The internet we know today, commonly referred to as Web2, is dominated by companies providing services in exchange for user data. Web3 represents the internet that may soon rise to prominence, characterized by decentralized finance, blockchain-driven applications, and participation in the metaverse.

The world of cryptocurrencies has already seen its share of highs and lows. After reaching a value in excess of $60,000 in 2021, the price of bitcoin has fallen below $25,000 this year. In recent months, crypto exchanges have had to pause withdrawals, citing market volatility. Yet the Web3 industry is fueling its own wave of innovation, attracting entrepreneurs focused on building companies in anticipation that blockchain technology will support new ecosystems surrounding enterprise computing and the global economy.

This vision formed much of the agenda at the Monaco Crypto Summit in July. TheCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s livestreaming studio, joined a select consortium of cryptocurrency and blockchain experts at the gathering to discuss Web3 and its future implications. (* Disclosure below.)

Here are three insights you might have missed:

1. The blockchain is gaining a foothold in government services.

The blockchain is emerging as more than just a platform for recording cryptocurrency transactions. A growing number of governments are finding use for the immutable ledger as well.

“Government adoption is, hands down, the most exciting and important thing that’s going on right now,” said Lauren Bissell, founder and chief executive officer of Immutable Music, during an interview with theCUBE.

Blockchain use cases among governments are becoming more prevalent. The Securities and Exchange Board of India has instructed depositories to use the blockchain for records maintenance, and a pilot project is underway for secured voting. In Colombia, the national government has issued guidelines for the implementation of blockchain projects at the state level. In the U.S., IBM highlights federal government blockchain use cases on its website, ranging from information sharing in the Office of Personnel Management to public health data collection by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“The best use for blockchain, in my opinion, is recording data and having that data be permanent,” said Rachel Wolfson, senior reporter at Cointelegraph, in a conversation with theCUBE. “A lot of governments around the world are going to see that use case and say, ‘Oh wow, blockchain is a great technology for things like that.’”

Here’s theCUBE’s complete video interview with Rachel Wolfson:

2. NFTs and metaverse innovation could dramatically reshape the advertising market.

In the current internet world, advertisers generate brand awareness and consumer engagement through online campaigns. The general approach has been to deluge popular websites with popup ads and hope something sticks.

However, this process has become more challenging through plans to curtail tracking cookies on major browser platforms such as Google. Advertisers are going to need a more effective solution, and the metaverse provides a glimpse into what that might be.

Liquid Avatar Technologies Inc. is in the process of launching the Aftermath Islands metaverse, a global virtual game in which users can buy and sell virtual land and other items through collectible non-fungible tokens. This metaverse will be supported by digital identity verification, meaning that customers will have personal information voluntarily stored in a verified avatar and brands can interact directly with them.

This is the kind of one-on-one relationship that advertisers crave, and Aftermath Islands represents a virtual economy in which marketers and consumers will gather in a much more immersive and interactive environment than could be found in Web2. Practitioners believe that a combination of advanced gaming, NFT and blockchain technologies will offer a new opportunity to reshape online advertising.

“We have a world in front of us that is valuable to marketers, valuable to brands and valuable to individuals,” said David Lucatch, co-founder of Aftermath Islands, and president, chief executive officer and chair at Liquid Avatar Technologies, during an interview with theCUBE at the Monaco Crypto Summit. “Brands can now connect with you and give you promos and products based on the information that you’re willing to share with them about your real person. Your avatar becomes your intermediary, and your payment information is stored within your digital identity.”

Here’s theCUBE’s complete video interview with David Lucatch:

3. Will ‘peak centralization’ lead to ‘open salvation’ in Web3?

The gathering in Monaco highlighted one of the key themes driving cryptocurrency and metaverse technologies. Web3 projects are attracting interest because the current technology world has become too centralized.

This is a point of view that has been developing for some time, as the tech industry evolved into a model in which five companies — Google, Apple, Facebook (Meta), Microsoft and Amazon — have come to dominate the landscape. In 2021, these firms alone generated revenue estimates of $800 billion on the low end to $1.4 trillion on the high end. Even with the lower estimate, this has been calculated to be more than the economy of Saudi Arabia.

Startup companies seeking to develop offerings in the metaverse view this as an opportunity to disrupt the status quo. Ryan Gill is the founder of the Open Meta Association, a group formed with the mission to be the organizing force for decentralized governance in an open metaverse with community control.

There are signs that some of the largest tech players intend to take an active role in metaverse governance as well. In June, Microsoft and Facebook (Meta) created the Metaverse Standards Forum to foster interoperable templates for augmented and virtual reality.

“We’re reaching peak centralization,” said Gill in a discussion with theCUBE. “Anything past this point, it becomes more and more unhealthy, and an open metaverse is just a way to build a solution. I think if we just allow corporations to build and own the metaverse, the problems will get bigger and larger and more significant. So, why not try something different?”

Here’s theCUBE’s complete video interview with Ryan Gill:

To watch more of theCUBE’s coverage of Monaco Crypto Summit event, here’s our complete event video playlist:

(* Disclosure: TheCUBE is a paid media partner for the Monaco Crypto Summit event. Neither DigitalBits, the sponsor of theCUBE’s event coverage, nor other sponsors have editorial control over content on theCUBE or SiliconANGLE.)

Photo: SiliconANGLE

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