In this episode of Digital Dames’ mar-tech podcast Conversion Path we are talking about Web 3 covering the basics of blockchain technology, cryptocurrency, NFTs and what it means for your business.
Listen in to learn about:
- Blockchain Basics
- Decentralized Internet
- Power Dynamics Between Artists, Corporations and Consumers
- Future Business Outlook
Listen to the Full Episode
Links & Resources
If you’re new to NFTs and getting caught up for the first time, read these first:
- Life Is Non-fungible: The Evolution of Ownership, Assets, and Us — ownership is deeply human; collectibles for self-expression, identity, money, trade by Roham Gharegozlou
- Crypto fundamentals and NFTs — eras of the web, blockchain architecture, last decade in crypto; rise of NFTs, future of NFTs. This is a great visual reference by Patrick Rivera
[link to presentation in Google Slides]
- Quick overview of the NFT Ecosystem by Andrew Steinworld – read article here
When you have extra time:
- a16z’s NFT Canon curated by Sonal Chokshi, Chris Dixon, Denis Nazarov, Jesse Walden, Linda Xie is a fantastic go-to resource. Explore that here.
- Chris Dixon and Naval Ravikant on The Tim Ferris Show podcast provides a deep dive into industry trends
Additional resources mentioned in this episode:
- How women are staking out a space in the blockchain world by Rina Chandran
- How to Sell NFTs on Your Shopify Storefront by Diego Geroni
- Beeple sold an NFT for $69 million by Jacob Kastrenakes on The Verge
Connect with Digital Dames
Subscribe to the Podcast
See the full transcription of this week’s episode below.
Web 3.0 – The Basics Of Blockchain Technology, Cryptocurrency & NFTs
J: Welcome to Conversion Path, a MarTech podcast about data and growth for your online and mobile business, by Digital Dames. We gather every week to talk about how to amplify your product, service, or message. I’m Jaclyn Hawtin.
M: And I’m Mani O’Brien. In this episode, we’re talking about Web 3.0, covering the basics of Blockchain technology, cryptocurrency, NFT’s, and what it means for your business. So, let’s dive into it.
For some context, I’m sure that each and every one of you have noticed that suddenly everyone is talking about NFTs on your social media feeds. Last year, Facebook changed its name to Meta. I think that has really propelled Web3 and the Metaverse into the mainstream.
If you are like me, you’re watching the Super Bowl ads, and you’re like, “Where the heck did all of these crypto companies get the money for Super Bowl ads?” They were everywhere. The Blockchain has gone mainstream, and it’s time to catch up. If you’ve been ignoring cryptocurrency and the Bitcoin Bros, it’s time to brush up on your knowledge, because the Metaverse is coming, Web 3.0 is coming, and it’s time to start paying attention to these things. We’ve entered into a whole new era of the internet. Jaclyn, tell us how we ended up here, and what’s going on with the web today.
J: Let’s talk about the evolution of the internet. We have Web 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0. In Web 1.0, which basically started in 1993, we had things like static websites, portals, and directories. We were doing some basic stuff, like using email and chat, and exchanging some physical goods in online marketplaces. This was a very low bandwidth world with seriously slow internet. I think all of us had a lot of anger toward our devices back in those days.
M: It was the rudimentary use of the internet. I was listening to a podcast about how the first commercial that Apple came out with was a husband and wife organizing their recipes on the internet. And that was the most creative thing that they could come up with at that time. “Let’s publish our recipes on the internet.” We’ve come a long way since then.
J: I have to agree that that’s crazy. I do remember that kind of surreal commercial that they’re really famous for. I think it was mimicking some movie. It looked like a dystopian future. It was all black and white, and then it had the colorful Apple at the end of it, and that really propelled them. It was like a big marketing scheme. Interesting.
M: Apple, they’ve always been brilliant with marketing.
M: It’s a daily dialogue, so Web 1.0.
J: Following Web 1.0, we get into Web 2.0, which we’re still in the tail end of. Some say it ended in 2018, but we’re still in the transition. This is the world of broadband.
The world of broadband internet, social networking’s big. We have mobile devices, we have cloud computing, we’ve started using artificial intelligence and machine learning. We’re using applications that are software as a service. We’re in the gig economy space. We’re ready to move on.
M: Apparently we have mastered Web 2.0, but also Web 2.0 is the world we’re swimming in, certainly. It’s the social media era, it’s the community era, it’s the publishing era. Everyone’s like a publisher, putting everything out on the internet, YouTube, blogs, content marketing etc.
J: Yes, but without getting paid for it in the way that they should.
M: Right, hell yeah.
J: So, drum roll, here comes Web 3.0. We have AI and machine learning, but more as a service space, not just independent applications happening here and there. We are in the world of bioengineering, in the world of sensors, and IOT, wearables, that sort of thing. Augmented reality and virtual reality are starting to get a little bit of a foot here. It will be really exciting when they’re super big. Space manufacturing and travel, clean energy, and of course, the Blockchain and crypto. Which is what we’re going to talk a lot about today.
