Web 2.0

A closer look at Unstoppable Domains’ .com integration

Unstoppable Domains recently integrated .com domains into its platform. What implications could this move have?

Unstoppable Domains — a prominent provider of Web3 domains — recently expanded its offerings by incorporating traditional “.com” addresses. 

This move marks the first instance of merging conventional Web2 domains with the evolving Web3 domain space. This integration aims to seamlessly connect the existing web infrastructure with the new, allowing users to engage with both types of domains on a single platform.

Integrating .com domains with blockchain technology goes beyond a technical achievement; it’s an effort to enhance user adoption and streamline the overall user experience.

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Web3 could seize on the decades-old software-as-a-service business model

Web3 needs to set off toward new horizons to continue disrupting traditional industries, and B2B SaaS can enable that.

In the era of services like Netflix, Dropbox or Amazon Prime, it’s quite easy to forget about the times when customers were getting in line to acquire boxed digital products, like software or entertainment media, with one-time purchases. The age of annual fees started when consumer products turned into subscription-based services. 

The same transformation happened approximately a decade ago in the enterprise world when businesses reimagined ages-old solutions like enterprise resource planning or customer relationship management as ongoing services monetized via recurrent billings. Hence, the business-to-business (B2B) software-as-a-service (SaaS) model was born in the 2000s and disrupted the way enterprise technologies have worked over the last two decades.

B2B SaaS was left largely untouched by the thriving blockchain and crypto ecosystem until last year, but a long-running bear market made the Web3-first startups realize that they should leave no stone unturned in order to survive the harsh market conditions and tackle increasing competition. 

From providing enterprise-level Ethereum infrastructures to blockchain-based document storage systems, Web3 SaaS (or SaaS3) companies offer decades-old business services reimagined in the Web3 environment, and fresh data shows that the business world is open to trying new ways of doing old things.

One attempt by venture capitalist Tomasz Tunguz to size up the total addressable B2B SaaS3 market calculated that 57 Web3 SaaS projects generated revenue ranging from $500,000 to above $100 million in the second half of 2022. The on-chain revenue of Web3 startups, largely dominated by Ethereum, indicates a total addressable market of $231 million in 2022.

The total addressable market, or TAM, is an admittedly optimistic chart that multiplies a project’s potential number of customers with the budget reserved for the service. It does not involve any competition or real-life limitations, hence the probability that the “addressable” part implies. TAM is the potential market opportunity for a product or a service, and the B2B SaaS3 space had south of one-quarter of a billion dollars of that opportunity last year.

Cashless society goals work in favor of Web3

Mark Smargon, CEO of blockchain-based payment platform Fuse, believes that B2B SaaS in the Web3 industry can benefit from quite a number of factors, including the increasing adoption of mobile devices, the internet and e-commerce platforms, as well as a shift towards cashless societies in many countries.

Recent: How AI can make the metaverse a more interactive space

Inherent problems like high costs, privacy issues and geographical restrictions make traditional payment systems expensive and challenging for merchants. That’s why Smargon noted that Web3 startups would see the most significant growth opportunity in providing services to Web2 companies and simplifying the onboarding and usage of blockchain solutions, applications and payment rails. He told Cointelegraph:

“It boils down to Web3 startups giving businesses a way to provide their customers with experiences on par with what they are used to in Web2 while enhancing efficiency, value proposition and stickiness.”

Web3 startups need to start introducing the blockchain-based way of doing business to traditional companies with baby steps, according to the Fuse CEO. “Salesforce users think of nonfungible tokens (NFTs) less as collectibles or art and more like the next generation of loyalty programs for their finest customers,” Smargon said. “NFTs can be changed on the fly to adjust terms and unlock physical and digital rewards as customers engage more with a company.”

Web3 adoption starts with off-boarding from Web2

The real tipping point may arrive when companies use blockchain solutions to manage day-to-day business activities, such as accounting, procurement and invoicing, Smargon posited. 

When it comes to payments services, developing countries where a significant portion of the population is either unbanked or underbanked add some unique opportunities, he explained. In such countries, companies are not entrenched in legacy systems or vendor-locked, making them “free to innovate and engage with Web3 solutions from the start rather than having to retrofit.”

Onboarding companies to Web3 has another challenge for startups, Smargon noted: “They must first off-board businesses [from Web2] and then onboard them to Web3-based systems.” The key to making businesses understand there are viable alternatives is by providing them with compelling business and efficiency benefits, Smargon said:

“To do that, [Web3 startups] need to produce solutions for businesses to build secure products without taking on the burden of custody, reaching customers without incurring the costs of compliance and licensing, and providing exceptional consumer experiences without building wallets from scratch.”

But it doesn’t end there: Smargon added that Web3 users also need to be able to move value within and outside their companies without facing high fees and barriers. “Changing consumer demand drives change at the grassroots level, meaning businesses need to adapt or die,” he said.

