AUSTIN, Texas — More brands and creators are entering the Web3 space but are facing a bottleneck until the user experience in the ecosystem is improved to onboard new members and push forward mass adoption, a panel including Web3 executives, a consultant and an agent discussed at CoinDesk’s Consensus 2023 conference in here.
“Every click that you need to take in the (onboarding) process, you're going to lose 50% of people,” said Julie Garneau, head of Web3 at brewing giant Anheuser-Busch, during “The Opportunities and Roadblocks of Mass Adoption” panel discussion. “I need the tech people to help me fix that on-ramp because it's so critical.”
Andy Sack, co-CEO of Forum3, a Web3 loyalty startup to advise retailers such as the Starbucks Odyssey project, sees the concept of protecting a wallet in order to have an experience as “an alien one for consumers.”
Meanwhile, a flurry of crypto-native and Web2 brands have been making efforts to bridge the gap between Web2 and Web3 audiences to push mass adoption. Chris Jacquemin, head of strategy at talent agency WME, which has signed more than 50 Web3 creators, said that when discovering various communities through social media, the “vocal minority within Web3 is literally the foundation of actually establishing credibility.”
The brands need to “figure out how you can balance the partnership and relationship between somebody that has no presence currently in this space but needs to build it because this will be here forever,” Jacquemin said.
Ariel Wengroff, vice president of communications at offline private-key storage company Ledger, however, thinks Web3 is the first time brands can have a direct maintainable relationship with the interested audiences and direct accountability to that relationship.
“Any creator or brand should be absolutely terrified by the social communities that they have right now because you have no actual control over it,” Wengroff said. “You don't actually know who they are. Any brand that says they have a community is lying to you.”
Looking ahead, Wengroff sees having "enterprise security" and "governance" as essential for a brand such as an additional proof of record for a product the consumer purchases regularly.
"I think the power will be when other brands learn from what everyone else is doing, Starbucks included," Anheuser-Busch's Garneau said.
Another huge influence on onboarding to Web3 will be artificial intelligence, with both positive and negative impacts, said the panelists. "AI is going to drive Web3 usage," Sack said. "AI is going to create the need for the blockchain."
"AI and the speed with which it's moving, and the deep fakes and really the destruction of reality in the metaverse, or the ability to manipulate it, is going to require a system of trust," he added. "And that will also require a system of cryptography to verify one's identity."
The panelists were unanimous in worrying about how AI will onboard users, however. "I don't expect that transition to be smooth," said Sack. "It's going to be choppy."