It was 2021 when NFTs took the world by storm, and collecting NFT art and exchanging ETH for fiat was growing fast. While the popularity of merely acquiring NFTs began to dwindle, the immense potential for NFTs never faded and continued to manifest.
As 2022 comes to a close, we're taking a moment to reflect on the year's web3 developments and putting together a list of the top 5 key takeaways of the year.
1. ADOPTION FROM TRADITIONAL BRANDS:
First on our list is the attention the space attracted from more traditional industries. Finally, the rest of the world could see what web3 pioneers have been advocating all along!
This year saw growing adoption by brands across verticals and industries, from food and beverage giants like Starbucks, Budweiser, and Hennessy to fashion retailers such as YSL Beauty, Breitling, Moncler, Decathlon, and automobile brands like Porsche, Alfa Romeo, and more.
The analysis by Vayner3 highlighted three things winning brands have in common:
- Clear product archetypes (e.g., physical and experiential bundles, digital collectibles, and wearable, token-gated access, loyalty, and membership)
- Nuanced consumer targeting approaches (e.g., mainstream consumers, web3 natives, or hyper niche communities)
- An intentional go-to-market strategy with a thoughtful roadmap
2. SOLVING REAL PROBLEMS:
In 2022, NFTs were used by a variety of brands to address real-world needs:
- Loyalty (Starbucks, Balmain, Scotch & Soda, IWC Schaffhausen)
- Exclusive memberships (Hennessy, Pape Clément, Mclaren, Puma, Lacoste, Madame Figaro)
- Event ticketing and Attendance tokens (Louboutin, Moncler)
- Community building (YSL Beauty)
- Digital Product Passports (Breitling)
While these utilities existed well before NFTs, the true value added by tokenization is demonstratable proof of ownership and interoperability.
For the first time, users can prove their possession of an asset, participation in an event, or belonging to a community in the digital world in a verifiable way.
And this time, it's the user, not big tech or any centralized company, that owns this data, making this proof usable and portable outside of the brand's universe.
Brands like Moncler, YSL Beauty, and Breitling use NFTs to establish a direct, ongoing connection with their customers without intermediaries.
3. SCALABILITY AND ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT:
The scalability of web3 made substantial progress, Optimistic rollups and ZK-rollups were advancing with greater capacity than L1 but preserving L1 security. Currently, $5B of value is locked in these chains demonstrating that they are almost production ready.
Another monumental moment that had the entire space on its toes was the infamous Ethereum Merge in September. The blockchain switched from its former proof-of-work (PoW) protocol to proof-of-stake (PoS). The former was known for sluggish transaction times, high gas fees, and unsustainable energy consumption, which the migration to PoS aimed to troubleshoot.
The Merge refreshed the atmosphere in the crypto world and built upon the "builders market" attitude that has defined this year.
4. IMPROVEMENT IN THE UX-UI FRONT:
This year we've seen users ushered into the space seamlessly through platforms with UX-UI upgrades that include web3 features.
Moncler is a prime example. To onboard their users to web3, the brand integrated a custodial wallet into their existing app. Users who already had the app gained access to the wallet and NFTs without installing any additional software.
Meanwhile, Breitling took an interesting approach, giving users two options to interact with their NFTs: a non-custodial Arianee wallet option or the current Breitling customer account with custodial features seamlessly integrated.
In both cases, the brands didn't have to build a web3 solution for their community but instead leveraged Arianee solutions to enrich their universe.
Reddit's launch of its PFP NFT avatar collection is another excellent example of successful web3 integration. The platform onboarded over 3 million users to web3 without them realizing it by avoiding technical language. Users are instructed to "open a vault" to purchase an avatar, which creates a blockchain-based wallet. Additionally, users can pay for the NFTs with their cards without needing to install a separate wallet like Metamask.
5. WEB 2.0 GOES WEB3:
Last but certainly not least is the remarkable adoption of web3 features by Web 2.0 giants. This next iteration of the online space is inevitable, and the big guys know it. Legacy online platforms have no choice but to keep up with the times and figure out how web3 can work in their ecosystems.
For example, Twitter, now owned by billionaire Elon Musk, integrated cryptocurrency tips for users. Instagram, owned by parent company Meta, announced it would allow for in-app NFT minting and trading services.
Meta, owners of the messaging app WhatsApp and Facebook, has spent billions this year trying to build its metaverse reality, including an upgrade to its VR headset.
Where Big Tech brands once thrived on centralized data hoarding, the user demand for more control and security has necessitated the abandonment of this outdated business model. Many of the tech giants claim to have already embraced web3, but with their infrastructure so deeply rooted in data aggregation, are they to be believed? Meta has experienced significant financial losses in its metaverse development, demonstrating the public’s skepticism and reluctance to participate or engage.
What a list, and what a year! The last 12 months have proven that a market downturn won't stop development, especially regarding web3 utilities.
Brands, nations, and even the Big Tech giants are all adopting long-term web3 projects because if this crazy year has shown us anything, the space is here to stay.
That's it for 2022, but we know this is only the beginning.
From all of us at Arianee here's to another year of innovation and development! We'll see you in the new year!
The Arianee Team