Web3 still needs its ‘picks and shovels’ 

On the surface, the SaaS movement and the Web3 movement are quite misaligned in their interests, according to Nils Pihl, the CEO of decentralized protocol developer Auki Labs:

“While Web3 is encouraging people to take ownership and responsibility for their own digital presence, the SaaS movement’s core philosophical tenet is handling the complexities of the digital realm for you.”

When looking from the opposite perspective, however, SaaS has already won the Web3 space, Pihl claimed: “Platforms like Infura and Alchemy run huge chunks of the Web3 ecosystem because so few can, or even want, to run their own nodes.”

As such, many of the companies that actually make reliable revenue in Web3 are actually providing tools (as a service, commonly) for other Web3 projects, Pihl explained, adding:

“In a world where the killer apps have not yet been found, a safe bet is selling picks and shovels to those that are digging.”

He continued by saying that many Web3 companies are so passionate about Web3 that they design by ideology instead of looking for the product-market fit. Pihl thinks, if startups begin by saying “we are a Web3 company,” they limit their perspective or ability to listen to and understand the business needs of their potential customers from the beginning.

Recent: How Bitcoin mining saved Africa’s oldest national park from bankruptcy

Although the B2B SaaS market is huge, people shouldn’t assume that “product X but on the blockchain” is a winning idea. The creator could raise money for it, but if the new on-chain “product X” does not solve the problem better than the one already in use, there is no reason to switch to the new product, according to Pihl.

Assuming clients will be excited to embrace a Web3 product because its developer finds it philosophically, ethically or aesthetically superior is not a good approach, according to Pihl:

“You need to solve a pressing issue for the client, or they won’t engage.”

Credit cards can bridge Web2 to Web3, says music industry exec

As DeFi continues to become more mainstream, traditional financial tools can serve as a bridge from Web2 to Web3 for those who still remain skeptical.

Last year proved that the Web3 space is not just a phenomenon but rather the future of digital interactions. However, as pervasive as the space has become, many are still skeptical as to how it can and will be a part of their lives. 

Many developers are seeking ways to bridge the gap between these two iterations of the web. Cointelegraph spoke with Bruno Guez, CEO of Revelator, to understand why he believes already existing Web2 financial tools such as credit cards can actually be bridges to usher new users into Web3.

Revelator, which works in the music industry to provide labels and distributors the infrastructure to run their businesses, recently announced that it integrated Stripe to help fans seamlessly purchase digital collectibles with their credit cards. 

​​Guez said that making these new digital tools accessible via Web2 tools users are already familiar with, such as credit cards, creates a bridge between these two versions of the digital reality.

“The majority of the developed world uses credit cards for everyday purchases. If we want to usher new users onto Web3, we must provide these Web2 users with a familiar and ‘safe’ payment method.”

However, he touched on how using familiar Web2 financial tools helps lessen the hurdles plaguing the industry, such as a lack of education on decentralized money management. 

“If we make the on-ramp easier and make accessing Web3 assets easier, we can slowly educate them about the power of decentralization and all that entails.”

He continued to say that this further education includes informing users about self-custody practices so that they can “fully embrace Web3, operate their digital wallets and never lose access to their digital assets.”

The lack of knowledge has created barriers to self-custody, which have often made centralized exchanges popular due to ease of access and user experience. Though, as Guez pointed out, and as has recently been seen in cases like FTX, when centralized exchanges go out of business, customer trust and confidence in the industry as a whole is damaged.

Related: ‘Wall of worry’ led to digital wallets, blockchain tech ignored: Cathie Wood

Revelator isn’t an anomaly in the Web3 space for utilizing credit cards to help onboard new users. Many other businesses are seeing how to continue pushing mass adoption by working with tools. At the beginning of 2022, Stripe announced partnerships with FTX, FTX US, Blockchain.com, Nifty Gateway and Just Mining to launch a crypto business suite.

In 2022, it also partnered with Twitter to offer USD Coin (USDCpayments to content creators on the platform, along with integration on a Solana-based market maker to offer a fiat-to-crypto on-ramp.

Guez said that credit cards efficiently on-ramp users onto Web3, while smart wallets are already operating in the background. This enables a “clean way” to perform blockchain transactions without the users needing prior blockchain knowledge.

“In this way, Web2 and Web3 tools work together by abstracting the complexity away from the user experience.”

According to reports surfacing on Jan 26., Stripe is working with JPMorgan professionals to advise toward a potential public offering after its fruitful reemergence onto the crypto scene.

How Web3 resolves fundamental problems in Web2

Web3 is the next-era internet based on decentralized architecture and some innovative concepts. Find how Web3 resolves fundamental problems in Web2.

What are the challenges with Web3

For mainstream adoption of Web3, prevalent challenges need to be dealt with. These include centralized infrastructure, lack of regulatory clarity and rug pulls.

