It seems that everyone plans to onboard the next billion people to Web3. Nike, Time Magazine, Budweiser, Nickelodeon, and a host of other influential brands (nft now included!) have all promised to onboard the masses. But what will it really take to bring blockchain tech from niche to mainstream?
Looking at the progress so far, it seems very few have any serious idea of how to make the metaverse a reality.
So, to try and determine what might break down the barrier between Web2 and Web3 once and for all, we turned to experts and holders of the Now Pass — the access pass to the Now Network, the foundation for all of our initiatives to build the future of tokenized media and pioneer a community-centric media model — for input.
Here’s what the citizens of the blockchain had to say.
The need for education was echoed by many. According to several members of the Now Pass community that we spoke with, education remains the most important consideration in relation to bringing NFTs to the masses. Notably, this means going beyond airdropping interested enthusiasts a link to an NFT 101 guide. Rather, educating consumers about the potential of Web3 must be a more active process.
As Now Pass holder and brand marketer Liam Darmody puts it, the Average Joe still considers NFTs to be nothing more than internet JPEGs. “It sounds cliche, but [Web3 needs to focus on] education, utility, and practical application. The average person in the ‘masses’ hears Web3 and thinks cartoon jpegs,” Darmody wrote in an nft now Discord chat.
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“It’s easy to understand why, but the fact is that there’s so much more to NFTs and Web3 tech than that. The easier we make it for normies to understand that these technologies are just an evolution of other things we do today, the faster [mainstream adoption] will happen,” he added.
Now Pass holder Sprite offered more insights into this topic, saying that education, paired with popularization, will lead Web3 closer to bridging the gap to mainstream consumers. “Web3 technology needs better education and popularization to help more people understand its advantages and opportunities. This can be done by organizing online courses, holding lectures and seminars, publishing articles and books, etc.,” they wrote.
Now Pass holders aren’t alone in their thinking. The team behind the NFT marketplace Kreatorhood also say that education is the first and most important step.
A shift in perspective
In the same vein as bettering education, some said that a shift in perspective — or perhaps even a total rebrand of NFTs — might help those outside of Web3 to gain interest in the blockchain.
To some, like Sprite, this means bringing better social media marketing strategies to Web3 in order to “communicate the concepts and applications of blockchain technologies to a wider audience.” But to others, it means getting consumers excited about what the blockchain actually is and does, offering context that is unclouded by the negative connotation that NFTs might possess.
“Too many people hear ‘NFT’ or ‘Web3’ and think ‘scam’ or ‘Ponzi scheme’ when they should be thinking ‘access pass’ and ‘suite of community-centric building tools.’” CD, Now Pass holder and the Founder of the Web3 writers community Vagabond Magazine, said. Adding that, “we need to start using ‘NFT’ as a technical specification, not a categorical description. We need to spend more time focusing on the ethical building blocks of Web3 instead of the focus too often being on the money.”
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Adding to this point, Now Pass holder The Big Gooey suggested that transparency could potentially contribute to users receiving a better preliminary understanding of Web3. He went on to remark that perhaps it was the reluctance of Web2 companies to discuss their URL or back-end structures openly that might’ve trained customers not to care about what’s going on behind the curtain in the first place.
Writing in the nft now Discord, he said, “I worry sometimes we’re too worried about getting people into crypto before we get them into the concept or idea we are going for.”
Yet there are those still on the other side of this argument who believe that getting users in the door really should be a primary concern of the Web3 community. To them, exposing consumers to the “access passes” and “suites of community-centric building tools” that CD referred to could be the fastest way to bridge the gap between web2 and Web3.
The need for practical integration
Over the past few years, “integration” has become known at times to be a buzzword akin to “community” and “utility.” Yet, similarly to how the latter two terms have come to bear weight in Web3, so too has the idea that integration and practical application might hold significant importance for onboarding the masses.
“The Web3 community needs to launch more innovative and practical applications to let people feel the actual value of Web3 technology. These applications should solve real-life problems such as digital identity, secure payments, decentralized social media, and more.” Sprite wrote in the nft now Discord.
Even beyond education and improving public sentiment, integration remains top of mind for the many builders aiming to lower the bar of entry into Web3. To these such stewards of blockchain technology, and to the point made previously by Darmody, it isn’t enough to simply get users in the door. The NFT community must do more to communicate the efficacy of Web3 to even those who are skeptical.
“[The Web3 community] needs to focus on targeting large companies and local governments to accept crypto payments for goods and services,” Now Pass holder Crypto La Révolution said. “No one is going to adopt something that is not usable in their day-to-day life. A huge win would be if Amazon or Alibaba accepted crypto payments.”
Of course, such an expansion would mean a major win for Web3. And while the proliferation of Soulbound Tokens and other innovative tokenized endeavors might yield similar results in the campaign to go mainstream, the barrier of entry for many Web3 technologies must be taken into account for the “practical” part of practical application to become a reality.
“Current Web3 applications and wallets often require users to have technical knowledge and understanding of blockchain concepts to use, which is a huge barrier for most people. Therefore, the Web3 community should focus on improving the user interface and interaction design to make it more intuitive and understandable,” wrote Sprite.
A focus on community building
Yet, a throughline can be drawn among the many ideas of how we might break the barrier between Web2 and Web3. And that is this: Web3 leaders must focus on decentralization and truly let their community lead.
While this focus on decentralization may seem like a given in Web3, it is sadly missing in many projects and platforms. This is why Xoao, a Now Pass holder and CryptoSkulls Community Lead, felt that the point was worth reiterating.
“Regarding what we should focus on: I think we should create a platform that gives other NFT communities a voice through community building. Particularly through projects and DAOs that empower talented artists and builders to create and network with like-minded people,” Xoao said in the nft now Discord.
And added that, ultimately, this is the most critical component of Web3. “The history and provenance of the blockchain is a really important part of NFTs. The cultural significance of the innovation of NFTs is part of our legacy, and I think it should not be forgotten when it comes to Web3 education and the benefits, potential, and opportunities it brings to the community,” he said.
Editor’s note: Want to share your thoughts and insights with nft now readers? We’re working to build a more community-centric media model. Head over to the Now Pass website to learn more.