The definition of Web3 is still up for debate. However, one consensus among experts is that the third generation of the Internet is one that is decentralized. And based on conversations at Forbes’ recent Digital Assets & Web3 Summit, this paradigm shift is all about giving people power over platforms. (See below to watch.)
From bitcoin to blockchain and NFT to cryptocurrency, this next generation of the web is also seeing faster adoption rates with many brands buying in. Industries like retail and healthcare are already making connections, and even the music industry is throwing their tokens into the ring, as reported by Forbes’ Michael del Castillo.
But is Web3 and the metaverse all just a trend? Will we ever completely move away from Web2 and fully enter Web3? As we heard from one speaker at last month’s Summit, “I think the great answer is that we don’t know, and that’s super exciting for anyone who really enjoys experimentation,” said Kathleen Breitman, Cofounder of Tezos.
What we do know is that there are four critical conversations that marketers need to have in their organizations to deliver on Web3 today—and prepare for whatever comes tomorrow.
1. On Data Ownership
As Nikil Viswanathan, Cofounder & CEO of Alchemy and Forbes Fintech 50 lister points out at Forbes’s Digital Assets and Web3 Summit, “one of the defining properties about the decentralization of Web3 is that your data is open and can be moved to any application […] No one can cut off access to that data, and no one can censor or control it.”
According to Viswanathan, we can expect to see centralized entities, such as companies or organizations, create products that interact with that data source, but they will not control it themselves. “I think that’ll be the difference between a Web2 company and a Web3 company in the future,” says Viswanathan. In this context, the conversation marketers need to have is what opportunities can you find in this new level of data ownership?
Speaking of ownership, Forbes subscribers have first-access to own their own Virtual NFT Billionaire. This is a first of its kind NFT project for the media industry, and an important experiment for Forbes in this emerging Web3 space. The collection includes a set of fictional investors with enormous theoretical portfolios and virtual net worth based on live NYSE pricing. Get all of the details.
2. On Innovation
With new core capabilities added to the Internet comes huge business opportunities for companies. “Web3 complements Web2—and Web2 companies leveraging Web3,” said Nick Sullivan, the head of research at Cloudflare at Forbes’ Summit. “Whether we’ll move to a completely Web3 world, that’s yet to be seen—or there may be other technologies that subsume it. For now, we’re in the innovation phase.”
This innovation phase isn’t just piquing the interest of brands, gamers and artists either. Investors want in on the action too. A Forbes survey found that over half of high-net-worth investors indicated that themed investments in disruptive technologies (such as blockchain) are of great interest.
“Web3 is like the Newtonian days of physics—where almost anything you do is novel and interesting—and it’s pushing the boundaries of technology forward,” adds Viswanathan. So the question becomes, does your company value innovation? Then now is the moment to experiment on Web3.
3. On Differentiation
There likely won’t be one go-to metaverse, but a variety of different metaverses, verticals and even cities. As a marketer, you may wonder where you should be looking? But this may be the wrong question to ask.
“The metaverse is really about connecting societies,” explains Yat Siu, the cofounder and executive chairman of Animoca Brands at Forbes’ Summit, “we think of it almost like nation-building.” Siu went into an example of why someone may choose to live in New York vs. Hong Kong vs. Vienna.
To Siu, it’s about the network effect. Is that region intellectual? Is it about family? Business? Relationships? Or opportunities? So, the real question marketers need to ask is how can you add value to any metaverse—and impact its society.
(A good example of differentiation was reported by Forbes’ Marty Swant after this year’s Super Bowl LVI with brands like Frank’s RedHot and Bud Light making an impact.)
4. On Adoption
The first iteration of the web, Web 1.0, was “defined by simple static websites, and the next stage, otherwise known as Web 2.0, dominated by user-generated content and social media,” explains del Castillo. And if you remember, it took brands a while to find their voice on Web2. But with Web3? Everyone wants to have their voice heard, and 41% of CxOs say their organizations’ investments in blockchain will increase over the next two years, according to the Forbes Growth Survey 2.0.
MetaMask Institutional, a sponsor of the Digital Assets & Web3 Summit, has been seeing the adoption rates daily too. “It’s not really a question of will institutions access the space,” starts Johann Bornman, MetaMask Institutional’s product lead. “It’s already happening […] and we’ve seen far more traditional organizations enter the space—whether it’s sports franchises or luxury brands. ”
So the conversation starter for marketers is: how do you want to be heard? Or better yet, how can you start a meaningful conversation in the metaverse?
Watch next: Forbes Digital Assets and Web3 Summit Replay
In March, Forbes convened business leaders working at the forefront of the metaverse to discuss how to formulate a roadmap for metaverse-readiness in partnership with Microsoft and Publicis Sapient during the Unlocking Opportunity in the Metaverse event.
As a global technology leader, Microsoft enables digital transformation for the era of the intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. The company’s expertise and mission made them an ideal partner for an event on the transformation of the Internet.
Two of the speakers at the virtual event likened the metaverse to a digital place where people can live and do real-life things. This kind of framing implies that businesses should know how to effectively engage with customers, clients and employees in this virtual sphere—and that’s only the beginning.
One of the speakers, Roxanne Iyer, the vice president of global consumer engagement at Clinique, expertly summed up why the metaverse is a marketer’s dream.
“Consumers are there and engaged. The elusive Gen Z spends so much time in the metaverse, it reminds me of the early days of social media […] Your competitors are still not there, the industry is catching up, and you have a chance to step out and forge a path forward.”
Read also: The Impending Birth Of The Metaverse And Why You Should Care
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