While Web3 is perceived to be decentralized, developers integrate Web3 applications with Web2 protocols to make them work. This creates a scenario where functioning of decentralized applications is hinged to a centralized infrastructure.

Another major challenge before Web3 is a lack of regulatory clarity. Blockchain technologies are advancing fast, and regulators will take time to catch up. Absence of regulatory oversight has led to unethical behavior in some projects as happened in the FTX fiasco.

Rug pulls are another hindrance Web3 applications are facing. It happens when a malicious developer willfully leaves a window open in the code and later uses it to steal funds earned in cryptocurrencies. Fraudulent individuals breaking through the defenses is something everyone in cryptoverse is wary of. 

So is there a way to beef up the safety quotient in Web3? While Web2 safety measures like doing due diligence before investing, not sharing password credentials and keeping cautious while browsing will help, there are some specific methods for Web3. To avoid rug pull, an ideal way can be to examine the open source code before transacting. Wallets flagging the potentially malicious nature of contracts users are interacting with could also be funds-saver for many.

How Web3 resolves interoperability issues

For accelerating the acquisition of users and gaining relevance, knitting Web2 with Web3 is as essential as intra-Web3 communication. Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) is an advanced technology that helps address such concerns by facilitating interoperability between blockchains.

Interoperability or “cross interaction” is a critical feature in computer systems that facilitates frictionless data exchange between Web2 and Web3, as well as within Web3 projects. An example of this feature is Twitter launching NFT profile pictures for Twitter Blue (checkmark) subscribers for iOS in Jan. 2022. Users can certify the ownership of the NFT by linking their Twitter profile to the wallet storing the NFT. To enable data exchange, as happened in this Twitter feature, engineers integrate Web2 platforms with Web3.

Intra-Web3 communication is also critical for the efficient functioning of applications. Owing to the Ethereum blockchain hosting a major chunk of DApps in Web3, being compatible with EVM is a key requirement for any project needing to be interoperable. EVM works as the runtime environment for smart contracts in Ethereum blockchain.

How interoperable blockchain works

Blockchains work in isolation and need solutions such as sidechain to connect with other chains .A sidechain is a blockchain that runs independent of the parent blockchain or mainnet through a two-way bridge. Examples of sidechain are Gnosis Chain (formly xDAI), Polygon PoS and others.

Related: Polygon blockchain explained: A beginner’s guide to MATIC

Another sidechain project is of Horizen blockchain, which is building a sidechain that will be fully compatible and interoperable with Ethereum, opening up its own broad node infrastructure to the wider Ethereum community and enabling businesses to create solutions quickly. They are also exploring the possibility of adding an EVM layer on top of other blockchain frameworks to allow greater interoperability for users to benefit from multiple ecosystems.

Can Web3 solve the problems of Web2

Web3 returns content rights to the author, enhances the security level, eliminates unfair censorship, ushers in transparency, automates the functioning of software and facilitates a creator economy.

Thanks to the characteristics of Web3, businesses can take advantage of opportunities that are beyond imagination. Concepts like decentralization and permissionless cybersphere were just in sci-fi. Nonetheless, Web3 hopes to resolve the problems in Web2, paving the way to a decentralized era in the internet.

Data ownership

Decentralization puts greater control in the hands of users, ending the monopoly of Big Tech. Users can decide whether they want to share their data or keep it private. The fact that computing power and decision making is diversified makes the system inherently more stable than centralized systems where the whole operation is hinged on a cluster of servers or a core decision-making entity or individual.

Though several Web2 applications have moved toward multi-cloud hosting, the resilience of projects that are decentralized in real terms is simply at another level. Enterprises can select a topography for their application, depending on their own data landscape and challenges to address.

Data security

Data stored in a huge centralized database is quite vulnerable. Hackers need to break through just one system to compromise valuable user data. Often, insiders play a role in tipping key information to external malicious players. Decentralized systems are designed to be resistant to such behavior by a section of participants, making security in Web3 more efficient than Web2 systems in keeping data secure.

On the contrary, when almost every company is going digital and data-driven, the risk of malicious attacks has risen exponentially as well. In such a scenario, vandalism in cyberspace has become a big threat, threatening monetary and reputation loss. Decentralization enhances the security level, if not eliminating the problems completely.

Unfair censorship

Centralized systems often subject users to unfair censorship. Decentralization transfers the authority to the participants, making it difficult for any single entity to influence a narrative that doesn’t suit them. A Web2 social media site like Twitter, for instance, can censor any tweet at any time they want. On a decentralized Twitter, tweets will be uncensorable. Similarly, payment services in Web2 might restrict payments for specific types of work.

In Web3, censorship will be hard, both for participants with good intent and malicious players. Decentralized web promises control and privacy to all participants. Moreover, network participants can take an active part in the governance of the project by casting votes. 

