Moving At The Speed of Web3
- March 2023
- Grant Furlane, LocoMobi World
Speaking of speed, SmartCity.Blog host Alan Cross attended Singapore’s ‘All That Matters Web3’ conference held right before the Formula 1 race in Singapore. Even though this year’s edition had lots of discussions on music, marketing, sports, e-sports, and gaming, everyone wanted to know more about Web3.
While other parts of the world have embraced this new world technology, North America has lagged far behind. Why? Because of its skewed view and lack of understanding of what the metaverse and Web3 are all about.
Co-host Grant Furlane said North America is definitely stuck in a bubble. “You get question marks and eyes roll when you talk about it,” then noted, Singapore is far ahead and North Americans need to catch up.
The chronology of evolution Cross said began with Web1; the first iteration of the internet in the 90s. It allowed people to read websites, share stories, download songs and even comment on websites.
Web2 began when social media allowed us to communicate directly with other users to create communities with shared interests. Web2 led to the development and rise of apps like Facebook, Twitter, Apple, and Amazon. The cool thing Cross noted was with free software, people began to find ways to monetize it. Social media companies grew big and grew wealthy. By allowing us to use their platforms free of charge, they harvested all the data users left on their sites free of charge. Then these social media giants used their platforms to sell to us using advertising, the sale of goods, and in-app experiences.
Cross made note that early social media advertising was viewed by many as a novelty. Originally no one minded ads about things they were interested in, but after a while, audiences realized the owners of these sites were gaining all this power and money from our free data. All of us had been working to make them rich and were not getting paid.
They offered us an opportunity to connect all over the world, but at what cost? We don’t know what data they have collected on each and every one of us.
Apparently, it’s a secret, Cross said. And because we don’t know what they know, we started raising questions on data protection, and privacy. Only to uncover some social media companies were exposed for selling data in an unethical manner. Sometimes without the consent of their users.
According to Cross, Web3 is a new level of internet connectivity where people own their data and property within the metaverse. They are now more so collaborators and no longer just passive participants.
Cross and Furlane discussed how North Americans have tuned out a lot of information about the metaverse because it is adversely linked to cryptocurrency. Crypto has been adversely portrayed, but it is a tiny little corner of the metaverse, the co-hosts said.
Noting that Asians see the cellphone as a tool giving them access to online environments, they have become really big on gaming platforms. Cross said a lot of people in Indonesia, Thailand, Taiwan, and China have embraced the metaverse. Many of them went from having no landline to having cell phones. They are more comfortable than the average North American doing a wide range of things with their phones because of that transition. They are adapting much faster.
The overall experience of people in Asia with Web3 is they are not skeptical, said Cross. They are optimistic and enthusiastic about what they have seen with metaverse technology. On the other hand, the majority of North Americans are highly skeptical. To illustrate that point, Furlane said when they launched the metaverse at LocoMobi World they got snide comments from people asking them if they would now be able to play games at the office.
Even though Bitcoin gave the metaverse a bad name in North America, not much damage has been done because Google recently signed up with a cryptocurrency corporate company.
They are educating people on what blockchain really is, which is a public ledger that cannot be faked. Financial transactions stay there forever and you can do a lot with that. If an artist sells a virtual painting on the metaverse, it becomes their property and has value over time. If a buyer then resells it, the original artist will still receive a share of the revenue, said Cross. That value cannot be compared for example to the zero dollars a musician gets if their album is resold in a used records store.
Using the music industry as an example, touring has an effect on the environment in terms of flying and even road transport. Cross talked about a possible metaverse solution for touring artists. His what-if thinking was if a musician had a concert at a small venue, they could make a killing from the people attending in person. By broadcasting the show online, and attracting a large number of digital viewers paying a small fee who can then buy products and merchandise in the metaverse, they can make even more.
The same applies to royalty splits for a song. Including songwriters will be much easier when using the metaverse for compensation. The metaverse will make it easier to pay everyone what they are rightfully owed. Auditing will also be much faster and incorruptible.
Cross said that Gen Alpha, people who are born after 2010, are always on the internet. They have been comfortable with smart devices since they were toddlers and 65 percent of them believe their online image is more important than what they portray in real life. As the next generation of our leaders, they will want the world to be like it is in the metaverse.
It would be great if we were less skeptical of the metaverse and took the time to understand what it means and how it can improve our quality of life.