Have you ever wanted to be in two places at once? Maybe three?

The May 2022 Ad World Conference featured some of the world’s brightest minds in the industry, showcasing their skills on three separate virtual stages. It’s the dream of digital marketers, designers, copywriters, and entrepreneurs to attend this exclusive event; we were lucky enough to join the audience this year.

We would have loved to give you insight into all of the 82 talks, but you’ve got stuff to do, and so do we. Here are some of the many cool things we’ve learned this year, broken up into four beginner-friendly parts.

The Metaverse and Web 3.0

If you’re still not too sure what Web 3.0 is, you’re not alone. Many experts don’t even agree on a definition.

Tom Bilyeu, however, gave a digestible explanation which goes something like this:

The primitive internet (Web 1) was the first generation of the World Wide Web and brought on the age of static web pages hosted from servers. The massive majority of the users were consumers of content and didn’t contribute in any way.

Then, Web 2 was born when the internet evolved into a platform that allowed for interactivity, social connectivity, and user-generated content. This is the internet as we know it today with the prevalence of Social Media, Blogs, and Search Engines.

Web 3.0 is expected to be a paradigm shift in technology and will be built on the core concept of decentralization. This means, some believe, that there will be no central authority controlling the web. The massive databases held by internet giants such as Google will become redundant with the intent of giving the power back to the user. The experience will be created entirely by the participation and engagement of the users.

We’re talking about a massive cultural shift that will open up a new world of self-expression through virtual customization – A shift in reality as we know it.

It’s important to state that, although we are starting to see the tip of the iceberg, Web 3.0 and the Metaverse are still pretty much only a concept, and the expectations are nothing more than speculative. Much like the internet was when the first computer was made. We’re talking like 10 to 15 years into the future.

But what Tom calls a Metaverse archipelago, in other words, portions of the Metaverse, exists today. NFTs are all the hype right now, so let’s dig into that.

NFTs

It turns out that people will potentially value a virtual version of the real thing, as much as the real thing!

Nike released its first virtual sneaker range, dubbing it the “future of sneakers”.

So what are NFTs

In a nutshell, NFTs, or Non-Fungible Tokens, are distinct digital assets stored on a blockchain (such as Ethereum). By distinct, we mean that each NFT has a unique set of identification codes and metadata that distinguish them from each other. In contrast, every unit of cryptocurrency is identical to the next. The piece of data is then associated with an image, video, GIF, audio clip, or whatever the creator chooses to link to the NFT to make it identifiable. Once you have bought the NFT, you have ownership over that specific space on the digital database. It is almost like owning a piece of digital land.

NFTs appeal to the human element of being drawn to scarcity and their desire for ownership.

But I can just right click and save the image, right?

Well, yes and no. Technically you can right click and save the image of Bat Cowl #85623 onto your desktop. But you won’t be the official owner of the picture or NFT, and you won’t have access to the features linked to the NFT, such as access to exclusive products and collectables, and the ability to vote on key aspects of a future storyline from DC Comics.

Check out all the other cool features

The “Image”, therefore, has properties much as an application would. The creator of the NFT can check the authenticity of the NFT (not by looking at the picture, but by looking at the code and content of your virtual wallet) and grant you certain rights or features based on that.

Buying an NFT can be compared to buying an expensive piece of artwork. You can hang a painting in your house and say that it’s yours, but you won’t be the actual owner of the artwork, which will always belong to the creator. It will always be Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, not the Louvre Museum’s Mona Lisa. Now, the Mona Lisa is not protected by copyright, but if it were like some NFT artworks are, the creator of the artwork would still be the copyright owner. Likewise, as an owner of the NFT, you will not own the picture or the copyright, but only the position of the NFT on the blockchain. The image is only used as a visual representation of your position since 0100110 doesn’t look so sexy.

So what’s the problem?

Like most new concepts, there are obstacles.

At the moment, NFTs are not regulated in any way and unsurprisingly, scammers and money launders are rising to the occasion. We are also seeing a lot of copyright infringements that are extremely difficult to prosecute due to the complexity of the digital space.

NFTs are treated as unregulated stocks and bonds with borderline-intolerable volatility. Some of the famous Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs have lost up to 60% of its value in the past month.

Your digital asset also currently ONLY exists in the program or application it was created. You cannot wear your virtual Nike sneakers across platforms, which begs the question: “why own it then”? Well, there are big plans for NFTs to be made cross-platform, and despite the obstacle, people are still appealing to the exclusivity.

Regardless of the challenges, Tom has very high hopes for NFTs and predicts a wave of regulation and standardization coming soon that will create a stable space with less volatility.

So, why should you care?

Well, even if you don’t fully comprehend why someone would pay $3,408,000 for a picture of a monkey – to be completely honest, we don’t either – that doesn’t mean that you can’t appreciate the technology behind it or explore the human psyche into what made it possible. Just because we don’t understand the hype, doesn’t mean that future potential doesn’t exist.

Many massive companies are channelling a lot of money into the research and development of the Metaverse, and we’re taking notice. After all, there is no smoke without a fire.

For now, however, we are watching this space with sceptical optimism, not jumping onto the bandwagon just yet.

Want to learn more? Check out the following:

Are you pro or anti NFT? Leave a comment below and join the conversation.

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