The simplest way of describing its evolution would be the following:
- Web 1.0: Read
- Web 2.0: Read, write
- Web 3 (3.0): Read, write, own
What does decentralization of the worldwide web mean? And more importantly, what does it mean for brands moving forward?
Join our Zync brand experts as we discuss these questions – and more – in this week’s episode of #EverythingIsBrand.
Recorded on April 22, 2022.
Brad Breininger: 0:00
Hi, everybody, and welcome to this week’s everything is brand. This week, we want to talk about Web3. For those of you who aren’t as familiar with Web3, it’s going to change the world. So stay tuned. Web3 is basically the third iteration of the World Wide Web. So one of the best examples that I’ve heard people explain it in is that iteration number one was kind of read – those were like your AOLs, and the early days of the internet. Then iteration two was read, write, where you had Facebook and social media and a whole bunch of other things where you could not only get information, but input information. And iteration number three, which is Web3, is really read, write, own. So it really talks to the decentralization of the worldwide web, and really turning ownable things, whether it’s artwork, or phraseology, or stories, or whatever, those can all go through tokenization, where you can prove the authorship or you can prove the ownership of those kinds of things. So really decentralization, tokenization and individual capability to take the internet in a whole new direction. Christian, did I get that right? Is there anything you want to add to what Web3 really is?
Christian Rosenthal | ZYNC: 1:25
Yeah, you got it. I was actually thinking earlier today about this whole topic. And it all sounds great. I mean, technically, you’re right. But what does that mean? Right? What does decentralization mean, for the user and for brands even right? And we need to take a step back here, because what 2.0 was all about, freedom of speech – was all about saying what you wanted on social media. When you talk about Web3, you talk about privacy, you talk about ownership of data. And I think that’s crucial here. And to give you an example, just to try and understand what this means. We can’t avoid talking about the metaverse. We’ve talked about it on previous podcasts. But it’s a thing now. And it’s getting bigger and bigger. Right. I was just reading yesterday about this law firm. And yeah, we’re getting now to the brand part – this law firm, embracing the Web3 and getting a Metaverse office property. Right. So they’re buying a virtual office, where they can virtually meet clients, and obviously, solve their problems through the blockchain and everything. So we’ve gotten to that point, right, where we’re – the company owns that piece of land, virtually, they have that real estate piece virtually owned, and then they can go there and meet with their clients, and so on and so forth.
Brad Breininger: 3:06
And it’s trackable, right, Christian, that’s the whole point of this is that all those things are trackable. Whereas now, you can have bots, you can be incognito on the web, whereas really, data ownership and trackability is really a big part of Web3, isn’t it?
Christian Rosenthal | ZYNC: 3:22
Yeah, that’s correct. And the fact that, for example, when we talk about Web 2.0, you publish a post on Facebook, on Twitter, that post is not yours anymore, it belongs to Facebook, or in this case Meta. If you publish something, or you promote something on Google, it belongs to Google Now, when in this case, companies, brands or even users, we can create NFTs, right? And that belongs specifically to the user that bought it. And then you store it, you don’t store it on a remote server that belongs who knows whom you store it on your personal digital wallet, right? So it’s that ability to own whatever piece of information that you have. That’s the key aspect of Web3.
Brad Breininger: 4:14
Yeah, so that goes back to the whole ownable differentiation between web 2.0 and Web3. So you know, it’s no longer just read or read and write – it’s now read, write, ownable.
Marko Zonta: 4:26
Are you suggesting that this is, you know, when you talk about ownership, that there’s also, you know, because 2.0, there is a lot of negative stuff connected to social media and everything else. So are you talking about not just ownable in terms of when you create something that it belongs to you it no longer belongs to the platform that delivers that content? But then is it also about responsibility in the sense that there is a lot of dark stuff that happens online as well, and is that now attributable to those individuals that are actually doing that. So can you talk a little bit more about that? Like is does this connect back to that as well?