Financial freedom

In Web3, every participant is a stakeholder. Backed by an array of technologies that inherently resist control, Web3 promotes financial freedom. Decentralized finance (DeFi), where anyone can freely engage in financial activities, is a prime example of the independence participants enjoy.

Complying with Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) regulations opens DeFi to new user groups and mass adoption. Moreover, payments in Web2 are made in fiat, while Web3 payments are made through cryptocurrencies, though fiat payment systems can be integrated as well.


Transparency is something built into the design of decentralized ecosystems. Nodes work in tandem to ensure the frictionless functioning of the system and no single node can take a decision in isolation. Even other participants have a role in decision-making regarding governance through the casting of votes.

Related: What are governance tokens, and how do they work?

Web3 transactions are practically irreversible and traceable, thus ruling out any possibility of someone making changes in the database post-transaction. This makes Web3 a potent tool against fraudulent behavior.


Smart contracts automate the system that can function without any human intervention. The code reflects the agreement between various stakeholders, executing transactions that cannot be reversed. Smart contracts substantially bring down operational costs, eliminate prejudice and make transactions more secure.

Projects, however, have to be careful about vulnerabilities in smart contracts code that hackers can take advantage of to steal the booty. This can be overcome by getting the smart contract code thoroughly audited by a team having a proven track record in vulnerability assessments using a mix of manual and automated tooling. A Web3 example of accelerating automation is Zokyo, which specializes as an end-to-end security resource for blockchain-based projects.

Creator economy

Nonfungible tokens (NFTs), a component of the Web3 ecosystem, have added another dimension to the web economy. These tokens make each digital asset unique in some sense. Regardless of the number of times it is duplicated, there is some way to distinguish it. This feature is useful to safeguard these assets against online forgery and maintain exclusive rights of the owner over their assets. In Web3, NFTs could serve as metaverse assets, game assets, certifications and whatnot, opening up endless possibilities and empowering content creators to make money in an unprecedented manner.

Earlier, when audiences consumed the content of a creator, the audience only had the emotional or intellectual benefit. Thanks to NFTs, creators were now able to turn their community members into investors and provide them with some tangible value out of the interaction. For instance, if someone has started a group on a decentralized social media site, the first 50 subscribers might be rewarded with redeemable NFTs if they spend a certain amount of time interacting there.

Contrary to what many think, one doesn’t need to have the technical know-how to create an NFT-based economy. No code solutions such as NiftyKit are available for various development needs like building NFT smart contracts, revenue splits, embeddable SDKs (software development kits), token gating and more. Without any coding, one can begin building a creator economy.

How is Web3 different from Web2

Web3 is a decentralized, permissionless and trustless ecosystem that transfers control from a centralized entity to a pool of participants. Web2, on the other hand, is a centralized space dominated by companies like Google, Microsoft and others.

Web3 refers to the next generation of the internet that is decentralized, making it fundamentally different from Web2, a centralized ecosystem based on a client-server model. In Web2, the backend code that powers apps is deployed onto a server hosted by the likes of Google Cloud or Amazon Web Services (AWS). This system centralizes the power and these conglomerates, collectively termed Big Tech, can block access to anyone or exchange users’ crucial data for money.

However, the architecture of Web3 is designed to withdraw this undue advantage from Big Tech and decentralizes it, boosting transparency, facilitating innovation and giving users control over their data and online interactions. In Web3, there is no server or client. Rather, there is peer-to-peer file sharing, thanks to the Interplanetary File System (IPFS)

Web3 applications are permissionless (though some private blockchains require permission) and trustless. “Permissionless” refers to the capacity of seamless inter- and intra-platform communication, while “trustless” points to the characteristic where the users need to trust the network and not network participants. Web2 applications, on the contrary, require approval by the centralized authority and users’ trust to remain operational.

Fenix Games raises $150M to fuel next-generation blockchain gaming

Chris Ko, CEO and co-founder of Fenix Games, considers Fenix Games “like a VC fund” for powering the next generation of blockchain games.

Web3 game publisher Fenix Games raised $150 million in funding to acquire, invest and distribute blockchain games. The fund will be used to create a game publishing company specifically for mainstreaming blockchain games.

Fenix Games’ latest funding round saw participation from investors, including Phoenix Group and Dubai-based venture capital firm Cypher Capital, reported local news media Jinse. Chris Ko, CEO and co-founder of Fenix Games, who previously led Mythical Games, considers Fenix Games “like a VC fund” for fueling the next generation of blockchain games.

Sharing details into the post-funding gameplan, Ko stated:

“We’re actually going to start off with a huge base of capital to invest in those (next-generation gaming) studios. We’re also looking to use our balance sheet to acquire a bunch of existing games in the Web2 space to build a portfolio.”

Ko also highlighted that the market for blockchain gaming does not exist as it did for traditional video games such as gaming consoles and mobile gaming. Fenix Games’ strategy going forward is to develop the gaming ecosystem through publishing initiatives.

