The 5 benefits for the Web3 client

In the last few weeks I have been reading a lot about Web3, a topic that interests me a lot. What I want to talk about today is the cross-fertilization between my own passion for CX and the trending technology of Web3. So read on if you’re curious about the benefits of Web3 for customers.

For those who are not yet familiar with Web3, I briefly explain what it is (this article by Maurits Kreijveld is also very worthwhile in this regard):

  • web1: read
  • Web2: read + write
  • Web3: read + write + own

Web1, the first read-only version of the Internet, consisted of simple, static websites with limited functionality or interaction. In the next phase, that of Web2, the Web became participatory. Users can create content, interact with each other, share information, etc. This is called the read-write phase. The downside of this was that it created a concentration of power, centralized in a few major players like Facebook, Google and Twitter.

Web3 should be a decentralized version of the Internet, using blockchain technology. Its main feature is ownership, as it gives users full control over their content, data, and assets through blockchains. The dream is for Web3 to use blockchain, crypto, and NFTs to bring power back to the Internet community and thus break the monopoly of the Web2 giants. So that we have a fairer, autonomous and open internet.

What Web3 can do for clients

Of course, Web3 is still under construction, so we don’t know exactly what it will look like yet. To me, that’s an additional good reason to investigate what it can mean for customers. Personally, I am especially excited about the fact that many people think that it is a User-oriented Internet adaptation. will be (whereas Web2 was application-oriented): it offers more power, more control, more security, and more privacy to its users. Let’s see what that means for users and/or consumers.

Energy back with consumers

With Web3, end users regain full ownership and control of their data and enjoy increased security through encryption. This means that they can choose whether information about them can be shared and/or used by advertisers, marketers, researchers, etc. and when. One of the ways to do this is with simple and intuitive interfaces that allow users to see what information they want. share with web service providers.

If you think that’s not such a big deal, you’re wrong. Not only does it have a huge impact on the privacy and security of consumers, but it also allows them to take full control over personalization and even get paid for using their information. For example, they could earn micropayments for answering surveys, or receive token payments for consuming or sharing content.

On the positive side, this change in data ownership is expected to mitigate the stronger polarization of society fueled by the ‘echo chambers’ of social networks like Facebook. This will obviously make marketing efforts much more ethical as this data model is much more transparent and empowers the user. Consumers will be able to track their data and view the source code of the platforms they choose to use. This, in turn, will restore trust between consumers and brands, which is especially important after all the negative sentiment surrounding Facebook and even Amazon.

The end of borders online

We are so used to it that we hardly ever think about it, but there is a BIG difference between the physical world and the online world and that is ‘interoperability’. When you buy a dress from Zara, you can wear it at home, at work, on the street, in the forest or wherever you want. For example, if you purchased a digital version of this dress from Zara on Roblox (a game that is part of the metaverse), you probably won’t be able to wear it in the Meta’s Horizon metaverse. That’s because the metaverse is still a collection of separate metaverses for now, not one big open platform. That means consumers can hardly ever move digital assets from one virtual world to another. That’s extremely inconvenient, but we hardly ever think about it because it’s always been that way.

Web3 has the power to change that. All your information and assets will be centralized in your little ‘suitcase’, be it a crypto wallet or Sovereign Identity Space (SSI), in the form of tokens. What you own will be connected to your identity rather than a platform. So you can take everything with you when you jump from one app or ecosystem to another. This could also have a big impact on interoperability between IoT devices in general and those in smart homes and cities in particular.

Shared value and influence

But the impact of Web3 could go far beyond privacy and convenience. One of the parts that seems most interesting to me is that users or consumers will be able to participate in the value and influence of companies. This is where NFTs and smart contracts can come into play.

An NFT or non-fungible token is a record on the blockchain of a cryptocurrency that represents a piece of digital media. Non-fungible means it is a unique it is digitally broken and cannot be replaced by anything else. As Verge says: “a bitcoin is fungible: exchange one for another bitcoin and you have exactly the same thing. However, a one-of-a-kind trading card is not fungible. If you exchange it for another card, you have something completely different.”

