependent on reliable data transmission speed, which isn’t accessible to a number of people around the world yet.
  • Ain’t Cheap: To bring all the required technologies to the masses, it would need heavy infrastructure investments and solid commitment from all quarters. Currently, most successful dapps host very small portions of the code on the blockchain. This is mainly to keep the expenses low.
  • Then comes education and experience: With all the novel and sophisticated technology to create an app, sure comes with a steep learning curve. Although we all know change is the essence of life, admit it – it takes a lot to alter minor life routines. Thus the upskilling part will sure be a hurdle to adoption, giving first movers a considerable advantage.
  • Scalability limitations: Decentralized is great, but not as fast as we would want it to be yet. Slower propagation throughout the network, obviously leads to slower adoption.
  • Perception vs reality: Well, potentially, I can represent myself however I want in the Metaverse, but it may not be accurate. In this world where we struggle with online identity, body positivity and gender biases, we have to be careful around representations, especially for the sake of the young and impressionable generation. The incumbents of web2.0 warn, this may lead to erode human relationships and the society at large as we know it.
  • The baggage of existing privacy and security issues: In the recent past the cumulative concerns on privacy and security by the search and social media platforms will have long-lasting doubts on future iterations of these advanced tech. Thus spilling over the controversies and criticisms on web3 applications and the metaverse. Ofcourse, until new can of worms are opened as a natural side-effect of such evolution!

huh! Okay…but..next?

It is more positive than you think. Some markets—like finance, gaming, art and software—are already seeing the impacts. Others may take a few years.

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As my imagination runs wild, I suppose the following should or already have made its first cut in the B2B space:

1. Virtual products and services

Nike, Adidas, Ralph Lauren, Balenciaga have already leaped into the world of crypto collectibles. From acquiring businesses like studio RTFKT (pronounced ‘Artifact’) who have the advanced tech to enable the brand lift their game, to launching special collections on Roblox, these fashion first movers are affirming the tech trends.

Products are obvious, but services?

Sure!

How about SLA smart contracts? No more empty promises eh! now you can back your ‘100% up-time’ promise with the trust of blockchain.

2. Event galore

Heard of Decentraland? It is a Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO), powered by the Ethereum blockchain. It is community-developed, 3D virtual reality platform that lets users create virtual buildings such as art galleries, casinos, even concert halls. Host events, meeting, use your virtual property/venue as you would in the real world!

Never know, your may meet your next boss chilling at a Decentraland theme park, seated next to you and yelling at that almost 180 degree drop of the insanity rollercoaster!

3. Awards, loyalty and advocacy

Creator coins (explore Rally.io) more flexible than air miles, and definitely more valuable and easily tradable than loyalty points.

Word-of-mouth is your thing? Check out – Attrace. It uses tokens to incentivize product referees and logs each transaction on the blockchain, so every click is tracked.

4. Charity and awareness

Plenty uses cases in this segment, especially cause these heavy techs consume resources and are not best optimized for the environment yet. What is the best way to reverse effect (other than not executing it) – charity and diverting all proceeds towards a good cause – raise awareness.

A lot of Web 3.0 and Meta plays are very much in the novelty zone with plenty of opportunities to harvest the crazy bounties.

My advice as a marketer: – Warm up to this fast-moving and exciting evolution of new immersive experiences for your audience. There is no doubt in my mind that your industry and your discipline will be re-engineered by blockchain and Web3 – the two tech visions for this decade – 2030. Are you ready?

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