Christian Rosenthal | ZYNC: 5:06
It does. Right now, I guess one of the most important technologies that’s been explored and promoted through this whole thing are NFT’s and the whole blockchain, right? Eventually, we’re going to be talking about digital wearables, we’re going to be talking about tokens, for example, Twitter is already exploring the possibility of adding your own NFT as an avatar, right. So it’s yours and only yours, you are the one in charge of managing that information. So yeah, 100%,
Brad Breininger: 5:40
I think where it gets a little dicey, is that right now, from an accountability and regulation perspective, you can, you know, regulate a lot of web 2.0 is owned by large organizations that have some regulations built in, where some of the negative feedback around Web3 is, is how do you regulate it? How do you hold folks accountable, and one of the arguments that is being made is that maybe you don’t hold the content accountable, maybe you don’t hold the you know, what goes on to the web accountable, but you hold the people accountable, you hold the entities accountable. And because there is clear ownership going forward, that may be a lot easier to do. So the regulation rules may change going forward for Web3, because we’re gonna have to shift our perspective a little bit and move away from the content itself, and move closer to the people who are either posting or owning that content and making sure that they remain accountable.
Marko Zonta: 6:43
That’s why I was asking this question because, you know, a lot of businesses deal with negative reviews, for example, like, you know, a restaurant will get negative reviews, and it’s from people who are, you know, hiding behind, you know, anonymous identities, online identities, and it can really hurt their business. Right? So and that’s something that would really benefit brands, when they have to deal with all of that stuff. Like you said, it’s the person is now accountable for what they’re saying, or what they’re doing.
Brad Breininger: 7:12
Gabi Gomes: 7:12
So who’s making those rules? Who is making the rules on Web3, because here’s the issue. It’s all about decentralization, but at some point, it will be some big tech company that will you know, that law firm that started out there was small. And when they first started Web3, and now grew, grew, grew, grew, grew. So it’s kind of like early adopters end up becoming the Giants. So what we’re rebelling against right now is the fact that Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Apple, whatever, all own the web, pretty much Oh, and by the way, the government is really behind on it, in terms of regulating it. So good luck, where’s the government going to be on Web3?
Brad Breininger: 7:57
A perfect example of that, Gabi, is that a lot of the talk around Web3, and a lot of the blockchain stuff was done by the creator of Ethereum. And although he’s no longer involved, some people say he still puts his own ideas into the future of where Web3 is going. So that’s a great question. How do we eliminate that kind of a few making the rules for everyone if decentralization and a more democratic web are the ultimate goal
Gabi Gomes: 8:29
When it’s not being policed at all, like, government is not going – to the issue with government as always, it’s always behind. It’s still behind on web 2.0. Only now are we starting to see governments and countries take more action onto Facebook, onto Google. And when it comes to privacy and data security, and whatever, then they’re really behind? I’m not saying I’m all for innovation and all for whatever but do I think is the be all end all? I mean, right now, Elon Musk and Jack Dorsey still think it’s a buzzword only. And you know, the facts are when it comes to cryptocurrency. That’s the wild wild west over there when it comes to money. Because there is no bank that is backing that up in terms of you put money in there. And like it’s gambling. Right? You don’t know. Good luck. Good luck. That’s all that’s that’s what is backed by luck.
Brad Breininger: 9:24
Yeah, but we see I mean, anytime technology changes, there’s always the questions, right. There’s always the how is this going to work? What is going to happen? How are we going to control it? I think that regulation and accountability, I think are always going to be a problem at the end of the day, and just kind of bringing this back to brands. I think one of the things that brands have to be very cognizant of as we move into this kind of new phase of the internet, is that it is a little bit of the Wild West and it is a little bit of you, making sure that you’re doing the right thing because although the regulation and accountability might not be there right at the beginning in as strong a way, they will catch up. And eventually, especially with the ownership piece attached to it, you may be called to task at some point. So I think brands and people really need to be aware of that and understand that there’s much more opportunity for trackability. Now, there’s much more opportunity for things to be tied to you. And although, you know, you might not face any consequences in in the early days, when it is a little bit more wild in the west of Web3, there will come a point where you may be held to task, like, even if you look at now, I mean, we talk all the time about this idea of anonymity when it comes to commenting on things or putting reviews forward or whatever. But if you look at politicians or public figures, everyone’s going back into their historical data in social media to call out either opinions – I don’t know how many of you are familiar with the new CEO of the Toronto Star, but there’s been some real issues going on with her appointment and some things that were done in social media, I don’t think we need to get into that. But the idea is, is that there is connection. And eventually, there may be a call to action for individuals or brands if they don’t self regulate, or if they don’t remain accountable as they go into this new direction.
