Web3 seems to many to be an ideal form of the internet. The idea of placing power into the hands of individual users through blockchain technology has captured the popular imagination. The scope of Web3’s ambitious goals has led some to characterize it as unrealistic, and its full potential has yet to be reached.
Nonetheless, the tremendous growth and proliferation of blockchain projects over the past few years and increasing investor interest make Web3’s rise impossible to ignore. Progress is being made on countless blockchain networks, from top to bottom. Many projects are making the most of fast-developing blockchain technology, applying it to myriad uses, from finance and gaming to property rights and data services.
Several prominent traditional companies have also announced their entry into the Web3 arena, particularly through gaming and NFTs: Starbucks is testing an NFT rewards program and it appears Amazon is preparing to launch its own NFT marketplace. While these developments make headlines, I think the most disruptive changes will occur as blockchain technology tackles the central issues of our time, including healthcare, the environment and data privacy.
The effects of climate change are being felt around the world, and pollution is a pressing concern for many. Many corporations have been slow to adapt, but blockchain technology is increasingly being recognized as having a role to play in implementing real solutions.
A pioneer in blockchain’s renewable energy movement, KlimaDAO was one of the first blockchain organizations to provide on-chain markets for carbon credits. Other blockchain projects are tackling green energy from alternative angles, including energy usage optimization. For example, blockchain startup EnviroBLOQ provides data and insights into a home’s energy efficiency. This can translate to lower costs and a lighter carbon footprint.
These projects fall under the umbrella of ReFi, or regenerative finance, the burgeoning sector of the green industry that utilizes blockchain technology for sustainability. ReFi empowers individual users to effect positive changes to the environment, and represents a significant opportunity for businesses. The value of the green industry as a whole is expected to grow from $10.9 billion in 2021 to $44.4 billion in 2028.
Our lives are becoming increasingly digital, and the devices we use are becoming increasingly complex and sophisticated. Smart phones have given rise to smartwatches and smart cars, and AR (augmented reality) glasses are set to make advances over the next few years.
While still the domain of large Web 2.0 tech companies, smart devices also serve as “ready-made” platforms for Web3 applications, and blockchain businesses are beginning to capitalize on this preexisting technical infrastructure. Web3 company DIMO enables users to sell data generated by their cars. According to McKinsey, IoT devices could produce between $5.5 trillion and $12.6 trillion for the global economy by 2030.
The healthcare industry presents a major challenge for all participants due to its deep complexity and susceptibility to data breaches and inefficiencies. Many of these challenges have seemed insurmountable, but blockchain technology is providing us with tools to improve every aspect of the healthcare industry: from drug manufacturing and shipping to medical records and health insurance.
Web3 companies like BurstIQ and Medicalchain help ensure the safety and integrity of patient data for healthcare companies and the patients themselves. Other projects, like FarmaTrust, utilize blockchain technology to support the pharmaceutical supply chain, detecting counterfeit products and increasing efficiency transparently. Approaching healthcare from another angle, HealthBlocks focuses on the well-being of the individual, rewarding app users for reaching health goals and allowing them to share medical data privately.
Blockchain’s security, transparency, efficiency and traceability make it a powerful tool for addressing the many real-world issues we face. Despite the growth and innovation in the blockchain sector, many company leaders and entrepreneurs are still unaware of its potential and current capabilities. The ultimate goal of the Web3 revolution is nothing less than the realization of an entirely decentralized internet. To that end, blockchain projects are being developed in every sector of the digital economy, and they present a valuable opportunity for any business that has an online presence or internal organizational network.
I recommend companies new to the blockchain industry begin by researching the work that is being done in their particular sector. If you are unfamiliar with the basics of blockchain technology, you can begin by exploring the plethora of free articles, courses and videos available online. Read reports from blockchain news and data sources, such as Coingecko and Messari, as well as reports by traditional financial companies. Keep up with the latest blockchain news by visiting reputable websites, such as CoinDesk and The Block, and viewing social media channels.
Networking is also an important strategy for optimizing Web3 business integration. Join blockchain communities—online or in person. Follow the Twitter accounts of projects that interest you, join their Discords, talk to their communities and learn how you can contribute. Find local meetups and build connections in person.
To make the most of blockchain technology, cultivate a passion for change and innovation, and be willing to devote resources to taking advantage of it. Many major corporations are doing just that, forming task forces dedicated to exploring what can be done in the blockchain space, in addition to tracking ongoing changes in the industry.
Due diligence is essential and should be applied to any blockchain network or service that is implemented, as with any new technology, hacks and bugs may present challenges.
We are closing in on a world of fully deployed, deeply integrated real-world applications. As developers continue to make strides in scalability, user interface and cost of use, I think Web3 will become an integral part of our lives.
Whether Web 2.0 companies pivot to decentralization or Web3 companies rise to join or supplant them, these developments are fast approaching. Before long, countless users will be accessing Web3 applications without even realizing it. Then, we can reach a high level of adoption that fulfills the promise and potential of Web3.
(Copyright: Forbes Web3 As A Service: Exploring Real-World Applications Of Blockchain Tech (forbes.com)