Related: Crypto gaming needs to be fun to be successful — Money doesn’t matter

GameFi’s constantly evolving model could make “today’s AAA game companies look like peanuts,” said Jack O’Holleran, CEO of Skale, a multichain Ethereum-native network that powers Web3 games.

Finding a sustainable GameFi model, however, remains a challenge. User experience ranks amid the top struggles in the industry owing to high gas fees and technical complexity around buying, owning and trading nonfungible tokens (NFTs).

Future of Web3 security with Immunefi and Brave CEOs: The Bug House 2022

Web3 security’s not only about money; it’s about the culture and values that the community protects, which brings out the need for education, points out Cointelegraph’s Kristina Cornèr.

Celebrating the myriads of accomplishments earned by the crypto ecosystem, Immunefi, Electric Capital, Bitscale Capital and MA Family together hosted The Bug House — a party for bringing together the global Web3 community. 

In a panel hosted by Cointelegraph, editor-in-chief Kristina Lucrezia Cornèr sat with Mitchell Amador, founder and CEO at Immunefi, and Brendan Eich, founder and CEO of Brave browser, to discuss the evolution of Web3 and its future trajectory.

(From left to right) Kristina Cornèr, Mitchell Amador and Brendan Eich during The Bug House. Source: Cointelegraph (José Valero Ballesteros)

“There’s a lot of Web2 in Web3. That’s a problem right now,” began Eich when asked about the ongoing Web2 to Web3 transition. From using trusted servers to sub-custody wallets, Amador believed that such Web2 sites could be full of adversaries. He also pointed out the recent EIP-5593 proposal, which aims to prevent man-in-the-middle attacks.

In Web2, there is a common practice of implementing security features post-launch through patches and antiviruses, which can be inherited by Web3 apps using such services. In addition, security concerns in Web3 stem from the centralization through decentralized application (DApp) sites.

Speaking about the security concerns in Web3, Amador stated that hackers in Web3 are very different from Web2 hackers. According to him, there are two types of hackers. In Web3, hackers are found to be young, typically under the age of 35 and most under the age of 30.

In relation to the second type of hacker, Amador highlighted the influx of older tech-savvy individuals — “which many blockchain hackers lack” — that have spent a few years understanding Web3 and are able to break into the systems. He added:

“We’ve seen a number of these guys, including several of the top 10 hackers now; they just storm the leaderboard with their skills. They just need to get good enough.”

Supporting this stance, Eich added that, during the bull run era of 2021, he noticed the rise of reentrancy attacks. Brave has been using HackerOne to protect its in-house crypto wallets and has tripled its bug bounty to eradicate the wallet’s security concerns.

Eich further highlighted that Brave has total control over the browser and crypto wallets, which helps them fend off phishing attacks on the users. Brave has amassed a wide demography of users that prefer privacy, crypto or both, currently serving 20 million daily users, which, when compared to last year, has doubled.

When it comes to protecting the Web3 community, Amador believes it boils down to ethos:

“To wish for, fight for, and create a better world for which their most sinister and capricious behaviors simply won’t work and won’t be allowed. If we do that successfully, we will draw these expert security talents, their best executives, their best leaders over to our side and neuter them by destroying the base of their ability to work.”

Cornèr agreed with the duo as she stated that in Web3 security, it’s not only about money; it’s about the culture and values that the community protects, which brings out the need for education.

While Amador further revealed the efforts of Immunefi, Brave and other partners to work with the governments trying to make Web3 more accessible, adding:

“We’re in a position where we need to heavily lobby and ask for the support and graces of various other power players precisely because what we’ve built today is not good enough, not valuable enough and not safe enough.”

Eich, on the other hand, highlighted the need to develop better programming languages and tools to safeguard the systems. He called for a need to segregate the world of ethos from the world of bad programming. “Education sounds prim and proper. But if it doesn’t have incentives, it’s not gonna work,” he concluded.

As a bug bounty platform, Immunefi created trust and legitimacy in the industry by solving the problem related to projects not willing to pay up bug bounties after successful bug discovery. They did this by providing an impartial, third-party service that can mediate that interaction and make sure both sides come to the task.

Related: Solana unveils Google partnership, smartphones, Web3 store at Breakpoint

Immunefi recently released a Whitehat Leaderboard for listing the top 20 most elite white hats in Web3.

“As the volume of saved funds continues to grow, the leaderboard is another opportunity to give our white hats the recognition they deserve, as well as to encourage them to keep pushing the boundaries to make the web3 ecosystem safer,” Amador noted in a statement.

Metaverse promises: Future of Web3 or just a market gimmick?

The hype around metaverse has taken a hit after recent turmoil in crypto markets, but industry leaders and stakeholders still see it as the future of Web3.

The Metaverse as a concept is an attempt to fuse physical reality, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) into one seamless and immersive experience.

