We have the invention and evolution of technology to thank for some of humanity’s most significant advances. The invention of the aeroplane in 1903, the computer in 1937, and the internet in 1974 all completely changed how we live our everyday lives. As technology advances, how can the likes of Web3, the metaverse, blockchain and DeFi change the future of fintech?
While a lot of hype has surrounded the metaverse in the last few years, we are yet to see exactly how it will impact people’s lives and different industries.
In an effort to understand how soon we could see the mainstream adoption of Web3, The Fintech Times reached out to a number of industry experts for their opinions and perspectives.
‘Early embrace of Web3 technology’
Cliff Justice is the KPMG US leader of enterprise innovation. He and his group focus on identifying, developing, and deploying the next generation of technologies and solutions for the consultancy.
Justice explains how the early signs are positive for Web3, although there are a wide range of factors that need to come into play before mainstream adoption can become a reality.
“We’re already seeing an early embrace of Web3 technology from investors. In the latest KPMG metaverse investor perspectives survey, over 90 per cent of VC and institutional investors predict the metaverse, which relies on Web3 technology, is the next phase of the internet.
“It’s important to note however that mainstream adoption hinges on factors like the prospects of improved interoperability across metaverse platforms, broader workplace adoption and more affordable hardware options.”
‘Closer to a decentralised reality every day’
Arie Trouw is the co-founder of decentralised device network XYO Network and CEO of California-based startup XY Labs.
Trouw explains: “The Web3 space is growing at a rapid pace, with both big companies and average consumers embracing it.
“The most tangible Web3 use cases for everyday people stem from household name brands like Starbucks, leveraging the metaverse and NFTs to deeply connect with their customers.
“Starbucks already had a cult-like following with its popular loyalty rewards app, but the new Starbucks Odyssey program adds a gamification element.
“With Odyssey, members can take virtual tours of coffee farms and play a Starbucks history trivia game. Users earn points that unlock new experiences such as virtual barista classes or even a real-life vacation on a coffee farm in Costa Rica.
“With various Web3 offerings becoming more mainstream, we will expect a large segment of individuals to model their image and socialise within the metaverse. While the technology is still in its infancy, the relentless and promising growth of the Web3 ecosystem brings us closer to a decentralised reality every day.”
‘Mass adoption is still three to five years away’
Matthew Cheung, CEO of workflow automation platform ipushpull, discussed how developments including CBDCs can drive mass adoption.
“The market cap of all of web3 still pales in comparison to companies like Apple and Microsoft. The early adopters have proved market fit in some areas but the wave of institutional money now entering Web3 is a testament to the long-term expectation of how web3 will proliferate.
“Similarly, most central banks across the planet are exploring digital currencies (CBDCs). China has already released a digital Yuan which is being tested in some provinces. Once CBDCs take off everyone will require wallets and use digital currencies which will flood the ecosystem with new money. Mass adoption is still three to five years away.”
‘Hiding technological layers and having a seamless product’
Nicolas Gilot, founder and CEO at Ultra, the blockchain-enabled entertainment platform. Gilot explained that while the rate of adoption isn’t currently the fastest, there are a number of positive signs that it will increase.
“Recent events within the cryptocurrency ecosystem haven’t helped the rate of adoption of blockchain and Web3. However, there are many promising signs that continue to evolve:
“We’re consistently seeing massive companies slowly integrate with Web3 technology – companies with sizeable user bases. By gradually introducing these features to a wider audience, more people will be able to appreciate the benefits of the technology, helping to drive global adoption. A prime example is Shopify, one of the biggest e-commerce platforms that have recently enabled businesses to create NFT storefronts, meaning they can sell NFTs in their stores.
“Enhancements and user experience and overall product design are quickly making Web3-based products more user-friendly for anyone. The concept of blockchain can be unattractive, so hiding these technological layers and having a seamless product that is easy to operate is crucial to retaining users.”
Web2 has ‘too many middlemen involved to settle a transaction’
Ralf Zellweger is the founder and business development manager at online payment provider Centi. Zellweger explains how Web3 must improve on Web2’s offering and how payment processors must appear just as convenient as their predecessors.
“We will see mainstream adoption if Web3 technology can be used as an infrastructure technology that improves the current downfalls of Web2 technology, which are usually too many middlemen involved to settle a transaction. It is important to understand that the mainstream will not understand native blockchain currencies for the foreseeable future. For the mainstream, Web3 implementations must appear in the same kind of convenience as Web2 technology. That means for instance that a payment processor that relies on Web3 technology must issue a stablecoin in which the payment processing is done, but still offer FIAT / bankable on and off ramps for merchants.
“Why a stablecoin and no native blockchain currency? If mainstream adoption of Web3 technology through providing utility, shall take place, it is imperative that consumers can rely on the underlying value and that there are no variances as is the case with cryptocurrencies.
“With stablecoins, trust is always an issue. Since algorithmic stablecoins will not play a major role in the foreseeable future, it is vital to have an authority who guarantees that the stables are covered. A bank guarantee would be the safe bet here.”