Your cheat sheet for the metaverse, blockchain, and Web3
Metaverse, Web3, and blockchain. Now that I have your attention, let’s pull back the hype and explore how each of these technologies and platforms is going to both enhance and disrupt your marketing approach.
Before we can go into detail about how to use metaverse, Web3, and blockchain to reach your audience and drive sales, we first need to get on the same page about what they are, what they aren’t, and where they overlap.
In this first article, we will answer those questions and lay a foundation of understanding.
Navigating the metaverse
It’s challenging to find a single definition of the metaverse. That’s because many of the biggest companies investing in this verdant space are also looking to define the metaverse for their own agendas. Given that, let’s focus on a few generally agreed-upon core pillars.
For starters, the metaverse will incorporate some aspects of a 3D virtual world. It will be inherently social and enable real-time connections via virtual avatars.
The metaverse will also most likely feature commerce and two-sided digital economies. It may be accessible across all devices and formats, including AR cameras, VR headsets, desktop computers, smartphones, and, soon, anywhere there is a screen.
However, this interoperability concept is where you’ll currently find some disagreement. Some would argue that gaming platforms like Roblox or Fortnite are early versions of metaverses.
Yet others would argue that these are closed worlds more akin to “microverses” or “metaverse-like platforms.” That’s because the objects purchased on one platform cannot be brought onto the other, as they don’t share the same protocols or currencies.
Until there is true interoperability between platforms that allows a single form of login, the true metaverse and all of its revolutionary aspects will not reach their full potential.
Still, in the meantime, there is plenty for marketers to learn.
Decentralizing power in Web3
Let’s move to Web3, which is actually a bit simpler to understand. In concept, it describes the next phase of the internet rather than a destination or platform.
If we take a step back and think about what defined earlier versions of the web, Web 1.0 allowed users to read content and was mostly focused on static articles and chatrooms.
Then, as platforms like YouTube and Facebook launched, Web 2.0 allowed the average person to write text and upload photos and videos to the web. Most of what we engage with online is still considered Web 2.0.
Now, Web3 promises to introduce the ability for the average user to own. They can own their data and identity and even be a part of the internet mesh server system. This is all because of a theoretical decentralized approach to identity verification.
For example, in Web 2.0, we log in to our Gmail with a username and password that is verified by a central authority. But, if you were to log in to a Web3 platform, you would use a digital wallet ID that would be verified through a “public key,” requiring zero PII data. Or, as it is known in Web3, “zero-knowledge proof.”
It’s important to make a key distinction here—crypto wallets can be used as authentication mechanisms on Web3 platforms to confirm identity, ownership, and the like. Services don’t actually have to be built on the blockchain. Instead, via asymmetric cryptography, or public-key cryptography, a cryptographic signature can be authenticated using public information. Private information never needs to leave a person’s device.
This dynamic takes power and control away from single entities, such as tech giants, and gives power back to users and individuals.
Instead of signing up for a new service using your Big Tech account, authentication can be managed simply and privately using your digital wallet ID. Web3 makes private-key authentication accessible and easier to use than ever before.
The movement toward Web3 is a reaction to the consolidation of power on the internet. For many, it is a step away from exploiting personal information and a step toward an internet that is freer from advertising funding.
Building community in blockchain
If you’ve heard of blockchain, it’s most likely in relation to cryptocurrencies like bitcoin or ethereum. It leverages a decentralized mesh system to track and validate.
For instance, imagine a world where anyone with access to a network of servers or cloud bandwidth could create their own digital ID instead of centering their digital life around their email address.
Rather than a linear network that is controlled and anchored by a handful of massive tech companies, blockchain allows consumers to establish their own web communities with their own currencies and economies.
These networks would work in a nonlinear fashion.
Most often, blockchain tech is used to validate the ownership of cryptocurrency, much like a bank would verify the amount you can spend with a debit card. But, instead of that central figure, such as a bank, being the trusted authority, there is a decentralized collection of servers that verify ownership on a public ledger. And consumers are incentivized to do so by earning crypto.
As the value of such currencies increases, so should the collective motivation of communities to invest in more infrastructure. In other words, more minors equates to more power.
It’s important to remind ourselves that blockchain is not just helpful for verifying monetary ownership but that it can also keep a record of any action or transaction to be used for proof later.
So, while you might think crypto is a fad, the technology behind it is not going away, and there are many ways marketers can use it that we will get into over the course of this series.
In the next post, we’ll show how all three of these technologies—the metaverse, Web3, and blockchain—can help you, as a marketer, better reach your audience and drive more sales.