We came, we saw, and we (barely) conquered 2022. The world witnessed lots of innovations emerge from the Web3 space such as fractional NFTs to purchase luxury goods and real estate, fashion shows and shopping in the metaverse, and the intersection of music and technology through NFTs. But last year wasn’t all peaches and cream. There were some low points for Web3 as well, like ponzi scheme NFT projects, a racist AI rapper, and the downfall of FTX. But with great technology comes great innovation, which leads me to the question: What is next for Web3?
I asked Web3 thought leaders and creatives what their predictions were for the space in 2023 and this is what they had to say.
Community manager for RTFKT Cas thinks we will be leaving a few things in 2022 — for example, the phrase “NFT.” He predicted, “The stigma around NFTs doesn’t match what’s actually happening in the space. In the years moving forward, I think a lot of projects will focus more on the benefits than the tech.” Specifically for this year, Cas believes the “latest trends will be focused around the ecosystems that have been building in Web3, like DAOs, digital collectibles [and] social rewards. Many teams have spent a year-plus working alongside their contributors or collectors, and we’ve seen how powerful social alignment has worked in the past. I’m also excited to see more entrepreneurs thrive or find niches in the space. I think most will agree that a good artist or developer could find opportunities in Web3.”
Web3 artist and Bad Grrls Creative Club Founder Toni Thai took a different approach and said it’s hard to make predictions because “the space moves so quickly. Plus, with the economy being where it is, all industries will be impacted. However, I think one trend that has been emerging with no signs of slowing down is DeFi (decentralized finance). For anyone who doesn’t know much about the space, DeFi refers to financial apps built on or around blockchain technology that operate in a decentralized way, so there are no intermediaries or middlemen.” She also stated she believes NFTs aren’t going anywhere and that they will be “used much more in ways outside of art.” “I think the strongest use case is ticketing, so scalpers need to find another side hustle quickly,” Thai noted.
It seems people are still quite hopeful with the progression of Web3. Musical artist Black Dave insisted, “Despite the conditions of the crypto market, Web3 and NFTs will continue to flourish, as the folks who were building during the first year of the bear market will likely start launching the ideas they’ve been generating. I believe in 2023, we will not only see mainstream artists enter the NFT landscape, but we will see an artist native to Web3 have their first breakout moment. I believe the first breakout success from Web3 will be a rap or rap-adjacent artist, but time will tell.”
Director of partnerships at Dapper Labs and NBA Top Shot Nate Hemmingway had similar thoughts regarding NFTs and the future forecast of Web3. He mentioned, “A lot of these cash-grabby, easy money, nonsensical, no-real-utility projects will drop off and kind of become obsolete. Similar to the dot-com bubble when those companies vanished. The ones who have succeeded built real community and have real utility. [They’ll] still feel some recession pain but will double down on what has made them successful so far and continue to build up their community.” Hemmingway is another thought leader who thinks NFTs won’t be going anywhere. He added, “A lot of corporate Fortune 500 companies will continue to use NFTs as clever ways to use Web3 as rewards programs like Starbucks.” He also said he hopes “the first sports team or venue figures out how to use Web3 and the blockchain as their own internal ticketing system because there is a huge resale market that these entities miss out on by outsourcing to Ticketmaster, SeatGeek, StubHub” etc.
Web3 educator and Tech Runs DAO community builder Ashley Caine had this to say as far as predictions for the coming months: “2023 is the year of the DAO. Decentralized Autonomous Organizations are easily understood as IRL and online communities with voting systems and a shared bank account. With the industry currently being in a bear market, organizations with strong communities that show up no matter the financial condition of the market will thrive this year. Not only will many, many new DAOs be created, but established DAO brands will transcend industry notoriety to become household names this year the way PFP brands like Bored Ape Yacht Club did during the last bull market.”
What are my Web3 predictions for 2023? Well, 2022 ended with celebrities like Tom Brady, Steph Curry, and more under fire for promoting FTX, as there is a class-action lawsuit brought by investors who said that the company was a ponzi scheme. Not to mention Chee… I mean, Donald Trump… is being investigated after selling out his NFT project and making $4.5 million for minting some of his own collectibles. This wave poured into 2023 with Logan Paul outing his team, who helped him drop his NFT project. Based on these events, one of my first predictions is there will be an increase in regulations when it comes to who can drop NFT projects and how, plus more regulations for influencers who promote them and/or cryptocurrencies.
I also predict the increased use of AI technology. Currently, artists and many others are side-eyeing platforms like ChatGPT for taking the “creative” aspect out of creating. But, I think that artists will start to embrace this technology and utilize it to take their art to new heights.
Lastly, I believe Web3 companies and projects in general will have to step outside of their normal group of hype/FOMO participants and will be forced to educate people to onboard. In the past, companies got away with hype as a marketing strategy to get people interested in their projects but with the current state of the market, people are more skeptical than ever when it comes to Web3. This will force owners to actually educate individuals about the fundamentals of the space and debunk myths or fears they may have. This will result in innovations and more people onboarding.
The great thing about Web3 is that it’s so new we can’t even fully fathom how the technology will be used in the future. Everyday someone is figuring out a creative way to utilize blockchain tech, so I am excited to see what is next.