NFTs are giving Web3 a bad name. This is what Web3 can actually do

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Monkeys, dogs, cats, punks… suspiciously copyrighted pixel art, all hoisted into the stratosphere by a seemingly endless stream of crypto enthusiasts on a silly major theory “investment” premise. And now, it crashed.

The good news is that none of those things are “Web3”.

However, the die was cast and many people now think of NFTs as simply a mechanism to tokenize and sell their digital intellectual property, without regard to actual value or utility. Many people have been completely derailed by the “get rich quick” ethos of the v1.0 version of NFT and therefore miss the core opportunity and value that Web3 provides.

Web3 Definition

Before we know how to leverage it to boost connectivity, increase revenue, or reduce fraud, we need to understand the technology we’re talking about.

The “Web” is simply shorthand for the interconnected society and economy:

  • Web1 was information availability.
  • Web2 was the advent of social media, blogging platforms, video tools, and other ways to write, create, and participate.
  • Web3 leverages blockchain technology to enable direct ownership, portability, accessibility, and provenance of everything electronic.

Related: If you have no idea what Web3 is, you’re not alone. Here’s a breakdown of the future of the internet.

Understanding NFTs

One of the biggest by-products of Web3 technology is the ability to tokenize digital assets, often called “non-fungible tokens” or NFTs. Fungible and non-fungible tokens are going to completely transform the world. Businesses, content creators, and individuals will do amazing things with them. But it’s still early days and many infrastructure problems need to be resolved before it can take flight.

While there have been some modest financial success stories, pioneers in music, sports, influencers, corporate brands, etc. have risked their intellectual property and damaged their brands by jumping into things too fast out of greed. v1.0 without thinking about the consequences of poor infrastructure provider selections and a lack of engaging content or useful utility.

  • NFTs are for much more than creating digital art (or a trading card, music track, or whatever) and selling it to a minimal audience.
  • NFTs are for direct audience engagement and relationships.
  • NFTs are for portability of ownership and provenance of the things the NFT represents.
  • …and much more.

Related: NFTs will soon be inevitable. That’s good.

What Web3 can do

While early in the game (I suggest that only the first pitch was thrown in the first inning), and while not much critical infrastructure has been put in place yet to enable broad adoption, we are seeing some exciting use cases starting to emerge that tell us what the technology can do. These include:

Sports – Autograph has nailed the value proposition with Tom Brady’s NFTs. These aren’t just some collectible cards or short video clips. No, these are “Season Tickets” that provide ongoing updates, offers, event invites, and special access to The Huddle tokenized website.

Automotive — Delorean it is preparing to make cars again and is now taking deposits. People get NFTs that represent their rights to a car, specifically at the time when they are in the delivery queue. (NFT # is your place on the assembly line). They will continually add manufacturing updates, flyers, special event invites, and other things (data) to the NFTs that future owners have (note that this is not in the form of new NFTs sent to owners, but simply new data added to the vault that the existing NFT unlocks).

Also, given the portability of NFTs, if a holder wants to sell their rights and place them online to someone else, they can go to a secondary marketplace like eBay or Autotrader and do so easily. It seems fitting that the “Back to the Future” icon should lead the charge regarding Web3.

Related: The ‘Back To The Future Car’ DeLorean Looks Pretty, Futuristic

Medical devicesmedical globe, a multi-billion dollar biomechanical manufacturer, is minting an NFT for every cervical cage, every disc, and every spinal screw a surgeon places in a body. This solves the problem they have with people installing lathes in machine shops, establishes the provenance of their devices and components, thwarts counterfeiting, and limits patient liability.

Music – It’s not just selling song tracks and albums. They are allowing fans to participate in the positive side of their favorite artists by becoming (partial) owners of those songs and albums and receiving part of the royalty streams. NFT owners will also get “gifts, surprises, and priority access to tickets, merchandise, and events.”

And now…

Everything that came before these use cases—all the cats, dogs, apes, and punks—has set the stage for the transformative impact Web3 will have on the interconnected world. We should appreciate those formative early iterations of the industry (ICOs and NFTs) even when we put them in the rear view mirror.

The task now is to educate businesses and content creators about the amazing things they can do with Web3…and for my team at Fortress to build the infrastructure that protects data, enables new generations of utility and engagement, and makes them accessible to every person on the planet.

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