The term “metaverse” was first used in Neil Stephenson’s 1982 cyberpunk novel Snow Crash. Stephenson’s metaverse was a virtual place where characters could go to escape a dreary totalitarian reality. Some of the key attributes of the Metaverse include:

Even before the Metaverse became a phenomenon amid the nonfungible token (NFT) craze and crypto market boom, the concept was already in focus with the likes of Facebook, now Meta, Apple, Microsoft, Samsung and several other leading companies investing heavily in AR technology since the early 2010s.

In 2014, Meta acquired Oculus VR in a $2 billion deal with of focus on developing augmented and virtual reality-based games. In the same year, Sony and Samsung announced they were creating their own VR headsets, and Google released Google Glass AR glasses.

In 2020, Apple introduced. Lidar (Light Detection and Ranging) to iPhones and iPods, which offered better depth scanning for photos and introduced AR features. The technology is also paving the way for mixed-reality headsets in the future. In 2021, Facebook rebranded itself to Meta to shift from purely social media to leading the metaverse race.

With a downturn in crypto markets, both NFTs and the Metaverse saw a rapid decline in interest and capital flow. Google trend data suggests metaverse was piquing interest until January 2022. However, as the bear market progressed, wiping out nearly 70% of the market valuation, interest in the Metaverse and NFTs have taken a dip.

Google Trends data on search term “Metaverse“ since Aug. 9, 2021

There has been a drastic change in the approach from brands that, at the start of the year, were all about the Metaverse and NFTs. Recently, Tinder, the popular dating app, has cut down its metaverse plans in the wake of disappointing Q2 earnings. 

Recent: Ethereum advances with standards for smart contract security audits

Efforts at creating a futuristic AR-based virtual world are presently at a very nascent stage, and some experts believe that current technological barriers both at the hardware and software levels are partially to blame. Lili Zhao, director of ecosystem growth at Neo Blockchain, told Cointelegraph:

“The Metaverse is still in its infancy, so existing projects are industry pioneers which mean trials and errors before it reaches product maturity. Currently, neither the hardware nor the software infrastructure is adequate to unleash the full potential of Metaverse. This is an area of technological innovation with fundamental growth opportunities for years to come, regardless of the market condition which is more driven by cycles and sentiment.”

Sandra Helou, the head of metaverse and NFT at Zilliqa, said that people view the Metaverse as a new concept. However, she believes the Metaverse is just an enhanced iteration of the internet and the more we embrace it as a new form of engagement, the less threatening it will seem. She told Cointelegraph:

“The keyboard never replaced the pen and the pen never replaced the pencil. Web3 shouldn’t be viewed as a replacement for Web2 but rather as an enhancer focusing on greater engagement and connectivity. The future of the Metaverse should look at combining elements of the physical and digital worlds through seamless integration and interactivity accessible for all regardless of industry.”

The critique of the Metaverse

The Metaverse as a concept has divided the world into two halves, where on one side, the likes of Meta, Microsoft, Sony and Samsung are all-in on the technology, calling it the future of the internet, while on the other hand, the likes of Elon Musk and Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin believe the present forms of the Metaverse are nothing more than corporate fantasy.

Buterin recently said that existing attempts by corporations to create a metaverse are not “going anywhere,” stating that Meta will “misfire.” Buterin’s comments came in the wake of Meta’s $2 billion quarterly loss on its metaverse division.

Marius Ciubotariu, the co-founder of decentralized finance stablecoin issuer Hubble Protocol, told Cointelegraph that the involvement of companies such as Meta has given a bad outlook to the industry in recent times, stating, “Companies like Meta are betting on the Metaverse big time. Unfortunately, this has led to many having negative or conflicting ideas about what the Metaverse is.”

“Meta, like some of its competitors that have publicly embraced the Metaverse, are selling it as nothing more than an extension of social media data mining, where individuals have no control over their personal information and data. These centralized metaverses contradict principles of decentralization such as immutability, censorship resistance and permissionless access.”

He added that the Metaverse has a bright future, but established projects like The Sandbox and Decentraland will likely take the bulk of the market share, and smaller, underfunded projects may not be able to deliver on their enormous promise due to lack of resources, time, experience, funding and the difficulty of development. He went on to predict that “similar to the 2017 initial coin offering phase, most of these projects will either not see the light of day or fail to attain the necessary user base to maintain a healthy funding margin.”

Other critics believe that centralized metaverses such as those proposed by Meta and Microsoft may affect the decentralized ownership of goods and services within those ecosystems.

