Around the world, web3 seems to be the flavor of the season.
The idea of a new iteration of the world wide web that incorporates concepts such as decentralization, blockchain technologies, and the token-based economy and enables greater data security, scalability, and privacy while dealing with big tech seems to have popularized.
And industry leaders gathered on the TechSparks platform to share their perspectives on web3, decentralization, and current market crises.
The 13th edition of India’s most influential emerging technology conference focuses on the theme “Building on India’s Tech Agenda” and has brought together architects and pioneers across India’s innovation ecosystem .
web3 business models
In the first of many discussions, Shailesh Lakhani, Managing Director of Sequoia Capital India, said: “In web3, users have much more to say; it is a way of distributing value”.
Shailesh Lakhani, CEO of Sequoia Capital India, said that as the technology is still in its infancy, the industry will, in the future, experiment with various business models and new approaches, citing the example of NFTs and their growth.
“We have seen interesting sports NFT platforms like FanCraze. Other NFTs are not just JPEG images; they have a lot of use cases, like ticket sales, creator economy, crowdfunding. Many exciting applications will emerge in India,” he said.
Shailesh agreed that centralized exchanges are easy to use, but said they are not transparent, hinting that decentralized exchanges might be a better option. However, he acknowledged that while DeFi will evolve, it has some complexities that limit mass adoption.
“Decentralized Finance [cuts out intermediaries] but it’s not user-friendly for consumers,” he said, adding that he expects many new approaches in the web3 gaming sector. “Many different models will come.”
Decentralization: when and when not?
In another panel discussion, Priyeshu Garg, co-founder of Router Protocol; Ashish Singhal, Co-Founder and CEO of CoinSwitch; and Pranav Sharma, founding partner of the Woodstock Fund; discussed the future of decentralization.
For Priyeshu, decentralization is a toolkit. “Instead of empowering stakeholders, users will have more power,” he said.
Ashish felt that decentralization could play an important role in limiting information bias. “Today we live in a world where four big technology companies control information; the idea of decentralization is about giving distributed energy to everyone,” he said.
Meanwhile, Pranav feels that decentralization is more about transparency. “On a microscopic level, centralized exchanges are not immutable or transparent, but decentralization would allow them,” he said.
However, despite the many benefits, all three panelists agreed that mass adoption of web3 would take a few more years.
“Decentralization will take decades to come into play; it will not happen overnight,” Priyeshu said.
Looking at recent market conditions and centralized exchanges losing millions of dollars due to simple mistakes, the panelists suggested implementing proof of reserves. A proof of reserve (PoR) involves comparing on-chain assets held in reserve to off-chain liabilities. In other words, it helps users audit digital asset reserves held by a custodian on demand.
“Users need to start demanding proof of reserves because centralized exchanges have their own challenges,” Priyeshu said.
Can web2 bring the next billion users to web3?
In the final panel discussion, CoinDCX co-founder Neeraj Khandelwal and PUSH Protocol founder Harsh Rajat discussed how web2 can play a role in bringing the next billion users to web3.
Neeraj believes that web2.5 could be the layer that could bridge web2 and web3.
“For any business to be successful, it has to have many customers. For customers to move from web2 to web3, they need to have a better experience. That’s where web2.5 comes in, as it combines the power of web2 with the simplicity of web3,” said Neeraj.
Harsh agreed that web2.5 would attract users and simplify complex technology.
“Users value time and innovation, but they won’t understand if innovation becomes complicated. Currently, web3 is complicated. That’s why web2.5 is needed, to make it easier for users.”
Neeraj is supporting India to be the leader in this sector. “For this, we need a great starter environment, a good amount of investment, and a policy and framework built for web3,” he said.