Hypes like NFTs and the meta-verse are being beaten in the markets. But the industry is seeing a shift from rapid speculation to projects based more on utility and sustainability.
These are confusing times for technology investors. Positive and negative messages alternate at a rapid pace. California venture capitalist Andreessen Horowitz recently raised $ 4.5 billion for ‘the golden age of web3’. In the web3, users will own their own data and digital objects, thanks to blockchains that store their data on several computers.
One of the best known instruments is non-fungible tokens (NFTs), certificates of ownership on a blockchain. These give digital objects such as art or virtual land a unique and marketable character. It means something in the meta-verse, a slowly evolving set of digital environments where we are said to play, work and hang out more and more.
- Crypto-tokens and metaverse stocks are under severe pressure. Trade in NFTs has fallen sharply. Yet venture capitalists continue to herald a ‘golden age’.
- The Web32 event in Antwerp revealed a wide range of uses for crypto tokens.
- In doing so, emphasis is often placed on useful aspects of NFTs, such as funding individual artists and designers, sharing ownership or promoting customer loyalty and community building.
While venture capitalists are seeing mountains of gold, NFT trading has fallen 90 percent from its peak in September. The prices of some NFTs have plummeted. At the same time, more than $ 2 billion was still spent on crypto tokens last month.
Big tech is not doing well either. Meta Platforms, the company behind Facebook and in a way also an advocate for the meta-verse, changed its stock sticker from FB to META on Thursday. This can not prevent the share from being almost half lower compared to the peak in 2021.
The bubble of the year 2000 taught that investors can rip off their pants, but that does not stop the technological development.
If metaverset and web3 are the new internet, are we experiencing a new dotcom bubble now? The bubble of the year 2000 taught that investors can rip off their pants, but that does not stop the technological development.
The technological optimism was certainly present on Thursday in Antwerp, where the networking event Web32 was held. This brings professionals and those interested in web3 together. ‘We counted 369 visitors,’ said co-organizer Ann Claes. She is also the co-founder of Mutani, which helps independent fashion designers get their work across the meta-verse and onto the blockchain. The other co-founder, Shayli Harrison, argued on stage for an ecologically and socially responsible way in which metavers and tokens play a major role.
Photographers also see NFTs as a source of income to do their own thing. The Belgian-Greek photographer Johan Lolos, known on social media as a backpacker and the driving force behind the NFTPhotographers platform, remains calm in the midst of the downturn in NFT trading. ‘Not everything in a gallery gets sold out in the first hour. I’m in no hurry”.
The reality is that there is less volume and less hype in the market.
“The reality is that there is less volume and less hype in the market,” says Samuel Eggermont. He is a co-organizer of the Antwerp event and co-founder of OG Studio. ‘But the real builders, those who have a long-term vision, remain.’
The usability of web3 turns out to be a real construction site. Marijke Wouters from blockchain specialist Venly demonstrated the many steps a novice buyer must take to purchase an NFT. A company like Venly provides the opportunity to drastically simplify and secure the entire process. Its customers include the Canadian e-commerce platform Shopify.
It was also announced this week that US-based Salesforce, which offers customer relationship management software, is launching a cloud service to create and sell NFTs. For example, consumer brands can use NFTs to give customers access to special events.
“Technology is useful for many things that have nothing to do with rapid speculation,” Eggermont says. ‘A club membership does not have to be sold or have a fancy profile picture, but experience and useful applications can be built around it.’
For example, this year Creative Belgium (CB) awarded NFTs in addition to traditional trophies to Belgian creative agencies. Professional performance is recorded on a blockchain. These NFTs provide access to events.
At Web32, the large selection of token projects was particularly striking. These range from art and collectibles to socially responsible diamond trading to the division of property rights. No matter how volatile the markets are, the web3 world continues to test new applications at a rapid pace.