Sasha Codrington: 11:28
I think we kind of fell into this on the NFT podcast as well, is that it’s easier to speak to what the platform is ideally going to be or what people hope it’s going to be. There’s also quite a gap, I think between where we are now and that concept, that idea like aside from the accountability, there’s a lot of issues with the infrastructure, it’s not accessible at all, in terms of how are you joining this setting up your wallet, the average person could easily be scammed, transactions aren’t refundable. Like there’s so many ways that it can still go wrong. And I – just in researching for this podcast read quite a few examples of when it did go very wrong in terms of huge sums of money, like the risks are just so high right now. The infrastructure isn’t quite there, it’s not ready for the wider population to join. So I think it’s also just mentioning that as much as we can see a lot of different opportunities in the future with some of these platforms, I think we can’t ignore kind of the problems that are still there right now. Right?
Gabi Gomes: 12:32
And isn’t that decentralize? Isn’t that decentralized? Right there, the fact that everybody’s getting scammed? I’m not saying everybody, but a large percentage is getting scammed. Isn’t that decentralized? We’ve got no rules, right?
Brad Breininger: 12:50
Well, you know, with anything comes the whole criminal element. But there’s always going to be people who are looking for a way to scam or a way to buck the system, or whatever it might be. And and you’re right, let’s
Gabi Gomes: 13:02
call it what it is. Let’s call it what it is. I mean, if we look at two, if we look at web 2.0, what pushed web two was porn, was gambling. Those things pushed web 2.0 to where it is today. Right? So will it be harmful content, crime, whatever that pushes three into being adopted more readily by all? I don’t know, I don’t know
Brad Breininger: 13:25
Or will it be brands that really understand how to exist in this new world direction? I mean, you know, Christian, your example of the law firm that’s already bought virtual real estate and is already starting to consult with clients in a virtual world. Like, I think it’s maybe some of those visionaries that are going to show the rest of us what is possible, because I think, to the point that you just made Sasha, which I think is such a strong point to this is that most of the world doesn’t understand this. And really like anything – I think we need examples of how does this apply to us? I know that there’s probably people and brands out there listening right now who are like, I don’t even know where to begin with this. And this podcast is not going to give you that answer. Because we are so early in the days of what is possible here and where this could go. It really is a game changer. But we don’t understand what the new game is. We’re still playing the old game. And I think that that’s probably one of the things that we’re all going to have to kind of get up to speed with over the next little while is what is Web3 and how does it apply? And I think we’re gonna have to look to these visionaries or to these folks who are kind of diving headfirst into it, to give us examples of what is possible.
Jeremy Linskill: 14:46
I think all we’re really trying to establish on this podcast is really the fact that it’s worth paying attention to. Right? That there are these four key things whether that’s cryptocurrency, NFTs, blockchain and the metaverse you know. Those four things are worth paying attention to that the change is coming. And that we all need to be reading and educating ourselves and paying attention to to those risk takers, the ones that are, you know, out there taking those chances, and seeing where it goes. But it’s not going away. It does look like the next logical step in the evolution of the web. Right. And I think that that’s really the big message that we’re trying to get out. As part of this conversation.
Gabi Gomes: 15:29
I think one of the ways that we will learn more about web three, and we will get more comfortable with Web3 is the concept of NFT’s, I think, more and more, we’re seeing people wrap their minds around that, and be able to accept it and purchase them, adopt them, whatever. And that may be the introduction into Web3, where people can wrap their minds around it. But it also goes to show those that can wrap their head around it, and get into it adopt it, versus those that kind of lag behind. I’d love to pole everybody on this to see when everybody joined Facebook. Like who joined Facebook, back in 2005, chances are it was actually 2007. But those of us that joined earlier than that were the early adopters of that platform, kind of checking it out, you know, seeing what it was all about. And I think the same thing will naturally occur with Web3. We’ll get those that are more comfortable curious about what it is playing around with it, buying Bitcoin, you know, purchasing NFTs, whatever it is. And then we’ll have everybody else and that law firm and anybody else, other brands that got involved in Web3 earlier, we’ll probably have an advantage over the later ones that came in.