Ben Advia, founder and CEO of crypto-collectible and metaverse platform Dissrup, explained the current skepticism around metaverses and how it could potentially change. He told Cointelegraph that even though there have been many attempts to exploit the enthusiasm surrounding Web3 and the Metaverse for corporate and personal gain, it would be cynical to dismiss the efforts being made by many to build something genuinely revolutionary:

“It is important to remember that the Metaverse in its ‘true’ form was never going to arrive perfectly polished and flawlessly executed, just as it took time for us to harvest the potential of the internet. The Metaverse takes time to develop into the idealized web-centric utopia that we have all been discussing and envisioning over the past couple of years.” 

“Until such a time, the concept will continue to be subject to criticism and skepticism, forever associated with the laughable graphics and clunky interfaces of proto-metaverse spaces, while we continue to overlook how it might change the way we function and exist in this emerging hybrid digital/physical space,” he added. 

Kirk Allen, CEO of metaverse aggregator Kaloscope, told Cointelegraph that the hype around the market and involvement of corporate giants such as Meta and Microsoft have hampered the vision around the concept. He explained:

“There is a ‘hype’ within multiple sectors, excited and deeming that the next big thing for Web3 is the Metaverse. Without fully understanding what ‘metaverse’ means, most people are just following suit as Facebook re-branded into Meta. Among skeptics, the term ‘metaverse’ sounds too optimistic, and is commonly questioned for lacking in definition. Having said that, the metaverse is not a badly executed idea or a dream. In fact, if you want to think of it this way, it is in the cocoon stage, and soon will emerge in many more ways to the general public in business and communities.”

Looking beyond the hype

The growing interest of tech giants in the Metaverse has raised concerns about centralization and monopoly, but it is important to note that their billions worth of investment caused a ripple effect for the industry. Their involvement attracts more attention to the sector along with more investment and more tools will reach the market. Such development tools will save entrepreneurs the time needed to create new technologies and will allow them to focus on their innovations. 

While interest in the Metaverse has cooled, it has not disappeared entirely, especially in the United Arab Emirates. Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum on July 20, announced that Dubai will be hosting a global event to bring metaverse experts together in September 2023. The country is planning to ramp up its efforts and create 40,000 new jobs around the Metaverse, showing that some governments are beginning to understand how valuable this sector can become.

Metaverse developers like Decentraland and The Sandbox have come together with several Web3 projects to launch the Open Metaverse Alliance, which focuses on building more transparent, inclusive, decentralized and democratized metaverses. Sean Kelly, founder of Chibi Dinos NFT collection, told Cointelegraph:

“There has been no clear-cut winner on which company will have the biggest metaverse yet, but there is no doubt virtual experiences will be a part of our future and the Metaverse will play a massive role in our children’s future.”

As the Metaverse brings the online and offline worlds closer together, it offers new opportunities for businesses to scale and individuals to connect. For example, engaging with a virtual 3D avatar customer service agent rather than a corporate employee in a chat window may build a more immersive and memorable customer experience. 

Recent: Web3 games incorporate features to drive female participation

For an avid video gamer, a metaverse may be the utopia they are hoping for, as they get to conveniently switch between online gaming and virtual socializing. With digital identities, there is also potential for people to explore alternate characters for themselves.

Sports leagues could integrate VR/metaverse capabilities to increase viewership as well as an NFT component to reward viewers. Shopping malls and stores have already created virtual stores in which one can shop at home and virtually try on wearables.

The future of the Metaverse will depend on stakeholders and how they build the future of Web3. The current form may look underpromising due to a lack of technological innovations, but industry leaders are sure that the Metaverse concept will take center stage in the next iteration of the internet.

KBW 2022: Digital property rights key to thriving Web3 economy — Animoca’s Yat Siu

Robust property rights in the physical world are one of the key indicators of a wealthy economy — and that’s exactly what digital property rights enable in Web3, says Animoca’s co-founder.

Yat Siu, co-founder of Hong Kong-based venture firm Animoca Brands, has argued that on-chain digital property rights are the main aspects of blockchain technology that will drive a more decentralized society.

Speaking at Korean Blockchain Week 2022 (KBW), the Hong Kong entrepreneur noted that we’re all “digital dependents” and “data is the resource of metrics” that bring value to platforms like Apple, Google and Facebook, Sui said:

“The most powerful companies in the world today are not energy companies or resource companies, they’re tech companies and they’re not powerful because they make software. They’re powerful because they control our data.”

But, unlike the Web2 platforms that we’ve become accustomed to, blockchain-based applications allow us to control that data and not be subject to “digital colonization,” said Sui, adding: 

“The powerful [thing about] Web3 is the fact that we can take ownership and we can make a big change with this because we have distributed and decentralized ownership for these assets.”

Sui also reinforced the importance of property rights by making the point that countries that afford strong property rights to their citizens enable their society to thrive. Sui pointed out the correlation between the International Property Rights Index (IPRI), and the Gross Domestic Product Index (GDPI):

“Places that have almost no property rights […] You can see [are in] the bottom 20% [of GDPI] But the countries that have very strong property rights, South Korea, USA, Japan, most of Europe, enjoy very, very high property rights,” he explained, adding that digital property rights should be no different.

