In 2023, Web3 isn’t dead. Despite a serious decline, $4.487bn has been invested in projects this year already.
For those who managed to miss the wave of crypto-related buzz terms, Web3 refers to the next iteration of the web. Web1 was read-only; Web2 – the internet we use today – is read-write and spurred the creation of content production and distribution online. Web3 is read-write-own and is built on the blockchain (on-chain).
The idea is to create a version of the internet where users can own their content and contributions, from selfies to code, and benefit from this full ownership.
Initially, much of the mainstream interest in Web3 rode on the backs of major celebrity endorsements of JPEGs of monkeys in strange hats and the skyrocketing prices of coins. It was always apparent that this would not be sustainable and, at the end of 2022, we saw this interest come crashing down as the FTX scandal broke.
Crypto – and, by extension, Web3’s reputation – is notorious for being intricately connected with major figures who step into the limelight. For example, Sam Bankman-Fried will likely always be the go-to figure when referring to failure and fraud in crypto.
On the other hand, big tech companies co-opting Web3 terms further diminish their value in the public’s eye. Specifically, Facebook’s move to Meta and bet on the metaverse with little result has made the concept a joke to most.
In Web3, the metaverse never referred to a specific application or place but rather the idea of what comes next once the development of Web3, AI and VR technologies gets far enough that our online and offline worlds merge to an extent we’ve never seen before.
Despite the reputation damage and misuse of terms, the fundamental Web3 goal of ownership for the individual remains. What is missing for the crypto space overall is good PR; not just mentions and acknowledgement of its craziest elements, but truly good, thoughtful PR narratives.
For PR professionals, it’s about translating this complex tech’s value to the rest of the world.
There is no Web3 if people don’t know what its purpose is. The current image of scams, gambling and hyperinflated value doesn’t serve the goals of most in the space. PR can change that.
Web3 shouldn’t be written off. Those in crypto like to say “We are so early” when talking about the technology. But when it comes to building a good narrative, it is early days. Web3 needs PR now more than ever to keep it on track.
Leila Stein is a senior account manager at YAP Global