M: Those are the themes in our whole new world. I think it is so cool. I think this Web 3.0 component, just explaining to our clients and other people that we’re talking to, that we have literally started this third evolution of the web. It really is revolutionary. It’s as revolutionary as the introduction of the web back in the 90s.
To me, the concept of the Blockchain is one of the most compelling parts of the technology. The fact that every piece of the internet on the Blockchain is considered own-able is crazy. You can own every component of the web. I find that fascinating, but I think first they should probably just back up. I would love to hear your thoughts on the breakdown of the technical function of Web 3.0. What are we even talking about when we say Blockchain?
J: The Blockchain is basically a distributed database that maintains a list of records. These records are what you call blocks. Each of the blocks contain the history of every other block that came before it, hence, the Blockchain. I like to think about this system like blocks that contain DNA. They’re replicated continuously in every component of the system. The whole thing has end-to-end encryption, so it’s really, really secure. Anything that happens in this Blockchain, happens with total consensus across the distributed network. And the really amazing thing is that the data is stored everywhere at once. It is pretty crazy, right, Mani?
M: Yes, that’s wild. I heard someone compare this to when we all upload our photos on Instagram, for example. Those files, at some point in time, we’ve signed off on a terms of agreement, and it’s not like that file that we’ve uploaded is ever traceable back to us necessarily. It could very easily be screenshotted, and distributed, and the original source of that file is not a traceable component.
You don’t even have very much control over your photos that are uploaded to Google. My niece will find them on the internet 10 years, 20 years from now. There is this component of like, you don’t actually own much, or have control or history of the files that you upload to the internet as it lives today in Web 2.0.
J: That information just doesn’t exist there. It doesn’t get carried forward. But now we have a new opportunity, I like to use the metaphor that it’s like a fossil record. If you dig anywhere, you can see the same layers existing in the Earth’s crust. So, with the Blockchain, a user can go back to an old local file, and it’s always going to be identical to everyone else’s files. It has the same information.
M: So wise, Jaclyn.
J: It’s really all about trust, making sure there’s transparency, traceability, auditability, and immutability of all of the transactions.
M: It’s so powerful. It’s hard to really conceptualize usage, I think when you talk in this manner, but just thinking about the Blockchain, and what I think is fascinating about the Blockchain is that we’ve dug more into it, for myself personally. I think there’s this perception specifically around cryptocurrency, and the “Bitcoin Bros,” and this notion that cryptocurrency is not very trusted. I think a lot of people have this perception that crypto is like black market transactions, when in fact, it’s quite the opposite in terms of verifiability and traceability, and that there’s literally a public record of all transactions. It’s fascinating. It’s almost more verifiable than any other type of currency that’s ever existed.
J: It’s so true. All of the information is always publicly available and stored in every part of the system.
M: That’s wild. I’m sure people are probably scared when we say that. When you think of financial transactions being publicly available, we don’t mean personally identifying information in that manner.
M: No, more like the code layer.
M: Let’s talk about this concept of the decentralized internet and this idea of putting building together. There are other components that make the internet more accessible and open to more businesses, developers, and citizens across the web. Do you want to expand on that concept of decentralized internet?
J: In the old world, with Web 2.0, we had what’s called a centralized database management system of the internet, where the root user is the one that will make an update to a database. Then when they change that info, the info gets changed without any outside systems having to verify it. So, anybody can go in there and make an update, the database changes, and then that’s that.
But with Web 3.0, imagine the internet being turned inside out. The database layer here is called the Blockchain, and everyone becomes the root user. That means that everyone is like the old school database manager that can read and write to the database. It’s completely accessible by you, me, anyone.
Everyone can access the information, and that also means that they can access your code. So, when you’re publishing new functions, new code to the Blockchain, it is the ultimate of open source technology. Everybody has access to it. That actually also means that the Blockchain is going to grow really, really fast, because it’s completely open. And I think that’s really cool.
M: Think of the innovation made possible when you don’t have a few people within one tiny organization, or let’s say huge organizations. We’re talking about the Googles, the Twitters, the Instagrams of the world. At the end of the day, it really is a small group of people who are defining all the characteristics of those platforms, whereas now with Blockchain, it’s literally an open system. Just think of the possibility for people to apply different ways that the information is sliced and diced, and presented. It’s mind blowing to think about.
J: It’s really cool. It’s definitely turning the power structures inside out. If you think about the decentralized versions of all the apps that we use today, like Facebook, Venmo, or Amazon, what have you. We could change these into just protocols, and open source frameworks, and nobody else would own them. Nobody would profit off of our content, our ideas, or musicians content, or musicians ideas.
M: I think that’s a good segue into talking about the impact on artists. This has become a really hot mainstream topic, the concept of NFTs, and what that means for creators in Web 3.0.
Before we go into the details of artists and ownership, I want to explain a couple quick definitions. One is just the concept of cryptocurrency, which I think a lot of people are familiar with. But if you’re not, very loosely, and something that I think that I didn’t even understand until recently, it’s that, cryptocurrency is digital currency that’s secured by computers that have solved complex mathematical algorithms. Algorithms are so complex that only computers can solve and verify them.
