How Web 3.0 Can Revolutionise the Concept of Digital Ownership in Europe
Whilst the metaverse has become one of the most trending topics over the last year, it's difficult to overstate the impact the new technology will have on European businesses.
With the upcoming arrival of Web 3.0, the concept of digital ownership is set to fundamentally change on a global scale. For a continent that's been wary of crypto and blockchain adoption, Europe is set to undergo a significant transformation in terms of digital property.
Whilst the metaverse has become one of the leading buzzwords of the past 12 months, it's difficult to overstate the impact the technology will have on European businesses.
With Web 1.0 or 2.0, all the information you generate based on impressions and interactions online is stored by the provider. This is set to change in the next iteration of the World Wide Web.
Consumers carry very little power at present when it comes to owning personal data generated online. However, Web 3.0 will focus on ensuring that personal information remains truly private. This will be delivered through a growing movement that gives users control over their data ownership and monetisation. With this in mind, Web 3.0 will empower users to have the choice of how they want their data to be handled by third parties. They'll even have the option to sell it for digital currency — rather than allowing it to be distributed online for free.
According to Grand View Research data, a 33 percent digital economy shift toward the metaverse could create a $12.46 trillion market opportunity, highlighting the influence that Web 3.0 is set to hold over the future business landscape.
Web 3.0 and blockchain unite to change digital ownership.
Blockchain has long been identified as a core technological layer that can power Web 3.0 whilst delivering a trustless virtual environment for all users. This means that the Web 3.0 ecosystem can be trusted by all parties due to its distributed digital ledger framework creating a decentralised publication system.
At present, Ethereum's blockchain powers much of the pioneering Web 3.0 applications emerging today. These decentralised applications, or 'dApps' can be used by anyone without the risk of having their data monetised by external organisations.
Significantly, Ethereum's network also enables built-in payments systems to emerge to support projects and platforms. Through the network's native currency, ETH, no personal data is required to leverage a transaction - because no central bank is needed to broker the transfer of money. This empowers cryptocurrency to deliver the future of transactions in Web 3.0, and, crucially, the digital financial ecosystem can aid users and businesses alike to place a value on their digital assets in a market of global suitors all using the same currency.
Growing room for European acceptance.
The market opportunity for European businesses to venture into the world of digital ownership ahead of the development of Web 3.0 is vast — particularly as the continent has been relatively slow in its cryptocurrency and blockchain adoption.
As the data shows, much of Europe has been slow in its adoption of cryptocurrency — with the notable exception of Ukraine as a major hub of activity. In fact, activity in Western Europe is among the most sparse in the world, with the Americas and Asia among the most active participants.
The beauty of this is that European businesses have far more room for growth throughout the continent, with greater opportunities to guide users through their first experiences in the world of cryptocurrency and blockchain.
Despite Europe trailing behind other continents when it comes to cryptocurrency activity, it would be wrong to assume that there aren't major innovators throughout the industry operating domestically.
In fact, France has become a major player in the world of digital ownership, having recently established the NFT Factory in Paris. The NFT Factory is a 400 square-metre tech hub which was unveiled in March 2022, and is set to open in September.
The term NFT stands for non-fungible token, and the technology, which records the ownership of a unique asset, can be utilised for virtually limitless purposes, including collectibles, online gaming, art, ticketing, membership schemes, media, and just about any other valuable item or activity.
France has become a hotbed for NFT innovators, and growing renowned firms like The Sandbox, Ledger, and Sorare have all flourished throughout Europe having started their respective journeys domestically.
The rise of virtual real estate.
Significantly, The Sandbox stands as a strong example of the sprawling potential that digital ownership holds in the age of Web 3.0.
The game, which is built on blockchain foundations and uses crypto as a digital currency, allows players to buy virtual real estate. Given the sheer level of interconnectivity that the emergence of the metaverse is set to deliver individuals and businesses alike, virtual real estate has already been changing hands for significant sums of money.
In December 2021, one plot of virtual land in the Sandbox metaverse was acquired for $4.3 million by a group of developers collectively known as Republic Realm.
Virtual ownership doesn't have to mimic real world ownership in the age of Web 3.0, and Coub.com recently announced the development of its own watch-to-earn (W2E) platform which empower users to earn currency by consuming social media, which can then be exchanged for NFTs and more W2E opportunities in Coub's dedicated marketplace.
Coub's W2E platform heralds the emergence of the world's first micro-video social platform in the age of Web 3.0, and is set to enable content creators and consumers alike to get rewarded for every view, like, comment, and share throughout their network. This paves the way for an ecosystem where users can be tangibly rewarded for their social impact.
When it comes to the metaverse and Web 3.0, Europe has been relatively slow in catching up with the adoption levels of other continents around the world. However, this opens the door to new pioneers seeking to take advantage of a market that's ripe for innovation.
As the concept of ownership in the World Wide Web of tomorrow is set to be revolutionised, the key innovators in this new ecosystem will be the firms that allocate their R&D efforts towards how blockchain can transform their business models. For those that act fastest in their bid to adapt, the future looks brightest.