What’s happening with NFTs today is still mostly misleading (read my article on that here), but I really see them moving beyond the current phase of “exciting” collectibles (like the infamous Beeple painting being sold for $69.3 million), and they can really change the game of customer loyalty. They can offer smart contracts, which could really play a big role in driving customer engagement. The example I like to give is how Kings of Leon released an album as NFT and their tokens, which include a limited number of unique ‘golden tickets’, unlock special benefits like limited edition vinyl and front row seats to future concerts.

The most interesting potential of NFTs is in the concept of what I call brand economies. Most current loyalty systems, such as frequent flyer programs, are completely unbalanced: more profit is made for the company than for the customer. With NFTs, customers will be much more involved and then become part of the journey. If I, as a frequent traveler, had an NFT interest in a company, we would have a shared interest rather than an opposing interest. In other words, if the company does well, the value of the NFT will rise and so will I. And so I, as a customer, will benefit when the brand performs better and become its ambassador. In effect, the customer becomes an emotional shareholder.

But it is not only the value that will be shared. It’s also about shared influence. And this is where the DAO (Decentralized Autonomous Organizations) can play an important role. Basically, DAOs are organizations, but on the Internet, where the rules are set in a smart contract with code snippets that are automatically executed when certain criteria are met. (Read my company nexxworks interview with Maarten Smakman if you want to understand better how they work).

A good example of a DAO that brings more influence to users could be Chingari. This is an India-based social video sharing platform and a potential competitor to TikTok. Chingari supports the principles of Web3, but what’s interesting is that it ultimately functions as a DAO where stakeholders can influence its direction. So the Web3 model would not only allow customers to share in the value of a company, but they could also influence it. Like the data ownership part I described above, this would also give them more power and significantly change their relationships with organizations.

Group interest first

The DAO portion of Web3 also has great potential to help users and consumers organize and establish online organizations by automating ownership and decision-making among members. DAOs are a great way to bring groups of people together quickly and fairly, whether it’s in an organization or just a single project. All the things that normally require a lot of lawyers, paperwork and time, and are made even more complicated if the participants live in different states or countries, would be done much more efficiently.

In theory, it would be possible to measure the work that each participant contributes to a project: one wrote the code, another helped with marketing, another helped manage a Discord server where DAO members meet. This could be interesting for launching startups, for example, but that is not the focus of this piece. But imagine what it could mean if dissatisfied consumers legally banded together against a brand. Or if his biggest fans formed a strong community. I think the combination of DAO plus community plus consumer could be very interesting in the future.

Improved user experiences

And finally, especially when combined with that other big trend, the metaverse, Web3 offers the opportunity to enhance user experiences in a way that makes them more fun, more relevant, more community-driven, and more inclusive.

But beware: only parts of the metaverse can be considered a Web3 phenomenon. Highly centralized metaverse platforms like Horizon by Meta are not (yet) part of Web3, though the company recently announced plans to delve into crypto and blockchain for that reason. Strictly speaking, only decentralized platforms like Decentraland can be considered Web3. It’s even more complicated: metaverse platforms can sell digital goods like tokens, often non-fungible (NFT) that to be separated from Web3. For example, virtual land in the metaverse can be sold as NFTs. In late 2021, Nike purchased the virtual shoe company RTFKT to sell sneakers like NFTs in the metaverse. Gap also started selling NFTs of their iconic logo hoodies for the metaverse. The reason the metaverse would work so much better if it were part of Web3 is, as I mentioned earlier, interoperability: you could then buy virtual Nike shoes and wear them across platforms.

The combination of ownership, smart contracts, reward systems, and immersion could be very interesting for clients of metaverse platforms. For example, users who decide which companies obtain their data and for what purpose will be able to use much more personal and personalized services, changing the relationship between these users and brands.

So I would say that these are the most relevant user benefits in Web3 that come to mind first:

  1. Energy back with consumers
  2. The end of borders online
  3. Shared value and influence
  4. Group interest first
  5. Improved user experiences

I’m curious what yours are. Let me know in the comments!

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