Brad Breininger: 16:54
But isn’t that true of all early adopters? I mean, I think that if you look at –
Gabi Gomes: 16:59
But with that comes risk
Brad Breininger: 17:00
Of course. But the reality is, is that if you look at both Steve Jobs, and Bill Gates, one of the things that really differentiated them, and if you’ve read any of Malcolm Gladwell’s work, one of the things that really differentiated them is that they had access to personal – well not personal computers – but to computers in general, through either the Library at the University that they were at. So they were computing long before the rest of the general population. And that early adoption knowledge allowed them to look at the world in a very different way. So I think that there is always an advantage to early adopters, there is always an advantage in some of those advantages might be educational, some of them might be monetary, some of them might be able to understand a certain platform or technology. But it does put people in a very special category when they are able to do that. So you know, there may be advantages to those early adopters, but but without them, there is no way that mass adoption can happen. So it all goes back to this idea, which is the general rule of how all technology and change works, which is you start with those early adopters. Well you start with the pioneers, then you have the early adopters, and then you have the mass integration. So I think that that is such an important part. And the other thing too, is that it will change and adapt. I think Jeremy, you nailed it with those are the four things the metaverse, cryptocurrency, blockchain and NFTs. I mean, all of those things will continue to change over time. I mean, already, we’re seeing how much easier it is to create an NFT. There are software programs where you can just go in and create an NFT online, so so it will become easier for all of us to move into adoption.
Jeremy Linskill: 18:48
And I think that’s part of it. Like I mean, we’re talking about NFTs right now as buying artwork, right? Like that’s kind of when you say NFT, that’s what you’re thinking of, but really, an NFT can be used to be a certificate for something. So when you graduate from university, you can get an NFT that says you went to that university, you can use it to buy land, so it can be, you know, your land certificate, you can use it for a concert ticket, right? So you go to a concert, and you get an NFT to say that that’s your concert ticket. Like it’s the technology really that we’re talking about. And it’s what’s going to be interesting is how that technology is going to be used going forward. Blockchain is really about decentralization and how that can evolve. So if we’re looking at those pieces of the puzzle, it’s not specifically what they’re being used for now. It’s going to be how they’re going to be used going forward. I think that’s really interesting, right?
Brad Breininger: 19:37
Yeah, definitely. And I mean, I think the term that’s being used out there now is tokenization. You can apply tokenization to pretty much anything, where when they talk about having the token, basically what it is, in lay terms is it’s proof – it’s digital proof that this was either bought by you, created by you, or belongs to you, you know, that is really the very basic of what tokenization means. So, like you said, that can apply to anything. And we’re just, I mean, right now we’re using art and that kind of stuff as a kind of a thin edge of the wedge to kind of drive us into tokenization. But really, the options are unbelievable. And, and for brands, that is such an important part of what this whole Web3 direction can potentially do for them, the ability to have ownership online, which is something that has eluded brands for a very long time, like that online ownership is extremely difficult, whether it’s, whether it’s content, or thought leadership, or art or certificates, or whatever it might be the ability to have that online ownership is probably one of the greatest assets for brands moving forward.
Christian Rosenthal | ZYNC: 20:52
The other thing that I think brands can start exploring if they haven’t already, is the fact that there’s this huge field of what, what’s now becoming the VR experiences, AR experiences, and what’s now being called mixed experiences, where they can start building these experiences as part of their marketing campaigns, right, more and more people have access to devices, like the Oculus, for example, or any VR headsets. So that’s going to start being part of future marketing campaigns as well, right. And the fact that now you can interact with whatever worlds are being created, and not just see or watch them, that creates a whole new different experience, right.
Brad Breininger: 21:43
And that opens the door to looking at brand expansion and brand application in a very different way than we’ve looked at it in the past, I mean, often we kind of look to traditional media or even up and coming things in order to expand brands and really activate them in the marketplace. But a lot of these activations are outside the realm of a lot of the current knowledge that brand specialists or marketing specialists have. So it’s going to require looking at the world in a bit of a different way, and making sure that you can expand your thinking, in order to take full advantage of those opportunities that are coming quickly.
