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web3 is here to stay: from speculative collectibles to real brand experiences

September 6, 2022
Florent Quinti
Florent is a partner at Hexa specializing in web3, AI, and productivity. With 12+ years of experience in building products from scratch, he previously co-founded an all-in-one customer success platform and advised several SaaS and consumer startups.

Is web3 here to stay or just a fad? A number of friends have asked me this very fair question over the past few months. Understanding what web3 will positively bring to the world is far from obvious today. We still lack some building blocks that will transform web3 from a niche to the mainstream.

In the past few years, the industry has built products focused on how to get tokens, or crypto assets, such as wallets and exchanges. Some of these products are hugely popular now, case in point with Metamask which allows its users to buy, store, send and swap tokens. But if we really want to unlock real use cases beyond speculative collectibles, we need to build products on how to use tokens.

At 3founders, we are building products to unlock what we believe the full web3 experience should be. Here’s our take on the general web3 roadmap ahead of us and why everything is coming together:

We are at the end of a cycle, brands need to reinvent themselves with new experiences

Brands are struggling to acquire new customers with traditional advertising. Apple is slowly destroying the ad-based model with its recent changes in privacy settings and Google plans to phase out third-party cookies on Chrome. Now more than ever, brands need to reinvent how they attract and retain their customers.

All the while consumer behaviour and desires are changing. Consumers do not want to be just followers, but they want to take a much more active part in the brand’s journey and feel like they’re part of a community. Plus, consumers are now purpose-driven and pick brands on how well they align to their values, particularly in terms of sustainability.

Web3 opens up a world of opportunities for brands who want turn this new generation of consumers into long-lasting customers. NFTs aren’t just collectibles that you buy and hope that they go up in value, but are tokens that can enable new marketing dynamics to turn followers into stakeholders.

For instance, a sneakers company can release NFTs that give its customers access to specific perks and advantages, only accessible through NFT ownership. It could be access to exclusive live events, merch, priority access to new releases, voting rights for the next design, and the list goes on. NFTs have the power to transform a brand’s relationships with customers for the better.

➡️ Cohort (the first startup launched by 3founders) is making it possible.

Web2 platforms are becoming wallet aware, creating new forms of cross-marketing

On web3, users connect to applications with a wallet that contains the tokens that they hold and want to show. It means that applications can read what the user holds and define their buyer persona according to what type of NFTs they’ve collected, their token values, etc… Brands can thus, based on buyer personas, offer exclusive experiences, personalize their entire store, offer promo codes, and anything else that can assist in better converting users. Collabs between brands will let users who hold a token from a brand, access exclusive experiences from another endorsed brand, creating a new virtuous acquisition strategy.

It’s like entering a flagship store wearing an indie brand tee shirt, the merchant will recognize your shared culture, suggest an item you may be interested in, and offer you a discount. This will be possible online, at scale, with the consumer always in control of what he wants to show (unlike cookies in the ad-based model). A win-win deal for the brand and the buyer.

On Shopify, brands can now create stores available only to holders of specific tokens. Any website could become wallet aware and offer its users special experiences based on tokens. Entire marketing playbooks have to be rewritten.

➡️ 3founders will soon launch a new startup to bring these new possibilities to all brands and applications.

Social networks are adding web3 native features, creating a social dimension of holding a token

Instagram started allowing users to show their NFTs on their profiles, opening new marketing possibilities for brands who want to leverage these new social statuses. Snapchat announced that they will also enter the space.

In the future, new web3-native social networks will be created with token ownership at the center of the experience.

➡️ 3founders will soon launch a new startup to help grow communities with a token economic model.

More abstraction to make a complex technology disappear

In its current state, the blockchain isn’t accessible to all and is hard to understand, but design innovation will turn complex technologies in simpler products. Non-custodial wallets like Metamask are too complex for the average user but the next-gen wallets will embed powerful features making the technology disappear: cross-chain support, straightforward onboarding with no seed-phrase, ZKP for privacy, etc…

To onboard the next wave of non-crypto users, wallets managed by merchants (custodial wallet) could be a solution to remove the complexity of creating a wallet and simplifying the user experience. Buying a token could be as easy as buying something on Amazon.

Finally, architectures are becoming more mature: blockchains are slowly becoming ready for mass adoption with lower gas fees, better security, and less energy consumption.

We can see that all the building blocks for a user-friendly web3 experience are coming together. We can’t wait to see what impact web3 will have on our lives! If you share the same vision and want to make it happen, let’s talk!