It is important to understand the basics of Web3, blockchain, NFTs, and the metaverse before you can talk to clients or partners. To best assist your clients, learn more about Web3 technologies! Unsurprisingly, I am often asked “What’s Web3?” a lot these day. Also “What happened with blockchain?” “What is the metaverse?” and “Are NFTs legitimate?”
Let me ask you a second question before we answer these questions: Why should you care? MSPs, technology vendors and integrators will be required to deal with Web3, metaverses, NFTs, and other issues. (which I will group under “Web3 technology” from now on).
Your client asks you, “What is Web3? (or metaverse, NFT?, etc.)?” To maintain your credibility with your client, you will need to be well-informed.
Customer says “I want to do some thing in Web3”. What can we do? You will need to discuss with the customer how their request fits into their business goals, model, roadmap, etc. and where Web3 can help them.
One of their customers or business partners requires your client to join a decentralized (i.e. blockchain or Web3) system. You will need to be able to quickly support your client. This may include setting up a blockchain node, connecting to blockchain wallets, and so forth.
Let me now answer the questions above as best I can.
What is Web3?
Web3 is still a mystery. Web1 and Web2 were only recently used. We are likely to be years or even decades away from understanding what Web3 is. This is most likely because we are at the edge of Web4. There is a implication that each iteration of the web replaces the previous. This is false. Each iteration added more functionality and features to the previous one.
This graphic is one way to see it. Web1 was essentially a one-way communication, from website owners to the general public. It was primarily informational (Wikipedia and webzines, etc.). There was no feedback loop. Web2 has added two-way communication that allows for feedback, ecommerce, content uploading and monetization. It is centralized, with power concentrated in very few monolithic corporations who can change affiliate programs at will. This is evident by the criticisms levelled against YouTube. Web3 will allow creators not only to own their content but also their revenue streams, turbocharging the Creator Economy. While some Web2 companies already do this, they retain control. Trend WatchWhat Happened to Blockchain?
Well, nothing. Web3 and NFTs are replacing the term, which is simply losing popularity. Many people in the blockchain industry predicted this many years ago. Blockchain is a foundational technology. It is used in applications where a decentralized blockchain is a good fit. It is just as sensible to talk about blockchain as TCP/IP and HTTPS. NFTs are a specific use case for blockchain technology. Blockchain is now in the backend of an application, along with other databases like MSSQL, and not front and center.
What is the Metaverse?
This is another term that is not well defined. A metaverse can be defined as any virtual experience. This is a term that refers to any content or place that can only be experienced through technology (e.g. VR goggles, AR via your phone’s camera or just a web browser). It’s messy in these early days. Everybody is either creating their own metaverse (e.g. Meta) or stake claims in others (e.g. Gucci in The Sandbox). This will either happen in one or both of these ways, I believe:
The shopping mall paradigm–brands are opening small spaces in many metaverses.
The theme park paradigm-brands will create their own metaverses, and interoperable connections will allow users to “travel” between them.
Trend WatchAre NFTs legit?
Yes, but the current art- and profile-picture-based craze will end. These use cases still have some value, but they are clearly overvalued and in danger of being lost to the world (check out Jack Dorsey’s first tweet). NFT stands for non-fungible token. This means that they are not widely available and cannot be exchanged with other tokens.
Fungible tokens can be thought of as real currency, where there is always a rate with another currency (e.g. USD to Euros).