Jeremy Linskill: 22:24
Yeah, it’s interesting. I mean, I have the Oculus, you know, I bought it, I got it at Christmas, or whatever. And it’s funny, like, you plug it in, and, and you play it, but it’s almost like going back in time, in terms of the quality of stuff that’s on there a little bit like, you’ve got all these, I’m gonna just attribute it to video games. Not that I’m a big video gamer. But, you know, I’ve played video games over over the course of my life. And you know, you’ve got these Xboxes, and PlayStations, and all these things with these amazing graphics. And you go into the Oculus, and you play and it’s almost like taking a step back, like 15 years, or 10 to 15 years in terms of the graphic capabilities. But the fact of the matter is, is that it exists, that it’s happening, and that people are building these games that the graphics aren’t as good as it could be on these other machines. But they understand that the potential of where it can go, and they want to be in there doing that because they want to eventually you’re going to catch up and surpass these other machines. But in order to start, they have to start somewhere. Right. And I think, you know, it goes back to the early adopters, it’s the risks, you know, getting into the space, even though it’s not great quality, knowing that where what it has the potential to do is a really interesting approach.
Brad Breininger: 23:39
Yeah. And even in some of the graphics that we’ve seen around the metaverse, it looks like animation from the early 90s. It almost does like anything, I think that often when you need to move forward, you take one step back and two steps forward. And in a lot of ways, I think that that’s a little bit of what’s happening in what you’re talking about there. And I think brands have to be really aware of that, that there is going to have to be a step back before you can take two steps forward. And and I think that we’re seeing that in a lot of these areas like the metaverse like the VR and AR, but it will I think it will change quickly.
Jeremy Linskill: 24:16
Yeah, I think it’s a you know, it’s a little bit of a, an attitude towards something. It’s like, do you want to get in the game early? And you know, it’s not going to be the best? Or do you want to wait till it’s perfect and then come in later, right. And we have clients that are on both sides of that coin, right. Like, it’s a really interesting to watch that some of them out there just they get in, it’s not perfect but they just want to be there. They just want to get something in that space so that they can be a part of it. And I think that it’s a – it’s a roadblock for a lot of people because I think people just expect if I’m gonna go in it’s got to be perfect. It’s got to be right. It’s got to be amazing. And it holds a lot of people back because of that. Right. So I think that’s also interesting.
Christian Rosenthal | ZYNC: 24:54
And to that point, I think for some audiences, I can talk a lot about my kids, you can also do that too. For some audiences, the perfect graphics aren’t what matters most. It’s the experience they’re getting right?
Jeremy Linskill: 25:11
Yeah, absolutely. I think my kids, it’s funny, they they play the Oculus all the time. And I never hear them going, Oh, those graphics are terrible. Exactly. Like, it’s not like it’s more about oh, it’s so cool that it’s around me or that I’m can do this or whatever. So it’s funny how Yeah, we think that graphics are super important. But the kids are not like they’re not into that at all right? It’s the experience.
Brad Breininger: 25:33
And they’re looking at it from a very different perspective, we’re comparing it to something from before, whereas they don’t have that same baggage in what they’re trying to bring forward. So their minds are much more open. And it’s interesting, because often, you see, early adopters tend to be a little younger than the average. And part of the reason is that is that there’s, there’s not that same baggage that they have. I think that that’s something that brands are gonna have to really consider as we move into Web3 is, do they want to go now? Or do they want to wait? Do they want to kind of take those first few steps into Web3 now, or do they want to see what the opportunities are? I think that decision will be different for every single brand. The reality, though is, is that it’s coming and whether Elon Musk thinks it’s a buzzword or not, there will be an evolution the world continues to evolve. And when it comes to the web, Web3 is simply the evolution of where we need to go and start reading now find out more about it. Ask questions where you can and start to think about what does it mean to my brand? What does it mean to what I’m doing in marketing? What does it mean to how I want to move my whole communication plan forward, and then you can make a decision about where you want to be. But keep in mind that it’s coming and web three is the next iteration. So that’s this edition of everything is brand join us next time for a new topic and remember, everything is brand.