The NFT.NYC 2022 conference took place on June 20-23, 2022 in New York. For the occasion, more than 15,000 people stormed Times Square to talk about NFT, wallet, blockchain, metaverse and more generally Web3. The fact that the event happened at a time when the crypto-currency market is experiencing a strong decline helped to refocus the debate on the long term and the sustainability of this new paradigm.
Why Web3? What problem is it supposed to solve? How do we onboard users in this new environment? What new opportunities does it create for users, creators and brands? And above all, how can we prepare for the next 100 million or even billion Web3 users and thus become mass market?
All these questions were discussed during the conference. Discover some of the answers to better understand this new evolution of the Web!
The Wallet is the new SSO
Everything starts with a Wallet in this new ecosystem, which is our new SSO and corresponds to our Web3 identity. It is personal and the user is the sole owner.
In other terms, whereas today we can ask Facebook to issue a new password if we have lost ours, we will have no one to ask in Web3. The control of our identity therefore comes with a stronger responsibility that we are not used to on the web anymore.
Indeed, the movement's philosophy behind Web3 is directly related to the issue of digital sovereignty: how to return full ownership of the data to the users, data that we so easily shared with the Web2 giants.
So how do we move from a situation where we are the product to a situation where we own part of the product, aligning the interests of the users and the people building this new ecosystem? Web3 answers this question with NFTs, the famous certified and non-fungible digital assets that address this ownership issue.
User onboarding, a key success factor for Web3
"You have to embrace the technology, but don't talk about it!"
This advice came up many times during the conference and underlines the fact that blockchain technology is too often put in the foreground, while the user is actually more interested in the value and exclusivity they will be able to get from the services and experiences created in this new environment. People are buying a product not a technology. Thinking about the user journey to simplify the steps necessary to onboard users appears to be a strategic responsibility for brands and platforms.
Indeed, this technological complexity is today one of the main obstacles to converting Web2 users into Web3 users. This is why several companies such as Arianee or Cohort specialize in creating digital platforms based on NFTs to help brands engage their communities in this new world via simplified onboarding, one of the keys to success.
Finally, as many speakers have mentioned, Web3 will have succeeded when we can no longer say we are using a blockchain-based solution. In short, a Web2-like look and feel based on blockchain technology.
"Utility", the current buzzword for NFTs
NFTs: real user engagement and reward tools or purely speculative objects with no real use?Indeed, we often talk more about the economics(i.e. "token economics") of NFTs than about the unique and exclusive experience they can offer when they are well thought out.
And this is where the second pillar of the Web3 movement's philosophy takes on its full meaning: it is an economy founded for and around creators.
After being able to regain control of his identity via his Wallet, the user can use it to acquire an NFT, whether it was offered to him or whether he bought it. This NFT then becomes a passport to an exclusive experience: access to a VIP status for future events - the famous NFT-gated events -, or the purchase of a work of art in order to support a musician or an athlete looking for new ways to earn money.
Be careful though, if you decide to take action and buy an NFT, make sure you know what you are buying. Is it an NFT hosted on a blockchain (i.e. on-chain) where all the information is stored in a secure and permanent way? Or is it an "off-chain" NFT stored outside the blockchain, usually in the cloud and therefore presenting a number of risks of ownership and availability that should not be minimized! (To read more about this: https://art.haus/on-chain-nfts-and-why-theyre-better)
From passive follower to active supporter
Through this new model, the user changes his status from passive follower, whose browsing time is monetized by Web2 platforms, to active supporter in direct link with his "hero" in a logic of collaboration and value creation.
In Web 2, I follow my favorite athlete online, I like or comment on his posts.
In Web 3, I can invest in him and participate in his career.
In itself, this mindset is really similar to the Kickstarter-type crowdfunding model where early backers invest to support projects they believe in in return for benefits and rewards.
The philosophy therefore already exists, but the fact of freeing oneself from intermediaries, of creating a direct link and therefore of reducing commission costs by half are all elements that the Web3 and the blockchain allow today.
Some things change, others will never change.
What are the interests of my clients? How to engage them and live unique experiences with them?
Fortunately, brands did not wait for Web3 to ask themselves these questions. But what makes this approach even more attractive and virtuous today is the possibility to really keep control of your data and develop an exclusive one-to-one relationship with your community. There is no risk here of having built a community of 100K followers on Instagram and only reaching 5% of it organically.
When building a new CRM program from scratch, doing it on the blockchain rather than through walled garden platforms offers real benefits.
What does not change, however, is the need to communicate and interact with it. The first Facebook community managers of the 2009s are now succeeded by the Discord community managers!
Another function, which will also develop on the Web3 side, is the customer support for e-commerce sites. Indeed, with Web3, problems of fraudulent or unsuccessful payments will always be present and ensuring that brands accompany their customers in this new playground will be essential for mass adoption.
The new Omnichannel
Web3 and NFTs are a new channel for brands to understand and explore. Being omnichannel in the Web3 era for a brand means being present in the physical world, continuing to be present in the "traditional" digital world and becoming omnichannel in the metaverse, like Gucci with its Gucci Vault, which is launching into Web3 within the Sandbox platform in order to develop a showcase for its NFT drops in the metaverse.
Ok, but then where to start?
Are you ready to launch your first NFTs drop and want to let as many people know as possible?
Take the time to thoroughly validate your concept. Especially for brands, if the goal is only to be in the trend of the moment, the risk is to miss the subject and therefore the potential real connection you could build with your community.
If on the other hand, your project is well thought out, follow the guide!