Digital ownership set to take off in Asia

Siu added that the Asian continent has by far the most room to grow when it comes to Web3, as well as capitalizing on digital property rights.

Siu said that Asia has a very rich history of “incredible content” and “digital expression,” much of which can be transformed into blockchain-based assets [in the form of nonfungible tokens] and provide them with digital property rights over their assets.

Related: Digital sovereignty: Reclaiming your private data in Web3

Siu added that while people of Asia spend more time on the internet today than on any other continent, there is still so much room to grow. “Unlike the rest of the world, which has almost 100% penetration in the West,” Asia is only around 67% continent-wide internet adoption, he noted.

Siu also said that the sentiment toward blockchain-based metaverses, gaming and NFTs, as well as the digital property rights that come with them, is much more positive compared to the West.

Blockchain technology can help create safe and inclusive adult platforms

The adult entertainment industry is known to be one of the first to try new technologies, and the blockchain seems to be the next on the list.

The cryptocurrency market is no stranger to speculation. Consider that despite this industry’s growth, many continue to view these assets and associated technologies as a bubble that is about to burst. 

As history has proven, overcoming the technology adoption curve comes down to a major use case, or the so-called “killer app.” Although there is no clear frontrunner, the adult entertainment industry has proven to significantly advance new technology iterations in the past and presents an interesting proposition for the future of cryptocurrencies. 

The adult entertainment industry is believed to be worth billions of dollars, giving it significant influence over the world’s leading technologies. Although it doesn’t create these new technologies, it is often the first to adopt and do so successfully. 

For example, the industry was among the first to make money on the internet, where it continues to rake in over $1 billion a year. In part, this is because, unlike other industries that must go head to head with “big box” retailers, the adult entertainment industry doesn’t need to engage in traditional distribution issues. 

Although just one example, this industry has continued to demonstrate a history of adopting the newest forms of media to get their content across to viewers. To illustrate, let us consider the transition from VHS to Blu-ray to internet streaming. 

From Betamax to Blu-ray

Taking a trip back to the 1970s, users will become familiar with the debate between the Betamax and the VHS, two devices that could run a film, thereby presenting a standard in viewing technology. 

In one corner, the Betamax has a wide format that enabled the device to have a better quality recording, although only one hour of video footage could be held. In contrast, the VHS offered poorer quality but with triple the storage capacity (up to three hours.) The result was that the VHS prevailed, with adult entertainment viewers now gaining access to 180 minutes of content. 

In an industry as large as this one, this small transition extended the longevity of the VHS and effectively put an end to Betamax.

Looking forward to a more recent example, consider the technology transition between the HD DVD and Blu-ray. The HD DVD was already largely successful when Blu-ray was introduced, presenting a tough market to compete in. However, Blu-ray had more capacity to hold things like deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes footage and other actor commentaries, a reality that was realized in the adult entertainment industry. Therefore, like Betamax, the HD DVD was dead.

As technology moves past Blu-ray and into Web3, it is only logical to conclude that the adult entertainment industry will once again pioneer a new era of technology evolution.

Ushering in a new era for decentralized payment

Today, the adult industry has evolved far past studio-controlled content distributed by Blu-ray, into a model where creators are in charge of their creations. Despite having more autonomy, creators still face one barrier, how they will receive payment. 

Creators have little choice but to accept funds through traditional banking solutions, subjecting them to high fees, payment cancellations, chargebacks and account closures. Not to mention audience restrictions due to privacy concerns.

Cryptocurrencies aim to resolve this, operating without an intermediary to ensure creators and clients can transact directly with one another. Due to their anonymous nature, cryptocurrencies also enable users to keep their identities concealed.

A metaverse where adults come to play

With a potential solution to the gap in the market, it is not uncommon to see adult entertainment websites incorporating cryptocurrencies as a payment method into their website. However, newer platform releases have taken the application of blockchain technology and utility tokens one step further, creating entire ecosystems to maximize the fan experience.

The Pleasure Network is demonstrating this by releasing a series of safe and inclusive adult platforms, powered by the Pleasure Coin utility token, NSFW. With NSFW, creators can be compensated for their content without the risk of a chargeback. The platform will effectively become a new way for fans and creators to connect, combining some of the highest-quality features from existing platforms.

The token will also gain utility in the adult metaverse, Pleasureland. Pleasureland will include the Pink Tower, the first building in the metaverse, which will double as a place to store NFT assets, play, design, party or enjoy personal space. Users will also have the option to rent out their space to earn NSFW tokens.

NSFW is said to be one of the fastest-growing tokens in the Polygon ecosystem — blockchain technology scaling transactional speeds to degrees beyond traditional credit card processing.

And due to Pleasure Coin being designed as an ERC-20 token, it allows both creators and users to transact freely while keeping their identities and other personal information concealed.

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