I hear the term mining thrown around a lot, and I’m like, “What is crypto mining? I don’t get it.” Now I understand, it’s every individual crypto currency and it’s transactions are validated by computers and traced publicly on the Blockchain ledger. And for me being more of a layman when it comes to technology, conceptually, I understand the concept of cryptocurrency. I just wanted to float that out there in terms of why crypto is such a verifiable currency.
The other interesting concept made possible by the Blockchain is NFTs. I’m sure that our listeners have probably been seeing a lot of chatter around NFTs. The definition of NFT, it stands for Non-Fungible Token. Non-fungible means not replicable.
It basically means that this is a way for individuals to trace ownership of your digital files. And in fact, trace ownership of physical goods on the public ledger, that is the Blockchain. When you mint a digital file, you basically give it a non-hackable certificate of authenticity.
Right now, when it comes to NFTs and minting, the main application for NFTs, and what’s making it into the mainstream media is the idea, or the digital art that’s being sold on the Blockchain networks, purchased through cryptocurrency. in the Blockchain. I think there’s a lot of hype and skepticism, because there’s been a lot of recent purchases of art. Some artists are making up to $86 million on their digital art pieces.
M: Crazy amounts.
J: Yes, it’s wild.
M: Like Crypto punks. I’m trying to think of some examples, yeah.
J: This certain artist sold a piece for $68 million recently. You hear stuff like that, and I think again, it’s this over-hyped sense of why the heck would people buy a JPEG. But I’ll tell you what is really exciting about this idea of digital ownership, for artists in particular, musicians in particular. Is that, for any artist that has been hesitant to share their work on Web 2.0, the internet as we know it, had a good reason, and now that is changing.
For instance, some photographers may not want to put all their work out on Instagram for free. Why would they? In this Web 3.0 era, they now have the capability to certify your work as yours. When you upload your photograph to Web 3.0, to the Blockchain infrastructure, you now, as an artist, will forever and always be the owner of that file.
This also means that your work can be shared, consumed, and distributed, in the way that it always has across web 2.0, but you will have a record of every time your art is consumed, therefore you have the ability to monetize it. There are all sorts of theories around how that’s going to be applied, but to me, that is the most exciting component of Web 3.0 I love talking about it.
M: So amazing. Yes, yes, it’s making me want to start writing music again.
J: Yeah, I think you should.
M: I think for any creator, whether you’re a writer, artist, graphic designer, or a musician, you should definitely be paying attention to NFTs in the Blockchain. If you’re a business, if you have any kind of proprietary content, even the design of a handbag or something, you can mint your designs, and there’s a public ledger for it. That is just so innovative compared to the way the internet has been structured in the past. That is really exciting to me.
J: I’m really curious about how the future legal space is going to adapt to all of this new technology. Obviously, it’s going to take a while, but there are a lot of changes that need to be made.
M: Absolutely. I think if you’re a contract attorney, or trademark attorney, you’ve got lots of opportunity right now to really think through the future of what it means to create agreements between creators and distributors, between agents and creators. I think a lot more power is coming back into the hands of creators in this space.
J: And for businesses in general as for right now, no huge sweeping changes need to be made overnight, but it’s important to start thinking about how the technology might potentially be an opportunity for your particular industry long term.
A lot of businesses had a big focus on mobile in the last decade, so in the next decade, you’re probably going to want to think about how you evolve in terms of the Blockchain. What do you think, Mani?
M: Yes,the Blockchain technology, not to mention cryptocurrency itself. As a business owner, we would encourage you to start thinking about how you might weave cryptocurrency into your business now.
There are so many different ways to weave crypto into your business model. We won’t dive into that in this episode, but you might think about how you are going to accept crypto as a form of currency in the future. You might also think about creating your own cryptocurrency. One day, we might be accepting Dames coins or something like that for payment from clients.
Or maybe creating social tokens as a way of garnering support from people, memberships, and we’ll dive into all of that in a future episode. What other things should businesses be thinking about, Jaclyn?
J: Businesses should be thinking about how to mint their own digital assets, like videos, images, proprietary information. I know a lot of fashion companies are starting to mint some of their videos and marketing materials. Gucci just released something in partnership with another organization that sold for 25 grand. There is some fun stuff to do in this space, definitely an opportunity even to start now.
M: Well, with that, I think we’ll wrap up this episode. This is a bit of a teaser and just some background on the Web 3.0 era. And we have lots and lots of resources to share with you. We’ll be posting all of our reference materials and show notes on the Digital Dames blog. Jaclyn, before we share our social media links, is there anything else you want to share with our audience today?
J: I think you covered it, Mani.
M: Well, thank you so much for listening to Conversion Path. You can keep up with Digital Dames across the web. Our website is www.digitaldames.io. On social media, our handle is DigitalDames, on Instagram, Tik-Tok, and LinkedIn. And we’d love for you to leave us a review. It’s how people discover our podcast. Please subscribe to us on Apple, Spotify, and wherever else you listen to podcasts. And for questions, feedback, and to share your ideas for future podcast topics, you can drop us a line at [email protected]. Until next time, thanks to listening.