An introduction to the new and expansive Web3 space

If you haven’t heard of Web3 yet, you’re probably living under a rock. It’s in the news all the time, and everyone has been talking about it online for a while now! So what the heck is it?

Web3 is a convenient way to package up the evolution of the internet.

It helps to look at the history of where we’ve come from to understand what this terminology means. We can frame it in a way that makes sense based on the progress of technology and its applications.

The evolution of web technology in simpler terms:

Web1 – Websites (static)
Web2 – Social Media (interactive)
Web3 – Decentralization (connected)

This is how I summarize it to make sense of it all.

Web1 consisted of basic websites and eCommerce. Web2 was the next movement, with social networks and mobile-first becoming the priority. Web3 is still unfolding, starting with headliners like blockchain technology and artificial intelligence pushing the boundaries.

The catalyst for Web3 fundamentally has been the extended development of blockchain technology and putting it to work.

Decentralization

Instead of something hosted within a closed system – think “Facebook” or any other similar platform – the data network moves towards different options. An example would be blockchain technology on a P2P network via dApp – bypassing a traditional centralized authority that usually controls who has access. Does that sound like nonsensical tech speak? Think cryptocurrency (Ethereum), peer to peer (direct) and decentralized application (open source software).

Permissionless

Transparency is leading the way. Again, blockchain is an excellent example of this. Data of transactions are stored on a public network easily accessible by anyone to see. It’s simply a record of information. There is no authority in place to meddle with who can do what. Updates are reflected live for all to review.

Connectivity

Dependency on traditional models of hardware and software is less apparent. Signing and accessing things via a unique wallet address is a straightforward way of directly doing something without limitations. Security becomes the primary focus for keeping identity unique, anonymous and safe.

Artificial Intelligence

The options and applications are endless, whether using AI for generating concepts, ideating, or even creating text. Live chat with virtual assistants, creating website copy or creating randomly generated artwork based on defined parameters are excellent use cases we’ve seen out there in the wild already.

What does it mean for your business?

Consider how you might be able to apply Web3 technology for your benefit and your customers.
Do you need to utilize Web3 for your company? Maybe, maybe not. Don’t do it to feel like you’re hip with the new kids in town. Web1/2 is still very much alive. Think of it as layers on top of one another.

Web3 is the gateway to so many opportunities it’s hard not to get tempted and jump right in.
There is a metaverse of people building amazing things.

Brands are finding ways to bridge the gap between Web2 and Web3, you could call it Web2.5 if you’d like. We’ll be seeing a lot of interesting collaborations happening!

While it’s not for everyone, as we’ve learned over time, in general, it’s inevitable and we need to embrace change. It’s happening and it’s here to stay whether or not you like it.

In the least, it serves you to be aware.

Cryptocurrency and your business

Let me preface this by saying this is in no way financial advice. I had to say it.

You may have heard about things like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin (the list goes on) and all sorts of other related things. And more recently – NFTs and the evolution of the next generation of technology, whether you want to call it the metaverse or not.

Some call it Web 3.0; others are calling it a fad. The thing is, it’s already here and gaining momentum.

Is this a passing phase, or does it have real staying power? With volatile ups and downs and fast-paced, ever-evolving trends, it’s hard to keep up with the latest and greatest.

What does it mean for your business?

From a business perspective, how does this affect operations in the near future and what does it mean?

In terms of eCommerce, the implications are simple. Being able to accept transactions online in a digital currency will become a standardized method of payment. It’s already here, and while a few issues are being worked through, it seems like it’s not going anywhere anytime soon.

With companies like PayPal throwing their hat into the ring, it’s only a matter of time before the everyday merchant joins the ranks of these early adopters.

You don’t need to look too far for models that are already in play. In China, there are integrated technologies with WeChat Pay that proves the model works at scale.

Stores already accept payments at physical retail locations; it’s not only happening online.

What sorts of things are out there?

You may have heard of NFTs with popular artists like Beeple selling digital artwork for hundreds of thousands of dollars (or more). He is just one of many in a digital marketplace buying and selling digital artwork. The opportunities are out there.

NFTs like CryptoPunk and Bored Ape Yacht club provide an exclusive membership where you purchase a limited edition avatar and can then resell it later for much more than you bought it for. That’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Why does one trend catch on and another not? It’s hard to say but there are many artists out there now wanting a piece of it and I can’t say I blame them. Today, it certainly helps to have a following. The more eyes on your work, the more chances it will gain momentum but it’s easier said than done.

Digital collectibles make a lot of sense. Arguably, it’s like any other collectible. It just exists in a different context. Ask anyone else and they might not understand why you spent “so much money for a jpeg,” and they are technically not wrong. The medium may not be physical but the message is the same – if there is demand in the market, there is value despite raising a few eyebrows along the way.

It’s a revolution of the perception of physical value that is seemingly hard to quantify when it converts to bits and bytes. Yet here we are.

OK, but is it safe?

Like with any currency, it’s prudent to have a safety and security system in place to help eliminate potential threats. With anything new, it can be scary to dive in. Some dip their toes and say it’s not for them, and that’s fine too.

There is a lot of misinformation out there about Bitcoin’s main purpose as a vessel for fraud and dark web use cases that has little to some truth behind it but also has become sort of a mythological beast on its own.

Right now, for the average Joe, it can feel overwhelming to jump into. The price point for entry is considerably high. Despite being able to buy fractional currencies, knowing when to get in or sell can be daunting unless you’re on team HODL all the way.

Like any gambling or investment, you need to be comfortable with whatever risk you’re willing to take on.

The future is nigh, if not already here

It’s hard not to get excited about the potential for where blockchain technology can take things. And where it already has. Passionate communities with individuals sharing something new for everyone opens up a level playing field for newbies and veterans alike.

For businesses, getting everyday merchants on board will take some time. With companies like Tesla pulling payments for Bitcoin to payment processors like Stripe rethinking things, the main hurdles to overcome are aligning blockchain technology with the right transaction system that has stability.

Timing is everything. The applications are endless but the technology is still fairly new and a lot of people are waiting around for someone else to figure it out.

Until then, enjoy the wild west, try it out if you like to see what works for you and let’s see how this all unfolds. It’s going to be a hell of a ride in the next few years.


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